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AMD CEO Lisa Su, speaking at the 2nd generation EPYC launch in San Francisco. Photo: AMD

With Intel struggling to get to the next generation of chipmaking technology, AMD has an opportunity to gain some ground on its longtime rival.

The latest: AMD chief executive Lisa Su says that's why she wants to quickly ramp up production of the EPYC server chip, which launched this week. At the same time, she says AMD's long-term success can't be predicated on Intel's stumbles.

"I am counting on our competitor being really, really good. That just means we need to be better."
— Lisa Su

The big picture: AMD's history has been about brief moments in time where it was able to outflank Intel, but Su wants to transform the perennial also-ran into "one of the great technology growth stories."

  • "We are extraordinarily ambitious," she says. "I don’t want people to think this is a [temporary] thing."

Where it stands: At the moment, analysts say AMD is set to put a lot of pressure on Intel, including in the profitable data center business where AMD's new chips appear to outperform Intel's while costing significantly less.

  • I asked Su if she thought AMD would always have to price at a steep discount even when it can outperform Intel. She says that need not always be the strategy, but acknowledged that her company remains the underdog.
  • "What we are trying to do is make it very, very attractive for people to switch," Su adds.

Yes, but: For all its current success — and it is gaining ground on Intel — AMD recently cut its financial outlook for the year. Su blames that on lower expectations for the game console industry's performance this year.

  • "If you take out the console business, our new products are growing approximately 20% year on year," she says.
  • She adds that when the new generation of game consoles do make their debut, they will also have AMD inside, giving the company yet another boost.

Meanwhile, one area where Su has had to shift course is around China. AMD had licensed a lower performance version of its earlier technology for sale there through a joint venture, but was forced to change course amid shifts in U.S. policy.

  • "China is a big market; it’s a market that’s important for all of us in tech," Su says. "But make no mistake, we are a U.S. company. National security is priority number one. I’m really trying to find that balance."
  • The best way for the U.S. to battle China for technology leadership is to continue investing in R&D, according to Su. The U.S. has done that in the past and has plenty of engineering talent, she says.
  • "It’s a matter of deciding where you want to put that emphasis," she says. "I think that’s the key."
  • Su points to the work that AMD did with Oak Ridge National Laboratories to create Frontier, set to be the world's biggest super computer.

Go deeper: Lisa Su on building the new AMD

Go deeper

Updated 39 mins ago - Sports

Live updates: Olympics formally kick off with "sobering" opening ceremony

Naomi Osaka lights the Olympic cauldron. Photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

After a year-long delay, the Tokyo Olympics are finally underway. But this year's largely spectator-less opening ceremony is a "sobering" event focused primarily on the athletes.

The latest: The cauldron in Tokyo has been lit, formally kicking off the Olympic Games. Tennis star Naomi Osaka had the honor of carrying the Olympic torch to light the cauldron.

2 hours ago - Sports

Cleveland Indians change name to "Guardians"

The Cleveland Indians baseball team announced Friday that it will change its name to the "Guardians," following years of activism and protests against a moniker considered offensive by many Native Americans.

Why it matters: It's the first time the team will change its name since 1915, a move that comes in the wake of the nationwide racial reckoning that began with the murder of George Floyd.

2 hours ago - Health

Alabama governor: "It’s time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks"

Photo: Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

A frustrated Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) told reporters Thursday that "it's time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks, not the regular folks" for the state's continued surge in new COVID-19 cases.

Why it matters: Alabama has reported nearly 8,000 new cases of COVID-19 over the past week. It's one of the few states in the country with fewer than 40% of residents fully vaccinated against COVID-19.