The company unveiled its new line of processors, called Kaveri, at the International CES technology show in
Company officials dubbed the processor its most advanced ever -- with up to 12 compute cores (four perform conventional CPU functions and another eight are for graphics delivery).
But the big step forward, according to AMD, is the way the processor is designed. Its CPU and graphics processor are together on the same chip and have equal access to the processor's memory. That change, AMD says, will deliver superior performance.
"Kaveri is a very significant step function above what we have done previously with APUs (advanced processing units)," said
The initial processors are intended for PCs and subsequent models will be available for notebooks this year. Su said the new processors are also an attempt to break into more high-end computing, such as games an high-performance applications. That's a change for AMD, which has traditionally focused more on value PCs.
Early reviews of Kaveri have been largely positive, with technology website engadget.com dubbing it "a solid gaming chip that's ahead of its time."
But will Kaveri be enough for AMD to bounce back after years of being battered by bigger rival
AMD's fortunes can have a significant impact on the
AMD's PC market share had sat about 18 percent for several years before falling in 2011 and 2012 when it had trouble shipping a new product, called "Llano, " on time. That unit market share dropped as low as 14.2 percent in the first quarter of last year before rebounding to 16.5 percent in the second quarter with the introduction of new products, according to
AMD currently has about 10 percent to 15 percent of the PC market share, said analyst
"I could see them in the position to win market share (with Kaveri), but there are many variables other than the product that determine that," he said, adding that AMD needs to find a way into the mobile market as well.
AMD put years of work into the Kaveri architecture -- a potentially risky strategy, considering that the company faces a major processor refresh by rival
The new processor comes as AMD's new management -- led by CEO
Game consoles have been a bright spot for AMD of late. The company swung back to a profit during the fourth quarter as the holiday season debuts of the latest PlayStation and Xbox video-game consoles helped the chipmaker overcome an ongoing slump in personal computer sales.
Like other chipmakers, AMD has been hurt by a downturn in PC sales as more people buy smartphones and tablets instead. The company's division that makes PC chips suffered an operating loss of
AMD has long competed against
The operating profit in AMD's graphics chip division soared by nearly six-fold to
Moorhead said AMD's new chip has the potential to make a splash -- if software makers take advantage of its new features.
"It does have that potential to be a game changer," Moorhead said. "And the things that I'm going to be looking at are how many software programs take advantage of this, how many operating systems take advantage of this. Really it's about the software (and) the applications ... that's how AMD gains ground here."
But there's also the challenge of AMD's decreased market share -- which raises the question, is the company in danger of becoming too small to make an impact?
Su, AMD's general manager for global business units, says the company still has the ability to change hearts and minds.
"Our issue has not been about getting attention. It's about focusing the attention on the right place," she said. "And I think we're doing much better there."
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