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Data Sheet—AMD’s New Ammo in Battle Against Intel

August 31, 2017, 1:13 PM UTC

Another day, another stunning microprocessor announcement. Good morning, Aaron in for Adam.

Advanced Micro Devices is unveiling its Ryzen Pro line of CPU chips today in an industry that seems to be trying to set a world record for segmenting its customers. AMD says the new chips, which are aimed at high-performance desktop workstations, are “up to 62%” faster than “select competing products” at tasks like encoding video and rendering 3-D pictures.

Of course, Intel announced its own line of revamped workstation CPUs, called the Xeon W series, just on Tuesday. And that’s no coincidence. The two chip makers have been slugging it out with dueling debuts all year long.

AMD started with the basic Ryzen CPU line for desktops, then brought forth its Epyc chip for servers, followed by a souped-up super Ryzen called Threadripper, then a graphics chip called Vega and now the Ryzen Pro. Still to come are laptop chips that combine Ryzen and Vega. All are the fruits of several years of crash development under CEO Lisa Su to restore AMD to its former glory as a strong and innovative #2 supplier in the PC market.

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Intel has chosen to compete by going tit-for-tat, matching every announcement from AMD with one of its own, but usually with a longer delay until its chips reach market. AMD’s Threadripper that went on sale this month has 16 cores? A new Core i9 Extreme Edition from Intel will have 18 cores, but won’t arrive until October. Tuesday’s spec-release by Intel of its W-series, which won’t arrive until the fourth quarter, had some observers complaining all the company had done was repackage some of its Xeon server chips in new boxes.

“Significant work was done to redo the box art to add a -W to the mix and put the word workstation on too, it is longer than server so many marketing dollars were spent,” the chip news site Semiaccurate opined. “Luckily for humanity the job was accomplished with minimal loss of life.”

In the end, the revived competition will be good for all of us. We get more computing power at a lower cost sooner. But that doesn’t mean every new release is a game changer.

Aaron Pressman
@ampressman
aaron.pressman@fortune.com

NEWSWORTHY

Doesn't look good. The New America Foundation, a think tank that receives significant funding from Google, ousted Barry Lynn, one of its scholars who had become an influential critic of the search giant. But president Anne-Marie Slaughter called the claim that Google was behind the firing "absolutely false."

Many balls in the air. So much Uber news, so little space. New CEO Dara Khosrowshahi addressed employees and said he wants to take the company public in 18 to 36 months. In Delaware, a judge ruled Uber investor Benchmark's lawsuit against former CEO Travis Kalanick will have to go to arbitration. Meanwhile Expedia promoted its CFO, Mark Okerstrom, to replace Khosrowshahi.

Privacy misstep. Essential, the new phone and gadget company started by Android founder Andy Rubin, accidentally sent personal information from the drivers licenses of 70 customers to other customers via email. Rubin took responsibility and apologized in a blog post.

Taking our ball to play somewhere else. More than a dozen Apple engineers who were working on self-driving car technology have jumped ship to autonomous vehicle startup Zoox, Bloomberg reported. The engineers were largely sidelined when Apple decided to scale back its auto ambitions.

Burned by fakes. Supposed eclipse viewing glasses that lacked true eye protection were a serious problem on Amazon.com for a short time. Now some people who were hoodwinked and suffered damage to their vision are suing the e-commerce giant. Amazon said it emailed customers to recall the counterfeit products starting on August 10, but the plaintiffs say they never got the message.

Not good enough. Cloud storage provider Box reported revenue growth for the rest of the year less than analysts expected. While revenue increased 28% to $123 million in the most recent quarter, the company forecast full year revenue of as little as $503 million versus analysts average expectation of $506 million. Shares of Box were down 5% in premarket trading on Thursday.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

The Internet of things is supposed to bring computing smarts to regular old, everyday stuff like thermostats, refrigerators, and door locks. But a lot of the supposedly smarter devices are turning out to be security nightmares. Andy Greenberg at Wired delves into one IoT security disaster involving a flawed hotel door locking system.

He profiles Andy Cashatt, a drug addict who went on a hotel room crime spree that ran from Arizona to Tennessee all exploiting the same security flaw. Amazingly–or perhaps not–the company that made the locks, Onity, couldn't upgrade the product to eliminate the threat.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

More Banks Join UBS-Led Blockchain Scheme to Speed Up Settlements by David Meyer

Nest Doesn’t Want You to Notice Its New Smart Thermostat by Don Reisinger

Instagram Just Revealed That Hackers Infiltrated ‘High-Profile’ Accounts by Jonathan Vanian

Exclusive: Sequoia Capital is Running a Mentorship Program for Hundreds of Silicon Valley Women by Michal Lev-Ram

Smartwatches and Fitness Trackers Struggling to Attract New Buyers by Aaron Pressman

Walmart Taps Nvidia for Massive Cloud to Take on Amazon by Barb Darrow

Instagram’s Plastic Surgeons Might Not Be All That They Seem by Natasha Bach

BEFORE YOU GO

I am so sick of movie trailers that give away too many plot twists, so I tend to avoid watching them for films I really want to see, like the upcoming Star Wars chapter, The Last Jedi. Germain Lussier has a great bit on io9.com, crowing that we have just enough teases, leaks and hints to get excited about the movie without any real spoilers.

They’re just perfect little nuggets of information that work to spark our imaginations instead of telling us something that specifically happens in the film. It’s like having a few pieces to a puzzle, but no idea how to put them together because we don’t know what the final image is going to be.

This edition of Data Sheet was curated by Aaron Pressman. Find past issues, and sign up for other Fortune newsletters.