Fortune named AMD president and CEO Lisa Su one of the most powerful women in business. Su is not only the first woman to lead the 50-year-old AMD, but also the only woman leading a major semiconductor company at the moment, and she's led AMD's resurgence in the CPU market.
Lisa Su’s Impressive Career
Su’s career started at semiconductor companies such as Texas Instruments, IBM and Freescale. She became an AMD Senior Vice President and general manager in January 2012 and was responsible for overseeing the company’s entire global operations. In the two years after that, she played a significant role in convincing Microsoft and Sony to switch to AMD’s CPUs and GPUs in the Xbox One and PS4 consoles, respectively.
Su was named AMD’s CEO in October 2014. Her plan to bring AMD back on track was to invest in the right products, streamline AMD’s existing lineups and accelerate the development of new technologies. Many analysts praised AMD for these efforts at the time, especially since the company was moving in the direction in which Su had “extensive experience.”
Su’s bet on the console market paid off. By February 2015, 40% of AMD's revenues came from console and other embedded products sales. In 2016, Su announced that the company was working on a new processor lineup (what was to become the Zen line-up of microprocessors) as well as new semi-custom chips for unannounced next-generation consoles. That same year, AMD’s stock spiked on strong earnings. It's no wonder that Fortune Magazine called Su’s work at AMD “impressive.”
Su Responsible for AMD’s Recent Rise
In 2017, AMD officially launched the new Zen architecture, as well as the consumer Ryzen processors and the Epyc server chips for data centers that were based on it. Ryzen processors showed impressive performance for a low cost compared to the company’s main competition, Intel.
The Zen architecture gave AMD the opportunity to almost fully close the gap in single-thread performance with Intel, while also offering about double the number of cores for similar pricing points. Our own review of the Ryzen 5 1600x, for instance, showed that the chip offered a "tremendous price-to-performance ratio," while at the same time keeping up (but not quite beating) Intel's much more expensive alternatives.
Fortune Magazine recently said that AMD under Su’s leadership reached a “significant inflection point” with the launch of the third-generation Zen-based processors for PCs and data center, which have “leapfrogged Intel’s best.”
Our own reviews of the Ryzen 7 3700x and Ryzen 9 3900x concluded that AMD significantly narrowed the gap with Intel in light-threaded applications, and while Intel may still dominate in lower-resolution gaming, the difference will be negligible for higher-resolution gaming. Furthermore, AMD did take the crown in heavily threaded applications thanks to improved IPC compared to previous generations and a higher number of cores and threads than the competition, also at lower price points. The latest processors have also helped AMD’s stock rise 66% compared to last year.