Many years ago AMD was a household name on desktop computers. Their Athlon line of processors consistently delivered better performance for less money than Intel’s offerings, and there was seemingly no end to their success. Fast forward to today and you’ll find AMD processors mostly in budget or enthusiast systems with little presence in between, and that’s down to a number of factors. Without going into all of them it’s important to know that AMD brought in Rory Read to head AMD back in 2011 to turn the company around, with his main objective being to get the company primarily out of the desktop and laptop environment and more into embedded and “semi-custom” chips by the end of 2013. This goal of 20% revenue in those sources was met when AMD locked in the contract with not just one but all three next-generation consoles, with AMD now powering the WiiU, Xbox One and PS4. Now Read and AMD are looking ahead to the future of mobile computing, and ARM CPUs still seem like the way to go when considering mobile.
But what about the existing x86 architecture and all those Windows users that rely on it? AMD has an incredibly simple and intuitive new architecture that will let manufacturers design one hardware spec and simply change out the processor depending on the platform in question. Need a Windows tablet or PC? Use one of AMD’s new x86 CPUs in the “Project Skybridge” family that go by the code names “Beema” ot “Mullins”. Ready for Android? Just swap out the CPU with an ARM version, currently titled “Seattle,” and you’re good to go. This new architecture uses the new Radeon GPU line for graphics processing, and promises some great new performance to go with it. Essentially this makes it easier on manufacturers to make tablets for both platforms while still retaining separate product lines, simplifying production lines by only having a CPU and an operating system to change out instead of an entire hardware base.
This new architecture is aimed at dense server, embedded, semi-custom and ultra-low power markets, meaning just about every business solution you can think of plus the smartphone and tablet world. AMD has looked ahead at the future of computing and decided that desktops and laptops just aren’t the safe places to be anymore and have come up with an ingenious way of putting them together for manufacturers.