AMD Gives a Glimpse of the Future at the CNE 2022

AMD Gives A Glimpse of the future at the CNE 2022

AMD is long known for being one of the leaders when it comes to GPU and CPU technology. They lead the world in delivering some of the most exciting and most powerful components you can use to build your new gaming PC, and even have a home in many of the consoles we all use today. From the Xbox Series X to the PlayStation 5, if you love gaming, chances are you have used something powered by AMD.

While they can be found in tech worldwide, they have a major home in Toronto, where they are one of the leaders in tech hires, and work on some of the latest graphics. With such a strong presence in the GTA, it is no wonder AMD has teamed up with the CNE to bring some of these achievements to the public thanks to their Gaming Garage.

AMD has worked with the public in many ways, thanks to their ExtravaLANza series of tournaments in years past, and even the past Gaming Garage they have held at the CNE. This year they are looking to do things a little differently. Beyond the standard tournaments and showcases, they have more for the public to see and do, with a wide array of systems and computers ready to be tested out. If this were not enough, AMD has extended its Gaming Garage to run for a full 18 days at the CNE, and has a much larger space to give people more ways to see all team red has to show.

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Senior Vice President of AMD Andrej Zdravkovic was on site for the opening CNE media day, taking some time with CGMagazine to discuss everything AMD has in store for 2022. Sitting in the little lounge in the centre of the Gaming Garage, Andrej discussed the future of AMD, the plans for Radeon and the Ryzen range of CPU’s along with diving into what makes this year’s showcase so exciting for everyone, even people who don’t currently game.

CGMagazine: To start things off, could you talk a bit about what AMD is doing with the Gaming Garage, and what they are hoping to achieve by doing so?

Andrej Zdravkovic: Gaming Garage is all about bringing technology to anybody who visits the CNE.  The idea is that we bring it to a very basic popular level. We show what high-end computing can be with some very expensive machines that very few of us can afford, but then we also have a very reasonable set of setups that everybody can try and play, so they can learn about gaming. [People that visit] can also learn about the different kinds of good screens, good graphics cards, good CPUs, and we have many volunteers here who will actually help them understand that.  

AMD will also be running a number of workshops, where we are going to discuss how to build a PC, what are the components, what is important in a PC and what are the things that really do not matter. Beyond this we hope to have some very cool-looking hardware for the young kids who come and check out the Gaming Garage as well.  We have one machine here that looks like a complete beast that is a must-see. I hope that everybody that comes can see everything AMD has to show for this year’s Gaming Garage.

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CGMagazine: I see you have a section that says Minecraft, was that a specific thought to have children involved or just anybody? 

Andrej Zdravkovic: Well, it is anybody, but the way I see CNE, this is sometimes grandparents taking their grandchildren to see what the CNE is all about.  So, sometimes there is this skipping generation of visitors, and these young kids will be able to teach their grandparents what Minecraft is all about and Minecraft and games like that, they actually build a lot of spatial skills for kids. 

So, we really want to push that, we want kids to not be afraid of technology, and not all the kids from the world are privileged.  We actually do a lot of community outreach to help the kids in either less privileged areas or to get to the technology.  There are a number of groups that we work with to actually make that happen.

CGMagazine: You mention you have a lot going on with the AMD Gaming Garage, could you expand on that?

Andrej Zdravkovic: Yes, so we have a number of different tournaments.  There are four popular games that will be used for the Esports tournaments, and these are the real Esports tournaments where the teams of people who do this professionally, or semi-professionally. They come and play for the trophies and the rewards, but we want to turn it on the head a little for this year’s AMD Gaming Garage.  

We have a tournament for professional teams, against the students that work in AMD today.  So, we will see who wins.  Then the free play is we use all these machines during the week to let anyone enjoy during any free time. This is for people who walk in here to sit at a computer and try any of these games that are loaded over there, and we help with some instructions if it is needed.

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CGMagazine: What kind of games are you using to test out those systems?  What are you showing off?

Andrej Zdravkovic: Well, it is what we have today, the most popular game on display today was Valorant.  That was the number one right now.  Then League of Legends, an old game, extremely very popular came to be the second.  We do Halo Infinite as well.  So, we use all the popular games. 

Lots of the team here that is actually working the setup are the teams that are specializing in the quality of our systems. They are usually seeing the end product and making sure that what we put out to the public for sale is, of course, flawless.  So, they are making sure the same is true for all the computers on site here.

CGMagazine: With 2022 being such an exciting year for AMD with the new CPU launches, along with many things in the pipeline, how does it feel to be a part of the company, and what is the future looking like at AMD?

Andrej Zdravkovic: Well, AMD is an absolutely phenomenal company to be with. AMD Canada specifically is one of the best employers in the city and GTA for sure, but when you look at AMD, we are the company that offers a full gamut of these fantastic products.  Currently, more gamers play on Radeon products than on anything else combined because people usually forget that all the consoles so far are AMD, that all the fantastic graphics products we have and even some phones these days are powered by AMD as well.  

When you put that all together, we are the only company in the world that can offer an end-to-end AMD solution.  So, you put the main components in any computer, our CPU or central processing unit and GPU, Graphics Processing Unit, we excel in these two. Putting these two together, we also created many years ago a new category that we call APU, which becomes a chip for usually mobile computers that puts this technology together and drives the AMD world forward.

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CGMagazine: How does AMD stand on the professional side of things, for video editors, things like that?  What are your products like on the business side and what sort of things differ when compared to what consumers find at their local computer store?

Andrej Zdravkovic: Well, on the graphics side we have a line that we call Radeon PRO, it’s painted blue rather than the standard Radeon red, and that line is powering the graphics stand-in products.  Also with our CPUs, our Zen CPUs, most of the workstations today are actually grabbing that power of the multiple cores in our Zen CPUs.  The last CNE we were trying to show those systems, but we figured out it was a little too advanced for most of the people that come through the Gaming Garage.

While the products can be daunting, we actually offer our products in a virtualized environment.  So, that is a situation where graphics cards actually sit in a server somewhere, and you can log in from your basic machine and get the power of AMD professional graphics remotely.  So, these are the things that drive the technology forward, and we are the pioneers in that type of technology.

CGMagazine: The other thing I wanted to ask is if you are talking a lot about the future, what should we watch out for from the future of AMD? 

Andrej Zdravkovic: Well, there are many interesting products coming, and just watch for that for sure, but I think AMD strives to be the company that is going to provide the best computing experience.  So, right now that is a fusion.  It is a fusion of CPU, it is a fusion of graphics, but it is a fusion of machine learning as well, and artificial intelligence.  So, putting that all together, we have embarked on a new journey, a journey that we call pervasive AI which is going to make everything that we are fantastic at doing together in this new vision of how we master the world of artificial intelligence along with that.

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