Looking to bolster its competitive position in the AI market against Nvidia and Intel, AMD this week unveiled a series of x86-based chips that company officials claim to be the first such offerings containing an on-board dedicated AI engine.
The Ryzen AI engine, housed in the upcoming Ryzen 7040 chips, are the first offerings that productize the XDNA GPU accelerators that AMD acquired through its purchase of Xilinx. One of the major advantages of the technology is it can be more easily configured for a range of different applications and automatically adjusts to provide the appropriate power efficiency.
"I view these [AI-based chips] as the beginning of a wave," said AMD Chair and CEO Lisa Su during her keynote at the CES conference this week. "We have talked about the importance of having the right computing for the right application. And we've seen that importance in the cloud and what we're doing in large data centers. Now we are bringing that into the notebook form factor."
The 4-nanometer 7040 chips are built specifically for laptops containing 25 billion transistors and can provide over 30 hours of battery life. The chips, expected to be available in laptops from a variety of hardware OEMs sometime in March, will be available in over 200 designs, Su said in her CES keynote.
AMD officials claim the Ryzen processors provide superior performance to Apple's M2 chip by as much as 20% and are up to 50% more energy efficient. The added performance and energy efficiency also contributes to better real-time user experiences in both video collaboration and user productivity, the company said.
"The  series will open up more life-like collaboration experiences with the sort of enhancements made to the chips' audio and video capabilities," Su said. "It has other benefits as well, like more real-time gaming performance."
The new AI engine potentially strengthens AMD's competitive stance in the increasingly competitive AI-based chip market.
"AMD continues to show significant innovation and market ambition with these new chips," said Dan Newman, principal analyst with Futurum Research. "They are taking this opportunity to highlight the potential that came with its Xilinx acquisition. The new chips certainly have the potential to make them a more viable competitor against Nvidia."
The Ryzen 7040 series release came just one day after archrival Intel launched its Core i9-13980HX chip, code named Raptor Lake. That chip also targets laptops and is designed to significantly boost performance of graphical applications thanks in large part to its 24 cores.
AMD's 7040 series, codenamed Phoenix, is also the first mobile device based on the company's Zen 4 CPU design. It features the company's latest CPU cores, the new RDNA 3 iGPU models, which are all built into a new monolithic silicon die.
Dan NewmanPrincipal analyst, Futurum Research
Su also pulled the curtain back on the Instinct MI300 chip, which complements the 7040 series and is a combined CPU-GPU designed to accelerate AI-based workloads. In her keynote, Su said the MI300 can reduce the time it takes for an inference modeling process from months to weeks.
In addition, Su introduced AMD's Alveo V70 AI Accelerator, which is designed to increase energy efficiency in cases where users are handling multiple AI inference workloads.
As Editor At Large with TechTarget's News Group, Ed Scannell is responsible for writing and reporting breaking news, news analysis and features focused on technology issues and trends affecting corporate IT professionals.