It’s AMD’s time to shine: Polaris must turn around business in 2016

To put it mildly, chip manufacturer AMD has not had the best of times over the past few years.

It made a whopping $1.18 billion loss back in 2012, and while it’s managed to move closer towards the black in recent years, it has still made losses of $83 million, $155 million and $481 million in 2013, 2014 and 2015 respectively.

AMD has also had a tough time in the PC gaming space. In late 2014, Nvidia launched its GeForce GTX 970 and 980 graphics cards, which sold so well they suffered initial stock shortages. By this time, AMD had already launched its 200-Series cards, leaving it with no choice but to slash the price of its GPUs such as the R9 290 and 290X.

Last year, AMD launched its 300-Series including the R9 Fury X. This helped it to increase its global market share marginally, from 18 per cent in Q2 2015 up to 18.8 per cent in Q3, according to Jon Peddie Research, but it is still lagging behind NVIDIA overall.

Its rival had a 71.5 per cent share of the GPU market in 2014 compared to AMD’s 28.4 per cent, so the latter has its work cut out.

Nvidia Pascal graphics cards due between May and June; AMD Polaris GPUs expected Q3

This year, AMD has a chance to really take the fight to NVIDIA. It’s working on its Polaris GPU architecture which will power new graphics cards in mid-2016, while NVIDIA is working on its Pascal GPU architecture which could power new 1,000-Series cards.

Polaris includes 4K, HDR monitor, HDMI 2.0a and DisplayPort 1.3 support and AMD’s 4th gen Graphics Core Next architecture.

With both firms working on new technology, the slate has been metaphorically wiped clean. This gives AMD the chance to produce something fresh, and give itself the edge over NVIDIA. Like AMD’s president and CEO, Dr. Lisa Su, said: “While 2015 was challenging from a financial perspective, key R&D investments and a sharpened focus on innovation position us well to deliver great products, improved financial results and share gains in 2016.”

Lastly, I’d like to see AMD comment less in general on what its close rival is doing, get its head down and focus on making some cracking graphics cards. The ball is in your court, AMD, don’t let us down.

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