AMD's greatest strength is to innovate and evolve by continuously bringing a number of industry firsts to the table. Over its 46-year history, AMD has achieved a number of significant, often seminal, milestones in the fields of architecture and silicon advancement.
Even as far back as 1970, a year after the company's formation, AMD released the proprietary, in-house-designed AM2501 logic counter that was very successful at that time. That was followed up by the AM2505, its best-selling product of 1971.
AMD's rise was swift enough to enable full-year sales to exceed $100m in 1978, or less than 10 years after formation.
Appreciating that the x86 instruction-set architecture was the way forward for the PC space, AMD released the K5 series in 1996 - the first in-house model - and it gained significant traction as a genuinely viable alternative to the Intel stranglehold on the market.
Pushing the boundaries of what was possible at the time, through excellence in architecture scaling and the latest manufacturing techniques, AMD released the first 1GHz-clocked processor in 2000. This AMD Athlon, dubbed Thunderbird, was the fastest consumer processor at the turn of the millennium.
The company understood that winds of change would sweep through the PC industry and would thus require more parallel execution rather than super-high clock speeds alone. This is why, in 2003, AMD introduced the 64-bit instruction-set processor, designed to meet the growing needs of more computation resource. Hand in hand, a year later, another world first was accomplished by the release of a dual-core processor.
Remember that what enthusiasts take for granted today - multi-core processors running 64-bit code - was first brought to market by AMD, who remains ahead of the curve as far as technology design and implementation is concerned.
AMD was also the first to see potential in combining the CPU and GPU on to one chip. Dubbed Accelerated Processing Units (APU), it is testament to AMD being on the vanguard of technology that arch rival Intel has now effectively taken the same tack with its latest processors. It is not unreasonable to say that AMD has changed the PC landscape through successive technology and product firsts.
More recent innovation has centred on the Radeon line of GPU products born from the acquisition of visual leader ATI in 2006. These Radeon GPUs now power all of the latest gaming consoles, are found in all-on-one APUs and, in mid-2016, offers the most potent mix of performance and value through the forward-looking Polaris-architecture products.
The next iteration of true technology innovation will come from AMD in early 2017 with its much-anticipated Zen CPU architecture. Promising huge gains in performance over the incumbent and therefore an ideal fit from low-power laptops to high-end servers, Zen seeks to replicate the industry-leading performance of AMD chips from yesteryear.
With widespread implementation in consoles and value-for-money GPUs on the desktop through to potentially ground-breaking performance from the upcoming Zen CPU architecture, AMD, the only company with real expertise in both CPU and GPU, is set fair to enjoy a stellar 2017.