SearchWinIT.com: Your job, as you describe it, is to make sure AMD and Microsoft products work together. What have you been collaborating on recently
Barry Crume: We are helping Microsoft make all their products with a clear bias toward 64-bit and dual core processors. Recently a lot of the emphasis has been on Vista and it has been exciting to have the challenge of solving some of the complexities of developing an operating system. Developing complex code takes engineers a lot of time and [a lot of testing]. Million-line code problems are tough to solve. It may have complexity on the back side, which means you need a lot of computing horsepower. But at end of day, if it is easy to understand, then we have solved the problem.
Crume: With higher bandwidth interfaces, more capable CPUs, more computer power and a certain transparency that comes with compatibility. We are trying to make something complex look easier to the user. Vista is an OS: You are not supposed to notice. It is all about this graphic experience.
What do users need to understand about hardware and chips when they're considering a Vista upgrade?
It looks like it is shaping up to be a good year for AMD. Last week, Dell said it will sell AMD Opteron Dual Core processor-based servers. This ends what many refer to as a long-running, exclusive relationship between Dell and Intel. Other analysts say it also signals the end to a Wintel alliance. Is this a new era?
Crume: It is definitely a new era for the industry and it looks like the era that preceded Intel's dominance in the chip market.
Intel is still the other major vendor in the chip space, and you will continue to compete with Intel for market share. Virtualization capabilities built into the firmware is a hot topic lately. How does AMD's virtualization technology differ from Intel's?
Crume: We might choose a different implementation of how to solve the problem, but it is all the same problem, which is how to get memory access from a guest OS into the hardware. Many people are running old software. Virtualization allows them to run old software, like Windows 98, but it's so slow.
The answer is to speed up memory and I/O access. Our virtualization support makes I/O and memory access happen more efficiently. So does our competitor. In a few weeks, by the middle of 2006, our entire product line will transition to be AMD virtualization enabled.