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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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Was there anything specific that allowed you to push up Vega's timeline?

What you saw from AMD was immense focus. We knew 7nm would be a big challenge, so we made the bet, we shifted our resources onto the new node. We didn't just dip our toe in the water. We went all in. So we shifted our design community, as well as our design enablement. We made it clear to our partners that we needed their full focus on this new technology node, and it's a good thing, because it was really tough. We ran into our share of issues, but we started early, and we did test designs. We did pre-production releases of the chips to test out that it would all work out as expected. And that our designs, the process and our CAD tools could work together. So by the time we were ready to release our products to manufacturing, there were no surprises.

What is the advantage of working with GlobalFoundries and TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.) as opposed to doing it on your own?

Well, before I got here, AMD had made a decision to go fabless, because the value we bring, of getting great, high-performance products to market, we need to be able to move very nimbly from a design standpoint. And to really leverage what it takes to be successful in a semiconductor foundry industry, it needs 100 percent focus. That's what the fabs do. So we're doing what we do best, creating outstanding products, and then we can partner with GlobalFoundries and TSMC, our key fab partners.

In general, what do you think people should be most excited in terms of what AMD is working on?

I think, when people think about AMD, they have to think about what AMD has done to transform itself over the last five years under Lisa Su's leadership and her management team. And that is that AMD is a company of maniacal focus on delivering customers a new and better experience, providing competition, and competition drives innovation. 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 and provide this choice and innovation, so it's a very exciting time, and it's a very different AMD.

 
 
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