Yesterday, AMD had its first monetary analyst day in a number of years. These occasions are vital for a number of causes, not least of which is as a result of they provide buyers and lovers a cohesive image of the place AMD is and the place it hopes to go. Not like different press occasions, which are typically targeted on a single product or product household, analyst days are broader and canopy a wider vary of matters.
AMD shared quite a lot of materials at this occasion, and it was simply essentially the most optimistic report the corporate has given in years. There’s good motive for that. Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7 have been extremely profitable, the PS4 Professional refresh is in-market, Microsoft’s Undertaking Scorpio is transferring in direction of a vacation launch, and there’s a brand new high-end Ryzen challenger transferring into play this summer season. I’ve already shared ideas on a number of particular AMD initiatives, so I’m going to spherical up among the different materials right here, and share some ideas total.
AMD is seeking to reclaim misplaced market share
Vega and Ryzen characteristic closely in AMD’s plans to compete throughout the desktop and cellular area. To-date, we’ve solely seen Polaris and the Ryzen 5 and seven households, however AMD has greater plans. The slideshow under steps by means of AMD’s total analysis of its Whole Addressable Market (TAM) within the PC area, and the way Ryzen is anticipated to alter it.
For those who’ve flipped by means of the slideshow, you’ll have observed that AMD is making some potent claims about its future APU efficiency. Particularly, AMD is claiming it will probably ship 50 p.c extra CPU efficiency, 40 p.c extra GPU efficiency, and a 50 p.c discount in energy consumption, because of a mixture of higher CPU effectivity, 14nm enhancements relative to its older 28nm course of, and the elevated effectivity and efficiency per watt of its new Vega GPU core.
Clearly we’ll must see delivery to guage these claims, however all of them go the sniff take a look at. Simply transferring to 14nm would have given AMD a major enchancment over 28nm, and the Ryzen CPU cores is vastly extra energy environment friendly than the previous Excavator core. The scenario is slightly completely different on the GPU aspect, the place we anticipate that a lot of the efficiency enhancements are seemingly delivered by improved reminiscence bandwidth. On-die GPUs are nearly all the time memory-bandwidth restricted, and a shift to DDR4-3200 would give the GPU core way more bandwidth than the DDR3-2133 that Kaveri sometimes used. We don’t know precisely which seventh technology APU configuration AMD was evaluating in opposition to, however nothing right here appears unusually odd.
Vega’s Kind-Of Debut
As for Vega, AMD did certainly demo and promise model of its high-end GPU could be in market by the top of June, however the GPU it showcased — the Radeon Vega Frontier Version — can also be explicitly geared toward content material creators, engineers, and HPC workloads. It’s supposedly quicker than Nvidia P100 in a single benchmark (DeepBench, a take a look at I’m not aware of and haven’t evaluated).
The Radeon Vega Frontier Version affords 1.5x extra single-precision floating level efficiency than Fury X (13 TFLOPS vs eight.6 TFLOPS) and 3x the FP16 efficiency. Tempting because it may be, we don’t suggest making any comparisons between AMD and NV playing cards primarily based on TFLOPS efficiency. Not solely is it a theoretical metric, it’s solely helpful for evaluating GPU efficiency between playing cards in the identical household (and solely barely helpful there).
Vega’s shopper iteration was conspicuous by its absence, however we’ve heard extra data on that subject is coming within the not-too-distant future.
AMD is (almost) again
I’ve to qualify my subhead as a result of a lot of what AMD mentioned yesterday, like its upcoming server launches, deep studying initiatives, and cellular APUs haven’t launched but. As of right this moment, proper now, there are nonetheless quite a few areas the place the corporate’s fortunes are poised to enhance, even when they haven’t carried out so but.
However for the primary time in a decade, it appears like AMD is lastly pointed in the precise course. No, Zen doesn’t utterly sweep Intel, who retains a average benefit in single-threaded code. AMD’s total restoration remains to be fragile — it wants its APU, server, and high-end GPU launches to all go nicely, and future iterations of Vega and Zen must arrive on-time and with out drama.
However I agree with Patrick Moorhead, of Moor Insights and Technique, who informed me, “AMD has an amazing quantity of upside. AMD doesn’t presently function within the server market and with Epyc, they are going to do this. AMD additionally doesn’t take part within the excessive finish graphics and machine studying market and really nicely might with Vega.”
“May,” after all, doesn’t imply “will.” There are going to be loads of gimlet eyes forged in direction of AMD, which has a historical past of not delivering every thing it guarantees. However there was a time when AMD was ascendant, with a transparent management place within the multi-socket server market, a 64-bit CPU when Intel was caught on 32-bit, and industry-leading efficiency in almost each benchmark on the planet. Ryzen and Vega are one of the best probability AMD will ever need to reestablish itself as a severe participant in each computing section. To date, the corporate appears decided to realize it.