AMD CEO Dr. Lisa Su: Interview on 2021 Demand, Supply, Tariffs, Xilinx, and EPYC – AnandTech11 min read

Subjects on the front of mind were AMDs announcements that had simply come through the wire– the brand-new Ryzen 5000 Mobile household, featuring an upgraded processor core, along with target markets for gaming ultraportables in addition to the very best gaming note pads AMD has actually ever remained in. There was likewise a short preview of AMDs interaction in the enterprise market with next-generation Milan processors, and a tie in with the Mercedes AMG Formula 1 group, considered that AMD supplies a technical collaboration.

One aspect Lisa did speak to is how production level choices happen beforehand. AMD released a lot of products in Q4 2020, consisting of Ryzen 5000, Radeon RX 6000 GPUs, two games consoles, and also started shipping its next generation EPYC Milan processors. On top of all that, AMD had to construct its brand-new Ryzen 5000 Mobile processors to fulfill notebook demand in Q1 2021.

On that, AMD is looking to develop out its enterprise providing to more concentrated verticals, which is definitely of benefit to both AMD and its consumers. Some of these may be based in CDNA, AMDs brand-new compute accelerator architecture, and AMD is looking to increase AI support in future products.

Lisa Su: AMDs focus has to do with high performance and substantial generational enhancements; x86 is a strong ecosystem and we continue to invest greatly. Custom creates [like Arm] remain in the marketplace, and are function developed for usage. If anything, it is a validation about just how much the need for calculate is growing. We see a larger chance for personalized options for particular work, and AMD has a strong semi-custom division to satisfy those chances.

In Q4 last year, AMD introduced Ryzen 5000 for desktops, Radeon RX 6000 discrete graphics, was the silicon partner for the two major consoles that have actually offered in their millions, was delivering out EPYC Milan processors to clients, and was starting to build Ryzen 5000 Mobile processors for its OEMs to be ready for a Q1 launch.

The last subject was on AMDs business worth, specifically as it connects to how AMD incorporates with its OEM partners and business customers. Lisa pointed out that growing the commercial and business services were essential targets for the company in 2021, especially as these are areas where AMD sees an opportunity for large sustainable development. Specifically Lisa was asked about how AMDs strategy is going to establish based on current improvements made from the competitors.

This roundtable was a little different than many. In spite of the whole conversation being on the record, AMD asked for that we (or any of the press) did not post a full records of the call. Traditionally we post these records, slightly modified for clearness and sometimes organized for consistency– we fought our corner with AMD, and eventually consented to disagree. As an outcome, this Q&A will be more a quote and explain circumstance.

Lisa Su: We understood about the expiration of some tariff policies, and ahead of time worked towards a more flexible supply chain as it relates to AMD. We are dedicated to keeping GPU prices as near our suggested retail rates as much as possible, since its the only way to be reasonable to the users. Usually when we have GPU launches, our own branded cards are available at first however then vanish for our partners to get. This time around were not phasing out our RX 6000 series, enabling us to offer direct to clients as low as possible. Were encouraging partners to do the exact same. Not only tariffs, however the COVID environment has increased shipping and freight costs, which are difficult to prevent. As we enter a more typical environment, this ought to enhance. This likewise matters for our organized graphics updates through the very first half of the year, as we have a great deal of item concerning market.

Lisa Su: We are shipping great deals of parts, and volumes in all segments are increasing, which will occur through 2021. There will be tightness in the very first half of the year, but alongside customers we likewise ship to OEM partners. There is some real-time prioritization in between end-user and OEM, however we comprehend that consumers want more and its very high up on our priority list to fulfill this high demand.

If we integrate Q4 with Q1 (and Q2), this is all at a time when AMD is experiencing higher-than-expected need for its line of product, and it appears it requires to purchase more from TSMC (in addition to develop its substrate supply chain) in order to enable this. An order from TSMC might take a few months to come through, therefore even with orders in location, AMD anticipates a tight supply through the first half of the year, but does not see this as a theoretical ceiling on its market share numbers.

On the topic of heterogeneous CPUs, matching a high-performance core with a high-efficiency core, Lisas action was fairly telling, because our Zen 3 service currently scales effectively from entry to enterprise, with the ideal mix of power, efficiency, and die location– to allow a heterogeneous style we have to find the right balance of cores, and we would have to see a substantial value addition.

In a comparable vein, I approached the topic about Apple and its M1 chip. M1 is a clear foundation for the business to move forward into desktops, workstations, and possibly the enterprise market. This has the potential to impact the relationship between Apple and AMD, specifically if Apple decides to also branch out its graphics combination for its own solutions.

The last topic was on AMDs business worth, particularly as it relates to how AMD incorporates with its OEM partners and service clients. On that, AMD is looking to construct out its business providing to more focused verticals, which is definitely of benefit to both AMD and its clients. Some of these may be based in CDNA, AMDs new calculate accelerator architecture, and AMD is looking to increase AI support in future products.

We are as excellent as we are with the item today, however with our ambitious roadmaps, we are focusing on Zen 4 and Zen 5 to be very competitive. Were delighted with RDNA2 on performance per watt, and overall performance, and we have a lot of focus on RDNA3. CDNA launched in November, and you will see us including more AI ability to our CPUs and GPUs.

The concern is always if and when this level of supply will enhance to meet this increase in need, and if AMD is still producing as lots of CPUs and GPUs as it can, where they might be going.

The topic of prices was also discussed, not only due to low supply for end-users but also the expiration of United States tariffs on electronic devices. Integrated with this, the role of miners has likewise seen a sharp need for some graphics options, making the prices scenario a lot worse. Lisa spoke with AMDs method here for keeping rates lower than normal, but explained its not an immediately understandable service.

Following the keynote press conference, AMD welcomed a number of key press partners for some Q&A time with Dr. Lisa Su. On the table, we were informed, was any topic connecting to AMD. Considered that the company launched a variety of products simply as the previous year ended, and supply issues are tight for end-users, there were opportunities to quiz the CEO on production need against supply, AMDs product cadence, and expectations for 2021.

My preliminary question to Lisa was about the introduction of Arm. Its a question I have asked Lisa prior to, as well as AMD CTO Mark Papermaster, nevertheless this position of the market now is extremely different. Our objective with a concern like this is to draw out an idea of how AMD (and Intel, I asked a comparable thing to CEO Bob Swan) plans to approach the competition, either by developing above it, or using a two pronged method between x86 and Arm.

Lisa commented that There will be more core counts in the future– I would not say those are the limits! To that point, AMDs design philosophy was a concern on table, given that these design teams have a slow flow of personnel in and out of them.

Lisa Su: For our Ryzen 5000 Mobile parts, weve specified that we will have 150+ design wins in 2021, which is 50% more than what we saw with Ryzen 4000 Mobile. On the business side, we are widening our focus on EPYC, which means to state that we will have service options targeted to various vertical markets. We also started delivering Milan to OEM partners in Q4 last year as a lead up to this.

Lisa Su: The M1 is more about how much processing and innovation there is in the market. We anticipate to see more specialization as we go forward over the next couple of years, and it makes it possible for more distinction.

Rotating to more service operations, and the topic of AMDs acquisition of Xilinx entered into conversation. The offer announced last year for $35 billion in an all-stock acquisition has had its share of encouragement and detractors, questioning if the merger is the correct time, the best fit, and if it makes good sense to eliminate competition from the market.

Lisa Su: Were delighted about closing the Xilinx offer; its the next big step in the story for AMD. Theres going to be a lot of innovation going forward, and AMD has actually made excellent development in current years– we have deep client collaborations, and were building trust to be behind the most essential platforms. We desire the biggest enterprises to trust AMD as their provider, and the Xilinx acquisition will assist this.

Lisa states that AMD at any time has its semi-custom division to take on these opportunities, although when asked if AMD has any semi-custom enterprise partners, Lisa pointed out the strong work the company is doing with the console market and spoke more to possible than a particular entity. No doubt if a company asked AMD to construct a Neoverse chip, with some AMD secret sauce, they would.

Lisa Su: This is the outcome of a need focused environment, rather than manufacturing concerns. There is tightness in the supply chain due to require, and that inevitably puts pressure on our pc, customer, and gaming product lines.

In the very first half of this year AMD is expecting to launch its 3rd Gen EPYC, the next generation of Radeon mobile graphics, more discrete graphics alternatives, and we will see the release of Ryzen 5000 Mobile laptops and notebooks into the environment.

When asked if this high demand environment and capability ceiling would possibly cap AMD at 22% market share, Lisa stated that AMD doesnt believe that it will. Beyond actually constructing the silicon, Lisa also kept in mind that there are substrate shortages, just due to the increased demand, which the community is working to likewise build extra capability (consisting of AMD financial investments), but that will require time and continue through 2021.

We want to thank Lisa and her group for their time.

Round Up

Lisa Su: One of the important things that was necessary with Cezanne (Ryzen 5000 Mobile) is that we were shipping for production in early 2021. With the OEM cycle of those products, enabling them to get the first batches of hardware in Q4 was essential for launch through the very first quarter and the first half of 2021. This is how AMD matches its item cadence, and the option on hardware manufacture is one of timing. Its absolutely nothing basic, its not design minimal, its everything about making the best bets (sometimes months ahead of time) and enabling market estimation of demand. We needed to make it possible for millions of console APUs also, and there is greater demand than we thought here too. Working with OEM partners like Sony and Microsoft implies making it possible for various methods too.

Lisa mentions that AMD at any time has its semi-custom division to take on these chances, although when asked if AMD has any semi-custom business partners, Lisa mentioned the strong work the business is doing with the console market and spoke more to potential than a particular entity. No doubt if a business asked AMD to develop a Neoverse chip, with some AMD secret sauce, they would.

A large part of the Q&A discussion was centered around supply and demand, specifically provided the significant lack of hardware on the racks for lovers and end-users. At a time when AMD has built out a number of items in an extremely compressed amount of time, including consoles for two partners, it stands to factor that if users can not purchase the latest leading efficiency hardware, there are going to be problems.

For the longer roadmap, Lisa is clear that the business is striving on Zen 4, Zen 5, and RDNA3. Future processors seem set to have greater core counts too.

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