Trends 2016: Dawning of virtual age for semiconductors

VoicenData Bureau
New Update

By Vinay Sinha


With the semiconductor and overall technology industry moving towards curating vision for the not-so distant future, there is a consensus that visually rich experiences will be driving the industry. These experiences will not only have to be seamless but also intuitive and instinctive. This involves an incredible integration of computing and graphics experiences and as a long-standing player in the semiconductor space, AMD is positioned to design and fuel these innovations.

The biggest trend that AMD foresees in 2016 in the semiconductor space is the dawning of Virtual Age. As the world moves towards Internet of Things (IoT), the demand is for immersive experiences across all fields of human experience. With Virtual Reality (VR) close to becoming a reality and companies from Google to Microsoft and new players like Oculus working towards capturing the market share, the applications for the same extend not just to gaming, but also graphics realism, image processing and even medical imaging. While a number of companies have been talking excitedly about VR over the last several years and showcasing engaging demos, almost none have brought a meaningful product to market;2016 is expected to be transformative year in that regard. While gaming is the primary commercial application for VR today, and certainly the area garnering most of the headlines, tomorrow’s VR technology is expected to take everything a giant step further, enabling us to enter hyper real worlds, far beyond our wildest dreams, where we can see and do things unimaginable.

As the demand for power consumption by devices continues to increase, innovative material solutions will be required to address demanding requirements related to product mobility and assimilation. Today’s smartphones command larger amount of computing power than high end minicomputers from 20 years ago. With this rapid amount of energy demand, designing greener semiconductor products that use less energy is the need of the hour. At AMD, we have been working on an ambitious goal to increase the “typical use” energy efficiency of our entire line of mobile processors by 25 times from 2014 to 2020. If we reach our goal, this means that in 2020 computers running on AMD technology could accomplish a computing task in 1/5th the time of today’s PCs while consuming less than 1/5th the power on average.The world is also getting conscious of the size of the devices they use. Gone are the days when to play a heavy game, one needed a large setup with a monstrous graphics card juicing excessive energy. The size of the graphics devices today must be small and not come with a performance penalty. The device must also consume less energy and not overheat. These are the demands with which semiconductor manufacturers must deal with while revamping old lines of products and creating new ones.The AMD Radeon R9 Nano is the first of its kind compact device which gives unparalleled graphics performance in the small form factor of 6 inches.


The next trend is not exactly new but has been growing rapidly as we are moving towards more compact and high-performance devices. The combination of graphics and computing is proving to be more economical to build large systems out of smaller functions, which are separately packaged and interconnected, allowing the manufacturer of large systems to design and construct a considerable variety of equipment both rapidly and economically. AMD anticipated this change long back and came out with its range of APUs (Accelerated Processing Units), which merged CPUs and GPUs on a single chip. Whether it’s the clarity from visualizing data, the smoothness of streaming media, or the responsiveness of modern apps, accelerated graphics and compute processing provide an ultra-responsive system for the business workloads of today and tomorrow. With this combined technology, there is a growing demand for security at the chip level – with identity theft, access to information, and trade secrets being the biggest worries of semiconductor manufacturers. Making chips smaller and efficient will be useless without the security level being extremely strong. Therefore, security, manageability and virtualisation are the key signposts for the industry to work towards.

AMD as a company has reinvented itself from the ground up to compete in today’s ever-evolving technology landscape. With our newly restructured Radeon Technologies Group (RTG), we are putting in place a vertically-integrated graphics organization which is focused on solidifying our position as the graphics industry leader.

Vinay Sinha, AMD

(The author, Vinay Sinha, is Head of Sales – India, Director - Commercial Business, AMD Asia Pacific-Japan (APJ) Mega Region)

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