From Ryzen APUs to Vega: Ideas on AMD’s Monetary Analyst Day

Yesterday, AMD had its first monetary analyst day in a number of years. These occasions are necessary for a number of causes, not least of which is as a result of they provide traders and lovers a cohesive image of the place AMD is and the place it hopes to go. In contrast to different press occasions, which are usually centered on a single product or product household, analyst days are broader and canopy a wider vary of subjects.

AMD shared lots of materials at this occasion, and it was simply essentially the most constructive 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 Mission Scorpio is shifting in the direction of a vacation launch, and there’s a brand new high-end Ryzen challenger shifting into play this summer time. I’ve already shared ideas on a number of particular AMD initiatives, so I’m going to spherical up a number of the different materials right here, and share some ideas total.

AMD is trying to reclaim misplaced market share

Vega and Ryzen function closely in AMD’s plans to compete throughout the desktop and cell 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 AMD’s total analysis of its Whole Addressable Market (TAM) within the PC area, and the way Ryzen is predicted to vary it.

In case you’ve flipped by the slideshow, you’ll have seen that AMD is making some potent claims about its future APU efficiency. Particularly, AMD is claiming it might probably ship 50 % extra CPU efficiency, 40 % extra GPU efficiency, and a 50 % discount in energy consumption, due to 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 have to see delivery to guage these claims, however all of them move the sniff take a look at. Simply shifting to 14nm would have given AMD a major enchancment over 28nm, and the Ryzen CPU cores is vastly extra energy environment friendly than the outdated Excavator core. The scenario is slightly completely different on the GPU facet, the place we count on that many of the efficiency enhancements are probably delivered by improved reminiscence bandwidth. On-die GPUs are nearly at all times memory-bandwidth restricted, and a shift to DDR4-3200 would give the GPU core way more bandwidth than the DDR3-2133 that Kaveri usually used. We don’t know precisely which seventh era APU configuration AMD was evaluating towards, 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 tip of June, however the GPU it showcased — the Radeon Vega Frontier Version — can also be explicitly aimed toward content material creators, engineers, and HPC workloads. It’s supposedly sooner 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 gives 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 could be, we don’t advocate making any comparisons between AMD and NV playing cards based mostly 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 info on that subject is coming within the not-too-distant future.

AMD is (practically) 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 cell APUs haven’t launched but. As of at this time, proper now, there are nonetheless various areas the place the corporate’s fortunes are poised to enhance, even when they haven’t accomplished so but.

However for the primary time in a decade, it seems like AMD is lastly pointed in the best route. No, Zen doesn’t fully 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 effectively, and future iterations of Vega and Zen have to arrive on-time and with out drama.

However I agree with Patrick Moorhead, of Moor Insights and Technique, who informed me, “AMD has an incredible quantity of upside. AMD doesn’t at present function within the server market and with Epyc, they may do this. AMD additionally doesn’t take part within the excessive finish graphics and machine studying market and really effectively might with Vega.”

“May,” in fact, doesn’t imply “will.” There are going to be loads of gimlet eyes forged in the direction of AMD, which has a historical past of not delivering all the pieces 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 practically each benchmark on the planet. Ryzen and Vega are the perfect likelihood AMD will ever should reestablish itself as a severe participant in each computing section. Up to now, the corporate appears decided to attain it.