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AMD CTO: We Now Have A 'Razor's Edge' To Fight Against Intel

AMD CTO Mark Papermaster tells CRN why the company now has a "razor's edge" to compete against Intel and how it plans to win more market share in the server space.

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Papermaster Outlines AMD's Plan

While Intel has been outlining the company's multi-product vision for its data-centric future, archrival AMD has been riding high on the promising growth trends of its Ryzen desktop and EPYC server CPUs, as well as plans for its next-generation, 7-nanometer line of processors.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company has not been shy about its perceived chip manufacturing position over Intel, which has delayed mass production for its next-generation 10nm processors for multiple years. Intel's 10nm desktop CPU will now launch for holiday 2019 while its 10nm server processor won't come out until 2020. AMD, on the other hand, is expected to launch its 7nm server chip next year with the desktop version to follow sometime after that.

In an exclusive interview with CRN, AMD CTO Mark Papermaster reiterated the company's confidence in its 7nm plans, how it was able to leapfrog over the "incremental step" of 10nm and laid out the company's plans to take more market share in the server and desktop markets.

"That's what AMD has always been about — innovation — but now it's got a razor's edge to fight against larger competitors that have been dominating the industry," he said.

What follows is an interview transcript that has been edited for length and clarity.

What would you say are the biggest bets AMD is making right now?

The big bet that we're making is that high performance matters, and we made this bet really over five years ago because we had to revamp the roadmap when myself and Lisa Su, who is now CEO, had to revamp the roadmap and to get it focused on restoring AMD's place in the industry … We're one of the very few providers of high-performance, both CPU and GPU. So that's the foundation of everything that we do, to be that bankable supplier of high-performance technology, now and for the future. Computing is changing. It's becoming immersive, so how you interface with the computers, you expect high-resolution imagery, not only in flat screens but [also with virtual and augmented reality]. That drives tremendous computing, so how we interface is changing. And then the underlying algorithms that can handle this massive data that is out there being created around us, with all of these embedded [Internet of Things] devices. So whether it's your home life, your business life, you've got a massive amount of data and we provide the engines, both CPU and GPU, to provide the compute capability, both with traditional workloads and machine learning.

How did you feel hearing the news that Intel's 10nm CPU is being delayed to holiday 2019?

My view is very simple. We assumed that the competition would be in 10nm this year, and we laid all of our plans out. The take that we have at AMD is focus and execution. We are not going to change our plans. We assumed that 10nm would proceed on its original schedule from our competitor, so we're executing to all the plans that we originally put in place. I think we do have the opportunity to be positioned much stronger than we originally anticipated, but I have to say, our original plan, was to be positioned very strongly, so any delay from our competitor could simply strengthen the value that AMD brings to the market.

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