It is said that when a technology company evades an issue or tiptoes through it then this means that it has a disadvantage within it, either due to a failed product or due to the fact that its interests. What we do not know from the mouth of AMD itself is if this is true, since the entire market is turning towards this sector.
AMD adopts technologies later than its rivals
We have to assume that AMD has been in the middle of a totally harmful cycle for years. Due to their lower level of resources compared to Intel, it has led them to always make their architectures with fewer resources and therefore they have ended up focusing on getting the most out of known technologies rather than on adopting new ones. This in the past had always led them to have to risk everything to achieve better performance than Intel at certain prices, but this strategy did not always work.
If AMD was unlucky enough to launch an architecture that failed in performance, it was bound to have to lower the price of its processors and therefore lower its margins compared to Intel. In a market where the design and construction of new processors this is not only fatal, but also has the consequences of having to set priorities, which has led to AMD being left behind in a number of technologies, the most notable being the one related to the world of artificial intelligence in all its aspects.
In the world of graphics cards NVIDIA since the launch of its architecture, Volta has opted for AI and all thanks to the inclusion of its Tensor Cores, where years later they have managed to create an entire ecosystem. AMD’s response to this has been the CDNAs that take the GCN Vega architecture to add units equivalent to those of NVIDIA. But the same slowness in adapting its hardware for artificial intelligence by AMD we are not only seeing in the world of GPUs but also in CPUs.
Intel Alder Lake versus Zen 4 with AI in the middle.
First of all we have to clarify that we are not going to talk about which processor is better of the two, mainly due to the fact that the first CPU with Zen 4 we do not have in our hands yet and those of Intel despite being closer in the time either. If we take a quick look at Intel’s new architecture and follow the rumors about not Zen 4, but Zen 5, then we will see how the adoption of hybrid cores is mentioned, even AMD has a patent on it. So out of power and focusing on new technologies in CPUs, it seems that Intel proposes and AMD has a posteriori.
The great novelty of AMD for Zen 4 and which nobody talks about, rather for what it means for consumption, is the adoption of the AVX-512 instructions, which were designed to accelerate artificial intelligence. The result? Intel developing the instructions and AMX units to implement them for the first time in the Intel Core Gen 12 to the detriment of the AVX-512. And let’s not forget that there are a lot of problems that are solved through the use of machine learning and Intel has an advantage here.
Applications today are no longer developed to get all the power of the processor, today they make use of different parts of the hardware in an intelligent way to accelerate the different areas. Curiously, that was AMD’s bet when they bought ATI in order to create their APUs, but it seems that in the face of the new computing revolution, based on the world of AI, those of Lisa Su have been left behind.
Is Xilinx AMD’s bet for artificial intelligence?
Xilinx FPGA-based accelerators configured as processors for AI are being used for various solutions related to learning and inference. For example, Microsoft uses them within its Azure platform to deploy its algorithms. Nor can we forget that AMD intends to integrate “programmable cores” into its future CPUs and therefore eFPGA.
So Xilinx’s strength is not artificial intelligence and it seems that AMD has left this issue completely aside, only time will tell if it is an error on the part of Lisa Su’s management, or not. The problem is that the market turns towards this point, so let’s hope that the reds can have the answer to Intel ready as soon as possible, because if not a somewhat black future is coming for AMD.