AMD CEO says Apple’s M1 chip is opportunity to innovate, underscores ongoing graphics partnership

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AMD CEO Dr. Lisa Su sat down with journalists in a Q&A session following a keynote handle at CES 2021 on Tuesday, fielding quite a lot of questions together with a request to touch upon Apple’s first foray into the desktop processor house.

Talking to press through convention name, Su addressed a range of questions relating to AMD’s upcoming plans, the x86 platform and new developments in a extremely aggressive semiconductor market.

Dr. Ian Cutress of AnandTech targeted on the emergence of ARM processor designs. Based on Cutress, ARM fashions are anticipated to tremendously enhance compute efficiency within the coming years and will start to encroach on territory lengthy held by x86 makers like AMD and Intel. ARM silicon is usually utilized in specialised deployments like servers, however the chip designs are actually beginning to present up in shopper merchandise.

Apple, for instance, launched the M1 chip in its late-2020 13-inch MacBook Pro, MacBook Air and Mac mini fashions. The tech big plans its total lineup of Mac computer systems to run on customized ARM chips inside two years. That presents a direct loss in income for present CPU accomplice Intel, but additionally creates headwinds for the broader x86 market.

Su was requested how the M1 will affect AMD’s relationship with Apple.

“The M1 is extra about how a lot processing and innovation there may be available in the market. This is a chance to innovate extra, each in {hardware} and software program, and it goes past the ISA,” Su mentioned. “From our standpoint, there may be nonetheless innovation within the PC house – we’ve a number of selections and other people can use the identical processors in a variety of completely different environments. We anticipate to see extra specialization as we go ahead over the subsequent couple of years, and it permits extra differentiation. However Apple continues to work with us as their graphics accomplice, and we work with them.”

Apple depends on AMD’s Radeon graphics playing cards to energy high-end gadgets like MacBook Professional, iMac and Mac Professional, however that would change with a shift to in-house options. M1 Macs combine Tile Based mostly Deferred Rendering (TBDR) graphics cores on a system-on-chip design similar to the A-series processors utilized in iPhone and iPad.

Whereas Apple is content material to stay with built-in graphics for the preliminary wave of M1 Macs, it’s doable that the corporate is working towards a devoted GPU to higher serve high-performance machines.

Apple’s transition to ARM seems to be making use of stress to trade incumbents. On Monday, Intel detailed its forthcoming Alder Lake chip sequence, which seemingly takes a web page out of the Apple Silicon technique ebook by stretching use instances from cellular to desktop.


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