By Melvin G. Calimag
NEW YORK CITY – With the aim of “injecting excitement back in the PC,” chipmaker AMD is turning up the heat on main rival Intel after it formally launched its most powerful desktop processors yet – the AMD Ryzen Pro.
As proof of its higher standing now in the tech hierarchy, AMD also announced the availability of new desktops from the top three PC makers — Lenovo, HP, and Dell – that carry the Ryzen Pro.
Based on the AMD “Zen” core architecture, the Ryzen Pro processors have up to 8 processing cores and 16 threads, and speeds of up to 3.7GHz. It is designed especially for the power-hungry users in the enterprise sector, particularly content creators.
The new chips are packed with advanced technologies such as GuardMI which provides processor-level security against threats, and SenseMI which offers breakthrough responsiveness for demanding enterprise-class applications and multi-tasking workflows.
Top executives of AMD said the Ryzen Pro still has a big market to serve even if desktop computers are steadily losing ground to laptops and other devices such as tablets and smartphones.
At the launch event, a Dell official cited an IDC report showing 51 percent of commercial PCs sold in 2016 were desktops. “Commercial desktops are still important for businesses. They are the workhorses that get the job done,” said Tom Tobul, vice president and general manager for commercial desktops at Dell.
Jim Anderson, senior vice president and general manager for computing and graphics at AMD, said the chipmaker is definitely back in the game after playing catch-up with top dog Intel.
“The reason why I joined AMD is because it is going back to its roots, which is high-performance computing,” said Anderson in his keynote speech. “The Zen platform is a return to innovation for commercial computing.”
The official said the stiff competition with Intel has been good for the industry and AMD as it has been forced to step up innovation and become really competitive again.
The decision to go fabless in 2009 and just outsource manufacturing to third-party semicon firms also worked wonders for AMD as it allowed the company to focus on the design and intensify efforts in research and development.
As a result, the chipmaker is undergoing a renaissance of sorts with business growing solidly and revenues accelerating like never before. In the first half of 2017, AMD grew faster than the market as it expanded by 19 percent year-on-year.
It had a stellar year in 2016 as it captured more market share in discrete graphics (stand-alone graphics card plugged into a motherboard slot or a separate GPU chip on the motherboard) and in mobile PCs or laptops.
As a company that has built its credential in the high-performance computing and gaming sectors, AMD said it also has a good reason to become even more bullish as gaming, virtual reality, and machine learning are starting to take off the ground.
Anderson said 2017 is fast shaping up to be “a pivotal year” as the company is set to launch three major products this year – the Epyc processors for data centers, the Radeon Pro Vega graphics, and the Ryzen Pro for mobile computers.
The executive added that to sustain the company’s momentum, its Zen 2 and 3 platforms are now under development for long term and multi-generational strategy.