“Among investors in Advanced Micro Devices, there is a pretty continual discussion of Apple either using AMD’s technology more broadly — Apple already uses AMD’s workstation graphics cards in the Mac Pro — or outright purchasing AMD,” Ashraf Eassa writes for The Motley Fool. “The question, then, is whether AMD would be a likely take-out candidate for Apple.”
“AMD’s core competency is in the design of CPU cores, graphics IP, and system-on-chip products that implement that IP, among others,” Eassa writes. “That said, Apple has demonstrated exceptional competency in designing its own CPU cores, as well as the system-on-chip that surrounds it. Indeed, it is arguable that Apple’s latest mobile CPU is the most advanced smartphone/tablet core in production today. However, two ‘gaps’ in Apple’s silicon capabilities to date have been the lack of communications/connectivity IP and an in-house GPU IP team. Since Apple already has hired many ex-AMD CPU engineers, there could be an argument for the graphics portion of the equation.”
“Apple already owns roughly 10% of Imagination Technologies, which is the supplier for the GPU IP in Apple’s A-series chips, as well as many other SoCs,” Eassa writes. “Picking up the rest of the company – which is valued at $877 million – would be significantly cheaper and more useful to Apple than purchasing AMD would be. Also, as Imagination is part of the AMD ‘HSA Foundation,’ buying AMD would not give Apple any ‘dibs’ on this more powerful programming paradigm.”
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