Research budget is a very relevant indicator when it comes to measuring a semi conductor company's progress, potential and current standing. Taping out wafers is expensive, extremely so, and the R&D budget is usually indicative of this fact. New research (Via Sweclockers.com) has surfaced focusing on three companies: AMD, Intel and Nvidia. The study shows that AMD's research budget is actually at record lowest while Nvidia's and Intel's are at an all time high.
Intel's R&D budget eclipses that of AMD and Nvidia combined - Blue and green at record highs
Lets start with Intel first. Blue has a quarterly budget of approximately 3 billion dollars - which is approximately 12 times as much as AMD's budget and approximately 9 times as much as Nvidia's budget. While the difference is to be expected due to the fact Intel maintains its own fabrication facility, the budget shows just how big of a difference Intel enjoys between itself and its only rival in the main x86 ecosystem.
Nvidia's R&D budget recently crossed that of red's and is now at a record high of 348 Million Dollars, while AMD's has fallen from roughly this amount to 238 Million Dollars. To put that into perspective, this level of R&D budget was first seen back in 2004, more than ten years back. The reason for that is ofcourse, brutal competition with Nvidia and constant price cuts to current products. Nvidia and AMD currently have a budget difference of almost 100 Million Dollars - a significant amount and one that will definitely have practical implications.
Since Nvidia and AMD do not need to worry about inhouse fabrication, most of the R&D spending is done on silicon and wafer design directly. The more the spending, the more chances of a better, more powerful architecture and efficient die once TSMC comes into play. To be fair, R&D budget itself doesn't lend the complete picture, R&D spending does. Theoretically speaking, it is possible for AMD to fullfill R&D costs from somewhere else - but that is admittedly a long shot. Combined with the rumor of Sasmung allegedly acquiring AMD and you have got yourself a very interesting turn of affairs.