Chip makers form group to save power in hybrid processing tasks

Advanced Micro Devices used its developer event today to kick off a new consortium dubbed the Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA) foundation to create industry standars that enable more power efficient processing that combines tasks performed by graphics processing units (GPUs) and central processing units (CPUs).

AMD beats expectations but accounting write-off leads to a huge $590M net loss

Chip maker Advanced Micro Devices reported today that its first quarter results beat expectations, but the company had a big loss of $590 million. While AMD is very competitive with its product line-up, the results show that it’s not easy to keep waging in the unending war with Intel, the world’s biggest chip maker. Worth noting is that the loss is due not to operations but to an accounting charge.

AMD pumps extreme performance into mid-range computers with 1-gigahertz Cape Verde graphics chips

Advanced Micro Devices is rolling out new graphics chips today that will bring screaming performance to the mid-range of the gamer PC market. The new AMD Radeon HD 7700 series (code-named Cape Verde) has a lot of the same technology as AMD’s code-named Tahiti graphics chip, which debuted in December as the world’s fastest graphics chip. But the 1-gigahertz-capable 7700 chips will be built into graphics add-on cards that cost only $99 to $199.

Synaptics hires former AMD executive as CEO

Synaptics, the maker of touch pads and other input devices for computers and phones, has hired former Advanced Micro Devices executive Rick Bergman as its new chief executive.Bergman will lead Synaptics into the future of human interfaces for computers, mobile phones, and entertainment devices. Synaptics currently makes the software and sensors for touchpads, which replace the computer mouse in a laptop. Users swipe their finger across the touchpad to get a cursor to move to a different part of a laptop screen. Synaptics also makes touchscreen interfaces for tablets and smartphones.Bergman resigned from AMD last week, not long after the chip maker hired former Lenovo executive Rory Read as its new CEO. Bergman was senior vice president and general manager of the products group at AMD.Bergman, 47, succeeds Russ Knittel, who was interim CEO since October, 2010. Knittel replaced Thomas Tiernan, who served as Synaptics CEO for a little more than a year before resigning last year for personal reasons. A familiar figure to VentureBeat readers, Bergman has been a longtime executive in the graphics chip business, serving in top jobs at ATI Technologies before it was acquired in 2006 by AMD.At AMD, Bergman was responsible for delivering microprocessors and graphics chips to AMD’s customers and for Fusion, which are the combination chips that put a graphics chip and processor on a single piece of silicon. During Berman’s tenure, AMD grew its share of the graphics chip market in competition with Nvidia.Francis Lee, chairman of Synaptics and its former CEO, said that Bergman is a visionary leader who can help take Synaptics’ capactive touch technology to new markets. Before joining ATI in 2001, Bergman was the chief operating officer at S3, another early graphics firm. He was also head of marketing at Exponential (where I first met him), and he worked at Texas Instruments and IBM.

Wind could supply electrical power to portable data centers off the grid

A few years ago, creating a “data center in a box” was a novel idea. Essentially it meant loading up a big shipping container with servers, which you could then deploy just about anywhere you could get power into it. It’s an even more novel idea to put some wind-powered generators on top of the shipping containers to have them generate their own electricity.