I see the AMD Radeon HD 7990 and could not help but think of it as a dire representation of AMD as a whole. It’s very late to the party and it’s not quite as efficient as competition when it comes to power consumption; AMD’s inability to execute and develop a truly competitive technology in full effect here.
Poor Advanced Micro Devices. They had such promise before Intel woke up and crushed them with steady improvements over time. Who is to blame? Based on Ars Technica’s brilliant summation of AMD’s history to date, it looks like it all began with the company’s founder: Jerry Sanders.
Both Raza and Barton recalled, independently of one another, one of Sanders’ mantras: “Real men have fabs.” Raza called this comment “simultaneously a sexist remark and the most stupid thing you can say,” and he saw the fab decision as one of Sanders’ “significant acts of irresponsibility.” After he quit, Raza never spoke to Sanders again.
Irresponsible decisions made by a CEO who was far too comfortable spending more than what his company can afford. He set the company down a path that it wasn’t able to diverge from despite the technological wins it had.
AMD isn’t dead yet and I hope it manages to stick around to help keep the competition honest. Thankfully if they do go belly up, there are other worthy contenders to step up to the plate.