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

General

Subjects on the front of mind were AMDs statements that had just come through the wire– the brand-new Ryzen 5000 Mobile family, featuring an updated processor core, in addition to target markets for video gaming ultraportables as well as the very best video gaming note pads AMD has actually ever remained in. There was also a short preview of AMDs interaction in the business market with next-generation Milan processors, and a tie in with the Mercedes AMG Formula 1 group, provided that AMD offers a technical partnership.

A large part of the Q&A conversation was centered around supply and need, especially given the notable lack of hardware on the racks for end-users and enthusiasts. At a time when AMD has constructed out a variety of products in a really compressed time frame, consisting of consoles for 2 partners, it stands to reason that if users can not purchase the most recent leading performance hardware, there are going to be complaints.

In a comparable vein, I approached the topic about Apple and its M1 chip. M1 is a clear structure block for the company to move on into desktops, workstations, and possibly the enterprise market. This has the potential to impact the relationship in between Apple and AMD, especially if Apple decides to also branch off its graphics integration for its own options.

Lisa Su: We understood about the expiration of some tariff policies, and in advance worked towards a more flexible supply chain as it relates to AMD. Typically when we have GPU launches, our own branded cards are offered at first but then fade away for our partners to select up. This also matters for our scheduled graphics updates through the first half of the year, as we have a lot of product coming to market.

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

Lisa Su: This is the result of a demand focused environment, instead of manufacturing issues. There is tightness in the supply chain due to demand, and that invariably puts pressure on our gaming, customer, and pc item lines. As it relates to our semiconductor production, were putting in additional capability to meet this unexpected need. It will take time to catch up, however thats what were seeing.

One aspect Lisa did talk to is how production level choices occur ahead of time. AMD introduced a lot of products in Q4 2020, consisting of Ryzen 5000, Radeon RX 6000 GPUs, 2 games consoles, and likewise started delivering its next generation EPYC Milan processors. On top of all that, AMD needed to develop its brand-new Ryzen 5000 Mobile processors to satisfy notebook need in Q1 2021.

Lisas response was not especially committal either way, instead pointing out the reality that as the industry is growing, it gives more opportunities for specialized items. If anything, according to Lisa, it verifies the desire for compute and the agility to construct for and target particular workloads. Not to say that we disagree with Lisa here, however the advancement of the Arm server community is for broad work, not merely specific markets. Lisa mentions that AMD at any time has its semi-custom department to handle these chances, although when asked if AMD has any semi-custom business partners, Lisa pointed out 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 construct a Neoverse chip, with some AMD trick sauce, they would.

The subject of rates was likewise discussed, not only due to low supply for end-users but likewise the expiration of US tariffs on electronic devices. Combined with this, the function of miners has likewise seen a sharp demand for some graphics services, making the rates scenario a lot worse. Lisa spoke with AMDs strategy here for keeping costs lower than typical, but discussed its not an immediately solvable service.

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

Lisa Su: One of the things that was crucial with Cezanne (Ryzen 5000 Mobile) is that we were shipping for production in early 2021. With the OEM cycle of those items, enabling them to get the very first batches of hardware in Q4 was crucial for launch through the first quarter and the very first half of 2021. This is how AMD matches its item cadence, and the option on hardware manufacture is one of timing.

The concern is constantly if and when this level of supply will enhance to satisfy this boost in need, and if AMD is still producing as numerous CPUs and GPUs as it can, where they may be going.

Lisa Su: We are shipping lots of parts, and volumes in all sections are increasing, and that will happen through 2021. There will be tightness in the very first half of the year, but alongside customers we also ship to OEM partners. There is some real-time prioritization between end-user and OEM, however we comprehend that consumers want more and its extremely high up on our concern list to satisfy this high need.

This roundtable was a little various than a lot of. Despite the entire conversation being on the record, AMD asked for that we (or any of the press) did not publish a full records of the call. Generally we publish these transcripts, slightly modified for clarity and sometimes scheduled consistency– we combated our corner with AMD, and ultimately accepted disagree. As a result, this Q&A will be more a quote and discuss situation.

Lisa Su: AMDs focus is about high performance and substantial generational enhancements; x86 is a strong environment and we continue to invest heavily. It is a validation about how much the need for calculate is growing. We see a bigger opportunity for tailored services for specific workloads, and AMD has a strong semi-custom division to fulfill those chances.

Lisa Su: The M1 is more about just how much processing and innovation there remains in the market. This is an opportunity to innovate more, both in software and hardware, and it exceeds the ISA. From our viewpoint, there is still development in the PC area– we have lots of individuals and options can use the very same processors in a great deal of different environments. We expect to see more specialization as we move forward over the next number of years, and it makes it possible for more distinction. But Apple continues to deal with us as their graphics partner, and we deal with them.

My initial concern to Lisa was about the emergence of Arm. Its a concern I have actually asked Lisa prior to, as well as AMD CTO Mark Papermaster, nevertheless this position of the market now is very various. Our objective with a question like this is to draw out an idea of how AMD (and Intel, I asked a comparable thing to CEO Bob Swan) prepares to approach the competitors, either by constructing above it, or utilizing a 2 pronged method between x86 and Arm.

The subject came up that perhaps existing 8-core on mobile, 16-core on desktop, and 64-core on enterprise were basic functional limits for these markets, in light of this round of products having the very same core counts as the previous generations. Lisa commented that There will be more core counts in the future– I would not state those are the limits! It will come as we scale the rest of the system. To that point, AMDs design approach was a concern on table, given that these style groups have a slow flow of workers in and out of them. Lisa discussed that:

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

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

Lisa specifies 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 cited the strong work the business is doing with the console market and spoke more to prospective than a particular entity. No doubt if a business asked AMD to develop a Neoverse chip, with some AMD trick sauce, they would.

For other matters, the business still appears ambivalent about Arms potential development, a minimum of publically to the tech press. As services built on Arm pertained to market, along with AMDs own, you can be sure to check out here at AnandTech. On that, AMD is looking to develop out its enterprise offering to more focused verticals, which is definitely of advantage to both AMD and its clients. Some of these might be based in CDNA, AMDs new compute accelerator architecture, and AMD is aiming to increase AI support in future items. The Xilinx acquisition is still an important business investment to be thoughtful of, and is anticipated to complete by the end of the year.

If we integrate Q4 with Q1 (and Q2), this is all at a time when AMD is experiencing higher-than-expected demand for its line of product, and it appears it needs to order more from TSMC (as well as establish its substrate supply chain) in order to enable this. An order from TSMC might take a couple of months to come through, and so even with orders in location, AMD expects a tight supply through the very first half of the year, but doesnt see this as a theoretical ceiling on its market share numbers.

Round Up

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

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

Lisa Su: Were delighted about closing the Xilinx deal; its the next big action in the story for AMD. Theres going to be a lot of technology going forward, and AMD has made excellent progress in recent years– we have deep customer partnerships, and were developing trust to be behind the most essential platforms. We want the largest business to trust AMD as their provider, and the Xilinx acquisition will assist this.

On the subject of heterogeneous CPUs, pairing a high-performance core with a high-efficiency core, Lisas reaction was relatively telling, in that our Zen 3 option already scales effectively from entry to enterprise, with the ideal mix of power, performance, and die area– to make it possible for a heterogeneous style we have to find the right balance of cores, and we would need to see a significant value addition.

The last topic was on AMDs business value, particularly as it relates to how AMD incorporates with its OEM partners and organization clients. Lisa mentioned that growing the industrial and enterprise businesses were key targets for the company in 2021, especially as these are locations where AMD sees an opportunity for significant sustainable growth. Particularly Lisa was asked about how AMDs method is going to develop based on current improvements made from the competition.

Mark, Mike, and the teams have actually done a remarkable job. We are as good as we are with the item today, however with our ambitious roadmaps, we are concentrating on Zen 4 and Zen 5 to be incredibly competitive. On GPUs, David Wang and the team focus on our long term roadmaps, and we select the ideal mix of risk to get efficiency, innovation, and predictability. Bets are made, and we track the development. Were pleased with RDNA2 on performance per watt, and total efficiency, and we have a lot of concentrate on RDNA3. On components such as AI particular integration, we are making investments. CDNA released in November, and you will see us adding more AI ability to our GPUs and cpus.

The last topic was on AMDs company value, particularly as it relates to how AMD integrates with its OEM partners and business customers. 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 consumers. Some of these might be based in CDNA, AMDs new compute accelerator architecture, and AMD is looking to increase AI assistance in future items.

In Q4 in 2015, AMD launched Ryzen 5000 for desktops, Radeon RX 6000 discrete graphics, was the silicon partner for the two major consoles that have sold in their millions, was delivering out EPYC Milan processors to clients, and was starting to construct Ryzen 5000 Mobile processors for its OEMs to be prepared for a Q1 launch.

In the very first half of this year AMD is anticipating to introduce its 3rd Gen EPYC, the next generation of Radeon mobile graphics, more discrete graphics choices, and we will see the deployment of Ryzen 5000 Mobile laptop computers and notebooks into the ecosystem.

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