Subject: Editorial | April 26, 2018 - 02:34 AM | Josh Walrath
Tagged: Zen, tesla, raja koduri, Jim Keller, Intel, Conroe, Banias, amd
Update: The official Intel announcement can be found here.
For anyone that follows the twists and turns of the semiconductor world, the name “Jim Keller” is approaching legendary proportions. He was a driving force in AMD’s K7 and K8 development, he moved on to PA Semi which was acquired by Apple to produce their class leading SoC’s for the iPhone, and then went back to AMD to become lead architect of the Zen architecture which powers the latest Ryzen CPUs from AMD. He then moved on to Tesla to be in charge of chip development for their autonomous driving program.
Very little has been heard from Jim Keller while he was at Tesla. The assumption was that he continued to do his job there and worked hard to innovate the potential chip designs that would power next generation Tesla vehicles to have fully autonomous driving capabilities. While that program has been in its infancy, we have not heard of custom chips being utilized by Tesla in the latest cars.
Now we have confirmation that Jim has left Tesla and has in fact been hired by Intel. Some months back Raja Koduri was hired by Intel to be in charge of all core development with a special interest in GPUs. It looks as if Raja has persuaded Jim to hop on board and help with what appears to be a stagnant core development team on the CPU side.
Intel has a history of “not invented here” mentality that has in previous years caused massive problems with the company. The reliance on the Pentium IV and its further development allowed their primary competitor to sneak up on them and shake up the marketplace. It took a design group out of Israel to set Intel onto a better path with the Banias/Conroe architectures which then lead to the Core architecture that we have seen iterated upon for the past decade.
The company has stagnated again. While the current Core architecture is faster in terms of IPC than Zen, it is a company that has not pursued innovation in a manner that has kept its competitor at bay. Jim Keller went back to AMD and architected what would become the Zen family of chips. In the space of those years he was there, he took the best technology AMD had to offer and built from the ground up a new architecture that could compete against Intel for a fraction of the R&D costs that the semiconductor giant typically spends. Intel stands to lose some significant marketshare in mobile, desktop, and server with the latest offerings from AMD. Combine this with the issues that the manufacturing group have run into with their development of the 10nm process, Intel seems to finally realize that design is really what matters when manufacturing issues hit. We can remember back in the Athlon 64/Pentium 4 days when AMD was 18 months behind on process technology, but still held a power/performance edge over Intel. While manufacturing can give a large advantage to any chip, a great design will not have to rely as heavily on cutting edge process tech to be competitive. Intel should hold all the keys to creating a truly overpowering series of products for their primary markets, but AMD has shown up with the plucky architecture that could cause some serious perturbations throughout the mobile, desktop, and server markets.
It seems that Raja is “getting the gang back together” to revamp the design culture at Intel to more adequately deal with threats to their CPU dominance across the board. They also are probably looking more closely at the ultra-mobile market that ARM has dominated for the past decade. Previous Atom designs have not come close to the efficiency needed to address those markets, but perhaps with a change of leadership and architects we can see Intel successfully address this very important area with high performance/high efficiency chips that we honestly expect them to be able to design.
Jim Keller to Intel looks to be a transformational move. Not just because of his expertise in architecture, but also a shift in how Intel goes about its daily business. Bringing this kind of expertise into the company is a watershed moment that moves away from the “not invented here” mentality that seems to dictate decisions at the company when they are not facing serious competition. We will see what kind of power Raja and Jim can leverage in changing the culture of the company. What cannot be denied is that Intel has frittered away its advantages in core design by not implementing aggressive product and feature changes for the past decade to insure its dominance in the CPU world. Compound this situation with the manufacturing woes at 10nm and we can see that Intel needed a shakeup.
Consider Intel shook.
Subject: General Tech | November 9, 2017 - 02:38 PM | Alex Lustenberg
Tagged: video, titan xp, teleport, starcraft 2, raja koduri, radeon, qualcomm, podcast, nvidia, Intel, centriq, amplifi, amd
PC Perspective Podcast #475 - 11/09/17
Join us for discussion on Intel with AMD graphics, Raja's move to Intel, and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
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Hosts: Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom, Allyn Malventano, Ken Addison
Peanut Gallery: Alex Lustenberg, Jim Tanous
Program length: 1:29:42
Week in Review:
News items of interest:
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
1:13:40 Allyn: Relatively cheap Samsung 82” (!!!) 4K TV
1:17:45 Jeremy: What exactly is a "technology certificate license" Logitech?
1:23:45 Josh: 1800X for $399!!!!!
1:24:50 Ken: The Void Wallet
The Expected Unexpected
Last night we first received word that Raja had resigned from AMD (during a sabbatical) after they had launched Vega. The initial statement was that Raja would come back to resume his position at AMD in a December/January timeframe. During this time there was some doubt as to if Raja would in fact come back to AMD, as “sabbaticals” in the tech world would often lead the individual to take stock of their situation and move on to what they would consider to be greener pastures.
Raja has dropped by the PCPer offices in the past.
Initially it was thought that Raja would take the time off and then eventually jump to another company and tackle the issues there. This behavior is quite common in Silicon Valley and Raja is no stranger to this. Raja cut his teeth on 3D graphics at S3, but in 2001 he moved to ATI. While there he worked on a variety of programs including the original Radeon, the industry changing Radeon 9700 series, and finishing up with the strong HD 4000 series of parts. During this time ATI was acquired by AMD and he became one of the top graphics guru at that company. In 2009 he quit AMD and moved on to Apple. He was Director of Graphics Architecture at Apple, but little is known about what he actually did. During that time Apple utilized AMD GPUs and licensed Imagination Technologies graphics technology. Apple could have been working on developing their own architecture at this point, which has recently showed up in the latest iPhone products.
In 2013 Raja rejoined AMD and became a corporate VP of Visual Computing, but in 2015 he was promoted to leading the Radeon Technology Group after Lisu Su became CEO of the company. While there Raja worked to get AMD back on an even footing under pretty strained conditions. AMD had not had the greatest of years and had seen their primary moneymakers start taking on water. AMD had competitive graphics for the most part, and the Radeon technology integrated into AMD’s APUs truly was class leading. On the discrete side AMD was able to compare favorably to NVIDIA with the HD 7000 and later R9 200 series of cards. After NVIDIA released their Maxwell based chips, AMD had a hard time keeping up. The general consensus here is that the RTG group saw its headcount decreased by the company-wide cuts as well as a decrease in R&D funds.
Subject: Graphics Cards | September 13, 2017 - 01:36 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: rtg, raja koduri, radeon technologies group, radeon, amd
Radeon Technologies Group SVP and Chief Architect Raja Koduri is taking sabbatical from AMD as of today, with a target return date in December. As first reported by our friends at Fudzilla (and also Tweaktown), and that I was able to confirm through AMD this evening, one of our favorite people in the graphics industry will be stepping aside for the time being. AMD CEO Lisa Su will be taking over the Radeon Technologies Group in the interim.
Raja is a great personality and innovator in the graphics market and I was able to interview him during the Polaris roll out last year. He was candid, open to ideas, and clearly cared about the gamers and PC gaming market. It was only in September of 2015 that he returned to AMD as the leader of the newly created Radeon Technologies Group, a division of AMD rededicated to graphics leadership.
AMD Radeon Technologies Group SVP, Raja Koduri
The easy response to this news, and the most common reaction, will be to assume that Raja was pushed out and will not return due to the state of the Radeon division after the launch of Vega. But in truth, despite it having issues with efficiency and performance that we noted in our reviews, AMD has had no issue selling the Vega cards its made. The professional markets are competitive again and AMD's entrance into the enterprise compute space opens up a wide array of new opportunity for AMD architectures.
Nor has it had issues selling Radeon RX 400 or RX 500 products either. Whether you consider that good planning by Raja and his team or just the luck of the cryptocurrency market, it really doesn't matter. The Radeon group has provided value to the company and to shareholders.
The Radeon Vega family of graphics cards
As with most things in life, the truth is likely more complex than we can decipher from a single note or message. I was able to get my hands on the letter sent from Raja to his team, which I have provided below:
You haven’t heard from me collectively in a while – a symptom not only of the whirlwind of launching Vega, but simply of the huge number of demands on my time since the formation of RTG. Looking back over this short period, it is an impressive view. We have delivered 6 straight quarters of double-digit growth in graphics, culminating in the launch of Vega and being back in high-performance. What we have done with Vega is unparalleled. We entered the high-end gaming, professional workstation and machine intelligence markets with Vega in a very short period of time. The demand for Vega (and Polaris!) is fantastic, and overall momentum for our graphics is strong.
Incredibly, we as AMD also managed to spectacularly re-enter the high-performance CPU segments this year. We are all exceptionally proud of Ryzen, Epyc and Threadripper. The computing world is not the same anymore and the whole world is cheering for AMD. Congratulations and thanks to those of you in RTG who helped see these products through. The market for high-performance computing is on an explosive growth trajectory driven by machine intelligence, visual cloud, blockchain and other exciting new workloads. Our vision of immersive and instinctive computing is within grasp. As we enter 2018, I will be shifting my focus more toward architecting and realizing this vision and rebalancing my operational responsibilities.
At the beginning of the year I warned that Vega would be hard. At the time, some folks didn’t believe me. Now many of you understand what I said. Vega was indeed hard on many, and my sincere heartfelt thanks to all of you who endured the Vega journey with me. Vega was personally hard on me as well and I used up a lot of family credits during this journey. I have decided to take a time-off in Q4 to spend time with my family. I have been contemplating this for a while now and there was never a good time to do this. Lisa and I agreed that Q4 is better than 2018, before the next wave of product excitement. Lisa will be acting as the leader of RTG during by absence. My sincere thanks to Lisa and rest of AET for supporting me in this decision and agreeing to take on additional workload during my absence.
I am looking to start my time-off on Sept 25th and return in December.
Thank you, all of you, for your unwavering focus, dedication and support over these past months, and for helping us to build something incredible. We are not done yet, and keep the momentum going!
Straight from the man himself, the intention and reason for the leave appears to be to catch up on family responsibility. As someone who has often traded work-related travel for home-based committments in future months, I understand this completely.
I have no doubt that Raja takes this leave with some reluctance. He built this team himself (for the most part) and my conversations with AMD employees always mention respect and appreciation for what he has been able to do. He loves the industry, he loves the technology, he loves the fans. That doesn't mean he can't or won't leave or be forced out if comes down to it, but it does give me hope that the potential for his return after the sabbatical is better than most other news outlets and pundits might lead us to believe.
For the interim, I have a lot of faith in Lisa Su to handle RTG. She has led AMD out of the CPU doldrums and into competitiveness for the first time in a decade. Any additional knowledge, experience, or input she can can gleam from her time as the lead at the Radeon Technologies Group can only be a benefit to AMD in the long run.
Subject: General Tech | August 21, 2017 - 01:45 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Vega, amd, raja koduri, HBCC
Techgage has posted a look at what AMD's new HBCC feature in Vega is and how it will help you run games faster. HBCC allows your GPU to treat VRAM as a last-level cache, so that a request for data not currently located in VRAM can be pulled into Vega's HBC for immediate access while simultaneously flushing out data which is no longer needed. In addition to describing how the feature functions they also did quite a bit of testing to determine the real world effect of enabling HBCC in games and benchmarks. Drop by for a look.
"AMD’s Vega GPU architecture brings many notable features to the table, but the one to find its way into Radeon chief Raja Koduri’s heart is HBCC – or “high-bandwidth cache controller”. In this article, we’re going to take a look at what HBCC is, why it offers no benefit right this moment, and talk about what it could offer in the future."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- AMD RX VEGA @ Kitguru
- AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 & 56 Best Playable Settings At 4K & Ultrawide @ Techgage
- Asus ROG STRIX RX Vega64 O8G Gaming @ Kitguru
- How The Radeon OpenGL Performance Has Evolved From The HD 2900XT To RX Vega @ Phoronix
- AMD Radeon RX Vega56 8GB @ Kitguru
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | June 29, 2016 - 12:03 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: video, rx 480, raja koduri, radeon, Polaris, live, giveaway, amd
When it comes to GPU releases, we at PC Perspective take things up a level in the kind of content we produce as well as the amount of information we provide to the community. Part of that commitment is our drive to bring in the very best people from around the industry to talk directly to the consumers, providing interesting and honest views on where their technology is going.
With the pending release of the Radeon RX 480 based on AMD's latest Polaris architecture on Wednesday, June 29th, I am excited to announce that Raja Koduri, SVP and Chief Architect of the Radeon Technologies Group will be joining us in studio to talk about the RX 480 and AMD's plans moving forward.
The AMD Radeon RX 480 Graphics Card
There is much to discuss. AMD and the RTG have promised that the RX 480 will be a revolutionary product, improving on performance per watt and performance per dollar in a way that no other AMD architecture has done. And the drive to include dramatically more gamers in the rising world of VR gaming will be an impressive feat as well, if they can pull it off. Topics like architectural improvements, asynchronous compute, multi-GPU and more are on the docket. You definitely won't want to miss it.
Radeon RX 480 Live Stream with Raja Koduri and Ryan Shrout
10:30am PT / 1:30pm ET - June 29th
Need a reminder? Join our live stream notification list!
The event will take place Wednesday, June 29th at 1:30pm ET / 10:30am PT at http://www.pcper.com/live. There you’ll be able to catch the live video stream as well as use our chat room to interact with the audience, asking questions for me and Raja to answer live.
Raja is one of the more open and honest people in this highly competitive landscape and every time we have had the ability to do an interview he has provided insightful, and sometimes very new, information.
As a price for hosting AMD in the offices, we demanded a sacrifice: in the form of hardware to giveaway to our viewers! We'll have at least two Radeon RX 480s to giveaway during the live stream but I am pushing to get a bump in that count; we'll see if I am persuasive enough. All you have to do to win on the 29th is watch the live stream!
Some Radeon RX 480s will be up for grabs!!
If you have questions, please leave them in the comments below and we'll look through them just before the start of the live stream. Of course you'll be able to tweet us questions @pcper and we'll be keeping an eye on the IRC chat as well for more inquiries. What do you want to know and hear from Raja or me?
So join us! Set your calendar for this coming Wednesday at 1:30pm ET / 10:30am PT and be here at PC Perspective to catch it. If you are a forgetful type of person, sign up for the PC Perspective Live notification list that we use exclusively to notify users of upcoming live streaming events including these types of specials and our regular live podcast. I promise, no spam will be had!
Subject: General Tech | March 17, 2016 - 11:07 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: podcast, video, amd, XConnect, gdc 2016, Vega, Polaris, navi, razer blade, Sulon Q, Oculus, vive, raja koduri, GTX 1080, msi, vortex, Intel, skulltrail, nuc
PC Perspective Podcast #391 - 03/17/2016
Join us this week as we discuss the AMD's news from GDC, the MSI Vortex, and Q&A!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
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Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, and Allyn Malventano
Program length: 1:28:26
News items of interest:
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
Jeremy: QLEDs are real!
Subject: Graphics Cards | March 15, 2016 - 02:02 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: vulkan, raja koduri, Polaris, HBM2, hbm, dx12, crossfire, amd
After hosting the AMD Capsaicin event at GDC tonight, the SVP and Chief Architect of the Radeon Technologies Group Raja Koduri sat down with me to talk about the event and offered up some additional details on the Radeon Pro Duo, upcoming Polaris GPUs and more. The video below has the full interview but there are several highlights that stand out as noteworthy.
- Raja claimed that one of the reasons to launch the dual-Fiji card as the Radeon Pro Duo for developers rather than pure Radeon, aimed at gamers, was to “get past CrossFire.” He believes we are at an inflection point with APIs. Where previously you would abstract two GPUs to appear as a single to the game engine, with DX12 and Vulkan the problem is more complex than that as we have seen in testing with early titles like Ashes of the Singularity.
But with the dual-Fiji product mostly developed and prepared, AMD was able to find a market between the enthusiast and the creator to target, and thus the Radeon Pro branding was born.
Raja further expands on it, telling me that in order to make multi-GPU useful and productive for the next generation of APIs, getting multi-GPU hardware solutions in the hands of developers is crucial. He admitted that CrossFire in the past has had performance scaling concerns and compatibility issues, and that getting multi-GPU correct from the ground floor here is crucial.
- With changes in Moore’s Law and the realities of process technology and processor construction, multi-GPU is going to be more important for the entire product stack, not just the extreme enthusiast crowd. Why? Because realities are dictating that GPU vendors build smaller, more power efficient GPUs, and to scale performance overall, multi-GPU solutions need to be efficient and plentiful. The “economics of the smaller die” are much better for AMD (and we assume NVIDIA) and by 2017-2019, this is the reality and will be how graphics performance will scale.
Getting the software ecosystem going now is going to be crucial to ease into that standard.
- The naming scheme of Polaris (10, 11…) has no equation, it’s just “a sequence of numbers” and we should only expect it to increase going forward. The next Polaris chip will be bigger than 11, that’s the secret he gave us.
There have been concerns that AMD was only going to go for the mainstream gaming market with Polaris but Raja promised me and our readers that we “would be really really pleased.” We expect to see Polaris-based GPUs across the entire performance stack.
- AMD’s primary goal here is to get many millions of gamers VR-ready, though getting the enthusiasts “that last millisecond” is still a goal and it will happen from Radeon.
- No solid date on Polaris parts at all – I tried! (Other than the launches start in June.) Though Raja did promise that after tonight, he will only have his next alcoholic beverage until the launch of Polaris. Serious commitment!
- Curious about the HBM2 inclusion in Vega on the roadmap and what that means for Polaris? Though he didn’t say it outright, it appears that Polaris will be using HBM1, leaving me to wonder about the memory capacity limitations inherent in that. Has AMD found a way to get past the 4GB barrier? We are trying to figure that out for sure.
Why is Polaris going to use HBM1? Raja pointed towards the extreme cost and expense of building the HBM ecosystem prepping the pipeline for the new memory technology as the culprit and AMD obviously wants to recoup some of that cost with another generation of GPU usage.
Speaking with Raja is always interesting and the confidence and knowledge he showcases is still what gives me assurance that the Radeon Technologies Group is headed in the correct direction. This is going to be a very interesting year for graphics, PC gaming and for GPU technologies, as showcased throughout the Capsaicin event, and I think everyone should be looking forward do it.
Subject: Editorial | September 18, 2015 - 01:00 PM | Josh Walrath
Tagged: Zen, raja koduri, lisa su, Jim Keller, bulldozer, amd
2012 was a significant year for AMD. Many of the top executives left and there were many new and exciting hires at the company. Lisa Su, who would eventually become President and CEO of AMD was hired in January of that year. Rory Read seemed to be on a roll with many measures to turn around the company. He also convinced some big name folks to come back to AMD from other lucrative positions. One of these rehires was Jim Keller.
Jim Keller, breakin it down for AMD. Or doing "The Robot". Or both.
Today it was announced that Jim would be leaving AMD effective Sept. 18th. He was back at AMD for three years and in that time headed up the CPU group. He implemented massive changes that would result in the design of the upcoming Zen architecture. There was a full scale ejection of the Bulldozer concept that powered AMD processors since 2011 with the FX-8150 introduction with the current Excavator core design to last through 2016 with the final product being "Bristol Ridge,"expected next summer. Zen will not ship until late 2016 with the first full quarter of revenue in 2017.
Jim helped to develop the K7 and K8 processors from AMD. He also was extremely influential in the creation of the X86-64 ISA that not only powers AMD’s parts, but also was adopted by Intel after their disastrous EPIC/IA64 ISA failed to go anywhere. His past also includes work at DEC on the Alpha processors and before AMD at Apple working on the A4 and A5 SOCs.
We do not know any of the details about his leaving, and perhaps never will. AMD has released an official statement that “Jim Keller is leaving AMD to pursue other opportunities, effective September 18”. Looking at Jim’s past employment, he seems to move around a bit. Perhaps he enjoys coming into a place, turning things around, implementing some new thinking, but then becomes bored with the daily routine of management, budget, and planning.
In the near future this change will not affect AMD’s roadmaps or product lineups. We still will see Bristol Ridge as the follow-up for Godavari in Summer 2016 and the late 2016 introduction of Zen. What can be said beyond that is hard to quantify. There are a lot of smart and talented people still working at AMD and perhaps this allows someone there to step up and introduce the next generation of architectures and thinking at AMD. Everybody likes the idea of a rockstar designer coming in to shake things up, but time moves on and new people become those rockstars.
We wish Jim well on his new journey and hope that this is not a harbinger of things to come for AMD. Consumers need the competition that AMD brings to the table and we certainly hope we see them continue to release new products and stay on a schedule that will benefit both them and consumers. Perhaps he will join fellow veteran Glenn Henry at VIA/Centaur and produce the next, great X86-64 chip. Perhaps not.
Subject: Editorial | September 9, 2015 - 03:53 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: raja koduri, amd
In a move of outstanding wisdom and forward thinking, AMD has made a personnel move that I can get behind and support. After forming the Radeon Technologies Group to help refocus the company on graphics, it has promoted Raja Koduri to the role of Senior Vice President and Chief Architect of that new group. While this might be a little bit of an "inside baseball" announcement to discuss, Raja is one of the few people in the industry that I have known since day one and he is an outstanding and important person in the graphics world as we know it today.
Koduri recently returned to AMD after a stint with Apple as the mobile SoC vendors director of graphics architecture and his return was met with immediate enthusiasm and hope for a company that continues to struggle financially.
In this new role, Koduri will no longer just be responsible for the IP of AMD graphics, adding to his responsibility the entirety of the hardware, software and business direction for Radeon products. From personal experience I can assure readers that Raja is a fantastic leader, has great instincts for what the industry needs and has seen some of AMD's most successful products through development.
This new role and new division of structure at AMD will come with a lot of responsibility, as Koduri will be responsible for finding ways to grow the Radeon brand's shrinking market share, how to make a play in the mobile IP space, change the dynamic between developers and AMD, and how working with console vendors like MS and Sony makes sense going forward. In many ways this is a return to the structure that made ATI so successful as a player in the GPU space and AMD is definitely hoping this move can turn things around.
Good luck Raja!