As a pesky underdog, AMD challenged Intel in chip innovation until the mid-2000s. AMD churned out innovations like dual-core and 64-bit chips, which kept Intel on its toes.

But some disastrous technological and management decisions cost AMD dearly, and over time, buyers began to consider its processors inferior to Intel’s chips. Intel ran away with PC and server chip market share.

AMD now is looking to rally its dwindling fan base with a series of Zen-based chips this year for desktops, servers, and laptops. The hyped-up Zen chips are expected to be good, and even Intel readily acknowledges the stiff competition coming its way.

AMD promises that Zen chips will deliver a 40 percent improvement in instructions per cycle, an important metric for chip performance. That number is impressive, considering most chips based on a new architecture have typically boasted CPU improvements of up to 20 percent.

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