AMD CEO: Economic Signs Encouraging

Speaking at a technology conference in New York, AMD President and CEO Dirk Meyer said he is getting encouraging feedback from customers and is optimistic about the last few months of 2009 and 2010. Meyer also talked about AMD technologies, such as the "Congo" platform for ultralight notebooks, and the recent announcement of Globalfoundries buying Chartered as positive steps forward for the company as it struggles to get back to profitability.

Advanced Micro Devices has plans for new PC and graphics offerings that will help the chip maker take advantage of what officials say are encouraging signs in the technology industry for later this year and into 2010.

Speaking at the Citi Investment Global Technology Conference in New York City Sept. 9, AMD President and CEO Dirk Meyer said that the feedback he is getting from customers regarding near-term purchases has been positive, giving him hope that the company and the rest of the industry is moving away from the economic disaster that was the first half of 2009.

"We're encouraged by the way the market is moving forward," Meyer said of the PC market during a half-hour question-and-answer presentation. "We're getting a more positive world view from our customers."

He said new offerings that AMD has planned for the last few months of 2009 will let it take advantage of any upticks in the market.

For example, AMD is preparing the release of its "Congo" offering, its second-generation platform release for the ultrathin notebook market. The first generation, dubbed "Yukon," was offered exclusively through Hewlett-Packard, Meyer said. However, Congo will be offered through other OEMs as well, and already AMD has more than 20 design wins from other systems makers.

He also talked about "Istanbul," AMD's six-core Opteron server processor that he said is gaining traction in two parts of the market-among systems with four sockets and in high-density, cloud computing environments. AMD on Aug. 31 introduced the 40-watt EE version of Istanbul, to go along with the 75- and 55-watt models.

Next year, AMD is planning the launch of 12-core Opterons, dubbed "Magny-Cours," which also will feature improved memory capabilities and HyperTransport features, Meyer said. Magny-Cours will help AMD leapfrog Intel, which currently offers the six-core "Dunnington" Xeons, but this fall will roll out the eight-core "Nehalem EX" processors for systems with four or more sockets.

Intel in March launched the quad-core Xeon 5500 Series "Nehalem EP" chips for one- or two-socket servers.

AMD next year also will offer DDR 3 memory. Officials have said they are sticking with DDR 2 for now because of the high cost of DDR 3.

Meyer said he also is encouraged by AMD's growth in the graphics business. Three years after buying graphics processing unit vendor ATI for $5.4 billion, AMD in May announced it was merging its CPU and GPU businesses. The company is also working toward the release of its DX11 graphics cards.

While he downplayed the aggressive push by rival Nvidia to make GPUs more attractive to most general-purpose computing workloads, Meyer did say that there are workloads that can be moved to GPUs, which are more energy-efficient than CPUs and which can put more processing cores on each chip.

That also is a key distinction from Intel, which Meyer said wants to keep workloads primarily on CPUs.