AMD unveils new AI chips to challenge Nvidia

Lisa Su, chairperson and CEO of Advanced Micro Devices delivers the opening keynote speech at Computex 2024, Taiwan’s premier tech-expo in Taipei on June 3, 2024. Photo: AFP

Lisa Su, chairperson and CEO of Advanced Micro Devices delivers the opening keynote speech at Computex 2024, Taiwan’s premier tech-expo in Taipei on June 3, 2024. Photo: AFP

Published Jun 3, 2024


AMD on Monday announced its new artificial intelligence chips for everything from cutting-edge data centres to advanced laptops, ramping up its challenge to the runaway market leader, Nvidia.

Demand has exploded in the past two years for the specialised processors that help develop, train and run AI applications such as ChatGPT.

AMD has emerged as one of Nvidia’s most serious contenders and CEO Lisa Su said the firm’s next-generation processors will rival the top offerings from competitors.

“AI is our number one priority, and we’re at the beginning of an incredibly exciting time for the industry as AI transforms virtually every business, improves our quality of life, and reshapes every part of the computing market,” Su said in a keynote speech at Computex, Taiwan’s premier tech-expo.

She also announced that AMD will follow an annual update cycle for its advanced accelerators, and the latest – the Instinct MI325X – is planned for release later this year.

That is in line with a similar annual release outline announced Sunday by Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang.

Hailing partnerships with some of the world’s biggest laptop companies, Su brought out leaders from Microsoft, HP, Lenovo and Asus – who touted the incorporation of AMD’s Ryzen processors for their AI-powered computers.

Microsoft has been one of the leaders among Big Tech firms on AI, investing billions in ChatGPT-maker OpenAI and also rapidly integrating AI features into its products.

Earlier this month, it unveiled its Copilot+ computers – so-called “AI PCs” that will run the Windows operating system with AI built in.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said on Monday that AMD’s Ryzen processors would feature in these machines.

“We are in the midst of a massive AI platform shift, with the promise to transform how we live and work,” Nadella said in a video message during Su’s speech.

“That’s why our deep partnership with AMD, which has spanned multiple computing platforms from the PC to custom silicon for Xbox, and now to AI is so important to us.”

Things change

Computex has attracted the CEOs of some of the world’s biggest chip heavyweights to Taiwan this year.

Taiwanese manufacturers are central to the AI plans of tech giants- the island produces the bulk of the world’s most advanced semiconductors, including those needed for the most powerful AI applications and research.

In addition to AMD’s Su and Nvidia CEO Huang, Intel boss Pat Gelsinger and Rene Haas of British semiconductor design giant Arm are also attending.

The AMD event on Monday was followed by a keynote speech by Cristiano Amon, CEO of Qualcomm, another firm whose advanced processors are being used in Microsoft’s Copilot+ computers.

Amon hailed the use of his company’s Snapdragon X Elite processors to run AI-powered computers as “one of the most significant transitions” for PCs that run Microsoft’s Windows operating system.

“The PC is truly reborn. It’s a new era for the PC, and that is happening with a combination of Snapdragon X Elite and Copilot+,” Amon said, pointing to major improvements in AI performance and battery life.

He ended his presentation with an apparent dig at Apple – whose high-end Mac computers have long competed with premium PCs – showing the audience a short video of the actor Justin Long trying to order a PC.

Long was featured in the popular Apple ads from the 2000s in which he played a hip character representing Mac’s opposite John Hodgman as a stuffy and boring PC.

“What?” Long said while looking at the camera in the Qualcomm video. “Things change.”