It seems that AMD’s recent licensing moves and the press that Zen has been getting has given investors more confidence in the company. On Friday this confidence pushed AMD’s share price by almost 10% at $6.18 (the 52 week high) of this writing AMD’s share price has dropped some, but is still up by a little more than 5% ($6.14). Some have seen this as proof that AMD is going to have a comeback soon and that Intel should be very worried.
AMD might have some demo Zen silicon to show off at their expected press conference during Computex. This is the rumor that is coming from multiple sources at the moment. If true, this would be good for AMD for a couple of reasons. The first is the most obvious; they would have a real product to show off to the press. This will, of course, generate a lot of press and conversation about Zen. It will also get consumers eager for Zen, if, the demos can showcase performance that compares to current Intel hardware in the same class at a price point that is competitive.
AMD as a corporate entity is facing some rough times. As of their last earnings call we saw that they are still losing money and really do not have a product ready to combat this. The Rage Fury line of GPUs is doing ok in terms of sales, but as of this writing AMD has not been able to take a significant amount of market share from NVIDIA or even Intel. This is not to say that Radeon Graphics, or AMD’s APUs are bad products, it is just that they are not performing as well as the competition. In terms of the APU AMD still cannot compete with the compute power of Intel’s Core series even though the GPU side of the APU is a much better product.
AMD is delaying the launch of their new Zen based CPUs until the end of 2016. The news comes on the heels of a rather subdued, if optimistic, earnings report in which Lisa Su, AMD CEO, focused on AMD’s commitment to innovation and highlighted improved R&D spending. It is true that AMD’s operating loss has dropped massively when compared to Q4 2014, but much of this is due to cut backs in operating costs over actual revenue. This is despite claims that AMD’s GPU and Semi-Custom sales were to thank. During 2015 we saw AMD start to pull back from other products (and product lines) to conserve money and focus on creating a compelling product. Zen is the hope for AMD’s future along with moving to a 14nm process.
At Computex 2015 Intel has announced a few nice additions to the Broadwell line up which bring Iris Pro graphics to the table. The new CPUs are touted as the first LGA CPUs to have Iris Pro in them which might not seem like a big deal, but if leveraged right could have a significant impact on the market. Intel is also pushing out mobile Core i5 CPUs with Iris Pro 6200 with this launch making their more advanced graphics available to a broader range of products.
A couple of days ago we published an article on the state of AMD and what their immediate (next 18 months) looked like. In that article we looked at the state that AMD is in right now with what they have on the table…. It seems that a few readers did not like what we had to say. Oddly enough, yesterday a number of articles popped up on the internet that supported much of what we had to say including many of the time lines (14nm by Q3 2016 etc.) Let’s take a look at some of the information out there.
In the last couple of months we have talked a lot about AMD and the direction they are trying to move to. Most of what we have reported is not good news and centers on the fact that AMD’s R&D/production budget is dwindling to the point where they cannot push multiple projects at one time. They have had to consolidate their efforts to the point that they do not really have products to bring to market to make them more money. An example of this is the lack of a new GPU for the normal launch cycles. AMD does have some products in the pipeline, but these might not be enough to win them back any marketshare from Intel or NVIDIA.
Although you would not think it possible, AMD is still having issues that stem back from their purchase of ATi all those years ago. As most of you are sick of hearing the details of that acquisition and the gradual fall out we will not bore you here. What we will talk about are some of the issues that AMD now faces and what they mean for the consumer and AMD themselves.
When it comes to competing in the CPU market, one of AMD’s big issues has been trying to get to the same process as Intel. Ever since the purchase of ATi by AMD they have always been one (and in some cases two) processes behind. What made this even worse was when AMD hit such bad financial times that they had to sell off their FABs just keep the lights on. They now had to deal with a fledgling foundry company that still had some of the same old managers. This has meant that even when AMD might have a design they were still going to be behind Intel when it came to performance per watt.
AMD can be a confusing company. Over the years they have made more than a few choices that just do not seem to make sense, but we are not going to dive into that right now. Instead we are going to focus on a recent decision that seems both ill-conceived and sure to confuse AMD supporters.