Advanced Micro Devices

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Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.
Industry Semiconductors
Founded May 1, 1969; 53 years ago (1969-05-01)
Founder Jerry Sanders
Headquarters One AMD Place,[1]
Sunnyvale, California, United States
Area served
Key people
Lisa Su (CEO)[2]
Bruce Claflin (Executive Chairman)
Products Microprocessors
Motherboard chipsets
Graphics processing units
Random-access memory[3]
TV tuner cards[4]
Revenue Increase $5.50 billion (2014)[5]
Decrease -$155 million (2014)[5]
Decrease -$403 million (2014)[5]
Total assets Decrease US$ 3.767 billion (2014)[5]
Total equity Decrease $187 million(2014)[5]
Number of employees
9,687 (2014)[5]
Divisions SeaMicro
Slogan Enabling today.
Inspiring tomorrow.

Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD) is an American worldwide semiconductor company based in Sunnyvale, California, United States, that develops computer-processors and related technologies for business and consumer markets. While initially it manufactured its own processors, the company became fabless after GlobalFoundries was spun off in 2009. AMD's main products include microprocessors, motherboard chipsets, embedded processors and graphics processors for servers, workstations and personal computers, and embedded systems applications.

AMD is the second-largest supplier and only significant rival to Intel in the market for x86-based microprocessors. Since acquiring ATI in 2006, AMD and its competitor Nvidia have dominated the discrete graphics processor unit (GPU) market.[6]

Company history

AMD campus in Markham, Ontario, Canada, formerly ATI headquarters
AMD's LEED-certified Lone Star campus in Austin, Texas

First twelve years

Advanced Micro Devices was formally incorporated on May 1, 1969, by Jerry Sanders, along with seven of his colleagues from Fairchild Semiconductor.[7][8] Sanders, an electrical engineer who was the director of marketing at Fairchild, had like many Fairchild executives grown frustrated with the increasing lack of support, opportunity, and flexibility within that company, and decided to leave to start his own semiconductor company.[9] The previous year Robert Noyce, who had invented the first practical integrated circuit or microchip in 1959 at Fairchild,[10] had left Fairchild together with Gordon Moore and founded the semiconductor company Intel in July 1968.[11]

In September 1969, AMD moved from its temporary location in Santa Clara to Sunnyvale, California.[12] To immediately secure a customer base, AMD initially became a second source supplier of microchips designed by Fairchild and National Semiconductor.[13][14] AMD first focused on producing logic chips.[15] The company guaranteed quality control to United States Military Standard, an advantage in the early computer industry since unreliability in microchips was a distinct problem that customers – including computer manufacturers, the telecommunications industry, and instrument manufacturers – wanted to avoid.[13][16][17][18]

In November 1969, the company manufactured its first product, the Am9300, a 4-bit MSI shift register, which began selling in 1970.[18][19] Also in 1970, AMD produced its first proprietary product, the Am2501 logic counter, which was highly successful.[20][21] Its best-selling product in 1971 was the Am2505, the fastest multiplier available.[20][22]

In 1971, AMD entered the RAM chip market, beginning with the Am3101, a 64-bit bipolar RAM.[22][23] That year AMD also greatly increased the sales volume of its linear integrated circuits, and by year end the company's total annual sales reached $4.6 million.[20][24]

AMD went public in September 1972.[13][25][26] The company was a second source for Intel MOS/LSI circuits by 1973, with products such as Am14/1506 and Am14/1507, dual 100-bit dynamic shift registers.[27][28] By 1975, AMD was producing 212 products – of which 49 were proprietary, including the Am9102 (a static N-channel 1024-bit RAM)[29] and three low-power Schottky MSI circuits: Am25LS07, Am25LS08, and Am25LS09.[30]

Intel had created the first microprocessor, its 4-bit 4004, in 1971.[31][32] By 1975, AMD entered the microprocessor market with the Am9080, a reverse-engineered clone of the Intel 8080,[33][34][35] and the Am2900 bit-slice microprocessor family.[34] When Intel began installing microcode in its microprocessors in 1976, it entered into a cross-licencing agreement with AMD, granting AMD a copyright license to the microcode in its microprocessors and peripherals, effective October 1976.[30][36][37][38][39]

In 1977, AMD entered into a joint venture with Siemens, a German engineering conglomerate wishing to enhance its technology expertise and enter the U.S. market.[40] Siemens purchased 20% of AMD's stock, giving AMD an infusion of cash to increase its product lines.[40][41][42] That year the two companies also jointly established Advanced Micro Computers, located in Silicon Valley and in Germany, giving AMD an opportunity to enter the microcomputer development and manufacturing field,[40][43][44][45] in particular based on AMD's second-source Zilog Z8000 microprocessors.[46][47] When the two companies' vision for Advanced Micro Computers diverged, AMD bought out Siemens' stake in the U.S. division in 1979.[48][49] AMD closed its Advanced Micro Computers subsidiary in late 1981, after switching focus to manufacturing second-source Intel x86 microprocessors.[46][50][51]

Total sales in fiscal year 1978 topped $100 million,[43] and in 1979, AMD debuted on the New York Stock Exchange.[21] In 1979, production also began in AMD's new semiconductor fab in Austin;[21] the company already had overseas assembly facilities in Penang and Manila,[52] and it began construction on a semiconductor fab in San Antonio in 1981.[53] In 1980, AMD began supplying semiconductor products for telecommunications, an industry undergoing rapid expansion and innovation.[54]

Technology exchange agreement with Intel

Intel had introduced the first x86 microprocessors in 1978.[55] In 1981, IBM created its PC, and wanted Intel's x86 processors, but only under the condition that Intel also provide a second-source manufacturer for its patented x86 microprocessors.[16] Intel and AMD entered into a 10-year technology exchange agreement, first signed in October 1981[50][56] and formally executed in February 1982.[39] The terms of the agreement were that each company could acquire the right to become a second-source manufacturer for semiconductor products developed by the other; that is, each party could "earn" the right to manufacture and sell a product developed by the other, if agreed to, by exchanging the manufacturing rights to a product of equivalent technical complexity. The technical information and licenses needed to make and sell a part would be exchanged for a royalty to the developing company.[38] The 1982 agreement also extended the 1976 AMD–Intel cross-licensing agreement through 1995.[38][39] The agreement included the right to invoke arbitration of disagreements, and after five years the right of either party to end the agreement with one year's notice.[38] The main result of the 1982 agreement was that AMD became a second-source manufacturer of Intel's x86 microprocessors and related chips, and Intel provided AMD with database tapes for its 8086, 80186, and 80286 chips.[39]

Beginning in 1982, AMD began volume-producing second-source Intel-licensed 8086, 8088, 80186, and 80188 processors, and by 1984 its own Am286 clone of Intel's 80286 processor, for the rapidly growing market of IBM PCs and IBM clones.[16][57] It also continued its successful concentration on proprietary bipolar chips.[58] In 1983, it introduced INT.STD.1000, the highest manufacturing quality standard in the industry.[18][53]

The company continued to spend greatly on research and development,[59] and in addition to other breakthrough products, created the world's first 512K EPROM in 1984.[60] That year AMD was listed in the book The 100 Best Companies to Work for in America,[53][61] and based on 1984 income it made the Fortune 500 list for the first time in 1985.[62][63]

By mid-1985, however, the microchip market experienced a severe downturn, mainly due to longterm aggressive trade practices (dumping) from Japan, but also due to a crowded and non-innovative chip market in the U.S.[64] AMD rode out the mid-1980s crisis by aggressively innovating and modernizing,[65] devising the Liberty Chip program of designing and manufacturing one new chip or chip set per week for 52 weeks in fiscal year 1986,[53][66] and by heavily lobbying the U.S. government until sanctions and restrictions were put into place to prevent predatory Japanese pricing.[67] During this time period, AMD withdrew from the DRAM market,[68] and at the same time made some headway into the CMOS market, which it had lagged in entering, having focused instead on bipolar chips.[69]

AMD had some success in the mid-1980s with the AMD7910 and AMD7911 "World Chip" FSK modem, one of the first multi-standard devices that covered both Bell and CCITT tones at up to 1200 baud half duplex or 300/300 full duplex.[70] Beginning in 1986, AMD embraced the perceived shift toward RISC with their own AMD Am29000 (29k) processor;[71] the 29k survived as an embedded processor.[72][73] The company also increased its EPROM memory market share in the late 1980s.[74] Throughout the 1980s, AMD was a second-source supplier of Intel x86 processors. In 1991, it introduced its own 386-compatible Am386, an AMD-designed chip. Creating its own chips, AMD began to compete directly with Intel.[75]

AMD had a large and successful flash memory business, even during the dotcom bust.[76] In 2003, to divest some manufacturing and aid its overall cash flow, which was under duress from aggressive microprocessor competition from Intel, AMD spun-off its flash memory business and manufacturing into Spansion, a joint venture with Fujitsu, which had been co-manufacturing flash memory with AMD since 1993.[77][78] AMD divested itself of Spansion in December 2005, in order to focus on the microprocessor market, and Spansion went public in an IPO.[79]

AMD announced the acquisition of the graphics processor company ATI Technologies on July 24, 2006. AMD paid $4.3 billion in cash and 58 million shares of its stock, for a total of approximately $5.4 billion. The transaction completed on October 25, 2006.[80] On August 30, 2010, AMD announced that it would retire the ATI brand name for its graphics chipsets in favor of the AMD brand name.[81][82]

In October 2008, AMD announced plans to spin off manufacturing operations in the form of a multibillion-dollar joint venture with Advanced Technology Investment Co., an investment company formed by the government of Abu Dhabi. The new venture is called GlobalFoundries Inc. The partnership and spin-off gave AMD an infusion of cash and allowed AMD to focus solely on chip design.[83] To assure the Abu Dhabi investors of the new venture's success, CEO Hector Ruiz stepped down as CEO of AMD in July 2008, while remaining Executive Chairman, in preparation to becoming Chairman of Global Foundries in March 2009.[84][85] President and COO Dirk Meyer became AMD's CEO.[86] Recessionary losses necessitated AMD cutting 1,100 jobs in 2009.[87]

In August 2011, AMD announced that former Lenovo executive Rory Read would be joining the company as CEO, replacing Meyer.[88] AMD announced in November 2011 plans to lay off more than 10% (1,400) of its employees from across all divisions worldwide.[89] In October 2012, it announced plans to lay off an additional 15% of its workforce to reduce costs in the face of declining sales revenue.[90]

AMD acquired the low-power server manufacturer SeaMicro in early 2012, with an eye to bringing out an ARM architecture server chip.[91]

On October 8, 2014, AMD announced that Rory Read had stepped down after three years as president and chief executive officer.[2] He was succeeded by Lisa Su, a key lieutenant who had been serving as chief operating officer since June.[92]

On October 16, 2014, AMD announced a new restructuring plan along with its Q3 results. Effective July 1, 2014, AMD reorganized into two business groups: Computing and Graphics, which primarily includes desktop and notebook processors and chipsets, discrete GPUs, and professional graphics; and Enterprise, Embedded and Semi-Custom, which primarily includes server and embedded processors, dense servers, semi-custom SoC products, engineering services, and royalties. As part of this restructuring AMD announced that 7% of its global workforce would be laid off by the end of 2014.[93]

Processor market history

Early AMD 9080 Processor (AMD AM9080ADC / C8080A), 1977
AMD D8086, 1978

IBM PC and the x86 architecture

In February 1982, AMD signed a contract with Intel, becoming a licensed second-source manufacturer of 8086 and 8088 processors. IBM wanted to use the Intel 8088 in its IBM PC, but IBM's policy at the time was to require at least two sources for its chips. AMD later produced the Am286 under the same arrangement. In 1984 Intel, in order to shore up its advantage in the marketplace, internally decided to no longer cooperate with AMD in supplying product information, and delayed and eventually refused to convey the technical details of the Intel 80386 to AMD.[94] In 1987, AMD invoked arbitration over the issue, and Intel reacted by cancelling the 1982 technological-exchange agreement altogether.[95][96] After three years of testimony, AMD eventually won in arbitration in 1992, but Intel disputed this decision. Another long legal dispute followed, ending in 1994 when the Supreme Court of California sided with the arbitrator and AMD.[97][98]

In 1990, Intel also countersued AMD, reneging on AMD's right to use derivatives of Intel's microcode for its cloned processors.[99] In the face of uncertainty during the legal dispute, AMD was forced to develop clean room designed versions of Intel code for its x386 and x486 processors, the former long after Intel had released its own x386 in 1985.[100] In March 1991, AMD released the Am386, its clone of the Intel 386 processor.[53] By October of the same year it had sold one million units.[53]

In 1993, AMD introduced the first of the Am486 family of processors,[21] which proved popular with a large number of original equipment manufacturers, including Compaq, which signed an exclusive agreement using the Am486.[13][101][102] Another Am486-based processor, the Am5x86, was released in November 1995 and continued AMD's success as a fast, cost-effective processor.[103][104]

Finally, in an agreement effective 1996, AMD received the rights to the microcode in Intel's x386 and x486 processor families, but not the rights to the microcode in the following generations of processors.[105][106]

K5, K6, Athlon, Duron, and Sempron

AMD's first in-house x86 processor was the K5, which was launched in 1996.[107] The "K" was a reference to Kryptonite. (In comic books, the only substance which could harm Superman was Kryptonite. This is a reference to Intel's hegemony over the market, i.e., an anthropomorphization of them as Superman.[108]) The numeral "5" refers to the fifth generation of x86 processors; rival Intel had previously introduced its line of fifth-generation x86 processors as Pentium because the U.S. Trademark and Patent Office had ruled that mere numbers could not be trademarked.[109]

In 1996, AMD purchased NexGen, specifically for the rights to their Nx series of x86-compatible processors. AMD gave the NexGen design team their own building, left them alone, and gave them time and money to rework the Nx686. The result was the K6 processor, introduced in 1997. Although the K6 was based on Socket 7, variants such as K6-3/450 were faster than Intel's Pentium II (sixth-generation processor).

The K7 was AMD's seventh-generation x86 processor, making its debut on June 23, 1999, under the brand name Athlon. Unlike previous AMD processors, it could not be used on the same motherboards as Intel's, due to licensing issues surrounding Intel's Slot 1 connector, and instead used a Slot A connector, referenced to the Alpha processor bus. The Duron was a lower-cost and limited version of the Athlon (64KB instead of 256KB L2 cache) in a 462-pin socketed PGA (socket A) or soldered directly onto the motherboard. Sempron was released as a lower-cost Athlon XP, replacing Duron in the socket A PGA era. It has since been migrated upward to all new sockets, up to AM3.

On October 9, 2001, the Athlon XP was released. On February 10, 2003, the Athlon XP with 512KB L2 Cache was released.[110]

Athlon 64, Opteron and Phenom

The K8 was a major revision of the K7 architecture, with the most notable features being the addition of a 64-bit extension to the x86 instruction set (called x86-64, AMD64, or x64), the incorporation of an on-chip memory controller, and the implementation of an extremely high performance point-to-point interconnect called HyperTransport, as part of the Direct Connect Architecture. The technology was initially launched as the Opteron server-oriented processor on April 22, 2003.[111] Shortly thereafter it was incorporated into a product for desktop PCs, branded Athlon 64.[112]

On April 21, 2005, AMD released the first dual core Opteron, an x86-based server CPU.[113] A month later, AMD released the Athlon 64 X2, the first desktop-based dual core processor family.[114] In May 2007, AMD abandoned the string "64" in its dual-core desktop product branding, becoming Athlon X2, downplaying the significance of 64-bit computing in its processors. Further updates involved improvements to the microarchitecture, and a shift of target market from mainstream desktop systems to value dual-core desktop systems. In 2008, AMD started to release dual-core Sempron processors exclusively in China, branded as the Sempron 2000 series, with lower HyperTransport speed and smaller L2 cache. Thus AMD completed its dual-core product portfolio for each market segment.

After K8 came K10. In September 2007, AMD released the first K10 processors – nine quad-core Third Generation Opteron processors – followed in November by the Phenom processor for desktop. K10 processors came in dual-core, triple-core,[115] and quad-core versions, with all cores on a single die. AMD released a new platform, codenamed "Spider", which utilized the new Phenom processor, as well as an R770 GPU and a 790 GX/FX chipset from the AMD 700 chipset series. However, AMD built the Spider at 65nm, which was uncompetitive with Intel's smaller and more power-efficient 45nm.

In January 2009, AMD released a new processor line dubbed Phenom II, a refresh of the original Phenom built using the 45 nm process. AMD's new platform, codenamed “Dragon”, utilised the new Phenom II processor, and an ATI R770 GPU from the R700 GPU family, as well as a 790 GX/FX chipset from the AMD 700 chipset series. The Phenom II came in dual-core, triple-core and quad-core variants, all using the same die, with cores disabled for the triple-core and dual-core versions. The Phenom II resolved issues that the original Phenom had, including a low clock speed, a small L3 cache and a Cool'n'Quiet bug that decreased performance. The Phenom II cost less but was not performance-competitive with Intel's mid-to-high-range Core 2 Quads. The Phenom II also enhanced the Phenom's memory controller, allowing it to use DDR3 in a new native socket AM3, while maintaining backwards compatibility with AM2+, the socket used for the Phenom, and allowing the use of the DDR2 memory that was used with the platform.

In April 2010, AMD released a new Phenom II hexa-core (6-core) processor codenamed "Thuban". This was a totally new die based on the hexa-core “Istanbul” Opteron processor. It included AMD's “turbo core” technology, which allows the processor to automatically switch from 6 cores to 3 faster cores when more pure speed is needed. AMD's enthusiast platform, codenamed "Leo", utilized the new Phenom II, a new chipset from the AMD 800 chipset series and an ATI “Cypress” GPU from the Evergreen GPU series.

The Magny Cours and Lisbon server parts were released in 2010. The Magny Cours part came in 8 to 12 cores and the Lisbon part in 4 and 6 core parts. Magny Cours is focused on performance while the Lisbon part is focused on high performance per watt. Magny Cours is an MCM (Multi-Chip Module) with two hexa-core “Istanbul” Opteron parts. This will use a new G34 socket for dual and quad socket processors and thus will be marketed as Opteron 61xx series processors. Lisbon uses C32 socket certified for dual socket use or single socket use only and thus will be marketed as Opteron 41xx processors. Both will be built on a 45 nm SOI process.

Fusion, Bobcat, Bulldozer, Vishera, and Hondo

Following AMD's 2006 acquisition of Canadian graphics company ATI Technologies, an initiative codenamed Fusion was announced to merge a CPU and GPU on some of their mainstream chips, including a minimum 16 lane PCI Express link to accommodate external PCI Express peripherals, thereby eliminating the requirement of a northbridge chip completely from the motherboard. The initiative intended to see some of the processing originally done on the CPU (e.g. floating-point unit operations) moved to the GPU, which is better optimized for calculations such as floating-point unit calculations. This is referred to by AMD as an accelerated processing unit (APU).[116]

Llano is to be the second APU released,[117] targeted at the mainstream market.[116] This will incorporate a CPU and GPU on the same die, as well as the northbridge functions, and labeled on AMD's new timeline as using "Socket FM1" with DDR3 memory. This will, however, not be based on the new bulldozer core and will in fact be similar to the current Phenom II "Deneb" processor serving as AMD's high-end processor until the release of the new 32 nm parts. On September 28, 2011, AMD said that the third quarter of 2011 won't have a 10% revenue increase as AMD planned before, because of the manufacturing problem with the 32 nm Llano Fusion chips.[118]

Bulldozer is AMD's CPU codename for the second latest server and desktop processors released on October 12, 2011. This family 15h microarchitecture is the successor to the family 10h (K10) microarchitecture M-SPACE design methodology.

Bulldozer is designed from scratch, not a development of earlier processors.[119] The core is specifically aimed at 10-125 W TDP computing products. AMD claims dramatic performance-per-watt efficiency improvements in high-performance computing (HPC) applications with Bulldozer cores. While hopes were very high that Bulldozer would bring AMD to be performance competitive with arch rival Intel once more, most benchmarks were disappointing. In some cases the new Bulldozer products were slower than the K10 model they were built to replace.[120][121][122]

Hondo is AMD's latest processor series used in Tablet computers.[123]

Vishera is AMD's current FX series processor lineup targeting the desktop performance market. It uses 2nd generation Bulldozer-derived cores codenamed Piledriver.

Llano was AMD's first APU built for laptops.

Jaguar is the latest x86 processor core from AMD aimed at the low-power/low-cost market.

Jaguar's predecessor, Bobcat, was revealed during a speech from AMD executive vice-president Henri Richard in Computex 2007 and was put into production Q1 2011.[117] One of the major supporters was executive vice-president Mario A. Rivas who felt it was difficult to compete in the x86 market with a single core optimized for the 10-100 W range and actively promoted the development of the simpler core with a target range of 1-10 watts. In addition, it was believed that the core could migrate into the hand-held space if the power consumption can be reduced to less than 1 W.[citation needed]

ARM architecture-based chip

AMD intends to release 64-bit ARM System on Chips (SoC) that will begin sampling in early 2014 and shipping in the second half of 2015. They will be for use in servers as a low-power alternative to current x86 chips. Their implementation using the ARM architecture is codenamed "Seattle", based on the Cortex A57 core design (ARMv8-A), and will contain 8 and 16 cores each. They will include the proprietary SeaMicro "Freedom Fabric", as well as support for 128 GB RAM, and 10 gigabit Ethernet.[124] This is to be followed by the custom ARM core K12 core, expected in 2016-2017.[125]


Zen is a new architecture built from the ground up by a team led by Jim Keller, beginning with his arrival in 2012, and taping out before his departure in September 2015. Zen will be built on the 14 nm node and have a renewed focus on single-core performance and HSA compatibility.[126] Zen will be the first chip encompassing CPUs and APUs from AMD built for a single socket. It will also support DDR4. It is expected to be released mid-late 2016, following the availability of the AMD A10-7890K FM2+ desktop CPU. AMD Zen Tentative Release Date Q4 2016

Products and technologies

AMD Radeon memory

Graphics products

AMD's portfolio of dedicated graphics processors as of 2015 includes product families and associated technologies aimed at the consumer, professional and high-performance computing markets, such as:

  • Radeon – brand for consumer line of graphics cards; the brand name originated with ATI. Mobility Radeon offers power-optimized versions of Radeon graphics chips for use in laptops.
  • AMD FirePro – brand for professional line of graphics cards for workstations. Succeeds the FireGL series of workstation CAD/CAM video cards, the FireMV series and the AMD FireStream series.
    • AMD FireStream – brand for discontinued product line targeting stream processing and GPGPU as used in various industries.
    • AMD FireMV – brand for discontinued product line targeting multi-monitor setups in professional environments.

As of 2015 technologies found in AMD products include:

AMD Catalyst is a collection of proprietary device driver software available for Microsoft Windows and Linux.

Since 2007, AMD has participated in the development of free and open-source graphics device drivers. The programming specifications for a number of chipsets and features were published in several rounds. Employees hired by AMD for this purpose contribute code to the Direct Rendering Manager in the Linux kernel.

AMD chipsets

Before the launch of Athlon 64 processors in 2003, AMD designed chipsets for their processors spanning the K6 and K7 processor generations. The chipsets include the AMD-640, AMD-751 and the AMD-761 chipsets. The situation changed in 2003 with the release of Athlon 64 processors, and AMD chose not to further design its own chipsets for its desktop processors while opening the desktop platform to allow other firms to design chipsets. This was the “Open Platform Management Architecture” with ATI, VIA and SiS developing their own chipset for Athlon 64 processors and later Athlon 64 X2 and Athlon 64 FX processors, including the Quad FX platform chipset from Nvidia.

The initiative went further with the release of Opteron server processors as AMD stopped the design of server chipsets in 2004 after releasing the AMD-8111 chipset, and again opened the server platform for firms to develop chipsets for Opteron processors. As of today, Nvidia and Broadcom are the sole designing firms of server chipsets for Opteron processors.

As the company completed the acquisition of ATI Technologies in 2006, the firm gained the ATI design team for chipsets which previously designed the Radeon Xpress 200 and the Radeon Xpress 3200 chipsets. AMD then renamed the chipsets for AMD processors under AMD branding (for instance, the CrossFire Xpress 3200 chipset was renamed as AMD 580X CrossFire chipset). In February 2007, AMD announced the first AMD-branded chipset since 2004 with the release of the AMD 690G chipset (previously under the development codename RS690), targeted at mainstream IGP computing. It was the industry's first to implement a HDMI 1.2 port on motherboards, shipping for more than a million units. While ATI had aimed at releasing an Intel IGP chipset, the plan was scrapped and the inventories of Radeon Xpress 1250 (codenamed RS600, sold under ATI brand) was sold to two OEMs, Abit and ASRock. Although AMD stated the firm would still produce Intel chipsets, Intel had not granted the license of 1333 MHz FSB to ATI.

On November 15, 2007, AMD announced a new chipset series portfolio, the AMD 7-Series chipsets, covering from enthusiast multi-graphics segment to value IGP segment, to replace the AMD 480/570/580 chipsets and AMD 690 series chipsets, marking AMD's first enthusiast multi-graphics chipset. Discrete graphics chipsets were launched on November 15, 2007 as part of the codenamed Spider desktop platform, and IGP chipsets were launched at a later time in spring 2008 as part of the codenamed Cartwheel platform.

AMD returned to the server chipsets market with the AMD 800S series server chipsets. It includes support for up to six SATA 6.0 Gbit/s ports, the C6 power state, which is featured in Fusion processors and AHCI 1.2 with SATA FIS–based switching support. This is a chipset family supporting Phenom processors and Quad FX enthusiast platform (890FX), IGP(890GX).

AMD Live!

As of 2007, AMD LIVE! was a platform marketing initiative focusing the consumer electronics segment, with an Active TV initiative for streaming Internet videos from web video services such as YouTube, into AMD Live! PC as well as connected digital TVs, together with a scheme for an ecosystem of certified peripherals for the ease of customers to identify peripherals for AMD LIVE! systems for digital home experience, called "AMD LIVE! Ready".[127]

AMD Quad FX platform

The AMD Quad FX platform, being an extreme enthusiast platform,[clarification needed] allows two processors to connect through HyperTransport, which is a similar setup to dual-processor (2P) servers, excluding the use of buffered memory/registered memory DIMM modules, and a server motherboard, the current setup includes two Athlon 64 FX-70 series processors and a special motherboard.[citation needed] AMD pushed the platform for the surging demands for what AMD calls "megatasking",[128] the ability to do more tasks on a single system. The platform refreshes with the introduction of Phenom FX processors and the next-generation RD790 chipset, codenamed "FASN8".

Server platform

AMD's first multi-processor server platform, codenamed Fiorano, consists of AMD SR5690 + SP5100 server chipsets, supporting 45 nm, codenamed Shanghai Socket F+ processors and registered DDR2 memory. It was followed by the Maranello platform supporting 45 nm, codenamed Istanbul, Socket G34 processors with DDR3 memory. On single-processor platform, the codenamed Catalunya platform consists of codenamed Suzuka 45 nm quad-core processor with AMD SR5580 + SP5100 chipset and DDR3 support.[129]

AMD's x86 virtualization extension to the 64-bit x86 architecture is named AMD Virtualization, also known by the abbreviation AMD-V, and is sometimes referred to by the code name "Pacifica". AMD processors using Socket AM2, Socket S1, and Socket F include AMD Virtualization support. AMD Virtualization is also supported by release two (8200, 2200 and 1200 series) of the Opteron processors. The third generation (8300 and 2300 series) of Opteron processors will see an update in virtualization technology, specifically the Rapid Virtualization Indexing (also known by the development name Nested Page Tables), alongside the tagged TLB and Device Exclusion Vector (DEV).

AMD also promotes the "AMD I/O Virtualization Technology" (also known as IOMMU) for I/O virtualization.[130] The AMD IOMMU specification has been updated to version 1.2.[131] The specification describes the use of a HyperTransport architecture.

AMD's server initiatives include the following:

  • AMD Trinity, provides support for virtualization, security and management. Key features include AMD-V technology, codenamed Presidio trusted computing platform technology, I/O Virtualization and Open Management Partition.[132]
  • AMD Raiden, future clients similar to the Jack PC[133] to be connected through network to a blade server for central management, to reduce client form factor sizes with AMD Trinity features.
  • Torrenza, coprocessors support through interconnects such as HyperTransport, and PCI Express (though more focus was at HyperTransport enabled coprocessors), also opening processor socket architecture to other manufacturers, Sun and IBM are among the supporting consortium, with rumoured POWER7 processors would be socket-compatible to future Opteron processors. The move made rival Intel respond with the opening of front-side bus (FSB) architecture as well as Geneseo,[134] a collaboration project with IBM for coprocessors connected through PCI Express.
  • Various certified systems programs and platforms: AMD Commercial Stable Image Platform (CSIP), together with AMD Validated Server program, AMD True Server Solutions, AMD Thermally Tested Barebones Platforms and AMD Validated Server Program, providing certified systems for business from AMD.

Desktop platforms

Starting in 2007, AMD, following Intel, began using codenames for its desktop platforms such as Spider or Dragon. The platforms, unlike Intel's approach, will refresh every year, putting focus on platform specialization. The platform includes components such as AMD processors, chipsets, ATI graphics and other features, but continued to the open platform approach, and welcome components from other vendors such as VIA, SiS, and Nvidia, as well as wireless product vendors.

Updates to the platform includes the implementation of IOMMU I/O Virtualization with 45 nm generation of processors, and the AMD 800 chipset series in 2009.[135]

Embedded systems

In February 2002, AMD acquired Alchemy Semiconductor for its Alchemy line of MIPS processors for the hand-held and portable media player markets. On June 13, 2006, AMD officially announced that the line was to be transferred to Raza Microelectronics, Inc., a designer of MIPS processors for embedded applications.[136]

In August 2003, AMD also purchased the Geode business which was originally the Cyrix MediaGX from National Semiconductor to augment its existing line of embedded x86 processor products. During the second quarter of 2004, it launched new low-power Geode NX processors based on the K7 Thoroughbred architecture with speeds of fanless processors 667 MHz and 1 GHz, and 1.4 GHz processor with fan, of TDP 25 W. This technology is used in a variety of embedded systems (Casino slot machines and customer kiosks for instance), several UMPC designs in Asia markets, as well as the OLPC XO-1 computer, an inexpensive laptop computer intended to be distributed to children in developing countries around the world. The Geode LX processor was announced in 2005 and is said will continue to be available through 2015.

For the past couple of years AMD has been introducing 64-bit processors into its embedded product line starting with the AMD Opteron processor. Leveraging the high throughput enabled through HyperTransport and the Direct Connect Architecture these server class processors have been targeted at high end telecom and storage applications. In 2007, AMD added the AMD Athlon, AMD Turion and Mobile AMD Sempron processors to its embedded product line. Leveraging the same 64-bit instruction set and Direct Connect Architecture as the AMD Opteron but at lower power levels, these processors were well suited to a variety of traditional embedded applications. Throughout 2007 and into 2008, AMD has continued to add both single-core Mobile AMD Sempron and AMD Athlon processors and dual-core AMD Athlon X2 and AMD Turion processors to its embedded product line and now offers embedded 64-bit solutions starting with 8W TDP Mobile AMD Sempron and AMD Athlon processors for fan-less designs up to multi-processor systems leveraging multi-core AMD Opteron processors all supporting longer than standard availability.[137]

The ATI acquisition included the Imageon and Xilleon product lines. In late 2008, the entire handheld division was sold off to Qualcomm, who have since produced the Adreno series. The Xilleon division was sold to Broadcom.

In April 2007, AMD announced the release of the M690T integrated graphics chipset for embedded designs. This enabled AMD to offer complete processor and chipset solutions targeted at embedded applications requiring high performance 3D and video such as emerging digital signage, kiosk and Point of Sale applications. The M690T was followed by the M690E specifically for embedded applications which removed the TV output, which required Macrovision licensing for OEMs, and enabled native support for dual TMDS outputs, enabling dual independent DVI interfaces.

In 2008, AMD announced the Radeon E2400, the first discrete GPU in their embedded product line offering the same long term availability as their other embedded products. That was followed in 2009 with the higher performance Radeon E4690 discrete GPU.

In 2009, AMD announced their first BGA packaged e64 architecture processors, known as the ASB1 family.

In 2010, AMD announced a second generation BGA platform referred to as ASB2. They also announced several new AM3 based processors with support for DDR3 memory.

In January 2011, AMD announced the AMD Embedded G-Series Accelerated Processing Unit. The first Fusion family APU for embedded applications. This announcement was followed by announcements for the high performance AMD Radeon E6760 and the value-conscious Radeon E6460 discrete GPUs. These solutions all added support for DirectX 11, OpenGL 4.1 and OpenCL 1.1.

In May 2012, AMD Announced the AMD Embedded R-Series[138] Accelerated Processing Unit. This family of products incorporates the Bulldozer CPU architecture, and Discrete-class AMD Radeon™ HD 7000G Series graphics.

AMD Embedded solutions offer 5+ year product life.

Other initiatives

  • 50x15, digital inclusion, with targeted 50% of world population to be connected through Internet via affordable computers by the year of 2015.
  • The Green Grid,[139] founded by AMD together with other founders, such as IBM, Sun and Microsoft, to seek lower power consumption for grids.
  • Codenamed SIMFIRE – interoperability testing tool for the Desktop and mobile Architecture for System Hardware (DASH) open architecture.


  • AMD develops the AMD CodeXL tool suite which includes a GPU debugger, a GPU profiler, a CPU profiler and an OpenCL static kernel analyzer. CodeXL is freely available at AMD developer tools website.
  • AMD Stream SDK and AMD APP SDK (Accelerated Parallel Processing) SDK to enable AMD graphics processing cores (GPU), working in concert with the system’s x86 cores (CPU), to execute heterogeneously to accelerate many applications beyond just graphics[140]
  • AMD has also taken an active part in developing coreboot, and open source projects aimed at replacing the proprietary BIOS firmware.
  • Other AMD software includes the AMD Core Math Library, and open-source software including the AMD Performance Library, and the CodeAnalyst performance profiler.
  • AMD contributes to open source projects, including working with Sun Microsystems to enhance OpenSolaris and Sun xVM on the AMD platform.[141] AMD also maintains its own Open64 compiler distribution and contributes its changes back to the community.[142]
  • In 2008, AMD released the low-level programming specifications for its GPUs, and works with the X.Org Foundation to develop drivers for AMD graphics cards.[143][144]
  • Extensions for software parallelism (xSP), aimed at speeding up programs to enable multi-threaded and multi-core processing, announced in Technology Analyst Day 2007. One of the initiatives being discussed since August 2007 is the Light Weight Profiling (LWP), providing internal hardware monitor with runtimes, to observe information about executing process and help the re-design of software to be optimized with multi-core and even multi-threaded programs. Another one is the extension of Streaming SIMD Extension (SSE) instruction set, the SSE5.

Production and fabrication

Ever since the spin-off of AMD's fabrication plants in early 2009, GlobalFoundries has been responsible for producing AMD's processors.

GlobalFoundries' main microprocessor manufacturing facilities are located in Dresden, Germany. Additionally, highly integrated microprocessors are manufactured in Taiwan made by third-party manufacturers under strict license from AMD. Between 2003 and 2005, they constructed a second manufacturing plant (300 mm 90 nm process SOI) in the same complex in order to increase the number of chips they could produce, thus becoming more competitive with Intel. The new plant was named "Fab 36", in recognition of AMD's 36 years of operation, and reached full production in mid-2007. Fab 36 was renamed to "Fab 1" during the spin-off of AMD's manufacturing business during the creation of GlobalFoundries. In July 2007, AMD announced that they completed the conversion of Fab 1 Module 1 from 90 nm to 65 nm. They then shifted their focus to the 45 nm conversion.[145]

Corporate affairs


AMD utilizes strategic industry partnerships to further its business interests as well as to rival Intel's dominance and resources.

A partnership between AMD and Alpha Processor Inc. developed HyperTransport, a point-to-point interconnect standard which was turned over to an industry standards body for finalization. It is now used in modern motherboards that are compatible with AMD processors.

AMD also formed a strategic partnership with IBM, under which AMD gained silicon on insulator (SOI) manufacturing technology, and detailed advice on 90 nm implementation. AMD announced that the partnership would extend to 2011 for 32 nm and 22 nm fabrication-related technologies.[146]

To facilitate processor distribution and sales, AMD is loosely partnered with end-user companies, such as HP, Compaq, ASUS, Acer, and Dell.

In 1993, AMD established a 50-50 partnership with Fujitsu called FASL, and merged into a new company called FASL LLC in 2003. The joint venture went public under the name Spansion and ticker symbol SPSN in December 2005, with AMD shares drop to 37%. AMD no longer directly participates in the Flash memory devices market now as AMD entered into a non-competition agreement, as of December 21, 2005, with Fujitsu and Spansion, pursuant to which it agreed not to directly or indirectly engage in a business that manufactures or supplies standalone semiconductor devices (including single chip, multiple chip or system devices) containing only Flash memory.[147]

On May 18, 2006, Dell announced that it would roll out new servers based on AMD's Opteron chips by year's end, thus ending an exclusive relationship with Intel. In September 2006, Dell began offering AMD Athlon X2 chips in their desktop line-up.

In June 2011, HP announced new business and consumer notebooks equipped with the latest versions of AMD APUs – accelerated processing units. AMD will power HP's Intel-based business notebooks as well.[148]

In the spring of 2013, AMD announced that it would be powering all three major next-generation consoles.[149] The Xbox One and Sony PlayStation 4 are both powered by a custom-built AMD APU, and the Nintendo Wii U is powered by an AMD GPU.[150] According to AMD, having their processors in all three of these consoles will greatly assist developers with cross-platform development to competing consoles and PCs as well as increased support for their products across the board.[151]

Litigation with Intel

AMD has a long history of litigation with former partner and x86 creator Intel.[152][153][154]

  • In 1986, Intel broke an agreement it had with AMD to allow them to produce Intel's micro-chips for IBM; AMD filed for arbitration in 1987 and the arbitrator decided in AMD's favor in 1992. Intel disputed this, and the case ended up in the Supreme Court of California. In 1994, that court upheld the arbitrator's decision and awarded damages for breach of contract.
  • In 1990, Intel brought a copyright infringement action alleging illegal use of its 287 microcode. The case ended in 1994 with a jury finding for AMD and its right to use Intel's microcode in its microprocessors through the 486 generation.
  • In 1997, Intel filed suit against AMD and Cyrix Corp. for misuse of the term MMX. AMD and Intel settled, with AMD acknowledging MMX as a trademark owned by Intel, and with Intel granting AMD rights to market the AMD K6 MMX processor.
  • In 2005, following an investigation, the Japan Federal Trade Commission found Intel guilty on a number of violations. On June 27, 2005, AMD won an antitrust suit against Intel in Japan, and on the same day, AMD filed a broad antitrust complaint against Intel in the U.S. Federal District Court in Delaware. The complaint alleges systematic use of secret rebates, special discounts, threats, and other means used by Intel to lock AMD processors out of the global market. Since the start of this action, the court has issued subpoenas to major computer manufacturers including Acer, Dell, Lenovo, HP and Toshiba.
  • In November 2009, Intel agreed to pay AMD $1.25bn and renew a five-year patent cross-licensing agreement as part of a deal to settle all outstanding legal disputes between them.[155]

Guinness World Record Achievement

On August 31, 2011, in Austin, Texas, AMD achieved a Guinness World Record for the "Highest frequency of a computer processor": 8.429 GHz.[156] The company ran an 8-core FX-8150 processor with only one active module (two cores), and cooled with liquid helium.[157] The previous record was 8.308 GHz, with an Intel Celeron 352 (one core).

On November 1, 2011, reported that Andre Yang, an overclocker from Taiwan, used an FX-8150 to set another record: 8.461 GHz.[158]

Corporate social responsibility

In its 2012 report on progress relating to conflict minerals, the Enough Project rated AMD the fifth most progressive of 24 consumer electronics companies.[159]

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External links

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