I had two meetings with AMD at CES 2007: one with the CPU folks and the other about their new digital TV tuner. As you know, the merger of AMD and ATI into one entity has created a pretty large company that's now has products that span several areas. My first meeting was with the people behind the CPU.
AMD's image as the leader in performance for CPU in gaming has taken a tumble with Intel's release of Conroe. Meeting with two representatives on the CPU side, I came away from the meeting with the impression that AMD is really passionate about catering to the enthusiasts. With Intel announcing their quad core on a single chip at CES 2007, AMD told me they are expecting their launch of quad core, or Quad FX, on a single chip in the second half of this year. Since more products and more games are going multi-threaded, it makes sense to offer more cores to take advantage of the new programming paradigm. Along with quad cores, they also talked about motherboards in the near future with 4 PCI-E slots giving you expandability for up to 8 monitors or even using one to drive physics using a video card. I asked about concerns of the amount of power and heat generated by putting more cores on the CPU and they said that enthusiasts aren't as concerned about these requirements and that's the market they are aiming for anyways. There are currently no plans for notebooks of course but if people want it, AMD will deliver the technology to that sector.
They stressed that they are only going to bring products to market when the time is right and products that make sense. One example of this is their reaction to Intel's "V8" showing. One of the AMD representative, who is an enthusiast and gamer himself, was insulted by the way Intel was marketing the solution to enthusiasts and I don't blame him. Such features as only one PCI-E x16 slot and using FB-DIMM isn't really what enthusiasts want. They said they are only going to release products that make sense and they gave the V8 as an example as to what doesn't make sense.
I've been using AMD products for a few years now and just picked up an Intel Core 2 Duo. While I've always favored AMD CPUs in the past, I will use whatever is the leader in performance. AMD's not going to sit on their hands and if people at AMD are half as passionate about enthusiasts and gamers as with the two I met at CES 2007, fans of AMD should be excited about what they have coming down the pipeline.