Just a month after we had a chance to talk to Rick Bergman, Vice President of GPU at AMD, we talked to a chap named John Byrne, the first Scotish Vice President of ATI, who is now a key guy for all Radeons and IGPs, including mobile stuff.
John is the Vice President of Worldwide GPU & Chipsets at AMD and knows quite a lot about what's going on. We asked him six questions and this is what he had to say.
1. Fudo: It looks like ATI, AMD's graphics division is coming back?
John: Hi Fudo, we are extremely encouraged by our progress and this was highlighted none more so than by our third quarter Financial results. Our graphics revenue increased by 29% sequentially as more and more customers increasingly adopted our HD2000 series of products. We have enjoyed considerable success at the major OEMs with the Radeon HD 2000 series and 2008 is shaping up to be an exciting year for our notebook business. We’re also very excited about our newest generation of ATI FireGL workstations graphics accelerators which are built on our leading unified shader architecture which offers some significant performance enhancements.
In addition to all of this, we are also fully committed to the ‘Channel.’ We have now successfully rolled out our new Radeon Authorized Partner Program (RAP) and now run continuous demand generation programs to catch the imagination of the channel. We will have more and more initiatives throughout the coming months and quarters to support this important market segment.
2. Fudo: How come ATI can make 55 nanometer chips when Nvidia just got to 65?
John: If you look at history, ATI Radeon graphics has been a consistent technology leader for new process technology adoption. Since we made the big move from 90nm/80nm to 65nm (ahead of our competitor) with the ATI Radeon HD 2000 Series, we are well placed to make the next step to even smaller geometries with upcoming products. This will give us an advantage with smaller die sizes and lower power.
3. Fudo: FireGL cards looks really promising and the hardware is there, how did this happen?
John: AMD has always paid close attention to commercial customers and when AMD acquired ATI last year, workstation graphics received a fair bit of attention. One manifestation of this has been the bringing to market of a completely re-architected OpenGL driver, which improves performance significantly and will be the basis for future feature and performance growth. This new driver has come at the same time as a new generation of high performance GPUs that build on the strengths that ATI previously had in both consumer and workstation spaces.
The new generation of ATI FireGL also supports multiple graphics cards in a single workstation giving users the ability to drive 4 accelerated 3D displays. Plus the 10-bit color graphics pipeline is able to display over one billion colors, as compared to the competitions 8-bit color capable of only 16.7 million colors.
With options ranging from 256MB all the way up to the industry’s first 2GB graphics cards, the innovation packed ATI FireGL graphics accelerators deliver the best value to professional customers. It’s easy to see why we believe we are ‘back In the game.’
4. Fudo: What does ATI think about DirectX 10.1 and its relevance?
John: I think that question would be best addressed to Microsoft. Our view is that we have a responsibility to provide support for next-generation DX specifications at the earliest possible times for our customers. Gamers want products that they can enjoy through multiple generations and we believe in delivering the industry-leading technology that can deliver on this.
5. Fudo: Anything new in Mobile?
John: I seem to recall Rick Bergman giving a great update to you recently on this very same topic but to answer your question, yes, right now we are seeing strong demand for our Mobility Radeon HD 2400 and 2600 Series GPUs with many key OEM customers. As you know ATI had a long pedigree of mobile graphics technology leadership and in 2008 we’re going to get very aggressive in taking that back.
6. Fudo: Does ATI believe in Hyper Crossfire (IGP and GPU working together) and what is the schedule for that?
John: We have traditionally provided choice by supporting CrossFire rendering of ‘dislike GPUs’ since the inception of CrossFire in the form of AIBs with differing clocks, pipes, memory buffers and even ASICs. It’s fair to say, we’re looking at a number of options to expand on this strategy.
Oh and finally Fudo, keep up the great work on the site!
We would like to thank John Byrne, Jon Carvill and Christine Brown for making this interview possible.
Vice President of GPU at AMD talks to Fudzilla ( Rick Bergman Interview)