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AMD Goes After Workstation PC Market With Ryzen Pro Chip

August 31, 2017, 1:00 PM UTC

Advanced Micro Devices continued its year of recovery on Thursday, unveiling a new line of microprocessor chips called Ryzen Pro aimed at desktop workstations.

At the same time, leading PC makers HP, Dell, and Lenovo all introduced new workstations using the Ryzen Pro. The high-end machines, which cost thousands of dollars more than a typical consumer-grade PC, are aimed at the toughest computing tasks, like encoding high-definition video, rendering 3D virtual reality scenes and calculating giant Excel spreadsheets.

So far this year, AMD has already introduced new, high-performance chips in the Ryzen line for typical desktop PCs, a chip called Epyc for corporate servers, along with a revamped graphics chip called Vega. This month, it also started selling a souped up version of Ryzen dubbed the Threadripper. The result of several years of intense development under CEO Lisa Su, the new chips are aimed at restoring AMD’s position as a strong and innovative second-place supplier behind Intel in the PC market and Nvidia in the graphic market.

“This is an incredibly pivotal year for AMD,” AMD senior vice president Jim Anderson tells Fortune. AMD, even its heyday, wasn’t much of a player in the workstation and enterprise PC market, but aims to change that this time around, he says. “Our business has always been much more heavily weighted to the consumer side rather than commercial,” he says. “It’s a key focus area for us to gain more share in the commercial segment.”

So far, the chipmaker’s big year is impressing analysts and AMD’s stock price is up 65% over the past 12 months.

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AMD says the new “Pro” chips are up to 62% faster than some Intel chips running the kinds of demanding software apps that can take advantage of multiple processing cores in a single chip. A Ryzen Pro 7 applied a complicated filter to a photo in Adobe Photoshop 40% faster than an Intel Core i7 chip and calculated large dates 25% faster in Microsoft Excel, AMD says, based on its own testing. But the new chips haven’t been tested yet by third parties, who often find manufacturers have exaggerated the gains.

Intel may have anticipated the Ryzen Pro announcement this week. On Tuesday, it released an updated line of workstation chips it called Xeon-W. Most of the new chips, which Intel says are up to 65% than its previous generation, won’t be available until the fourth quarter.

Up next from AMD will be chips for laptops that integrate a Ryzen CPU and a Vega graphics processor on the same chip. New products for consumer laptops will arrive late this year and chips for higher-performing corporate laptops in the first half of next year, according to AMD.

“We’re executing to those plans and tracking really well to that,” Anderson says. “We’ll have the latest, greatest processor core and the latest, greatest graphics core on a single device in those laptops.”