AMD’s Mark Papermaster Presents At Jefferies

The ARM design is on track…

AMD - logoMark Papermaster, AMD’s CTO, did a Q&A session this morning in New York where he discussed industry inflection points and AMD’s future. For the past year almost any presentation by AMD’s executives eventually leads to a discussion of surround computing and natural user interfaces, today’s session was no exception. Outside of acknowledging that the current set of surround computing technologies are very rudimentary and that client-cloud integration on end-user devices is now pervasive, Mr. Papermaster didn’t have a whole lot to add on the subject.

The real fun started when the presentation moved away from the canned questions and the financial folks got their chance to chime in. When questioned about the recent uptick in AMD’s stock price Mr. Papermaster was quick to respond that he believed that AMD’s message and vision were finally getting out to the financial community. According to him, AMD has a clear path and they have fundamentally changed their game plan to leverage their core IP. The take away here was that buyout rumor or no, AMD is happy that investors are finally paying attention to it.

An audience member rightfully questioned AMD’s ability to compete with Intel in the x86 space given its substantially smaller R&D budget. To this Mr. Papermaster brought some good points about how you can reduce cost by building reusable IP and by taking a very targeted, highly focused, approach to building new products. He also declared in his response that the changes that AMD has undergone over the past few quarters are all about becoming a true SoC company.

AMD’s semi-custom business was a topic of discussion. When asked why AMD was offering this service Papermaster responded by talking about how AMD designs chips with reusable IP blocks and how they can offer that ability to customers without much hassle. To quote Mr. Papermaster directly on offering semi-custom designs, “…why not?”

AMD’s ARM based server products, slated for some time in 2014 were also a topic of interest in during this session. Papermaster was pretty up front that, “ARM is really where the server market is going.” But more than that, he gave us just a little bit of insight into the status of AMD’s ARM project; by saying that the effort to build the chip was well underway and that it was going quite well. It not the kind of clarity that we’d hope for but it’s better than no word at all.

Switching gears to its current products Papermaster talked about how excited he was about Richland, AMD’s mainstream APU for notebooks, and then mentioned that Kabini, AMD’s Jaguar based quad-core SoC, is shipping.

More or less AMD is in the same holding pattern that they’ve been in since Q3 of last year. But with Kabini and Temash on our door step, the recent run up in stock price, and the ARM project well underway things are starting to look up for AMD.S|A

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Thomas Ryan is a freelance technology writer and photographer from Seattle, living in Austin. You can also find his work on SemiAccurate and PCWorld. He has a BA in Geography from the University of Washington with a minor in Urban Design and Planning and specializes in geospatial data science. If you have a hardware performance question or an interesting data set Thomas has you covered.