After reigniting the competition in the desktop and notebook CPU market with multiple generations of successful Ryzen processors, AMD is now focusing on the GPU field with its latest Radeon RX 6000 series. Gaming is one of AMD’s priorities for itself. In 2019, the company hired Alienware co-founder Frank Azor, who is now the chief architect of gaming solutions. Mobile and desktop PC games have seen significant growth during the pandemic, and TechnologyShout asked Azor about what is happening at AMD and what we are still waiting for.
TechnologyShout: Since the global blockade began in early 2020, how has the PC gaming situation changed? Have you seen any trends that are particularly emerging in India, and how did AMD respond?
Azor: When the epidemic began last year, many traditional entertainment and entertainment activities were impossible for people. This makes the game a popular choice for individuals to interact virtually with other players around the world, participate in in-game activities, and make the game a serious hobby. In 2021, we see demand continue to grow, which is further driven by consumers becoming more critical of their DIY PC construction and laptop preferences. Since they spend longer indoors, they hope to invest in better design for games and content creation.
In most countries/regions, including India, the demand for laptops stems from the need to transform one PC per person into one PC per person. This has also led consumers to choose laptops with desktop-level performance for games, content creation, daily work and entertainment.
As consumer behavior patterns continue to change, AMD is in a good position to power next-generation devices (new desktop processors, graphics cards, and game consoles). We also work with original equipment manufacturers to launch ultra-thin and high-end gaming category hero and high-end laptop designs for students, professionals, and gamers. We created the AMD Advantage design framework to provide the next generation of high-quality, high-performance gaming laptops.
Given that the growth trend of gaming notebooks is being reflected in India, AMD’s team is working closely with our OEM partners to expand the use of thinner, more powerful, and longer battery life gaming notebooks. In addition, in order to support local markets other than the product, AMD has been actively cooperating with multiple e-sports game events in India.
TechnologyShout: How does AMD build brand and visibility in India, especially in gaming? Which product segments are working well in India, and where are your growth goals?
Azor: India is AMD’s priority market. India has one of the youngest populations in the world, which translates into the youngest gaming population. Better Internet penetration, lower data costs, and more access to affordable devices are driving unprecedented growth in the Indian gaming industry. In addition, due to the pandemic, the number of people at home has surged.
Our brand building in India, especially game brands, is mainly promoted through digital marketing platforms, which has led to an increasing consumer preference and consideration for AMD products. Our recent collaborations with partners such as HP, Microsoft, Western Digital, and LG have helped expand our marketing efforts. In India, AMD has been actively establishing contacts with a number of well-known e-sports game tournaments in order to establish contacts with the gaming community, which has brought us great appeal in recent years.
TechnologyShout: Which trends are driving the sales of gaming laptops globally and in India? Does AMD work with PC system integrators in India and how is it progressing?
Azor: Games are a bridge between entertainment and technology, and a great medium for bringing people together to interact and build communities. More and more users prefer to have a device that can be used for work and entertainment at the same time. In the past, many people would argue about the effectiveness of buying gaming laptops instead of desktops or consoles, but due to recent technological innovations, gamers can finally get desktop-level performance in a portable form factor.
AMD’s focus is on optimizing our hardware and software technologies for today’s relevant competitive e-sports and AAA games, as well as games we hope to see in the future. This involves working closely with our OEM partners (including Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo and MSI) to bring compelling products to the market. We are working with them to integrate our AMD Advantage value proposition, that is, Ryzen CPU and Radeon GPU are combined and optimized with AMD Radeon software, and together redefine next-generation gaming products.
AMD has been named India’s “most trusted” and “most anticipated” semiconductor brand by TRA for two consecutive years. This is a good testament to the ecosystem we have built through relationships with original equipment manufacturers, channel partners, retailers, and end users.
TechnologyShout: Due to the pandemic and crypto mining, PC components have become expensive and difficult to find. What measures is AMD taking to deal with this situation?
Azor: In 2020 and 2021, customer demand in our product portfolio remains very strong. We did increase supply during this period, which is reflected in our growth exceeding expectations, but demand continues to grow. Therefore, we do have some supply constraints in the low-end PC market and the game market. We are focused on working hard to increase production in our supply chain to meet the incremental demand we see.
TechnologyShout: Gaming laptops equipped with Ryzen CPUs are now required, but Radeon GPUs are not common and the product stack is not clear. Will this change with the RX 6000 series?
Azor: Gamers tend to be more tech-savvy and understand their hardware better. They want everything-performance, excellent visual effects, faster loading times, longer battery life and cool industrial design. We recognize that buying a gaming laptop is indeed a huge investment, and there should be no room for error when making a choice.
You may have noticed on Computex that AMD CEO Dr. Lisa Su announced the launch of the Radeon RX 6000M product stack, marking our return to high-end notebook GPUs. With our AMD Advantage program, these gaming laptops will provide enhanced gaming performance through our Ryzen CPUs, Radeon graphics cards, and unique features including Smart Access Memory and SmartShift.
We are very satisfied with the initial response to our Radeon RX 6000M series and AMD Advantage design-the feedback is very positive and we see gamers eager for these great laptops. We are excited about this wave of new gaming laptops and will continue to work closely with our partners to bring more platforms to markets in India and around the world.
TechnologyShout: There have been reports that OEM-designed laptops are terrible, especially in terms of heat dissipation. Will AMD Advantage help counteract this situation, and what about the market as a whole?
Azor: OEMs will be able to better comment on their design decisions for laptops. As our share in the mobile field grows larger, we will continue to work more closely with original equipment manufacturers to strive for the best results for our mutual customers. AMD Advantage solutions are unique in that they follow the design framework mutually agreed between AMD and our OEM partners to ensure the best overall gaming and computing experience for end users.
TechnologyShout: Why has only one laptop equipped with SmartShift for so long? Will SmartShift now become a unique feature of AMD Advantage laptops?
Azor: AMD SmartShift technology is not unique to AMD Advantage laptops. It is an important part of the entire design framework, with more than 200 different design touch points.
TechnologyShout: Is there an AMD Advantage tier (or equivalent) for non-gaming laptops?
Azor: AMD Advantage is currently focusing on gaming laptops. We cannot comment on potential future plans or unannounced products.
TechnologyShout: Will AMD announce any specific performance and design goals or thresholds, such as battery life, skin temperature, weight, and thickness? What are the hard and soft requirements for laptops to earn the AMD Advantage badge?
Azor: Yes, when we released, we communicated a few examples of design framework goals, such as FreeSync Premium monitors with a minimum refresh rate of 144Hz, LFC (low frame rate compensation), and a minimum brightness of 300 nits. NVMe storage drives and WASD keyboard temperatures below 40C during gaming are also some examples. The most important aspect of the AMD Advantage design framework is the experience that these laptops will provide gamers. For example, gamers can reach an average of 100fps in the latest game, and the battery life of watching videos exceeds 10 hours. There are more than 200 different design requirements and/or recommendations in the existing AMD Advantage framework, and they are still evolving.
TechnologyShout: How did FidelityFX Super Resolution come about? Do you think it will become an industry standard, just like VESA adopted FreeSync?
Azor: With FidelityFX Super Resolution, we hope to develop a cutting-edge, world-class space amplification solution that is completely open source and can be implemented quickly and easily by game developers.
Developers can expect that the barriers to using FSR are very low, just like our other AMD FidelityFX tools, and a complete shader source code is provided for smooth and flexible integration. As a spatial amplification solution, FSR does not rely on other data, such as frame history or motion vectors, making implementation faster and easier.
FSR is the ideal upgrader in the industry-unlike competing solutions, it does not require any specialized proprietary hardware and is not limited to the latest graphics architecture. FSR supports a wide range of platforms and ecosystems for all gamers to experience and enjoy, including graphics cards from AMD and our competitors, from integration to super enthusiasts.
Most of the developer technologies we provide on GPUOpen.com are open source, and we encourage game developers to adopt FSR. It has received extensive industry support-it is already available in 13 games, and there will be more in the future. More than 40 game developers and publishers have pledged to support FSR in their upcoming games.
TechnologyShout: What is the appeal of high-end GPUs in mobile phones, tablets and other devices? Will developers target such a small niche market? Does AMD have ambitions in the smartphone gaming market, and if so, how long will it take for this level of GPU performance to become popular in mainstream mobile phones?
Azor: We are very happy to work with Samsung to introduce AMD RDNA graphics architecture into their next-generation Exynos mobile chips. The technology partnership extends Radeon graphics, especially our AMD RDNA game graphics architecture, from PCs to game consoles, to cars, clouds, and now mobile devices. However, we are unable to comment further on the upcoming plan.