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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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What gains does a customer get from having an AMD CPU and GPU?

As the only player in the industry that has the key IP assets of high-performance CPU and GPU, we're very focused on leveraging that. What we've done in PCs is we launched a new product line called Ryzen, and Ryzen in notebooks has an integrated CPU and GPU on a single die, so it's providing great energy efficiency. We're providing in the leading tier of battery life performance while being able to run triple-A games and have a leadership tier of CPU performance, so we're playing in segments that we didn't even compete in in the PC space, and we're providing a best-in-class experience … And then with the Ryzen desktop products, we've got a beast out there, so when you look at Ryzen, it goes all the way up to a Threadripper — it has a tremendous advantage of cores, up to 32 cores for Threadripper 2.

Is AMD's Ryzen Threadripper processor mostly just for hardcore consumers, or is it for the professional market also? Because I know you have Ryzen Pro as well, which is more focused on workstations.

So we started with the consumer market [with Ryzen] because there was pent-up demand for that kind of high-performance in gaming and content creation. But Ryzen Pro quickly followed and what it does is it takes that same horsepower, but it hardens it for the enterprise market. What does that mean? It adds reliability features, it adds additional testing features to be able to meet those rigorous requirements and manageability requirements in the professional market. It also brought a certification of many content creation applications. So it's taking that horsepower that we first launched in the consumer market right into that content creation market [with Ryzen Pro].

It seems like AMD's EPYC server line had a good first year.

It did. Our goal for EPYC the first year was really re-establishing that AMD was back. We know that in server, it's a long test and certification cycle, so we launched that last June, and it's been going very well. Customers are kicking the tires, and they've gone beyond that phase now. And so it's in production. We're out there with the key OEMs, we already have several data centers — hyperscale data centers — that have announced and are standing up instances with EPYC. And by all accounts, we're providing that efficiency of computing by bringing more cores per socket, more memory, more I/O, things that the competition has bounded and constrained. We're opening that up and, again, it's getting a great response from our customers. It's got us on a growth vector in servers, where we expect to be able to end the year at about 5 percent of market share and grow to double-digit next year.

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