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Home / Technology / News /  PC is not going away anytime soon: AMD global CTO Mark Papermaster

At the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) 2019, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), a US-based semiconductor company and one of the biggest rivals of Intel in the CPU market and Nvidia in the GPU market, announced its next lineup of hardware with more powerful chips.

Speaking on the sidelines of E3, Mark Papermaster, global chief technology officer at AMD, elaborated on the company's future roadmap in gaming, AI and cloud and why India market matters to the company. Edited excerpts:

How important is the India market for AMD?

India, for AMD, is a very important region. Look at the number of technology graduates that are coming out of the universities. It's really among the highest in the world. We have a significant engineering presence in India and engineers in India gave a hand in every facet of AMD product. From a market standpoint, India really appreciates value and it's not about the low cost, because the market is very astute and it understands performance and those metrics. And because they understand this, they really want the best performance and experience for the amount of money they spend. [Hence] we have driven our roadmap back to high performance. And we're offering that as tremendous value to get that high performers, certainly much more economically, than our competitors, in both CPUs and GPUs. And fundamentally, we believe, that's why we continue to grow share in the region.

There is a lot of need for computing power by enterprises because of their growing adoption of AI, ML and blockchain. Will GPUs play a more important role and how is AMD prepared to fulfil these requirements ?

We see a real convergence of the kind of technology that used to only be available in the world's biggest supercomputers are now being needed on applications and workloads, which are needed by many, many businesses, and eventually consumers. A great example of that is the recent win that AMD had for what will be in 2021, the largest supercomputer. The United States Department of Energy awarded AMD a contract for a frontier system—a massive 1.5 exaFLOPS (billion billion floating point calculations per second). And it will be operational in 2021. These emerging workloads need both CPU and GPU. And they need them to work together seamlessly. We have been building systems, starting with PCs that have CPUs and GPUs, working very closely as a coherent system, which means that they can operate in tandem and actually share the same memory.

How important will the PC business remain for AMD considering the fact that in future there are new opportunities available in the field of IoT, Connected cars, and Edge computing?

We love the PC market. It has really been transformed because people are finding that PC is an ideal device where you need high performance locally. So for instance, PC gaming continues to grow and drives high performance. In the education space where you cannot really have that kind of expense to have high performance there is also a resurgence in PCs with operating systems like Chrome that requires internet connectivity. Microsoft has an educational offering as well. So with internet connectivity you can target at a much lower price points with PC. So the PC is not going away. Yet, as you said, IoT is growing, where you need smart devices all around you. Automotive are going to have a high performance PCs and eventually servers embedded directly in them.

So, you know, PC is a very strong market. I mean, you're you're looking at almost 250 million units per year, that's very, very attractive. We intend to continue to grow our market share, while we play in the emerging edge computing market with our embedded devices. That's how we will service IoT is to the edge. And of course, we are expecting growth in server market with our EPYC product lineup.

AMD is going to provide graphics technology to Samsung. What is the big plan?

Our deal with Samsung is very, very exciting. And it's very, very specific. We've been on a path for multiple generations with Radeon and powering cloud platforms, PCs and ultra thin laptops. But we've not delivered our technology to mobile. And it's not a market that our products will directly address. So the partnership with Samsung is very important. It was a natural alignment to allow to license that IP for Samsung, to be used in mobile phones and tablets.

Online game streaming platforms like Google Stadia will need a lot of processing power at the server end. How is AMD geared up for this new opportunity?

We think we're uniquely positioned to be able to service cloud gaming. We have such a deep experience on gaming, both in terms of PC gaming, and consoles. And so we already have finely tuned devices and software stack. Secondly, our software stack for GPU is open source based and not a proprietary software stack. And if you look at Cloud, Linux has been widely adopted across all cloud operations. And Microsoft has also embraced Linux for cloud operations. And so both on the graphics technology, or open source software stack, and of course, you know, even our opportunity to service that with our CPUs, which are now making great strides in the cloud. We think we're very well positioned for this market.

Do you think gaming services like Stadia will make gaming desktops and laptops obsolete?

My belief is that you are seeing such a high demand of computing across all the segments, because there are applications that can be served very well from the cloud. There are many, many times that you will not have cloud access. And even in the advent of 5G, it will take many years to blanket the world with coverage. And so there'll be a very long period, where gaming requirements will need to be serviced by cloud and a strong PC and console market and mobile devices. And you'll have different experiences on each of those form factors depending on your needs, and the Internet bandwidth and connectivity that you have.

We are increasingly seeing software playing a bigger role in enhancing gaming experience for users and opening new opportunities for developers. How is AMD equipped for it?

Well, actually, software has always been very, very important for gaming. AMD has led the way by creating many driver enhancements to unlock more software. We have been investing heavily so that our GPUs can be leveraged in machine learning applications. As we open source our software that enables machine learning on Radeon and that will continue to be a differentiator for AMD.

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