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AMD hits problems after Intel buys Cray's Interconnect

by on26 April 2012

Old chums desert it

AMD's long standing relationship with Cray computers might have run onto the rocks.

Chipzilla has snuck in and bought out Cray’s interconnect business which could kill off an HPC relationship which has been around since AMD bought out the Opteron. As part of Intel's deal, it gets the Interconnect side of Cray and 74 of its engineers.

Interconnect is one of the areas which AMD has been having a few problems with.  It recently bought out Seamicro to help it sort them out.  That deal is starting to look rather silly.  It cost AMD $334 Million where as Intel snapped up the more sensible Cray for $140 million.

So why did AMD go for Seamicro and not Cray in the first place? It seems that executives at AMD heard that the Cray deal was going down and rather than open negotiations of its own with Cray, it thought it would opt for different technology from Seamicro instead.  It is possible that AMD thought that if Intel was going to steal its crown jewels, then it would have a go at nabbing one of Chipzilla's partners instead. The problem is that AMD did not know that Intel had already given up on Seamicro's technology, which was one of the reasons it was talking to Cray. 

Cray on the other hand is the real winner.  It can still use its existing technology and access to improvements and new technologies developed by Intel which it does not have to pay for. But from AMD's point of view any changes that are made will be Chipzilla friendly and might not work with its designs.  Effectively it loses Cray as its supercomputer partner.

AMD appears to be shrugging and saying that they don't make enough from HPC to be too stressed about it.  But it seems to have forgotten that a big HPC win has a marketing knock on effect on high performance servers.

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