NEW YORK, NY – AMD’s CEO, Dr. Lisa Su, outlined a multi-year strategy designed to return the company to profitability and growth at today’s AMD 2015 Financial Analyst Day at the Nasdaq MarketSite studio in New York City.
The embattled company is a little over seven months into Su’s leadership role and is attempting what can only be called a “breakout” from the constraints of being locked into the number two position in the deflating PC market segment.
IP and Core Technology Updates
AMD showcased a number of new items at the event, including details on its next-generation 64-bit x86 and ARM processor cores, future graphics cores expected to deliver a 2x performance-per-watt improvement compared to current generation offerings, and modular design methodology that reduces system-on-chip (SoC) development costs and accelerates time to market.
Technology-related announcements include:
• Development of a brand new x86 processor core codenamed “Zen,” expected to drive AMD’s re-entry into high-performance desktop and server markets through improved instructions per clock of up to 40 percent, compared to AMD’s current x86 processor core. “Zen” will also feature simultaneous multi-threading (SMT) for higher throughput and a new cache subsystem.
• Updates on the company’s first custom 64-bit ARM core the “K12”. These enterprise-class 64-bit ARM cores are designed for efficiency and are ideally suited for server and embedded workloads.
• AMD’s plans to extend its graphics technology to the first high-performance graphics processing unit (GPU) featuring die stacked High Bandwidth Memory (HBM) using a 2.5D silicon interposer design. AMD plans to introduce this packaging in the second half of the year with its latest GPU.
Computing and Graphics Segment Updates
Additionally, AMD announced updates to its Computing and Graphics (CG) product roadmaps for accelerated processing unit (APU), central processing unit (CPU), and GPU products planned for introduction in 2016 and beyond. The upcoming products address key customer priorities, including increased performance, longer battery life, and improved energy efficiency. AMD also provided further details and publicly demonstrated its 6th Generation A-Series APU, formerly codenamed “Carrizo,” as well as its next-generation GPU offerings launching in the coming months.
AMD’s updated CG product roadmap includes:
• New AMD FX CPUs based on the “Zen” core and built using FinFET process technology. Featuring high core counts with SMT for high throughput and DDR4 compatibility, these CPUs will share the AM4 socket infrastructure with AMD’s 2016 Desktop APUs.
• 7th Generation AMD APUs will enable a discrete-level GPU gaming experience and full HSA performance in the FP4 Ultrathin Mobile Infrastructure.
• Future generations of high-performance GPUs will be based on FinFET process technology, which will contribute to a doubling of performance-per-watt. These cutting-edge discrete graphics will include second generation HBM technology.
Enterprise, Embedded, and Semi-Custom Segment Updates
AMD laid out a long-term strategy for its Enterprise, Embedded and Semi-Custom Business Group (EESC) to grow across a number of high-priority markets based on leveraging high-performance CPU and GPU cores that allow customers to build differentiated solutions. The near-term will bring continued focus on enabling scalable, semi-custom solutions and growth in the embedded pipeline. Looking ahead, next-generation “Zen” and “K12” cores will bring high performance to the datacenter, a space where AMD plans to regain share with a portfolio that includes x86 and ARM processors, increased power efficiency, and a renewed presence in the high-performance x86 server market.
“AMD’s high-performance IP, efficient modular design methodology, and evolved semi-custom business model will fuel strong growth opportunities across multiple markets,” said Forrest Norrod (a recent AMD hire formerly general manager of Dell’s Data Center Solutions), senior vice president and general manager, EESC. “In addition to driving sustained growth in our semi-custom and embedded businesses, we’re reaffirming our commitment to high-performance server computing based on our strong set of new product offerings.”
AMD’s EESC roadmap details include:
• Next-generation AMD Opteron™ processors, based on the “Zen” core targeting mainstream servers that will enable a broad spectrum of workloads with significant increases in I/O and memory capacity.
• Building off of the expected availability of “Seattle”-based systems later this year, AMD detailed plans for its next-generation ARM processors featuring the upcoming “K12” core.
• AMD also provided a glimpse into its new high-performance APU targeting HPC and workstation markets that is intended to deliver massive improvements to vector applications with scale-up graphics performance, HSA enablement, and optimized memory architecture.
AMD under Lisa Su is just now beginning to find its footing. The company is in dire need of an all-around “morale lift” to gain traction – this includes customers, employees and investors alike. In many respects the company committed the same mistake as did Intel in refusing to acknowledge the full impact their absence from mobile market would have on their future earnings. They are still in recovery mode from that mistake.
Another troubling factor is their misjudgment of the amount of time required to successfully penetrate the x86 dominated server segment with their 64-bit ARM based “Seattle” processors and ambidextrous plan. In fact, a fair number of those in the analyst community completely misjudged this call. Time has now nearly corrected this error – with the introduction of the “Zen” series AMD is once again preparing to reenter the x 86 server market as a player.
The company announced the use of High Bandwidth Memory (HBM) with their GPUs and plans product shipments in the second half of this year placing AMD 6 months ahead of Nvidia.
AMD was a lead proponent of the HBM JEDEC standard. Sources indicate AMD will be using HBM memories in a wide range of future CPU, APU and GPU product designs – dramatically increasing performance while keeping a lid on power.
AMD appears to be betting on the PC market from an advanced performance viewpoint, addressing the ever increasing demands of virtual reality, 4K screens and real-time gaming – something the power user community can appreciate. The company’s segue back into the low-end and mid-range server market with the aptly named “Zen” cores – something that has been obvious to their Asian customer base for an eternity.
Will AMD execute this time around?…,