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 buyers and fanatics a cohesive image of the place AMD is and the place it hopes to go. Not like different press occasions, which are usually targeted on a single product or product household, analyst days are broader and canopy a wider vary of subjects.

AMD shared a whole lot of materials at this occasion, and it was simply essentially the most constructive report the corporate has given in years. There’s good purpose 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 direction of a vacation launch, and there’s a brand new high-end Ryzen challenger shifting into play this summer season. I’ve already shared ideas on a number of particular AMD tasks, so I’m going to spherical up among the different materials right here, and share some ideas general.

AMD is seeking to reclaim misplaced market share

Vega and Ryzen characteristic closely in AMD’s plans to compete throughout the desktop and cell house. To-date, we’ve solely seen Polaris and the Ryzen 5 and seven households, however AMD has larger plans. The slideshow under steps via AMD’s general analysis of its Whole Addressable Market (TAM) within the PC house, and the way Ryzen is anticipated to alter it.

If you happen to’ve flipped via the slideshow, you’ll have seen that AMD is making some potent claims about its future APU efficiency. Particularly, AMD is claiming it may well 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 transport to guage these claims, however all of them move the sniff check. 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given AMD a major enchancment over 28nm, and the Ryzen CPU cores is vastly extra energy environment friendly than the outdated Excavator core.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 state of affairs is slightly completely different on the GPU facet, the place we count on that a lot of the efficiency enhancements are possible 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 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 top 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 check I’m not conversant in and haven’t evaluated).


The Radeon Vega Frontier Version provides 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 is likely to 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 client 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 (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 a variety of 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 looks like AMD is lastly pointed in the best path. No, Zen doesn’t utterly sweep Intel, who retains a average benefit in single-threaded code. AMD’s general restoration continues to be fragile — it wants its APU, server, and high-end GPU launches to all go properly, 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 at present function within the server market and with Epyc, they’ll do this. AMD additionally doesn’t take part within the excessive finish graphics and machine studying market and really properly may with Vega.”

“Might,” 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 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 must reestablish itself as a critical participant in each computing section. Thus far, the corporate appears decided to realize it.

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