AMD woos another chip engineer away from Apple

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Another silicon expert has left Apple to work for AMD, joining a number of other engineers who have jumped to the chipmaker in recent years.

Raja Koduri
Prior to joining Apple, Raja Koduri worked at AMD. Now, he's returned once again. Photo via 4Gamers.net.


Raja Koduri, a 44-year-old engineer with expertise in graphics technology experience, has left his position at Apple to work for Advanced Micro Devices, according to Bloomberg. In his new position, he will reportedly "lead engineering efforts in visual computing."

Koduri will report directly to AMD's Chief Technology Officer Mark Papermaster, who is also a former Apple employee. Papermaster departed Apple in 2010 after he reportedly had a falling out with the company's then-CEO, Steve Jobs, in what was described as a "cultural incompatibility."

In fact, Koduri is just the latest Apple employee to leave for a position with Papermaster at AMD. Last August, it was also revealed that Jim Keller, who was a director in Apple's mobile platform architecture group for the iPhone and iPad, had also joined AMD as chief architect of its microprocessor cores.

Also now at AMD is Wayne Meretsky, who heads the company's software development efforts. Meretsky and Keller are both former employees of PA Semi, an ARM chip design firm that Apple acquired in 2008 for $278 million.

Apple's acquisition of PA Semi played a crucial role in the company's development of its own custom silicon for devices like the iPhone and iPad. Those efforts have intensified over the years, as the A6 chip found in the iPhone 5 represents the first CPU core that was completely custom-designed by Apple.

AMD's interest in Apple's chipmaking talent comes as the company apparently plans to shake up its direction and develop new processor technology, according to Bloomberg's report published on Friday. AMD Chief Executive Rory Read reportedly hopes to differentiate his company's offerings from rival CPU maker Intel by focusing on new markets outside of PCs, such as smartphones and tablets.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 19
    just_mejust_me Posts: 590member


    Apple Doom

  • Reply 2 of 19

    Wishful thinking: just setting the stage for moving CPU supply orders to AMD. 


     


    I've always thought AMD was more creative. They don't have the muscle (cough, cough anti-competitive) power of Intel but they are innovative.

  • Reply 3 of 19

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ddawson100 View Post




    Wishful thinking: just setting the stage for moving CPU supply orders to AMD. 


     


    I've always thought AMD was more creative. They don't have the muscle (cough, cough anti-competitive) power of Intel but they are innovative.



    Why would they move to AMD for CPUs? Because they want ones that are more power-hungry and less performant?

  • Reply 4 of 19
    OMG, someone in silicone valley moving to another job. Wow, that never happens.
  • Reply 5 of 19
    macbook promacbook pro Posts: 1,605member
    Why would they move to AMD for CPUs? Because they want ones that are more power-hungry and less performant?

    Perhaps, his comment about "setting the stage for moving CPU supply orders to AMD" was suggestive of his thought that AMD could resolve any issues regarding being "more power-hungry and less performant."
  • Reply 6 of 19
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,526member
    What is meant by "visual computing"?

    Serious question.
  • Reply 7 of 19
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member


    Time to sign a no poaching contract with AMD /s

  • Reply 8 of 19
    bryanlbryanl Posts: 67member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Flaneur View Post



    What is meant by "visual computing"?



    Serious question.


     


    Both Intel and AMD have projects that have similar capabilities the Microsoft Kinect, but in a smaller package and targeted at desktop or notebook usage.

  • Reply 9 of 19


    Depends how you define "performant". :) I don't really know enough to make a great argument but I consider that between AMD and Intel, AMD was first to commit to 64-bit and the first to say that clock speed wasn't the only consideration. Arguably they have other firsts (first to dedicated co-CPU for graphics, etc). But AMD is a fierce and creative competitor and Intel has always been big on raw power, IMO. I bet others here can add good stuff about AMD. Anyone?

  • Reply 10 of 19


    Work for Papermaster???? Pff, why? Jobs thought he was a hack B player and now he is disgruntled hack who is trying to save face. I feel bad for AMD.

  • Reply 11 of 19
    richard getzrichard getz Posts: 1,142member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ddawson100 View Post




    Wishful thinking: just setting the stage for moving CPU supply orders to AMD. 


     


    I've always thought AMD was more creative. They don't have the muscle (cough, cough anti-competitive) power of Intel but they are innovative.



     


    First to introduce the memory controller onto the CPU for mainstream processors. Also, were they not the first to introduce multi-cores to best Intel's higher MHz? 

  • Reply 12 of 19
    seankillseankill Posts: 559member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Richard Getz View Post


     


    First to introduce the memory controller onto the CPU for mainstream processors. Also, were they not the first to introduce multi-cores to best Intel's higher MHz? 



    I personally do not care for AMD's processors. I find they are used on cheaper computers. They are nice processors but usually need to introduce more cores to compete with intel's processors. If Apple moves to AMD and I can not see much improvement by AMD, I will switch back to windows. I love my retina 15'' with i7. Don't mind paying for what I buy. Apple is a premium product that I pay a premium price for, I'd hope to get a premium processor.


    I also prefer Nvidia, mainly due to their drivers which leads to a better personal experience.

  • Reply 13 of 19
    richard getzrichard getz Posts: 1,142member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Seankill View Post


    I personally do not care for AMD's processors. I find they are used on cheaper computers. They are nice processors but usually need to introduce more cores to compete with intel's processors. If Apple moves to AMD and I can not see much improvement by AMD, I will switch back to windows. I love my retina 15'' with i7. Don't mind paying for what I buy. Apple is a premium product that I pay a premium price for, I'd hope to get a premium processor.


    I also prefer Nvidia, mainly due to their drivers which leads to a better personal experience.



     


    Although I have never used an Intel processor prior to owning my first Mac, I can easily say that AMD has won several processor wars over their time. Their Opteron processors were a cut above the rest and really shook Intel up. It was only Intel's influence *cough* paying off OEMs *cough* that kept them number one. Even Dell eventually moved away from Intel only. Also, AMD added more cores because they could not die shrink quick enough to increase MHz as Intel was able to. AMD then took the road of adding cores and efficiency vs. raw speed. This proved to be the best solution as shown by Intel's switch to multi-core processors to then compete with AMD as they were hitting a MHz ceiling also.  


     


    If Apple was to switch to AMD processors, which I see no reason to, then Apple would have a very good reason. I thought they might before the Ax processor was introduced and now I figure Apple will introduce the Ax processor into their Mac line eventually. 

  • Reply 14 of 19
    Seriously, is Papermaster his real name? I've never heard of anyone else with that name in my life...though to be fair Jobs is also a bit unusual.

    It just sounds made up and so try hard, kind of like the way lawyers often seem to have names that make them sound strong or innovative or intelligent.

    I would love to know who and where that name was invented.
  • Reply 15 of 19

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by tundraBuggy View Post


    Work for Papermaster???? Pff, why? Jobs thought he was a hack B player



     


    Then why did he hire Papermaster in the first place ...?

  • Reply 16 of 19
    AMD likes its employees the same way it likes its eggs: poached.
  • Reply 17 of 19

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by tundraBuggy View Post


    Work for Papermaster???? Pff, why? Jobs thought he was a hack B player and now he is disgruntled hack who is trying to save face. I feel bad for AMD.




    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Beezlegrunk View Post


     


    Then why did he hire Papermaster in the first place ...?



     


    A bit harsh on the man. As far as anyone knows, he did not fit in to the corporate culture at Cupertino, that's all...


    And Apple's acquisition of PA Semi to move their chip-designing operation in-house has provided ample opportunity for other chip makers to entice surplus or frustrated ex-PA Semi talent away from Apple, talent with an insider's view of Apple's likely future requirements, especially in the light of their current drift away from major fab provider Samsung.


     


    Business and career opportunities all round...

  • Reply 18 of 19
    nikon133nikon133 Posts: 2,600member
    Raja Koduri was initially working for AMD and left for Apple back in 2009. He followed Bob Drebin and, with Jim Keller (who also worked for AMD back in the days), they are believed to be the brains behind quite amazing graphics performance latest iPhones and iPads are providing.

    Raja is back at AMD now, following Jim Keller who left Apple and returned to AMD in mid-2012.

    It is possible that Apple has built their own inhouse team of talents and don't think they really need likes of Raja and Jim any more... or Tim lacks vision and talent to keep good people under the roof. If those guys are as good as claimed, they are assets worth keeping, and Apple might be making mistake for letting them go.

    Raja diplomatically stated he is doing this for "great offer and a fear of getting too comfortable at Apple". That can be read in a few different way, one of them being that Raja didn't see opportunity for himself to climb further the corporate ladders, Apple already being huge, more "corporate" and more political than it was... but either way, I would expect Apple to put better fight to keep such talents, from that much I know of them.
  • Reply 19 of 19
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    OMG, someone in silicone valley moving to another job. Wow, that never happens.

    But it's big news because Apple lost one of its 30,000 employees. The world is coming to an end. /s
    Although I have never used an Intel processor prior to owning my first Mac, I can easily say that AMD has won several processor wars over their time. Their Opteron processors were a cut above the rest and really shook Intel up. It was only Intel's influence *cough* paying off OEMs *cough* that kept them number one. Even Dell eventually moved away from Intel only. Also, AMD added more cores because they could not die shrink quick enough to increase MHz as Intel was able to. AMD then took the road of adding cores and efficiency vs. raw speed. This proved to be the best solution as shown by Intel's switch to multi-core processors to then compete with AMD as they were hitting a MHz ceiling also.  

    While AMD has done some things that were a bit ahead of their time (incorporating the memory controller into the CPU comes to mind), it never gave them a clear lead. In general, their innovation was necessary for them to even stay in the game. There really wasn't any time when the AMD chips were significantly ahead of their Intel counterparts - and they're certainly not offering any performance or energy usage advantages today.
    If Apple was to switch to AMD processors, which I see no reason to, then Apple would have a very good reason. I thought they might before the Ax processor was introduced and now I figure Apple will introduce the Ax processor into their Mac line eventually. 

    Sure. If every single one of Intel's chip engineers leaves the company and Intel can't hire any more, then Ax might catch up with the Core series processors and become viable for the Mac line. But since that isn't likely to happen, don't hold your breath. Switching to ARM for even the cheapest MacBook Air would involve such a massive performance penalty that the product would never be accepted by the market.

    Apple is likely to expand ARM usage, but from the other end. I could picture an iPad Pro line which is essentially an iPad with keyboard. It would be targeted at the high end of the iPad market rather than the low end of the Mac market. This is essentially what Surface should have been.
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