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TG daily interviews AMD CTO Phil Hester

post #1 of 7
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http://www.tgdaily.com/content/view/32076/118/

Quote:
TG Daily: AMD is in a difficult time right now and you are facing many competitive challenges. One of the prominent ones appears to be that, according to recent statements from various AMD executives, Intel has been copying AMD. What is your view on this? Is Intel copying AMD?

Phil Hester: More and more so, yes. And that indicates to me that we are doing the right thing. We are going to continue to have a customer centric view of the world. They go wherever they want to go. But we focus on building customer centric products.


TG Daily: So, if you accuse Intel of copying AMD, what exactly did they copy?

Phil Hester: More and more they figured out that Itanium is a ditch. Obviously, they copied our 64-bit extensions. A lot of the work we have done on virtualization they copied. A lot of the work we have done on power efficiency they copied. By doing Torrenza, we forced them to do what is their version of that idea. We don’t know a whole lot about [their version] yet, but, in general, they soon will be copying the idea of co-processors. So, every major platform innovation we came out within the last two years, in one form or the other, they copied.

TG Daily: Intel can out-spend and out-resource AMD several times over, in any field you compete in, if they choose to. Assuming that not only your products, but also AMD’s business would be increasingly different from what Intel does – would that decrease AMD’s vulnerability when Intel grows stronger?

Phil Hester: If you are a large and successful company and almost a monopoly in the industry, there will be a lot of inefficiencies in your company. Yes, they have more resources, but the question is: How effectively are those resources used?
In the past, when Intel got those huge margins, they could enjoy some very ineffective operations internally, both in terms of design and manufacturing. We reset the bar in terms of what is an acceptable gross margin on microprocessors. We can work very efficiently within that envelope. That brought a huge structural change for Intel. They may have cash in the bank, but, to a certain extent, they are an old school company, in terms of how they think about the market and the way they design products with competing teams doing the same design. I do not think that is sustainable.
In the long term, we have the right model. It is not a one or two year discussion. This is a five-year model.


TG Daily: Let’s talk about your Fusion processor. I got the impression that this processor is not so much about the integration about graphics capability.

Phil Hester: In the mid-90s, the GPU changed. At that time, the GPU was not just about graphics performance anymore, it became more general purpose. Up to that point, you wrote low-level code to implement the DX interfaces. But suddenly we had enough transistor density that enabled the creation of a more general purpose engine. This change has taken the GPU to the next level. [The GPU] will become more and more general purpose in the future and there will be more and more similarities between what you expect from a general purpose GPU and a specialized engine.
At this point, you start thinking about it in the context of a sustained architecture that is largely driven by applications. If you look at Windows Vista, gaming and a lot of multimedia content, and you wonder what is the most efficient way to process this software, then you see that there are a number of applications that work well in a parallelized manner. It is the right direction to exploit these applications with a general purpose engine.

TG Daily: Let’s talk about manufacturing. Intel is highlighting their lead in 45 nm manufacturing these days. How important is 45 nm in the industry right now?

Phil Hester: Customers don’t buy nanometers. That being said, there is a reasonable window you need to be in within the industry, from a performance and a density standpoint, to stay competitive. Unfortunately, Intel has tried to portray nanometers as a single metric for competitiveness and that simply is not the case. If that was really true, why is it that Opteron outperformed Intel? [Opteron launched as 130 nm chip in early 2003, while Intel’s competing CPUs were transitioned to 90nm in late 2003 - ed]


TG Daily: But smaller chips result are likely to result in improved production economics …

Phil Hester: You can end up with the worst cost structure in the new technology, if your yields are poor to begin with. Where we really try to focus on is being in that competitive window I mentioned before. Then, we need to transition to a new technology at the optimal economic point.
What we found is that if you don’t push the absolute leading edge of the technology envelope and let the maturity happen for a period of time, the economics turn out to be actually better than pushing it upfront. Yes, you can’t be forever late. But shipping first at a given level of new technology does not necessarily mean best cost.


TG Daily: Thank you for the interview.
Interesting to say the least, gives a little insight into AMDs curent mindset...
I only included snipets of the article that seemed most pertinent considering fusion is a ways off I believe.
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post #2 of 7
Wow.... I don't think I've ever seen an AMD person actually refer to Intel. It's usually "the other competitor." Not only that, he's pretty bold in stating that they've copied everything AMD has done. Even if it were completely true that Intel did really copy everything, it's not really professional to come out and actually say that....
    
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post #3 of 7
Nice find.

AMD is getting more bold and in your face... although they may find a lawsuite possible over this copying thin... i need to brush up on my copy rights.
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post #4 of 7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheetos316 View Post
Wow.... I don't think I've ever seen an AMD person actually refer to Intel. It's usually "the other competitor." Not only that, he's pretty bold in stating that they've copied everything AMD has done. Even if it were completely true that Intel did really copy everything, it's not really professional to come out and actually say that....

I was floored when I read this statement
Quote:
So, every major platform innovation we came out within the last two years, in one form or the other, they copied.
That accusation, whether true or not, is indelible. There was nothing left to the imagination with that statement, and a retraction seems unlikely given there is little room for misrepresentation. I wonder if Intel will defend itself...

Does anyone have any knowledge on the subject matter? Has Intel really copied any of AMDs "platform innovations"? I can't help but feel as if AMD rhetoric has degenerated into childish name calling and finger pointing.
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post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Licht View Post
Nice find.

AMD is getting more bold and in your face... although they may find a lawsuite possible over this copying thin... i need to brush up on my copy rights.
I think you mean Intellectual property rights, more specifically patent law... My dad (55 yo, his mid life crisis = him becoming a lawyer) just passed the patent bar so I will hit him up. I think if there were any truth to Mr. Hester's claims AMD would take intel to court. Then again they are running low on cash a lengthy court battle would not play well. On the other hand if Mr. Hester just pulled that accusation out of his arse thats called libel. In court a defamatory statement is presumed to be false unless the defendant can prove its truth, which is different from "innocent until proven guilty". Either way Hester showed a complete lack of discretion, which seems to reflect a new level of incompetence for AMD management.
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post #6 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Hester
If you are a large and successful company and almost a monopoly in the industry, there will be a lot of inefficiencies in your company. Yes, they have more resources, but the question is: How effectively are those resources used?
Inefficient? Hester make 3X the salary that Ruiz does. 'nuff said.
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post #7 of 7
That guy is pretty full of BS...of course hes an AMD exec so thats expected.
Very nice!
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Very nice!
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