Subject: Processors | April 25, 2018 - 09:45 PM | Josh Walrath
Tagged: Zen+, Vega, TSMC, ryzen, Results, Q1 2018, Polaris, GLOBALFOUNDRIES, financials, amd, 7nm, 12nm
Today AMD announced their latest financial results for Q1 2018. We expected it to be a good quarter with their guidance earlier this year, but I doubt many thought it would be as strong as it turned out to be. AMD posted revenue of $1.65 billion with a net income of $81 million. This is up from the expected $1.57 billion that analysts expected from what is typically a slow quarter. This is up 40% from Q1 2017 and its $1.18 billion and up 23% from Q4 2017.
There are multiple reasons behind this revenue growth. The compute and graphics segment lead the way with $1.12B of revenue. The entire year of 2017 AMD had released parts seemingly nonstop since March and the introduction of Ryzen. Q1 continued this trend with the release of the first Ryzen APUs with Vega Graphics introducing the 2000 series. AMD also ramped up production of the newly released Zen+ Ryzen chips and started shipping those out to retailers and partners alike. Initial mobile Ryzen parts were also introduced and shipped with SKUs being also shipped to partners who have yet to announce and release products based on these chips. Finally the strength of the Radeon graphics chips in both gaming and blockchain applications allowed them a tremendous amount of sellthrough throughout 2017 and into 2018. AMD estimates that 10% of the quarter was due to blockchain demand.
Enterprise, Embedded, and Semi-Custom had a revenue of $532 million, which is lower than most analysts expected. Semi-Custom in particular has seen a decline over the past few quarters with the release and saturation of the market of the latest console platforms utilizing AMD designed chips. It appears as though much of the contract is front loaded in terms of revenue with royalties tapering off over time as sales decrease. AMD did have some significant wins, namely providing Intel with Vega based GPUs to be integrated with Intel’s Kaby Lake-G based units. These declines were offset by the shipment of EPYC based processors that are slowly ramping and being shipped to partners to be integrated into server platforms later this year. We have seen a handful of wins from companies like Dell EMC, but AMD is still slowly re-entering the market that they were forced to abandon with their previous, outdated Opteron products. AMD expects to reach mid-single digit marketshare during 2019, but for now they are just getting off the ground with this platform.
The company is not standing still or resting on their laurels after the successful and heralded launch of the latest Ryzen 2000 series chips based on the Zen+ architecture. It is aggressively ramping their mobile chips featuring the Zen/Vega combination and have some 25 product wins being released throughout late spring and summer. Overall partners have some 60 products either shipping or will ship later this year featuring Ryzen based CPUs.
There is some fear that AMD will see its GPU sales throughput be impacted by the recent drop of cryptocurrency value. Several years back with the Bitcoin crash we saw a tremendous amount of secondhand product being sold and GPU revenues for the company tanked. AMD is a bit more optimistic about the upcoming quarter as they expect the current cryptocurrency/blockchain market is much more robust and people will be holding onto these cards to mine other products/workloads rather than drop them on eBay. My thought here is that we will see a rise in cards available on the secondary/used market, but quite a bit might be offset by latent gaming demand that has been held back due the outrageous prices of GPUs over the past year. People that have been waiting for prices to get back to MSRP or below will then buy. This could be further enhanced if memory prices start to drop, providing more affordable DDR4 and flash for SSDs.
The company is also forging ahead with advanced process technology. They have recently received silicon back from TSMC’s 7nm process and it looks to be a Vega based product. The rumor surrounding this is that it will be more of a compute platform initially rather than gaming oriented. Later this year AMD expects to receive new EPYC silicon, but it looks as though this will be from GLOBALFOUNDRIES 7nm process. AMD wants to be flexible in terms of manufacturing, but they have a long history with GLOBALFOUNDRIES when it comes to CPU production. The two companies work closely together to make sure the process and CPU design match up as cleanly as possible to allow products such as Zen to reach market successfully. The GPU arm is obviously more flexible here as they have a history with multiple foundry partners throughout the past two decades.
AMD has set an aggressive, but achievable, timetable of product releases that is initially focusing on the CPU side but would logically be transitioning to the GPU side. Zen+ is out on time and has met with acclaim from consumers and reviewers alike. The latest GPU products are comparable in performance to what NVIDIA has to offer, though they are less power efficient for that level of performance. The “pipecleaner” Vega on 7nm will pave the way towards Navi based products that look to be introduced next year. AMD could possibly refresh Vega on 12nm, but so far there has been no concrete information that such a product exists. They may very well continue to rely on current Polaris and Vega products throughout the rest of this year while focusing on Navi efforts to have a more competitive part come 2019.
Q2 2018 looks to be another successful quarter for AMD. The company’s outlook calls for revenue in the $1.725 billion range, plus or minus $50 million. AMD expects continued growth in all Ryzen product lines and greater throughput of EPYC based products as companies test and release products based on that platform. The GPU market could remain flat, but will most likely decline. That decline will be more than covered by the sell-through of the Ryzen line from top to bottom.
AMD improved their margin by an impressive 4%. Going from 32% to 36% showed the strength and higher ASPs of both CPU and GPU products. AMD expects another 1% increase over the next quarter. While these are good numbers for AMD, they do not match the 58%+ for NVIDIA and Intel when it comes to their margins. AMD certainly has a lot of room for improvement, and a richer product stack will allow them to achieve greater ASPs and see a rise in their overall margins. If EPYC becomes more successful, then we could see another significant improvement in margins for the company.
AMD is getting back to where they belong in terms of product placement, competitiveness, and financial performance. The company has seen a huge improvement year on year and hopes to continue that with a rich product stack that addresses multiple areas of computing. AI and machine learning is ramping up in the company in terms of software support as they feel their CPUs and GPUs are already good enough to handle the workloads. As more money comes in, they can afford to diversify and create a wider product base to compete in more markets. So far Lisa Su has been very, very successful in helping pull AMD from the ashes to the competitive situation that they currently find themselves in.
Subject: Processors | April 25, 2018 - 02:42 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: ryzen 7, ryzen 5, ryzen, Pinnacle Ridge, amd
For those of you that missed it, there was a bit of controversy this week, when a Reddit user found a support page on AMD's website which stated that use of any other "heatsink/fan" than the included one with AMD "Processor-in-Box" products would invalidate their warranty.
As you might imagine, this caused some confusion and concern from owners and potential purchasers of Ryzen CPUs. How would AMD be able to tell if you were using a third-party cooler? What about the Ryzen 1000 series SKUs that didn't come with coolers?
As it turns out, this was an older support page that does not accurately reflect the warranty of modern AMD processors. AMD has since updated the warranty page to provide clarification.
Now, the page reads that the warranty shall be null and void if the processor "is used with any heatsink/fan (HSF) that does not support operation of the AMD processor in conformance with AMD’s publicly available specifications."
Kudos to the community who put the spotlight on this potentially misleading support page, and AMD for providing quick and decisive clarification on their actual warranty policies.
Subject: Processors | April 24, 2018 - 08:56 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Intel, coffee lake s, coffee lake, 8086
I kind-of hope that this is true… for the pun alone.
What do you get when the following three things happen: the 40th anniversary of your introductory part, a product line that can contain your original products model number, and, of course, strong competition from your primary competitor? Maybe the Intel Core i7-8086K. Maybe an elaborate internet hoax.
Image Credit: DDAA117 via WCCFTech
The rumor claims that it will be a slightly up-clocked Core i7-8700K. It will retain the 6 cores, 12 threads, 12MB of L3 cache, and 95W TDP, but the core will be clocked at 4.0 GHz (up from 3.7) and it can boost on a single core up to maybe 5.1 GHz. Basically, if true, it sounds like Intel cherry-picked a few high-performing dies out of Coffee Lake-S and set them aside for a promotion around the Computex or E3 time frame.
From a consumer standpoint? The last anniversary processor was a great deal, so pricing will become the deciding factor. If you were interested in the Core i7-8700K, then you might want to wait and see whether this slight notch above is true.
A Year Later
Despite what might be considered an overall slump in enthusiast PC building due to record low GPU availability and sky-high memory prices, 2017 was one of the most exciting and competitive years in recent history when it comes to CPU innovation. On the desktop side alone, we saw the launch of AMD's new Zen CPU architecture with the Ryzen 1000 series of parts starting last March; we also saw new HEDT platforms from both Intel and AMD, and Intel's first 6-core mainstream CPUs.
Although the timeline doesn't quite work out for Ryzen to have affected the engineering-side of Intel's decision to release a 6-core desktop processor, it's evident AMD's pressure changed Intel's pricing and release schedule.
With little desktop competition, it's likely that the i7-8700K would have been a more expensive part, and released later. It's likely that Coffee Lake would have seen a full stack product launch in early 2018, as opposed to the staggered launch we experienced where only one compatible chipset and a subset of CPUs were available for months.
AMD and Ryzen have put significant pressure on Intel to remain competitive, which is good for the industry as a whole.
We're now at just over a year since AMD's first Ryzen processor releases, and looking at the first appearance of the codename Pinnacle Ridge CPUs. Launching today are the Ryzen 7 2700X and 2700, and the Ryzen 5 2600x and 2600 processors. Can AMD keep moving the needle forward in the CPU space? Let's take a look.
Subject: Processors | April 16, 2018 - 10:02 AM | Ken Addison
Tagged: coffee lake, coffee lake s, 8700k, Z370, Z390, 6+2, 8+2
One more piece of evidence was brought to our attention recently, as spotted by an eagle-eyed user on Reddit. Intel's Technical Documentation website now seems to contain documents referencing an unreleased "Coffee Lake S 8+2" product.
In Intel nomenclature, 8+2 would refer to 8 CPU cores, plus 2 integrated GPU cores. For example, the current 6-core i7-8700K processor is referred to as a 6+2 processor configuration. Hence, the 8+2 processor being referenced here would be a sibling to the 8700K, with two more CPU cores.
Unfortunately, the actual documents are hidden behind an Intel login page, so we are unable to view them in full, but rather only have titles and short descriptions of their contents.
Given their recent appetite for the "i9" brand as the highest-end configurations, as we saw on the recent Coffee Lake-H notebook processor launch, I would expect this to be the first mainstream Intel desktop processor to carry the "i9" branding.
Additionally, we see documents referring to design aspects of both the existing Coffee Lake-S 6+2 part (8700K) and this new 8+2 part. This brings us hope that Z370 motherboards will remain compatible with this new processor, and not require yet another chipset.
While it seems likely that these new processors will launch alongside a Z390 chipset, we would expect the same level of compatibility while adding connectivity features built into the chipset such as USB 3.1 Gen 2 and 802.11ac wireless, as we saw on the recent H370 and B360 chipsets.
With the launch of AMD's Ryzen 2000-series of processors looming later this week, it seems like Intel is playing the waiting game before launching this 8-core processor. Speculation is that we could see this part before Computex in June.
Subject: Processors | April 13, 2018 - 07:13 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: ryzen 2, preview, amd, Pinnacle Ridge, x470, Ryzen 5 2600X, Ryzen 7 2700X
Better late than never to get previews of the second coming of Ryzen up, from two additional sources above and beyond the post below. Pinnacle Ridge is poised to release next Thursday but there are a few details which have surfaced for our enjoyment about the chips themselves as well as the new Wraith coolers. The Tech Report offers the few tidbits they are currently able to disclose, such as the infection of RGBs in the Wraith Prism cooler, while TechARP have posted a few leaked benchmarks which may or may not reflect reality as well as a look at the reviewers kit. We know the Ryzen 5 2600X has six cores and the Ryzen 7 2700X sports eight but so far the only other thing we know for sure is what they both look like physically.
"AMD is taking the wraps off its first second-generation Ryzen CPUs this morning. Join us as we take a first look at the specs and pricing of the first Zen+ products ahead of their official launch."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- HTC Vive Pro virtually stripped. OK, we mean actually stripped. (It’s a VR headset, geddit?) @ The Register
Subject: Processors | April 13, 2018 - 09:00 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: Zen+, ryzen, pre-order, amd
In a move that should shock nobody, ahead of its April 19th release, AMD is offering pre-orders for the Ryzen 2000 family of processors starting today at Amazon.com and other key retailers.
The previously leaked specifications all turned out to be true: you'll find the Ryzen 7 2700X as the top end part with a base clock speed 3.7 GHz and a max Turbo of 4.3 GHz. The TDP jumps from 95 watt of the previous generation to 105 watts. Cost? $329.
- Ryzen 7 2700X - $329 - Amazon.com
- Ryzen 7 2700 - $299 - Amazon.com
- Ryzen 5 2600X - $229 - Amazon.com
- Ryzen 5 2600 - $199 - Amazon.com
- AMD X470 Motherboards - Amazon.com
Here's the details on the other three parts going up today: the Ryzen 7 2700, Ryzen 5 2600X, and Ryzen 5 2600.
One interesting note - all four of these CPUs will now ship with a cooler in the box, so you won't need to struggle to find a heatsink or water cooler that has AM4 support out of the box.
AMD outlines the already released details about the Ryzen 2000-series, including its production on GlobalFoundries 12nm process tech and the updated "Zen+" architecture. It makes claims that 2nd Gen AMD Ryzen will be the "ultimate desktop processor for gamers, creators, and enthusiasts" which is quite the claim to live up to.
There isn't much else to talk about, though AMD does allow us to mention briefly the accompanying X470 chipset and its improved power delivery system, providing a bit more headroom and capability for these Ryzen 2000-series parts.
You will also find mention of AMD StoreMI, a maturation of the company's partnership with Enmotus, bringing a tiered caching system to the platform. Again, details are minimal until the April 19th launch date, at which point we'll have much more to share with you.
Now that this is all confirmed, I'm very curious to see the community reaction to the 2700X coming in at $329, undercutting the Core i7-8700K by a few bucks. There is going to be another big battle for the DIY space coming this spring, and we can't wait to share the first punches with you next week.
Subject: Processors | April 11, 2018 - 06:06 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: ryzen, Intel, i5-8400, coffee lake, B360, b350, AMD Ryzen 5 1600, amd
With the launch of Intel's B360 chipset, the price difference between a Coffee Lake and Ryzen system have been much reduced; in part because RAM and GPU will account for the vast majority of your expenses. TechSpot tested the Ryzen 5 1600 against an i5-8400 on a B360 motherboard, as well as a Z370 to show the difference between those two chipsets. Overall, the results came out in a tie, with AMD's chip better at tasks which benefit from multithreading while Intel's topped out when gaming.
Of course, we are quickly approaching the arrival of Ryzen 2, which may change things drastically.
"Before the incoming 2nd-gen Ryzen parts arrive this shootout will let us establish how AMD and Intel currently stack up with all the latest Windows updates, BIOS updates, driver updates and new motherboards we have on hand, giving us an up to date reference point for the new CPUs."
Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:
- POWER9 Benchmarks vs. Intel Xeon vs. AMD EPYC Performance On Debian Linux @ Phoronix
- Intel Core i5 8600 @ Guru of 3D
- Intel Core i7-8750H Review: Hexa-core Processor for Laptops @ Techspot
- Core i7 2600K Tested in 2018 - Time to upgrade @ Techspot
Subject: Graphics Cards, Processors | April 9, 2018 - 04:25 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: Vega, Polaris, kaby lake-g, Intel, amd
Over the weekend, some interesting information has surfaced surrounding the new Kaby Lake-G hardware from Intel. A product that is officially called the “8th Generation Intel Core Processors with Radeon RX Vega M Graphics” is now looking like it might be more of a Polaris-based GPU than a Vega-based one. This creates an interesting marketing and technology capability discussion for the community, and both Intel and AMD, that is worth diving into.
PCWorld first posted the question this weekend, using some interesting data points as backup that Kaby Lake-G may in fact be based on Polaris. In Gordon’s story he notes that in AIDA64 the GPU is identified as “Polaris 22” while the Raven Ridge-based APUs from AMD show up as “Raven Ridge.” Obviously the device identification of a third party piece of software is a suspect credential in any situation, but the second point provided is more salient: based on the DXDiag information, the GPU on the Hades Canyon NUC powered by Kaby Lake-G does not support DirectX 12.1.
Image source: PCWorld
AMD clearly stated in its launch of the Vega architecture last year that the new GPUs supported DX 12.1, among other features. The fact that the KBL-G part does NOT include support for it is compelling evidence that the GPU might be more similar to Polaris than Vega.
Tom’s Hardware did some more digging that was posted this morning, using a SiSoft Sandra test that can measure performance of FP16 math and FP32. For both the Radeon RX Vega 64 and 56 discrete graphics cards, running the test with FP16 math results in a score that is 65% faster than the FP32 results. With a Polaris-based graphics card, an RX 470, the scores between FP32 and FP16 were identical as the architecture can support FP16 math functions but doesn’t accelerate it with AMD’s “rapid packed math” feature (that was a part of the Vega launch).
Image source: Tom's Hardware
And you guessed it, the Kaby Lake-G part only runs essentially even in the FP16 mode. (Also note that AMD’s Raven Ridge APU that integrated Vega graphics does get accelerated by 61% using FP16.)
What Kaby Lake-G does have that leans toward Vega is support for HBM2 memory (which none of the Polaris cards have) and “high bandwidth memory cache controller and enhanced compute units with additional ROPs” according to the statement from Intel given to Tom’s Hardware.
It should be noted that just because the benchmarks and games that can support rapid packed math don’t take advantage of that capability today, does not mean they won’t have the capability to do so after a driver or firmware update. That being said, if that’s the plan, and even if it’s not, Intel should come out and tell the consumers and media.
The debate and accusations of conspiracy are running rampant again today with this news. Is Intel trying to pull one over on us by telling the community that this is a Vega-based product when it is in fact based on Polaris? Why would AMD allow and promote the Vega branding with a part that it knows didn’t meet the standards it created to be called a Vega architecture solution?
Another interesting thought comes when analyzing this debate with the Ryzen 7 2400G and Ryzen 5 2200G products, both of which claim to use Vega GPUs as a portion of the APU. However, without support for HBM2 or the high-bandwidth cache controller, does that somehow shortchange the branding for it? Or are the memory features of the GPU considered secondary to its design?
This is the very reason why companies hate labels, hate specifications, and hate having all of this tracked by a competent and technical media. Basically every company in the tech industry is guilty of this practice: Intel has 2-3 architectures running as “8th Generation” in the market, AMD is selling RX 500 cards that were once RX 400 cards, and NVIDIA has changed performance capabilities of the MX 150 at least once or twice.
The nature of semi-custom chips designs is that they are custom. Are the GPUs used in the PS4 and Xbox One or Xbox One X called Polaris, Vega, or something else? It would be safer for AMD and its partners to give each new product its own name, its own brand—but then the enthusiasts would want to know what it was most like, and how did it compare to Polaris, or Vega, etc.? It’s also possible that AMD was only willing to sell this product to Intel if it included some of these feature restrictions. In complicated negotiations like this one surely was, anything is feasible.
These are tough choices for companies to make. AMD loves having the Vega branding in more products as it gives weight to the development cost and time it spent on the design. Having Vega associated with more high-end consumer products, including those sold by Intel, give them leverage for other products down the road. From Intel’s vantage point using the Vega brand makes it looks like it has the very latest technology in its new processor and it can benefit from any cross-promotion that occurs around the Vega brand from AMD or its partners.
Unfortunately, it means that the devil is in the details, and the details are something that no one appears to be willing to share. Does it change the performance we saw in our recent Hades Canyon NUC review or our perspective on it as a product? It does not. But as features like Rapid Packed Math or the new geometry shader accelerate in adoption, the capability for Kaby Lake-G to utilize them is going to be scrutinized more heavily.
Subject: Processors, Chipsets, Mobile | April 3, 2018 - 03:01 AM | Ken Addison
Tagged: Intel, Core i9-8950HK, coffee lake h, 8th generation
Intel's rollout of their "8th Generation" processors has been glacial compared to other generations, and overall a bit confusing when it comes to trying to decode what processor belongs to what architecture.
Past the 8th generation Kaby Lake-R 15W quad-core mobile processors in August of last year, the Coffee Lake-S desktop CPU launch in October, and the recent Kaby Lake-G launch combining Intel processors with AMD graphics, there has still been one big missing market—high performance mobile processors.
Today, Intel is finally rounding out it's 8th Generation Mobile processor line-up with the addition of Coffee Lake-H processors.
The biggest change with Intel's new mobile lineup is the delightful addition of more cores. All i7 and Xeon-based SKUs will now have 6 cores with Hyper-threading enabled for a total of 12 threads. In addition, the entire i5 lineup is gaining Hyper-threading support, bringing them to 4 cores and 8 threads.
Coffee Lake-H also marks the introduction of Intel's first "i9" branded processor, the i9-8950HK. Taking the top spot of the mobile lineup previously held by the i7-7920HQ, the i9-8950HK is fully unlocked, with a turbo frequency of up to 4.8GHz.
In addition, all of these new 8th generation mobile processors will bring support for Optane Memory caching to mobile for the first time.
Intel is achieving the 4.8GHz single core turbo boost on the i9-8950HK through what they are calling "Intel Velocity Boost." While there aren't a lot of details about exactly how this technology will work yet, Intel has told us that essentially it's a way of providing extra frequency if there is thermal headroom on a given notebook design.
Below the 50 degrees C target temperature, we were told to expect about a 200MHz single-core boost and a 100MHz multi-core boost. With factory overclocking, Intel says they expect to see OEMs hit 5GHz and beyond, thanks in part to Velocity Boost.
In addition to new processors, Intel is also unveiling their new 300-series mobile chipsets today. The major additions include the adoption of USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports directly from the chipset, as well as the integration of an 802.11ac radio.
The all-new wireless radio is said to be capable of Gigabit speeds using 2x2 MIMO at 160MHz, which is part of the Wave 2 specification. While routers that support the 160MHz band are few and far between today, hopefully, Intel's adoption of this technology into its chipset will help spur faster adoption.
In addition to the H-series processors, Intel also unveiled several new U-series parts today with Iris Plus graphics.
While the 28W notebook processors combining Intel U-series parts with Iris graphics containing 128MB of eDRAM have been available for generations, the only major customer for these parts historically is Apple. I fully expect these processors to make it into a revised 13" MacBook Pro later this year.
These new U-series parts will also be able to take advantage of the new 300-series chipsets with the integrated 802.11ac and USB 3.1 Gen 2 connectivity. It will be interesting to see if Intel finally integrating Wi-Fi capability directly into the chipset will cause Apple to ditch Broadcom on their MacBook lineup.
Stay tuned for more announcements from Intel today, as well of announcements from notebook vendors utilizing these new processors!