Audioburst Search

AMD Up To Today


Support for today's show comes from Microsoft service love going fast will get ready surface, laptop to is now faster than ever with an eighth generation Intel core processor, and it just under three pounds with up to fourteen and a half hours of battery life in a single charge. It's the perfect companion for a busy day service, laptop to then light and powerful. Welcome to text up a production of I heart radios. How stuff works? Helier and welcome to tech stuff. I'm your host Jonathan Strickland. I'm an executive producer with how stuff works in iheartradio and a love all things tech and in our last episode, which was requested by listeners, Stephen, I left off with AMD's history in nineteen Eighty-six when the company found itself reeling when Intel decided to cut ties up to that point AMD had been in an agreement to act as a second source for Intel designed, chips Intel would get a licensing fee and AMD would be able to manufacture chips based on Intel's designs. But when AMD chips started to do better in performance tests than the Intel originals things changed until ended a ten year agreement several years early and the two companies would enter into a lengthy court battle that would ultimately go all the way to the US supreme court. But we've got. A few years to get through before we get to that. So Intel had introduced the eighty three eighty six microprocessor in nineteen eighty five a year before it severed, the agreement with AMD the three eighty six as it was known was a thirty two bit microprocessor it could run most older code designed for its predecessors, and was capable of faster clock rates, meaning it could run more operations per second. And it had a greater data bandwidth, which means it could run operations on larger amounts of information than the earlier chips could Intel AMD had set the stage for creating these standard in computer processing and now until was determined to stand alone AMD for its part have been designing its own version of the three eighty six called the get ready for it a m three eighty six but Intel's decision to end the agreement through things into disarray until argued that their agreement with AMD only. You covered the eighty eighty six through the eighty to eighty six family of microprocessors, and that the three eighty six and later interruptions, were excluded AMD, obviously disagreed with this interpretation of their agreement claiming that all x eighty six derivatives were covered under this ten year plan that they had struck with Intel back in nineteen eighty two at the same time things were shifting in the PC market. You might remember from my episode about early computer systems that there used to be a ton of different types of PC's on the market in the late seventies and early eighties each with its own hardware and operating system. The ones we think about today are windows based machines and MAC computers. As far as personal machines are concerned, but up through the early nineteen eighties. The field was much more crowded the ad companies like Tandy Commodore in Meagher and others competing with apple an IBM, however, by the. Mid nineteen eighty s the field had thinned out, significantly IBM had secured valuable deals with corporations becoming known as the computer of choice for office workstations, apple maintained, a more niche market of users interested in the creative power of the MacIntosh everyone else, sort of began to fade away, and this left the IBM PC, and it's compatible clones with the lion's share of the market. In fact, by the time Intel was trying to block AMD the IBM PC market share had grown to about eighty four percent of all personal computers. So this was a really big deal AMD had helped cement, the x eighty six chip as the go-to microprocessor for computers, and now it will like Intel was going to run away with the whole thing. Things were starting to smell a little anticompetitive, Amdi did still have an agreement to the underlying instructor. Set for the x eighty six family of processors. So in some respects AMD was still in the game. But until wasn't going to share the actual physical design of the three eighty six microprocessor with AMD. So the engineers day Diese dealt to reverse engineer, the three eighty six and build their own version of it while the legal battle continued in the courts verse. Engineering alone is a pretty fascinating subject. The basic concept is fairly intuitive, you, take a technology and you examine it closely and you figure out, what makes it tick, how does the tech actually do whatever it does. Then you go back and you build your own version of that technology based upon your understanding of how the starting example, worked. So you're not starting off with some sort of blueprint, or set of plans or instructions your sussing it out on your own based on existing instances of the technology. So it's a bit. Like detective. Work between reverse engineering, and the legal battles. It would be years before AMD could bring its own three eighty six chips to market. The company began releasing its version starting in nineteen ninety one. And once again, a MD's version of Intel's chips were clocking in at a faster clock rate than the competition. Intel's three eighty six chips maxed out at thirty three megahertz whereas a MD's could hit forty megahertz, the legal battles continued and AMD began to invest in designing its own microcode for chips until next microprocessor was predictably the eighty four eighty six and AMD created its own version. The ATM four eighty six some AM for eighty six chips, had Intel microcode from the x eighty six agreement and others had a MD microcode making it a little confusing and all of them were outpacing Intel's version. Of the same chip, even the top of the line microprocessor in Intel's, forty six line was left behind the fastest Forty-six from Intel had a top clock speed of one hundred megahertz AMD's version was able to reach speeds of one hundred twenty megahertz. Now, this was in nineteen ninety four when that legal battle, I talked about finally concluded the courts found in favour of AMD granting, the company, some royalty for use of some of Intel's patents and awarding AMD millions of dollars in the process, but the whole endeavor had taught, the engineers at AMD a valuable lesson while they had won this battle, there was no guarantee that things would remain stable between Intel and AMD. So the company did release, another X eighty six derived chip, this one was called the AMD five x eighty six or five by eighty six. If you wanted to think of it that way and you may be thinking I never heard of a five eighty. Eighty six computer was pretty sure that Intel switched over from Forty-six to Pentium. And you would be right, the AMD five x eighty six chip was based off the same architecture as the AM four eighty six microprocessor, but it did manage an even faster clock speed out of the box. It was one hundred thirty megahertz but original equipment, manufacturers, or OEM's in the biz could get an even faster version the maxed out at one hundred fifty megahertz now, according to Tom's hardware, a website, which is, by the way, a great resource, if you ever want to learn everything there is to know about just about any computer component. You can think of the AM Forty-six and the five x eighty six processors, also moved the floating point unit, or FPU over to the central processing unit or CPU itself up until then, it had been customary to have separate CB us and FPU's though it connect to each other through the motherboard. So I guess. It's time to give a quick explanation about what these things actually mean the Cebu I'm sure you've all heard of right? It's sort of the head manager of your computer. It executes basic instructions in the event that the instructions require the use of a specialized chip, like graphics processing unit. Also knows a GP you the CB you can delegate, those tasks to the appropriate hardware. It's a high functioning component of a computer. We often referred to it as the brains of the computer, but really it's just calling the shots at the highest level. The floating point unit carries out instructions on water called floating point numbers. A floating point number is a work around for a particular problem, which is how a computer represents real numbers, the range of real numbers, is infinite, but a computer can't handle that a computer has a limited capacity so programmers use floating point numbers so called, because the decimal point has no fixed number of digits that have to appear before or after it. This allows programmers to represent numbers. Separated by many orders of magnitude you can have incredibly large numbers paired with incredibly small numbers using this approach, typically you would use a variant of scientific notation for those really big or really small numbers. However, this does mean that much of the work computers. Do happens as approximations rather than as precise calculations and this introduces the possibility of error, the more, you are approximating something, the less accurate or precise. It's going to be, particularly as you perform, more calculations based on previous approximations as these approximations start to add up, you can potentially get further and further away from a correct or true answer, but never mind that, that's a discussion for a different episode. Now after the four eighty six Intel came out with the first Pentium processor. So why did Intel change things up? Why did until go from? Forty-six to Pentium, because the Pentium still follow the x eighty six architecture and instruction set and spoiler alert. So do today's computers. So why would Intel choose Pentium instead of sticking with the naming convention, it'd created why wasn't it? The five eighty six will the main reason was as I'm sure many of you have guessed that companies like AMD were the cause of this until decided, because of an AMD Intel couldn't trademark number until couldn't have five eighty six trade mart. You can't just trademark Kabasic number like that. So if it had stuck with the numbering system, AMD could then come out with its AMD five eighty six and with its reputation for outpacing Intel's comparable chips that could hurt Intel's sales, but Pentium that was different because Pentium was a name you can trademark a name. And that's what Intel did it trademarked the term Pentium which prevented. AMD and other competitors from using that name on their own chips. So now it added a marketing concern for these competitors. How would they be able to market their own chips and compare them against Intel's chips without using a trademarked name that they did not have the rights to it was kind of throwing a monkey wrench into things. Now, the way companies got around this was to include a number that they referred to as PR, which essentially stood for Pentium rating, the number next to the PR designation would indicate the comparable, Pentium clock speed that the chip in question would be most like. So if you came out with a microchip, and you gave it a PR rating of one hundred what that tells the end consumer is that the chip, you have put out is equivalent to an Intel Pentium processor that has a clock speed of one hundred megahertz. So it's kind of. A way of getting around the fact that they could not call their own chips, there, variance of the Pentium processor. Now, it was clear that Intel was going to put up a fight, and resist as much as it could it would make little sense, for AMD to depend solely upon being a second source for Intel chips, particularly when Intel wasn't really interested in cooperating fully and so AMD began work on designing its own x eighty six based microprocessor, which would be released in nineteen ninety six and it became known as the AMD K five will. Why was it called the K five well by AMD's reckoning at represented? The fifth generation microprocessor family that AMD had built the other four being second source Intel chips, but the K five was a totally new architecture. That was based on the x eighty six instruction set. So why the K well because k. Is also the letter that starts the word kryptonite the substance that could bring down superman and I think we can all guess who was superman in this particular scenario, AMD, designed, the K, five entirely in house, and it was the first x eighty six processor from AMD to have architecture designed by the AMD team itself as opposed to either following Intel's detailed instructions to make a clone of their chips or through reverse engineering, and existing until microchip the K, five copied some elements from the earlier, AM twenty nine thousand microprocessor that was a risk or r I s c microchip company made a few years earlier, I talked about that in the previous episode, and I think that was a pretty good choice. It gave them a starting point to work from, and they were able to really build on that and make a success out of it. The k five's design was a little bit complicated and that place limits on how much clock speed AMD could get out of it. But at the same time, the AM d engineers had made the operations really efficient so while it might have a technically lower clock speed than a competing microprocessor, this increased efficiency helped balance things out. So that in the end result, it seemed like the K five was actually faster than its counterparts that technically had higher clock speeds. Yes, the other microprocessors could run more operations per second. But K fives efficiency was such that was able to make up for that lost ground. Now when we come back, I'll talk more about AMD's experiences in the nineteen nineties and beyond. But first, let's take a quick break. Most people admit that they've driven distracted and because of that, we've grown accustomed to seeing it in our daily lives. And because of that we feel awkward speaking up about it, but it's time all of that changed, if you see someone using their phone behind the wheel, it's okay to say something, let's get people to speak up when they see a driver thumbing through their phone to let everyone know that distracted driving is simply put not. Okay. I'm a pedestrian. I walk everywhere. And when I come up to Crosswalks every time it seems I'm seeing at least three or four drivers go by looking at their phones. Or maybe even taking a selfie and ninety three percent of drivers say, they don't approve of distracted driving. But eighty two percents still use their smartphones behind the wheel when it comes to distracted driving. We all know it's not okay. But most of us never say a word about it. So next time you see a driver using their phone, speak up. Distracted driving is reckless take the. Pledge to end. Distracted driving at it can wait dot com. A message from AT and T. AMD would follow up the K five with a microprocessor called the now, wait for it the case six but the case six wasn't designed by a MD engineers, nor did it follow the K five architecture instead, AMD acquired another microchip manufacturing company called next gen any x g e n next gen was getting ready to release a CPU it called the inex- six eight six but then AMD swooped in bought up next gen. And then repurpose the as yet unreleased. Inex- six eight six to become the case. Six AMD marketed it as an alternative for Intel's, Pentium, two processor, claiming that for less money, you could get the same level of performance. And that was mostly true, though. The Pentium to had some advantages over the case six namely a better. Math co processor or FPU. At this point the case. Six and the variance, I'll talk about in a second. We're still compatible with Intel designed motherboards the case six was also cheaper than the Pentium to chips. And so the case six became a popular choice for both OEM and people building their own machines, AMD would follow up the case, six with the case to in nineteen ninety eight and the case six three in nineteen ninety nine the case, three paired two hundred fifty six L to cash memory on the CPU die in an effort to speed up processing and increasing the amount of data the CPU could access at any given time the case, too was phenomenally successful so much so that some analysts estimated that seventy percent of the under one thousand dollar PC market in nineteen ninety eight had AMD K six two chips, powering them. So if you were building a computer on a budget, and you wanted to get the most oath for your dollars chances are you're going with. MD the company would also release the case, six two plus and the case three plus in two thousand these were microprocessors meant specifically for the mobile market, and they'd be the final entries in the case six line of CPU's. Meanwhile Jerry Sanders, whom you might remember from the first episode. He was the first president of AMD. He was a co founder. And at this point was the CEO of the company was writing high. He predicted astronomical share prices for the company in the near future. He continued the company's practice of building fabrication plants at a breakneck pace. He was building plants to manufacture microprocessors in semiconductor chips, all over the world. AMD had been incredibly aggressive in building and staffing. These fabrication facilities in order to meet the demand for micro-processors and actually, to anticipate the next demand for them and Sanders had adopted a reportedly lavish lifestyle. Maintaining an office in Beverly Hills, which is pretty darn far from Silicon Valley and the headquarters of AMD I guess he never really gave up his dream of going into the recording industry. But a lavish lifestyle might be fine. If things continued to go well, for the company, and sadly, that would not be the case Sanders spending also seemed to trickle its way into the corporate culture of AMD overall with executives and high ranking Salesforce professionals spending greater amounts of money to curate an image of luxury and sophistication spending was getting out of hand and love that spending had to do with those fabrication facilities, according to a teak Raza who had led next-gen before AMD had acquired that company and then later became the president and chief operating officer or c o of AMD Sanders was in a bad habit of building fabrication facilities too far in advance at least according to rosina's. Analysis, his perspective that is roses perspective, was that the company should hold off building, new facilities until the need was there. Sanders was building them ahead of the game. But that would mean that AMD was constantly raising money to build out the next facility in advance of any revenue. It was generating. And if the industry were to ever dip, then it would leave AMD over extended, so Rosza wanted to take a different route. He wanted to use revenues from current successes to fuel expansion on an as needed basis. In other words, you don't need to go out and build a new fabrication plant until the demand requires you to do it. Rosza who had one time had been viewed as a potential successor to Sanders found himself in direct disagreement with the founder and he would actually leave a MD in nineteen ninety nine reportedly after a massive falling out with Sanders with whom he would never speak again. Now, his successor was a guy named heck. Her Ruez who had up to that time been heading up a division over at Motorola Ruas was first wary of taking this job. It was more technically oriented industry than he had been used to. And he knew about Sanders and his reputation of alienating, senior level staff. And he saw that, there had been a string of chief operating officers. Several of whom were rumored to be groomed as the heir apparent to AMD who had subsequently left the company, but he figured that Sanders might have issues relinquishing control to others that this could cause issues, but Sanders was still a very impressive person AMD wasn't impressive company. So Hector decide to take the job, then Jerry Sanders would retire in the early two thousands and Ruez would take over the company and he began to clean house. He got rid of several top executives who had been around for quite some time in the Sanders era. And he started to bring in new people new talent. So move is also saw that the market was changing, and while AMD was being innovative in CPU's, and others microchips meant for personal computers. It was really making most of its profits from selling flash memory, not see us. And so he started to refocus the company to that endeavor. But he also found that AMD was holding an odd place in the market, Ruez would write a book about his experiences stating that Sanders had created this sort of weird paradox in MD because Sanders had a real can-do attitude. A never say die approach to business, but at the same time, no one in the company ever seemed convinced that AMD could really go toe to toe with Intel that AMD would always be a tiny company, compared to Intel that could never really take over as the leading microchip manufacturer in the industry that, that was just sort of this. Underlying philosophy at AMD and as possibly because AMD had built its business largely on being a second source chip company. So has tried to change things directing AMD's efforts at not just flash memory, but also developing premium processors for stuff like internet servers, which were just starting to become a serious thing at the time now around that same time, AMD and Intel faced off again, in courtrooms this time it was in the European Union, AMD complained to the European Commission that Intel was engaging, an anti competitive behaviour violating the law, primarily through what a MD described as abusive marketing campaigns AMD even tried to use legal means to secure documents from a separate case against Intel, this one was brought against Intel by a company called Intergraph, but then the Intergraph case of intially settled out of court and things were obviously still very choppy between AMD and Intel. Despite the fact that they still had this cross licensing agreement, the next chip from AMD, the case, seven better known as the Athlon, processor changed things up again now the details get pretty technical, but an easy thing to understand is that the company was able to push clock rates up to one gigahertz AMD also began to manufacture its own motherboards anticipating that the day might come when compatibility with Intel's motherboards would come to an end. So hey, what the heck is a motherboard? I've mentioned it a couple times in this episode. A motherboard is just a printed circuit board. It's sort of the highway system for information inside a computer, the motherboard, typically has connectors into which you can plug other circuits like a CPU is a circuit, so you can plug a CPU into a motherboard or a GP you the graphics processing unit the motherboard provides the physical connections between all these different components so that these circuit. Hits can send proper commands to the right places now not all CPU's or GP us for that matter are compatible with all motherboards motherboards can accept certain types of CPS and not others. And that's one of the reasons it's really important to research first before you set out to build your first computer, it's entirely possible to pick up sweet components that look great on paper, but ultimately won't work together because they're incompatible so AMD set out to build its own computer platform. But in this case Intel was able to outperform AMD, well AMD's processors were blazing. The motherboard chipset as a whole wasn't quite able to match Intel's four four zero be x component still, it showed that AMD was going to push hard to compete with Intel amd also introduced a new line of chips designed for entry level machines. These were running on a similar architecture. As the Athlon processors. But at a lower clock speed. They called the new line of processors Doron, and they competed against Intel's seller on line of processors meant for the same market, AMD upgraded, the Athlon family steadily year-over-year with names like Thunderbird Palomino. Thoroughbred, and Barton with each AMD built upon what it had learned from the previous generation the component sizes got smaller thoroughbred and Barton were built using a one hundred thirty nanometer process and the clock speeds were climbing past two gigahertz AMD was optimizing the architecture for memory access things were going pretty smoothly. And then AMD dropped a bombshell, the company that had built a business out of being a second source chip manufacturer actually beat Intel to the punch by releasing the first consumer oriented, sixty four bit x eighty six processor, the Athlon sixty four now I've been explaining a lot of basic computer concepts here. So why not include? You'd sixty four bit versus thirty to bet. So the consumer focused processors up to that point, where thirty two bit processors. That means the processors were able to work with data units that were thirty two bits wide. Now, remember, a bit is a single unit of information, it can be either zero or a one eight bits is a bite or an octave and thirty two bits would be four octuplets wide, a thirty two bit system can handle a range of two to the thirty second power number of values. So we wanted to scribe all the values that thirty two bit. Number can describe and we start with the numbers zero, we would go all the way up to four billion two hundred ninety four million nine hundred sixty seven thousand two hundred ninety five that's the range of values a thirty two bit system can handle now as the name implies a sixty four bit system can handle a data width of sixty four bits and. And you might be tempted to think that, that means it can handle twice as much data as thirty two bit system. But that's not how binary works, a sixty four bit system can handle a value range of two to the sixty fourth power of values which is more than eighteen Quin tilles values. That is a very big number much, much bigger than the eight and a half billion or so that would be twice the thirty two bit range values. So you're not talking about doubling, you're talking much, much larger than that. So a sixty four bit system can before many more calculations per second, again, also support, more ram a thirty two bit system maxes out at four gigabytes of ram, or two to the thirty second power, bytes of memory, a sixty four bit system would max out, at least in theory at eighteen x oh, bytes of ram, which I can't describe as anything other than a crap ton of random access memory. But sixty four bit CPU's can't quite reach that the original limit, and they max out in the terabyte scale, not the exit scale still that's a lot more memory than thirty two bit systems can handle now. Sixty four bit systems had been around since the nineteen sixties, but had only seen use in academic settings. And internally in various companies, no one had yet made a sixty four bit processor for the general public before a MD and Microsoft released a sixty four bit version of windows that such processors could leverage, the just to be clear, a thirty two bit system can't run sixty four bit software. But most sixty four bit systems can run either a thirty two bit or sixty four bit version of operating systems. Now I've got some more to say about what AMD has been up to, but first, let's take another quick break. Support. Protect stuff comes from our friends at rocket mortgage by Quicken Loans. Home is so much more than a house. It's your own little slice of heaven. That's why when you find the perfect place for you and your family, getting a mortgage shouldn't get in the way. Imagine how it feels to have an award winning team by your side through every step of the mortgage process. It's awesome and exactly what you get with rocket mortgage by Quicken Loans. Their team mortgage experts is obsessed with finding a better way which means that their number one goal is to make the home buying process smoother for you. In fact, rocket mortgage is there with award winning client service and support every step of the way Quicken Loans has helped millions of Americans achieve their dream of home ownership. And when you're ready to purchase, the home of your dreams, they can help you to visit rocket mortgage dot com slash tech stuff and take the first step toward the. Home of your dreams. Equal housing lender. Licensed in all fifty states in MLS consumer access dot org, number thirty thirty rocket mortgage by Quicken Loans. Push-button get mortgage support protect stuff comes from our friends at rocket mortgage by Quicken Loans. Home is so much more than a house. It's your own little slice of heaven. That's why when you find the perfect place for you and your family, getting a mortgage shouldn't get in the way. Imagine how it feels to have an award winning team by your side through every step of the mortgage process. It's awesome and exactly what you get with rocket mortgage by Quicken Loans, their team, a mortgage experts is obsessed with finding a better way which means that their number one goal is to make the home buying process smoother for you. In fact, rocket mortgage is there with award winning client service and support every step of the way Quicken Loans has helped millions of Americans achieve their dream of home ownership. And when you're ready to purchase the home of your dreams. They can help you to visit rocket mortgage dot com slash tech stuff and take the first step toward the home of your dreams. Equal housing lender. Licensed in all fifty states in MLS consumer access dot org, number thirty thirty rocket mortgage by Quicken Loans, push-button get mortgage. AMD for the first time had been the first to market with a microchip innovation. This led to Intel licensing, the sixty four bit instruction set from AMD, how the tables have to now Intel so used to being the entity to define standards wasn't stead having to follow the lead of the upstart company. Not never mind that both Intel and AMD had been around since the late nineteen sixties and AMD was really just a year younger than Intel was, I can only imagine things were tense in some of those meetings over at Intel headquarters and AMD wasn't done knocking the socks off computer nerds, like me in two thousand five. The company released the Athlon sixty four x two microprocessor, which was the first X8._6. jewel core processor now, these days multi core processors are the norm for many computer systems, and even hand held devices. But this was brand new for the consumer market back in two thousand five. So what the heck is a dual core or multi core processor. Now, I always like to use the analogy of a math class that has one superstar pupil. And then a bunch of smart math students who don't quite measure up to superstar status. These superstar, pupil represents a single core CPU that is significantly powerful the smart math students represent a multi core processor each individual core of this multi core processor is less powerful than these strong single CPU. But collectively those students can tackle some problems and solve them faster than the superstar, and we referred to those types of problems as being parallel problems. And that the cores are all executing operations in parallel with each other rather than in sequence. So here's the example. A math teacher hands out a pop quiz. The superstar has to answer eight questions on the quiz all eight the smart math students of which there are eight must each answer. Just one of those questions. So student one gets questioned one student to gets question two and so on. So who finishes first now while the superstar might get through a couple of problems before any of the classmates have finished his or her individual problem, ultimately, the class is going to finish first they solved the test in parallel each taking one part of the problem. So even though the superstar is technically better at math than they are. They can't answer those questions in sequence as quickly as the group can in parallel. Now, it's important to note that not all computational problems are parallel in nature. So for those problems, a really powerful single core processor is going to do better than the multi-core approach and AMD's early dual core processor couldn't work on the same thread. At all. But one core could work on a thread of operations while the other core worked on unrelated computational problems, and that sped things up overall both the sixty four bit consumer processor and the dual core innovation where phenomenal achievements in the world of consumer computers. AMD will never quite catching up to Intel's marketing with whole Intel inside thing was proving itself to be a capable and competitive player in the space, at least on a technological, level businesswise things were a bit less. Peppy AMD was producing more chips than it could sell. And that was probably part of that whole crazy. Fabrication plant strategy. Sanders had pursued in the nineties, they were literally making more chips than they had orders for in two thousand one AMD posted a net loss of sixty one million dollars but the following year. It was incredible. It was a loss of one point three billion dollars. In two thousand three it was another two hundred seventy four million dollar loss. This is not a trend you want to seek continue. Now all the company was introducing innovations. It was still battling its nemesis. Intel in the courtrooms AMD brought another anti competitive suit against Intel in two thousand four two thousand five this time in the United States. The complaint was forty eight pages long and accused Intel of using a monopolistic approach to strong arm companies to work with Intel rather than with AMD at this point AMD had several lawsuits against Intel pending, in various courts, and in two thousand nine Intel bargained a settlement agreement with AMD until executives promised that their company would abide by a list of rules to avoid anti competitive practices. Now, according to see net the settlement included a pale to MD to the tune of one point two five billion dollars. Well, that certainly can help in an era, where. The company is losing money through sales, until also would introduce its famous tick talk strategy in which the company would I design a new microchip architecture typically by reducing the size of the individual components from the previous generations architecture? And then cramming more components onto a single chip. So, in other words, you say let's take the design from the last generation of microchips make everything smaller. Add more to it and release that, then they would follow this up with the tuck part of the cycle, they would dedicate research and development to find out how to best optimize the new smaller components to create a new architecture. That makes the best use out of that. So the tick is the new architecture the or the new the, the smaller components and the talk was the new optimization of that each generation of chips represented either take or a talk, this helped reduce risk and expenses on Intel's research development. And held the company mount a counter attack against AMD AMD got aggressive in the wake of their innovations in two thousand six the company acquired a graphics card company called a TI technologies Inc. For more than five billion dollars AT. I had launched in the mid eighties in Canada and become known for their graphics processing units. And for a while AMD would market graphics processing cards, under the brand, name in fact, in many ways, AD I continued to perform as if it were a subsidiary company and not a true part of AMD, something that in hindsight, critics have suggested was a problem according to an ours technical article that was titled the rise and fall of AMD highly recommend you read that by the way, it's a two part article. It's fantastic people within the company tended to gravitate toward either the CPU side of the business, or the GP side of the business. And both sides were competing over the same set of. Sources now competition within a single company is always a great thing. And it led to tension within MD as well as delays in product development, AMD's, CPU quality was starting to slide as well. The opteron processor called Barcelona didn't ship on time. And when it did finally come out and had a bug in the design that when fixed slowed the chips performance speed by about ten percent of you years later, the bulldozer processor had similar issues in retrospect, some engineers fault. The acquisition for dividing the focus of the company and the lack of an overall roadmap for being the reason that the company was reeling a little bit. Meanwhile, PC sales in general were slowing down as the world began to shift more toward mobile computing AMD founded self in choppy waters. Again, Ruas has managed to take care of one big problem. The fabrication facilities that were making far too many chips frame, d. To sell. He arranged a deal with a group of investors from Abu Dhabi to sell off. AMD's fabrication plants. The idea was that MD when the Goshi, eight production contracts with this new company, and that new company could also accept fabrication contracts from other manufacturers since the production, capacity for all the fabrication plants exceeded, what AMD needed not long after that RAs would step down as CEO Dirk Meyer, who had worked on the design of AMD's k seven chip became the new CEO, Elon, remember, when I said, AMD and Intel settled that lawsuit in two thousand nine one reason AMD might have agreed to come to the table with a settlement was that Intel lawyers, reclaiming the agreement between AMD and Intel to cross license. The x eighty six instruction set was only valid if AMD was both the designer and the fabricator of the chips, but now AMD was outsourcing fabrication and. That according to Intel's lawyers was in violation of the agreement. So it's possible AMD came to the table to negotiate a settlement in order to avoid a judgment on that point. Meyer would serve a CEO from two thousand eight to two thousand eleven he was effectively removed from the position by the AMD board analysts at the time were a bit surprised Meyer had been focusing on the traditional CPU market and making a MD competitive there with plans to address the mobile market a little bit later further down the road. He wanted to get the CPU thing right first. And then switch over to mobile. Now it's possible that the board objected to that strategy and wanted, someone who would lead the company to compete in the mobile space, more aggressively as that was the perceived area for growth. This was an era where it became clear that mobile was going to be the future of computers, after a CEO search Rory Reid was selected to lead the company, read diversified AMD's approach beyond the PC market, and read was able to guide the. Money into entering new markets while lowering uprating costs it two thousand fourteen he would step down as CEO, and he said that, that was the plan, the whole time that he was there, just as sort of an interim CEO to make some business level changes to AMD and get the company on the right track. But he didn't have a deep background in engineering, AMD's, next, and current CEO did. And that is Lisa sue since the nineteen ninety s Lisa sue has worked in the semiconductor industry. She started over at Texas Instruments on the technical staff. She's also worked at IBM and free scale semiconductor before she joined a D. She served as the chief operating officer before being named the new president and CEO of the company and under her leadership AMD has done rather well in two thousand seventeen the company had a revenue of five point three three billion dollars. That was a twenty five percent growth over the previous year. Also and remark. Qabli 2017 would be the first year that a MD would post a full year of profitability. Meaning that were no quarters where they posted a loss while the company would come out profitable and previous years. It will always headquarters that had a loss in those years. So things really had changed. Now just a few years ago. Lots of people were ready to write off AMD, the company was posting massive losses. It cutback jobs over extended itself alike. It was just not going to measure up against the competition and the product quality appeared to be slipping. But more recently things have seemed to turn around and perhaps we've yet to see the greatest achievements from a company that was able to shock the world by beating Intel to the punch who knows what they might do. Next. We'll that wraps up these episodes about the history of AMD. Thanks again. Stephen for sending in that request. I greatly appreciate it. Hope you guys enjoyed learning more about this. Simeon. Actor and micro processor company? They are fascinating. They continued to be fascinating. So that's that for that story, if you guys have suggestions for future episodes of tech stuff, whether it's a company, a technology, maybe a personality in tech, whatever it may be. Why not send me an Email about it? The address is tech stuff at how stuff works dot com. You can pop on over to our website that's tech stuff, podcast dot com. You're gonna find an archive of all of our previous episodes, links to our social media presence as well as a link to our online store, where every purchase you make goes to help the show and we greatly appreciate it. And I'll talk to you again, really sick. Tech stuff is a production of I heart radio house stuff ones. For more podcasts from I heart radio, visit the iheartradio app, apple podcasts or wherever you listen to your favorite shows. Hi, I'm Katie golden. I studied psychology and heavily Schnur biology. And I host a comedy educational podcast called creature feature the putt cast explores. The most incredible animal and human behaviors on the planet every Wednesday. I'm joined by guest comedians, and scientists to get inside the minds of the freaky fantastic creatures that surround us that you never knew existed listened to the creature feature podcasts and subscribe on iheartradio app or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Coming up next