History of AMD
The eight-person founding team consisted of Jerry Sanders III, Ed Turney, John Carey, Sven Simonsen, Jack Gifford, Frank Botte, Jim Giles, and Larry Stenger. Jerry Sanders had previously worked as Head of Marketing and Sales at Fairchild Semiconductor , where he was fired, as was his successor Ed Turney. Sanders had originally planned to devote himself to acting , but this was no longer possible due to facial injuries in a brawl. So Sanders intended to start an electronics company to make circuits. To do this, he called his friend Ed Turney and asked if they wanted to start a business. Ed Turney still thought Sanders was going into show business and was surprised that Sanders wanted to make circuits instead of records.
In order to realize the project, they needed 1.5 million USD start-up capital. They tried it with Arthur Rock , a venture capitalist who had already helped Intel with USD 2.3 million in start-up capital. However, Rock said it was too late (after reading the 70-page business plan) that there were already too many vendors in the sector and that marketing-led companies very often went bankrupt.
Sander's attorney Tom Skornia then turned to Intel founder Robert Noyce . Despite some imperfections in the business plan, Noyce became a founding investor in AMD, setting an example for more investors, and on June 20, 1969, the money was made available.
From November 1969 the technology was so advanced that the production of integrated circuits could begin.
Development before 2000
With the Am2501 ( BCD Decade / Binary Hexadecimal Up-Down counter ), the first self-developed product was brought onto the market in 1970.
In 1975 the production of memory chips was started with the production of the Am9102 .
In 1979 the company went public . In the same year, another plant started production in Austin, Texas , and AMD acquired a license from Intel to manufacture the 8086 and 8088 processors . In 1986, however, this contract was canceled by Intel, which resulted in a lawsuit.
In 1987, AMD merged with Monolithic Memories, Inc.
In 1996 AMD took over the CPU manufacturer NexGen .
From 1998, a process technology based on copper connections was jointly developed with Motorola.
In 1998, AMD opened the Fab30 in Dresden, which is still one of the most modern chip factories worldwide. Only processors are produced there, more precisely the wafers with many processors on them. The dismantling of the wafers into individual dies and the final assembly of the processor, the so-called packaging, takes place in another AMD plant. The estimated investment capital of 1.9 billion US dollars was raised in part through government funding.
Development from 2000
In 2002, AMD took over the CPU manufacturer Alchemy , which attracted attention with its high-end, low-power embedded processors with MIPS architecture . The German company Mycable was one of the first customers for these processors and developed a fully integrated, very small CPU module, which also made its way into the Hall of Fame at AMD. Successor to Jerry Sanders III. became Héctor Ruiz .
In 2003, the Geode series (largely x86-compliant) was taken over by National Semiconductor to expand the embedded product range . The Geode CPUs are based on the design of the 5x86 from Cyrix . The Fujitsu AMD Semiconductor Limited (FASL short) is in May 2003 in FASL LLC , in 2004, then in Spansion renamed. AMD and Fujitsu have handed over their entire flash production to FASL and Spansion, respectively.
In May 2004, the topping-out ceremony for a new factory took place in Dresden, Fab 36 , which has been producing since 2005. There, 64-bit processors with SOI technology ( silicon on insulator ) are manufactured on 300 mm wafers .
On April 21, 2005, three days after Intel, AMD officially presented its first dual-core CPUs of the Opteron and Athlon 64 series. At the end of 2005 Spansion was spun off as an independent stock corporation due to ongoing losses. This ended the long production of flash memories by AMD.
The Alchemy processor division was handed over to Raza Microelectronics (RMI) on June 13, 2006 . AMD continues to sell these processors under its own name. The development department for the Geode processors was closed in July 2006. No more Geode SoCs came onto the market. On July 13, 2006, AMD announced that the first K8 processors had been delivered by the manufacturing partner and contract manufacturer Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing of Singapore . AMD had thus increased its manufacturing capacities significantly.
On July 24, 2006, AMD announced the intended acquisition of ATI Technologies , a leading provider of computer graphics chips. The ATI shareholders received under the contract, some 4.3 billion US dollars in cash and 58 million AMD shares, which overall corresponds to a takeover worth almost $ 5.4 billion. The acquisition was financed from AMD's cash and cash equivalents and a loan from Morgan Stanley Senior Funding of around USD 2.5 billion. The transaction closed on October 25, 2006; It is considered unprecedented in the semiconductor industry due to the special constellations (hardly any direct competition between these companies, different research areas). It was assumed that AMD wanted to create similar marketing concepts with ATI products as Intel with Viiv or Centrino . The first significant results of this takeover reached the market in 2011 with the products under the code name AMD Fusion , which combine both the main processor and graphics processor in one chip. AMD initially retained the ATI brand name for graphics processors and other products, but the company itself was fully integrated. In 2011 the graphics processors were also switched to the brand name "AMD".
On November 16, 2007, AMD announced the entry of Mubadala Development Company , a state investment company of the Abu Dhabi emirate . Accordingly, Mubadala invested about 622 million US dollars and received 49 million shares at a unit price of 12.70 US dollars per share, which makes up 8.1 percent of the American semiconductor company.
In the course of the lossy years, AMD sold the ultra-mobile CPU-GPU division to Qualcomm at the end of 2008 , which it had taken over with the ATI takeover and which had meanwhile switched to the brand name AMD Imageon .
On September 8, 2008, AMD CEO Dirk Meyer told the US business magazine Fortune that AMD would develop “away from a model that is tied up by fabs to a model less focused on fabs” (Original: “ going to go away from a captive fab model to more of a fabless model ”). The economical separation of the production facilities was on the way. On October 7, 2008, AMD finally announced that it would outsource its chip fabs to a foundry called The Foundry Company , operated in conjunction with the Abu Dhabi investment firm Advanced Technology Investment Company (ATIC) . In March 2009 the official name of the spin-off company division was announced: Globalfoundries
In January 2011 Dirk Meyer resigned from his functions at AMD. Other high-ranking employees such as Rick Bergman followed in the same year.
Rory P. Read became the new CEO in August 2011. The first restructuring measures were initiated in November 2011, which is why around 1,400 employees had to leave.
In March 2012, AMD parted with the remaining shares in Globalfoundries and thus lost any say in the supervisory board. On March 23, 2012, AMD announced the completion of the acquisition of the microserver specialist "SeaMicro" for $ 334 million. In June 2012, AMD founded the HSA Foundation with some other partners such as ARM or Qualcomm . The purpose of this is to strengthen the software industry's support for this CPU architecture.
After a sharp decline in sales and continued pessimistic outlook on the PC market, AMD announced in October that 15 percent of the workforce would be laid off in 2012 and some locations should be merged.
In December 2019, AMD joined the Blockchain Game Alliance .
In 1975, AMD introduced the Am2900 family; a series of ICs with which it is easy to develop micro-programmable processors that are adapted to your own needs based on the bit-slice concept . The Am2901 was the core of the series as a four-bit wide arithmetic and logic unit . With the Am2902, a carry-look-ahead generator and the Am2904 word edge module, arithmetic units with a width of a multiple of four bits could be put together. The Am2910 also provided a microprogram control unit . One of the main customers was the Digital Equipment Corporation , which implemented the well-known PDP-11 CPU with Am2900 components .
Near the end of the bit-slice component, AMD presented a hybrid: a bipolar, micro-programmable high-speed microprocessor, the Am29116, developed for the embedded market. The chip contained almost everything for building a 16-bit CPU: ALU, the most important registers, 32 word stack, as well as units for multiplication and bit manipulation. All that was needed was a microprogram memory (the EPROM Am27C517 was suggested) and - depending on the size of the microprogram - at least one cascadable microprogram sequencer Am29112.
AMD introduced in 1987 with the Am29000 series also has a range of 32-bit RISC processors ( Am29000 and Am29005 ) with 192 registers available, first for Unix - workstations were designed. The Am29030 and Am29035 later became popular CPUs for embedded systems with high performance requirements and were still often found in laser printers in the second half of the 1990s.
8080 to 80486
1979 acquired AMD a license from Intel for the production of Intel's 8086 and 8088 - processors . Under this agreement, AMD later also built 80286 processors, which were sold under the name Am286 . In 1986, Intel declared the contract ended. AMD responded to this breach of contract (in the opinion of AMD) on the part of Intel with a lawsuit against Intel. The lawsuit dragged on for years, during which time AMD continued to bring replicas of the Intel 80386 and 80486 CPUs onto the market. These replicas contained some improvements over the Intel CPUs, e.g. B. the Am386 DX-40 CPU or the Am486 DX2 / 4-CPUs with write-back cache.
However, AMD has been slower than Intel in bringing new processors to market. As a result of the legal dispute, AMD and Intel reached an out-of-court settlement, according to which AMD was prohibited from producing copies of Intel's CPUs from the fifth generation (80586 - Intel Pentium ). AMD was now faced with the task of developing a completely new, proprietary processor architecture.
This of course took time, and AMD first launched the Am5x86- PR75 in 1995 . This CPU - also known under the name X5 - ran with a clock frequency of 133 MHz, but was also just a higher clocked Enhanced Am486DX4 . This CPU was the only 486 CPU with an internal clock quadrupling. The DX4 CPUs, however, only worked with a tripling of the clock rate.
In the times of the Pentium and the Cyrix 6x86 , AMD was not able to compete with the 5x86, the 486 architecture was simply too outdated for that. The first in-house x86 CPU, the K5 , was delayed, probably also because there was little experience in designing x86 CPUs.
At the beginning of 1996 the so-called SSA / 5-CPU was brought onto the market under the name 5k86 , which was a kind of preliminary version of the announced K5 . This CPU still had performance problems with the cache connection and errors in the branch prediction. Despite these shortcomings, AMD brought the CPU onto the market in order to gain at least a small market share and not to embarrass itself because of repeated postponements of the launch date.
In mid-1996, AMD brought the corrected and finished version of the K5 onto the market. This version was more powerful than the SSA / 5 and, as originally announced, could also keep up with the much faster clocked Pentium CPUs. However, one had to struggle with manufacturing problems.
The K5 was a technically advanced CPU, but because of the delays in the market launch and the massive manufacturing problems, it could never become a real competitor for the Intel Pentium and the Cyrix 6x86.
On April 2, 1997, AMD presented its sixth generation of x86 CPUs with the K6 . The K6 was based on the Nx686 from NexGen , which AMD had already taken over in early 1996. The Nx686 was redesigned for socket 7 and also received Intel's MMX command set . The K6 was a milestone for AMD as it had the fastest x86 CPU on the market for a few months. However, the K6 also had to struggle with manufacturing problems and incompatibilities due to the high heat generation. With the change to 0.25 µm one could get these problems under control to some extent.
The successor K6-2 presented in 1998 is basically the same CPU, but at 3DNow! added. In addition, the Super7 was introduced at the same time , the expansion of Socket 7 by 100 MHz FSB and AGP . The K6-2 was very successful, and AMD was able to clock this CPU up to 550 MHz.
In January 1999, the K6-III was brought onto the market, a K6-2 with 256 KB on-die L2 cache, which then brought another major performance boost. Because of the large chip area , the K6-III was very expensive to manufacture, and AMD concentrated more on the K6-2, which was much cheaper to manufacture.
AMD later brought the K6-2 + and the K6-III + onto the market. These CPUs were modifications of the original K6-III, but were already manufactured in 0.18 µm. However, these CPUs were mostly used in notebooks or in embedded computers and were not intended for desktop PCs.
In August 1999, AMD achieved a real milestone with the Athlon (also known as K7 ). The Athlon was superior to Intel's Pentium III in all areas and AMD had the fastest x86 processor on offer until March 2002. For the first time, AMD had no major manufacturing problems (also thanks to the new factories in Dresden / Saxony ) and was able to counter Intel again and again in the megahertz race. It was also the Athlon that first exceeded the prestigious limit of one gigahertz (GHz) and was available.
AMD took the success of the Athlon as an opportunity to give all subsequent CPUs the same name: The Athlon XP later succeeded the Athlon with a quantispeed rating. The Athlon XP was the most successful CPU for AMD to date, and variants of it were on the market for many years.
In order to have a competitor product to Intel's low-cost CPU Celeron , AMD brought the Duron onto the market. The Duron was based on the same technology as the Athlon or the Athlon XP and differed mainly in its significantly smaller L2 cache (only 64 KB) and lower clock frequencies. Quite successful in the beginning, the Duron later came under pressure due to the high clock rates of the Celeron CPUs based on the Intel Pentium 4 , as it lacked a quantispeed rating - as used in the Athlon XP.
Under pressure from major manufacturers such as Lenovo and Asus , AMD decided not to give the Duron a quantispeed rating, but to bring a new CPU family onto the market: The Sempron . However, this was not a novelty; like its predecessor Duron, it is based on the proven technology of the Athlon XP CPUs. In the case of the versions for socket A , this went so far that the old Athlon XPs with Thoroughbred Core - and thus also with 256 KB L2 cache - were simply renamed, the FSB set to a uniform 166 MHz and the Quantispeed rating higher started to get the comparison to Intel's Celeron to some extent. The Sempron 3000+ even got the Barton core and thus also 512 KB L2 cache.
With its eighth processor generation (also known as K8 ), AMD made the switch to the 64-bit architecture with AMD64 in 2003 . In contrast to Intel's IA-64 architecture ( Itanium family), AMD prepared the transition gently and enables 64-bit capability with full compatibility and speed with 32-bit x86 software. Intel also bowed to this advantage and brought corresponding CPUs with the AMD64-compatible EM64T technology onto the market.
An innovation of the eighth generation is the integrated memory controller, which significantly lowers the latencies during memory access and thus means higher performance with the same clock rate compared to the K7. Otherwise, the K8 architecture is very similar to that of the K7, and by and large only detailed improvements have been made. Some new features such as Cool'n'Quiet and the NX-Bit safety function have also been integrated . AMD has also changed the P rating or, in some cases, abolished it entirely and replaced it with a number system (Athlon 64 FX and Opteron).
The Opteron was the first CPU to hit the market on April 22nd, 2003 . Its areas of application are servers and workstations. With the Opteron, AMD entered this very profitable market segment for the first time, and it was able to assert itself there thanks to good scaling.
Five months after the Opteron, on September 23, 2003, the Athlon 64 for the 754 socket was launched. This version with a single-channel memory controller was supplemented a short time later with the Athlon 64 for the Socket 939 . This has a dual-channel controller and is very successful. With the Athlon 64, AMD has been able to re-establish itself as a strong competitor to Intel.
In addition to the Athlon 64, AMD also offers the Athlon 64 FX . The purpose of this model is to have the fastest x86 processor on the market. In the end, it's just a particularly high-clocked Athlon 64, but it is advertised by AMD as a premium product and - not least because of the freely selectable multiplier - is primarily intended for gamers and hobbyists. AMD can pay for this CPU very well with a price of around 1,000 euros.
Sempron CPUs based on the K8 architecture are also available. In the meantime, these have replaced the older Semprons for socket A and are the successors of the Athlon 64 on socket 754 . At first, computing with 64 bit via AMD64 was still deactivated for the Sempron CPUs, but in the meantime AMD hasalso activatedthis for the latest E6 stepping due to the market pressure of the Intel Celeron CPUs with EM64T .
Both Athlon 64 and Sempron CPUs are available as LowVoltage versions for use in notebooks and the like. In addition, at the beginning of 2005, AMD presented the AMD Turion 64 Mobile Technology , a marketing concept that is directed against Intel's successful Centrino platform.
In spring 2005, AMD launched its dual-core CPUs in the form of the dual-core Opteron and the Athlon 64 X2 . The dual-core version of the Turion 64 came onto the market in spring 2006 as the Turion 64 X2 and can also compete with the Intel Core Duo products . A dual-core version of the Athlon 64 FX appeared in January 2006 under the name FX-60. It is clocked at 2.6 GHz and is based on the Toledo core. The successor model with the name FX-62 (Windsor core) was delivered in May and offers a clock rate of 2.8 GHz, which has its place on an AM2 socket .
AMD's dual-core CPUs were initially more powerful than Intel's solutions. With Intel's introduction of the Core 2 Duo , however, this changed suddenly, and a price war between Intel and AMD set in, which the analysts had expected in advance. Shortly after the introduction of the Core 2 Duo, the prices for AMD processors fell by up to 60 percent. Many price reductions on the part of Intel and AMD followed, until the prices for desktop processors in July 2007 and in August 2007 for server processors reached their lowest point and AMD can still offer competitive prices, but no longer offer processors in the higher price segment. The company, already indebted by the ATI takeover, is in the red and feels compelled to issue convertible bonds worth $ 2.2 billion in April 2007 in order to stay in business. In August 2007, AMD took out a $ 1.5 billion loan.
With AMD Quad FX , AMD had created a platform for two CPUs in the desktop segment and, like Intel, was able to offer four processor cores in its range without a quad-core processor. However, the platform was not successful and was discontinued at the end of 2007.
In early 2007, the DTX format was introduced by AMD. In keeping with this, the economical Athlon X2 BE processors were also presented, with which a new naming scheme for the desktop processors was introduced at the same time, thus finally saying goodbye to the P rating. Athlon 64 X2 is thus the last CPU that still uses the P rating.
In 2008, a revised dual-core version of the Turion was also presented in the 65 nm manufacturing process , which combines the K8 cores with a memory controller and energy-saving features known from the AMD K10 architecture. Internally, these processors are already under the "11h" generation, although they lag behind the K10 (internal AMD designation also "10h" generation) and were also replaced by the "10h" generation in 2009. During this period, competitor Intel was able to build up an even higher performance gap in the mobile area with faster development, especially in manufacturing technology with the switch to the 45 nm HKMG manufacturing process.
In September 2007, AMD launched its multicore processors based on the K10 architecture in the form of the native quad-cores Opteron and Phenom , while partially deactivated quad-cores were sold as three- and two-core versions. Shortly after its introduction, the "TLB bug" became known. Processors could only be operated safely with a workaround or by deactivating the TLB , which led to a loss of performance. Only with the introduction of the next "stepping" could the processors compete again. The processors manufactured in 65 nm production could not be clocked very high without breaking the usual TDP limits for CPUs, and the IPC (instruction per cycle) was also lower than that of the competition, which is why this processor series is AMD did not result in the red.
Only with AMD Phenom II and AMD Athlon II processors, which could also be clocked above 3 GHz with the help of the new 45 nm production, was AMD able to achieve a certain degree of success in the desktop segment. In some quarters it was even possible to achieve profits, which apart from other effects (see graphics division, outsourcing of production, etc.) was also due to the fact that the competitor Intel did not lower its quad-core CPUs with modern architecture below a certain price point, so that AMD was able to position its weaker quad-cores and tri-cores there and later was able to position the six-core CPUs in price against the quad-core CPUs from Intel.
After winning the lawsuit against Intel in May 2009 and expanding relationships with OEM manufacturers, AMD achieved a slight upward trend in the mobile market with the new processors from the Turion II and Athlon II series, despite the fact that the performance was still behind the competition. The quad and tri cores introduced in 2010 and also the 25 W versions of the Turion II and Athlon II series provided further impetus over the course of the year. In the server market, AMD continued to lose market share despite the new Opterons with up to six and later even up to twelve cores.
1st generation with CMT technology
A completely new architecture, the most important feature of which was to be "Core Multithreading" (CMT), was so late that AMD lost market share in the desktop and server market in 2011. In October 2011, AMD presented the new AMD FX processors, which, however, could not convince in various launch articles compared to the competition. Because of the high consumption and the comparatively mediocre performance of the top model as well as the poor IPC rate (IPC = instructions per cycle ), readers in various forums soon referred to the new architecture as "AMD's Pentium 4", as the Pentium 4 is known for its inefficiency and poor IPC rate was known. Corresponding studies on efficiency confirmed that the top model had poor efficiency in 2011. In November, Opterons appeared on the same architecture. The new Opterons (code name Interlagos) with the new architecture could not, however, set themselves apart from their predecessor very far with known software. AMD's new architecture requires extensive software adaptations in order to develop the full potential.
For AMD, 2011 was the year of the so-called APUs , a combination of the processor with the integrated graphics processor. The graphics part was based entirely on the technology of the ATI company. AMD released the first generation of APUs based on a new, slimmed-down architecture called “Bobcat” and based on the existing tenth generation of processors in combination with the latest GPU technology. In China in particular, the concept was so well received that more than 50 percent of the Llano processors shipped soon went to China. In addition, the Fusion processors had a positive influence on the market share in the mobile business for AMD. AMD was able to expand its market share in the mobile segment from 13.3 percent in 2010 to 16 percent in 2011, but lost so much market share in the server and desktop segment that AMD's market share in x86 processors remained below 20 percent. In 2012, AMD saw a decline in sales, mainly due to the falling demand for Llano APUs.
In 2012, AMD launched the next generation of APUs. The graphics processor was based on the VLIW4 architecture, which was already used in the Radeon HD6900 series. The CPU itself was based on the architecture with CMT technology for the first time, although some optimizations have already been carried out on the architecture since the first presentation of this architecture, but the L3 cache was deleted to save transistors.
In 2014, AMD launched the second generation successor. The so-called "Kaveri" processors are based on the 3rd generation of the Bulldozer architecture called Steamroller in the CPU part and on the current GCN generation known from the R9 290X in the graphics part.
After taking over ATI Technologies, AMD has a wide range of graphics solutions for various markets.
- Graphics processors : The PC market is particularly pronounced. These graphics processors for computer games now run under the brand name AMD Radeon . There is also the ATI FirePro and ATI FireMV for the professional sector .
- Digital television : AMD's Digital Television Business Unit is a leading provider of hardware and software solutions for Integrated Digital Television ( IDTV ) ( Xilleon , Theater and NXT )
AMD originally did not see itself as a manufacturer of chipsets , but at certain times it has repeatedly offered its own or licensed chipsets to make the transition to a new generation easier for motherboard manufacturers and to fill gaps in the range of chipset manufacturers such as Nvidia , VIA , SiS or Bridge uli .
See AMD chipsets
Even with the microcontrollers AMD is a major supplier and provides the 16-bit controller AM186 and the 32-bit controller Élan ago. They are produced in different versions for different applications, e.g. B. with USB or HDLC controller. The Élan is based on the processor core of the Am5x86 .
AMD has also been manufacturing Ethernet ICs for a wide variety of devices since 1984 . AMD was the first manufacturer of complete Ethernet chipsets in the mid-1980s and also the first single-chip provider in the early 1990s.
Outsourced products / divisions
PLD / CPLD
In 1987, AMD took over MMI ( Monolithic Memories Inc.). MMI is the inventor of Programmable Array Logic (PAL). AMD has since produced PLD and CPLD . The MACH modules deserve special mention. The programmable logic business was outsourced to the subsidiary Vantis in 1997 , before AMD sold all shares in this company to Lattice in 1999 .
AMD was once considered one of the largest flash memory producers in the world. The joint venture Fujitsu AMD Semiconductor Limited (FASL for short) was founded with the Japanese electronics group Fujitsu back in 1993 . The joint venture was very successful, and in 2003 the cooperation was expanded and the company was renamed FASL LLC and the brand name Spansion was established . Due to the success of the new brand, FASL LLC was renamed Spansion Inc. in 2004 .
The company was under the corporate and technical leadership of AMD and sometimes contributed more than half of all AMD sales . Spansion is one of the top five companies in the very changeable flash memory industry and was even the world market leader in some quarters. In the course of a crisis in the flash memory industry, AMD decided at the end of 2005 to outsource Spansion as an independent public company.
In July 2006, only in 2003 was from National Semiconductor acquired development department for Geode - SoCs closed. AMD licensed the technology to the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) and the University of Beijing on October 24, 2005.
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