AMD is back!

It’s o cially a two-horse race in the CPU and GPU mar­ket again.

HWM (Singapore) - - THINK - By Koh Wanzi

“The Thread­rip­per 1950X packs a whop­ping 16 cores and 32 threads into a gar­gan­tuan chip that costs just US$999.”

Pick a ca­sual gamer off the street to­day and ask him what his pre­ferred CPU and GPU man­u­fac­tur­ers are. Chances are, he’ll say In­tel and NVIDIA. The sad irony to this is that while In­tel makes pro­ces­sors and NVIDIA makes graphics chips, it’s AMD that makes both.

AMD should have a wealth of ex­pe­ri­ence and de­sign ex­per­tise to draw on. In­deed, in its hey­day, it was AMD that beat In­tel to x86based 64-bit pro­ces­sors with its Opteron and Athlon 64 chips.

Un­for­tu­nately, AMD has lagged be­hind In­tel and NVIDIA in re­cent years. It be­came known as the bud­get op­tion, and has not been a se­ri­ous con­tender in the en­thu­si­ast space for way too long.

How­ever, 2017 looks to be the year that the red camp turns the tide. Ear­lier this year, AMD un­veiled its Ryzen pro­ces­sors, in­clud­ing the octa-core Ryzen 7 1800X, a main­stream chip with the chops to take on In­tel’s 10-core Core i7-6950X, which cost well over a thou­sand dol­lars.

Ryzen had its aws, and it was no gam­ing jug­ger­naut, but it of­fered an at­trac­tive price-to-per­for­mance ra­tio that en­deared it to those who dab­ble in both con­tent cre­ation and gam­ing.

At the end of July, the com­pany nally took the wraps off prod­ucts that it had teased for so long – Radeon RX Vega and its mas­sive Ryzen Thread­rip­per CPUs.

The Radeon RX Vega 64 is AMD’s re­turn to the per­for­mance graphics mar­ket, of­fer­ing 12.66 TFLOPS of peak FP32 per­for­mance to the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti’s 11.3 TFLOPS. The kicker is that it re­tails for only US$499, a very at­trac­tive price for a ag­ship prod­uct, es­pe­cially con­sid­er­ing that NVIDIA has been de­but­ing its top-end cards at US$699. Sim­i­larly, the Thread­rip­per 1950X packs a whop­ping 16 cores and 32 threads into a gar­gan­tuan chip that costs just US$999, the same ask­ing price as In­tel’s 10-core Core i9-7900X. There’s lit­tle doubt that Thread­rip­per will be a multi-core beast in pro­fes­sional work­loads, and of­fer drool-wor­thy per­for­mance for Twitch stream­ers who need to en­code video as they game.

In­tel and NVIDIA will al­most cer­tainly re­assert their dom­i­nance with the up­com­ing 18-core Core i9 chip and Volta ar­chi­tec­ture. But AMD has shown that it’s got plenty of life in it yet, suc­cess­fully forc­ing price read­just­ments from In­tel, and breath­ing com­pe­ti­tion back into the mar­ket.

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