WHEN IT COMES TO PLATFORMS, AMD's senior VP likes to think his firm has better offerings than its arch-rival Intel, and says this fall will be "very exciting" for his company.
When the INQ spoke to Rick Bergman, DAAMIT's SVP of platforms, recently, we asked him how AMD expects to remain competitive in the CPU space until Bulldozer ploughs its way onto the scene in 2011.
Bergman told us that, in his opinion, there are "various ways" to measure what it means to be "competitive," adding, "In my view, if you look at an AMD platform, it's actually superior to an Intel platform."
Skeptical, we asked Bergman in what way. "Graphics, video and media", he replied, adding that punters are caring more and more about the quality of the experience they're getting in terms of graphics and video on their portable machines and that this will be AMD's focus for the foreseeable future.
Bergman, skirting the edges of a touchy subject, added that consumers also care a lot about what a machine's "real battery life" is, implying that his firm has a better reputation for disclosing battery suckage to punters.
He didn't elaborate on this, likely for good reason, as the relentless efforts of Patrick Moorhead, AMD's self-styled social media 'guru', to push the issue have resulted in a class action lawsuit for people unhappy with their laptop's battery life, leaving AMD's OEM customers with a very bitter taste in their mouths.
Getting back to discussing AMD's CPU nemesis, Intel, Bergman said he'd be lying if he didn't admit to being slightly intimidated by Chipzilla's "tick-tock" model, which follows every microarchitectural change with shrinking the process technology, "because that implies innovation every two years and in the GPU world, for example, we can't innovate every two years or we'd be out of business."
Of course, what Bergman didn't admit is that AMD can't afford to implement a tick-tock model for its CPU business either, even if it really wanted to, because it's seriously short on cash and resources at present. He did tell us, however, that AMD plans to "bring some of that pace and innovation to the CPU world," but he didn't explain exactly how or when this picking up of the slack will come about.
In terms of CPU performance for notebooks, and especially the ever-fashionable ultrathin segment, Bergman told us that AMD's platform formerly known as Congo, with its dual-core processor, will be coming out this Autumn, noting, "so that will pick things up from a pure CPU performance [standpoint], along with our high end graphics capability which Intel clearly doesn't have."
We then INQuired after the status of AMD's upcoming Tigress ultrathin and notebook platform, asking whether it will launch with wide OEM availability, unlike Puma. "We have a ton of design wins on Tigress," said Bergman, telling us AMD has picked up its game significantly "in terms of supporting OEMs," adding, "we're doing much better now" and emphasizing we should "stay tuned for the fall timeframe."
"In terms of capabilities AMD has with the CPUs and GPUs on our roadmap, I think it's a very exciting future for us," said Bergman. "We've just got to get out there and execute, get products out and give them to our customers." he said, concluding with a little dig at Intel, "We're working hard, so you don't need to worry about a monopoly." µ
Plus the cost of ambition as moonshots eat into the coffers
Spoiler alert: it's probably VeriSign
Did we say cuts off? We meant traps them inside their own home