In a week full of video game news — thanks to E3 2017 — Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMD) managed to get some time in the spotlight.
The company is partnering with Dell Inc.’s Alienware gaming PC division for the launch of its powerful new Ryzen Threadripper CPUs.
Through the end of 2017, Alienware PCs will be the only computers from major manufacturers to feature a Threadripper inside.
What Is Ryzen Threadripper?
Ryzen is AMD’s latest generation of computer CPUs. The company competes with Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) to supply X86 processors for PCs. Intel has a huge lead there, but has begun slowing down its pace of innovation.
AMD sees this as an opportunity, and its Ryzen CPUs feature a new Zen architecture and an emphasis on multi-core, multi-thread performance. As a result, AMD is claiming up to 52% performance improvements in its Ryzen CPUs compared to the previous generation.
Threadripper is the ultra-high performance version of the Ryzen CPU. It’s designed for PCs that place huge demands on processing power, including gaming PCs.
Ryzen Threadripper is offered in 12-core, 16-core and 18-core configurations. The flagship Threadripper (16-core, 32-thread version) will compete with Intel’s Core i9 CPU.
Why Alienware’s Move Matters
In Dell’s press release announcing its partnership with AMD, Dell revealed OEM exclusivity for Ryzen Threadripper CPU through 2017. There are several reasons why Alienware’s exclusivity matters.
Dell’s gaming PC division is one of the most well-known brands in this market. Even though the company will still offer its customers Intel options, the fact that Alienware grabbed the exclusive rights to offer AMD’s Ryzen Threadripper CPUs for 2017 is making PC buyers take notice.
So not only does AMD get publicity for the rest of its Ryzen CPUs (if they’re good enough for Alienware, they must be pretty good in general), Threadripper gets a high-profile shot at the lucrative gaming PC market.
While computer sales in general have been in a long slide, gaming PCs are increasingly popular, with the market for gaming PC hardware exceeding $30 billion last year.
Pricing hasn’t officially been announced yet, but Alienware’s Area 51 Threadripper Edition gaming PC (which will be released July 27) is expected to sell for somewhere in the $5,000 range.
AMD Threadripper Continues the Ryzen Push
So far, 2017 has been a huge year for Advanced Micro Devices Inc.: The company is launching a big push against Intel on the CPU side of its business, and against Nvidia Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA) on the graphics side.
Its new Ryzen CPUs have received a largely positive reception as they’ve rolled out, offering a big improvement over previous generation chips and emphasizing multi-thread performance for high-demand tasks like VR. Intel meanwhile released a 7th generation of its Core CPUs with relatively modest gains.
AMD’s new Vega architecture graphics cards are also building buzz, and this week the company also made headlines as the muscle behind Microsoft Corporation’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) new Xbox One X — the world’s most powerful game console.
The launch of AMD’s new Ryzen Threadripper CPUs — combined with the Alienware launch exclusive — continues the Ryzen parade. The association with Alienware won’t just boost AMD’s processor profile among PC owners, it’s likely to boost recognition of its graphics card business as well.
As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.