AMD Plans Graphics Supercomputer  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , , ,

AMD announced plans to develop, along with software company OTOY, what he called the "fastest graphics supercomputer" in the world in the second half of 2009. It will be known as the Fusion Render Cloud. It's unclear whether the rendering services will be used for game creation, delivery, or both.

LAS VEGAS, Jan 8 (Reuters) - U.S. chip maker Advanced Micro Devices Inc, facing a slump in demand for personal computers, is hoping the old adage that entertainment is recession proof will prove true this year.

At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Thursday, AMD Chief Executive Dirk Meyer showed off new technology for advanced computer graphics in video games and films, in what the company called the convergence of the "cinematic and the interactive."

Meyer said AMD's new chips will help blur the lines between games and films, helping them look much more life-like.

He also announced plans to develop, along with software company OTOY, what he called the "fastest graphics supercomputer" in the world in the second half of 2009. The supercomputer could help film studios make movies more interactive and gaming companies increase realism, Meyer added.

But the upbeat tone of his presentation was at odds with the half-empty Las Vegas Hilton Theater and the chip industry's somber mood.

Just a day earlier, AMD's chief rival Intel Corp (INTC.O), the world's largest chip maker, stunned the market with its second revenue warning on the fourth quarter, saying demand for personal computers was even worse than it feared. Intel and AMD make nearly all the microprocessors for the world's 1 billion PCs.

Meyer said the consumer electronics industry is in the middle of a "sea change" and called the current economic situation "challenging," "volatile" and "unprecedented."

"Optimism has been a little more difficult to achieve these days," he said.

AMD laid off 600 workers in its most recent quarter from a total workforce of about 15,500 as the sector started to contract.

The company has posted losses for eight consecutive quarters, in part due to delays in rolling out new chips that resulted in AMD falling behind Intel technologically.

But AMD is hiving off its manufacturing plants into a joint venture with Abu Dhabi to cut costs and get a cash injection, and its last quarterly results were better than Wall Street had expected thanks to a new graphics chip.

In difficult times, Meyer said AMD can set itself apart because it is the only chipmaker that can deliver both x86 and graphics chips, which is the key to its Fusion chip platforms.

Fusion is AMD's name for technology that merges a graphics processing unit and central processing unit on a single chip. The effort springs from AMD's $5.4 billion purchase of graphics chipmaker ATI Technologies in 2006. (full Story)

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