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Definition: AMD

(Advanced Micro Devices, Inc., Sunnyvale, CA, www.amd.com) A major manufacturer of semiconductor devices including x86-compatible CPUs, embedded processors, flash memories, programmable logic devices and networking chips. Founded in 1969 by Jerry Sanders and seven friends, AMD's first product was a 4-bit shift register. During the 1970s, it entered the memory business, and after reverse engineering the popular 8080 CPU, the microprocessor market as well.

Throughout the 1980s, AMD was a second-source supplier of Intel x86 CPUs, but in 1991, it introduced the 386-compatible Am386, an AMD-architected chip. With its own chip designs, AMD began to compete directly with Intel. Two years later, the Am486 was introduced, followed throughout the 1990s by the K5, K6 and Athlon families. In 2000, AMD introduced its value line of Duron chips, which were superseded by Sempron in 2004. All AMD-designed chips have been noted for their cool-running, innovative architectures.

In 2003, AMD debuted the Opteron for servers and high-end workstations, the first 64-bit x86-compatible CPU on the market. Opterons were followed by 64-bit Athlon chips for the desktop, and Microsoft announced support for the 64-bit extensions. Over the years, numerous PC vendors, both small and large, have successfully used millions of AMD's CPU chips in their PCs.

In 2009, AMD spun off its chip manufacturing into Globalfoundries, a separate Silicon Valley company making chips for AMD as well as others. See Opteron, Athlon, AMD64, Duron, Sempron, Geode, K5, K6, Am486 and Am386.