There’s no discussion is AMD having a higher headcount turnover than any of the other semiconductor industries. There isn’t a month going by without a company such as Samsung, Qualcomm, Nvidia or Intel poaching its staff.
With the return of Jim Keller, an engineering genius and probably the best CPU architect in the world, we wondered is AMD returning to its winning ways. After all, teams lead by Joe Macri, Anand Mandapati, Carrell R Killebrew, and David Wang brought us not just the APUs and GPUs, but also technologies such as the GDDR memory.
After AMD went through the perfect storm and practically captured all of the next-generation console design wins, the return of the Alpha/x86-64/A4/A5/A5x/A6 architect – the engineering team looked to be on their up again.
Thus, we were very surprised to hear news coming around 11PM California time (the authors of these lines is currently recovering from its SAN-LAX-FRA-ZAG intercon flight) that Anand Mandapati and David Wang both resigned from Advanced Micro Devices.
Anand is widely regarded as the key Engineering Director in the industry. His team was responsible for the numerous console GPU designs, such as the ATI Flipper (GameCube) or ATI Hollywood (Wii), ATI Xenos (Xbox 360) and probably only recently finished work on GPUs for the next-gen Wii U, Xbox 4 and PlayStation 4. While Nintendo Wii U is a confirmed design win, other two are rumored.
David Wang served as the Corporate Vice President in charge of all design engineering departments, overseeing all SOC products that are coming from AMD – CPU, GPU, APUs for console, desktop, mobile, server and workstation markets. At Silicon Graphics, David worked on the next-gen GPU chipset from SGI and left before that chipset came to market and got demolished by 1st gen Nvidia Quadro (based on NV10, GeForce 256 architecture). Just like David Orton, David Wang was one of co-founders of ArtX after a group of engineers saw the writing on the wall and decided to leave Silicon Graphics for their own thing. ArtX’s own chip, Flipper and subsequent chipset for desktop/mobile laid groundwork for AMD of today, who was only manufacturing CPUs at the time.
Both Anand and David are industry veterans from the dawn of modern graphics, working at ArtX on chips for the next-gen Nintendo console. In February of 2000, ATI Technologies acquired ArtX, laying foundation for its chipset and console GPU business. The team worked on all key releases, such as the R300 GPU in 2002, which served as the key ingredient leading to ATI winning the Microsoft Xbox 360 with its R500 e.g. Xenos GPU architecture
Destinations of these Top 0.1% engineers are not know, but we were lead to believe that both industry veterans wanted to take serious time off, after spending more than a decade with the company (ArtX, ATI Technologies and then AMD). We wish them all the best in their future endeavors. We have also contacted AMD PR department for the official statement and will amend the story after we receive it.