What it is: AMD is pining its future on graphics processors and artificial intelligence.
At one time, AMD focused increasing x86 processors that were often less expensive and more powerful than similar Intel processors. That’s when PC manufacturers often chose AMD processors over Intel processors.
Then Intel started to fight back and created a series of x86 processors that were more powerful than AMD processors. Pretty soon, PC manufacturers just used Intel processors and reserved AMD processors for a handful of cheap PCs. Not surprisingly, just getting stuck with the low-end PC market meant AMD lost a lot of money or made a minimal amount of profits at best.
Once AMD realized they couldn’t compete against Intel in the x86 processor market, AMD shifted to graphics processors. Unfortunately for AMD, the leader in graphics processors was Nvidia, which pretty much cornered the graphics market. Once again, AMD got stuck with the low-end graphics market while Nvidia grabbed the more lucrative high-end graphics market.
However, AMD and Nvidia discovered something new. Because graphics processors are optimized for handling multiple processes simultaneously, which is necessary for displaying graphics, graphics processors suddenly found a new use for machine learning.
Compared to ordinary processors, graphics processors are better designed for artificial intelligence. That’s why graphics processors are heavily used in self-driving cars that need to identify obstacles and process multiple input simultaneously. Because the future of graphics processors isn’t just in displaying graphics, both Nvidia and AMD are now using their graphics processing capabilities to create processors specifically for artificial intelligence.
AMD recently announced their Radeon processor specifically designed for machine learning. Artificial intelligence is a fast growing field and AMD (along with Nvidia) plan to corner the processor market in that field.
So AMD may reinvent themselves as a processor company for artificial intelligence. Watch AMD and see if they can successfully compete against Nvidia. Right now, AMD looks like they’re having success against Nvidia, but remember how well AMD fared against Intel. Of course, AMD’s future may actually look brighter than Intel’s since Intel is still behind in the graphics processor market.
The future isn’t faster and more powerful processors, which Intel has been providing for years. The future is graphics processors led by Nvidia with AMD is close behind.