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AMD's Fortunes Are Improving
Quote:AMD's growth story in the desktop PC space comes from Ryzen sales, but the 2.1% market share growth over an entire year may seem a bit lackluster. But we have to view the numbers in perspective: AMD rolled out its Ryzen 7 processors in March of last year, so we still don't have a full year of competitive data that reflects the rise of Ryzen. It also took time for AMD to address other market segments as the Ryzen 5, 3, and Threadripper processors rolled out.
Finally, AMD's server ambitions with its EPYC processors are moving along at the expected pace--which is to say, slowly. The enterprise is notoriously reluctant to switch from the incumbent (Intel), and moving over to new systems requires significant hardware and software qualification. That typically doesn't pay off over a single generation of products, so data center customers switch to new processors for the long run. As a result, AMD has to prove that it can execute on its roadmap before it sees a rapid advance in the server market. That places the onus on the coming refresh cycle. AMD has already said the Zen 2 design phase is complete and that the processors will ship to partners this year. The company is also actively working on 7nm CPUs.

AMD gained 1/2 a point of server market share during 2017, but that is within expectations. Lisa Su commented on the planned trajectory:
Quote:"..we have a short-term goal [...] By the end of 2018, to have an exit velocity of mid-single-digit share, and then we will get the next four to five quarters beyond to double-digit share, and then we aim for the beyond."
Growth in the high-margin enterprise space is important. Even reaching the "mid-single-digits" this year will contribute nicely to AMD's bottom line.

Jon Peddie Research (JPR) released its discrete graphics card market share report this week. JPR reports that AMD has improved its market share by 6.5% quarter-over-quarter and 4.2% year-over-year. As expected, Nvidia's market share fell accordingly.

JPR said that over 3 million discrete graphics cards have sold to cryptocurrency miners in 2017, for an estimated total of $776 million in revenue. The firm further stated that AMD is the largest benefactor of those sales, but it didn't provide specific percentages. AMD's growth came during a 4.6% sequential decline in the graphics card market, which JPR attributed to the "sharp rise in prices driven by cryptocurrency miner’s demand.”

AMD's Su has been a bit more forthcoming, saying that although it's hard to quantify accurately, crypto mining contributed roughly 10% (or possibly more) of the company's annual revenue in 2017. Memory shortages continue to plague production at AMD. Su stated at this week’s conference:
Quote:..we have increased supply quite a bit towards the end of the fourth quarter here into the first quarter. We are prioritizing gamers and our key audiences to make sure that particularly system builders and OEMs that are building with our Radeon graphics are getting prioritized. [...] eventually we see supply catching up with demand, and there are some component shortages that we are working through." (emphasis added)
The end of the graphics card shortage will likely coincide with the end of the memory shortage, and we don't expect that to happen soon. Samsung did recently announce its intentions to increase manufacturing (after the threat of a Chinese investigation into DRAM price fixing), but that likely won't have a material impact until later this year.
Dell isn't as impressed:
Dell's AMD laptops are gimped compared to their Intel laptops:
Edit: HP is working on non-gimped AMD laptops, not Dell:
This didn't fit cleanly in any existing thread, and I didn't think it needed a new thread, so I decided to post this here:
AMD is a big part of why I don't like the stock market. When I worked for Hayes Modems I got my first stock account because the Company went public on the stock market and I was "given" shares. I say given in quotation marks because also was able to buy stocks as an employee which is called ESOP. I went all in and bought the maximum you were allowed. I also got some other Technology Company shares like Seagate and AMD. Well Hayes they killed the Company and the shares weren't worth the ink on the paper. On paper I supposedly had $3 million in shares. I had bought about $2,000 in AMD at I think $20. Anyway AMD's stock went to something like 20 cents. The Trading Company which I think was E-Trade wanted $3,000 out of me to get out of the stock market and close the account. I haven't had a stock account since until I got shares where I am now as an employee when it went public just like Hayes. Unlike Hayes though I have sold some shares for actual money.
AMD is aiming to return to Athlon 64-level marketshare:
AMD keeps on doing better financially:
Quote:Microsoft has announced their xCloud initiative, a game streaming effort that looks to bridge the gap between local and stream-based gaming. xCloud is looking to bring true, platform-agnostic gaming with much lower bandwidth requirements due to a number of technologies being researched and worked on by Microsoft.
One big takeaway here is that this xCloud initiative is fully powered by AMD's own hardware - as it should be. Using AMD custom hardware such as that found within Microsoft's Xbox consoles takes away the work and investment in building even more emulation capabilities on a server level, which would only add additional overhead to the streaming service. By using AMD's own custom hardware, Microsoft circumvents this issue - but entrenches itself even more on AMD's own product portfolio, both now and in the foreseeable future.

For AMD, this is amazing news - more volume of parts being shipped rather than just for the console market means increased revenues, but more importantly, this is a big win in the server space for the company. AMD's custom silicon strategy started with a market penetration outlook of offering the cheapest custom x86 and graphics IP technologies, but now? AMD has made itself the only player in this game, and everybody knows the first step to remain relevant is to make one virtually irreplaceable. I can't really overstate how important this could be for AMD's long-term future - they're crossing the bridge between offering localized hardware solutions (game consoles) through to the (for some) unavoidable future of game streaming.

Microsoft will be rolling out xCloud in steps over its Azure data centers worldwide, throughout 54 'regions' and 140 countries. Microsoft has already rolled out its custom server racks into one of its data centers in the US, and public trials for the game streaming service are scheduled to begin in 2019.
Quote:AMD and Oracle jointly announced today that AMD’s Epyc servers are now available as Oracle cloud compute instances. It’s a significant win for AMD, which has been slowly growing its server market share since it launched its Zen-based Epyc CPU family back in 2017. Oracle is now the third major cloud provider working with the company, alongside Microsoft and Baidu.
But one thing we can say: AMD is executing the roadmap it said it would execute with Zen. Lisa Su promised a slow product ramp and that new partners would come onboard, and that’s happening. She’s made modest forecasts targeting mid-single-digit server market share this year and as far as we know, she’s meeting them. Little by little, the pieces are falling into place.
Quote:Following the release of the Q3 financial results by AMD, the stock market was quick to respond to less-than-expected operating income and market share numbers with a ~9.2% drop in share price before the markets closed. This was then followed by fervent after-hours trading resulting an even bigger drop to a share price of $17.88 at the time of this post, compared to the starting value of $25.04 earlier today. The small hike and drop after-hours also indicates some enterprising parties made use of the lower share values to their profit.

AMD held a teleconference for their investors to go along with the report, and attempted to better explain what was going on. In particular, they attribute the decreased client GPU sales to a big decrease in the blockchain GPU sales market (read GPU mining) relative to the first half of 2018. The lack of competing products to take on NVIDIA Pascal-, and then Turing-based, GPU solutions also does not help. As it stands, AMD shared news that GPUs now contribute to only ~30% of their revenue with the other 70% coming from the Ryzen-based processor division instead. They hinted strongly at new products coming from both segments, including an on-track path for a 7 nm datacenter GPU later this year and new Ryzen+Vega-powered notebooks, but it appears that more needs to be done to appease their investors at this point.
Quote:Microsoft may release a new Surface Laptop running AMD’s not-yet-announced Picasso chips with integrated AMD Radeon graphics in late 2019, according to Beneath a Surface, a new book by Microsoft insider Brad Sams, as per The Verge.

According to the report, Sams’ book alludes to increasing tension between Microsoft and Intel following the latter’s ongoing delay in releasing 10nm CPUs.
If Microsoft does indeed launch its next Surface Laptop with AMD CPUs, it would be a first for the vendor and sign of more mainstream growth for AMD, which has traditionally held far less market share than Intel. The current-generation Surface Laptop 2 uses Intel’s Core i5-8250U or Core i7-8650U CPU, depending on the configuration. Microsoft's Surface lineup has been long-rumored for a redesign next year.
Quote:A deal with AMD would be a significant win for the smaller manufacturer, but there are practical reasons to be dubious of this happening. Even if AMD’s 7nm mobile products are the equal of Intel’s, Microsoft might have concerns about whether AMD will continue to deliver long-term mobile follow-ups for the foreseeable future. A strong 7nm ramp would probably help here, but between the two firms, Intel has the more consistent track record.

The other factor to consider is that Microsoft has historically been quite willing to bend when Intel applies pressure. There are consistent rumors that the Surface Go was originally going to be based on ARM hardware until Intel strenuously lobbied for the system to rely on a Pentium instead. During the old Vista Capable lawsuits from a decade ago, Microsoft acknowledged that it changed the definition of “Vista Capable” solely to help Intel ship more chipsets and make its quarterly earnings, despite the fact that this represented a reversal of promises Microsoft had made to HP regarding which products would receive the nod for Vista support.

The old Wintel alliance may have some cracks in it compared with the old days, but it’s still held remarkably steady based on what we’ve heard about Intel-Microsoft relations. Rumors to the contrary could also be a way for Microsoft to put pressure on Intel and push for better pricing or allocation in future builds.
Quote:AMD seems to be picking up steam over Intel's previous sky-high dominance of the desktop CPU market (Intel still dominates aplenty, really; but AMD has been clawing back market percentage monthly). The latest figures from the German retailer show shoppers taking advantage of AMD's newfound competitiveness in the CPU space, with increasing sales momentum starting on June 2018 up to a staggering 69% total AMD units sold against Intel's 31% during the month of November.

All in all, this equates to around 16,000 CPUs sold by AMD just last month - and represents an almost twofold increase in total number of AMD processors moved YoY by the retailer. Intel's ASP may be much higher than AMD's right now, which helps the company close the gap in earnings to a mere 12% difference, but the latter is likely betting on the greater perceived longevity of its AM4 platform to bring more consumers to their side of the field via a market penetration strategy. It's all about rebuilding the competitiveness image at this time - while racking in a steady profit from AMD's smart choices in processor design. A national European market does not a global one make, of course - and while it may be a little over the edge to extrapolate this to the entire market, one thing is for sure: AMD is gaining market share.
Quote:The big break for AMD is with the Ryzen 5 2600, and Ryzen 7 2700X. These are the chips that have become markedly more popular since August. But despite what you might expect given its performance, Threadripper is a virtual non-presence in these charts. Reviewers have generally praised the chip and AMD’s pricing, but that hasn’t translated to sales. Not in this data, anyway.
Based on the strong performance of the R7 1700X, you might expect the R7 2700 to be an equally strong player. That does not appear to have happened, however. The R7 2700 commands a much smaller share of the pie than the R7 1700X did. As a final mention, both the R5 2400G and R3 2200G have sold well since introduction. They may not be top earners, but both of these chips have padded AMD’s product family out nicely. Intel’s strongest chips, by far, are at the top of its CPU stack; none of AMD’s chips matched the consistent monthly performance of the Core i7-8700K over the course of the entire year.

Again, this data all relate to one specific retailer, but these breakdowns show some very interesting reasons about the relationship between AMD’s CPU sales and earned revenue, the impact parts like the Core i7-8700K have on Intel’s overall position and the relative paucity of Threadripper sales. Take the data with a grain of salt, but if these figures hold true, AMD should have some cheerful news to report late in January.
Quote:AMD's meteoric rise from the brink of bankruptcy to a potent competitor in the processor market has earned the company plenty of praise from the enthusiast community, but the fruits of its labors also extend to its bottom line. AMD's steady cadence of Ryzen and EPYC processors, paired with its efforts in other critical segments, has paid off today with the announcement of the company's inclusion in the prestigious Nasdaq-100 index.
Market capitalization isn't the only key to success, though. At the end of the day, it boils down to profitability. But AMD's been on a streak there, too, as its gross margins recently reached 39.99 percent, an amazing turnaround from its 4.51 percent gross margin in September 2016. That explosive improvement comes courtesy of the company's return to building high-performance, high-margin chips, like the Ryzen and EPYC processors.

With yet another accolade under its belt, now it's time to look to the future. For the first time in its history, AMD will have the process node leadership position over Intel in 2019, setting the stage for even more success with 7nm processors. AMD will also beat Nvidia to the 7nm punch with its new Radeon Instinct GPUs.
Quote:DigiTimes based its report on anonymous "sources from the upstream supply chain." (Which means, of course, that it shouldn't be taken as gospel.) Those sources reportedly said that Intel's prioritization of processor shipments to companies like HP, Lenovo, Dell, and Apple have forced other laptop-makers to use AMD CPUs in their products. Acer and Asus in particular are said to have turned to AMD in their newest laptop models.

Asus confirmed in December 2018 that Intel's processor shortage was negatively affecting its business. The lack of availability for new CPUs doesn't just affect pre-built systems and laptops; it also leads people to buy fewer motherboards because they have to wait to upgrade their processors. It's no surprise, then, when reports claim that companies are turning to AMD instead of waiting around for Intel while multiple revenue streams fall.

The same anonymous sources were also said to have pegged the ceiling for AMD's share of the laptop market at roughly 20 percent. That's a notable increase from where it's at now (somewhere between 10 and 15 percent) but still not a particularly large segment of the market. This might change if Intel's efforts to increase CPU production by the second quarter of 2019 fall short, though, or if laptop demand is higher than expected.

None of which is to say that AMD's rising popularity can only be attributed to Intel's shortages. The company's Ryzen Mobile processors have steadily improved, and even companies like HP are using AMD CPUs in some of their new laptops. Companies are being forced to look elsewhere for their processors, sure, but in recent years they've also become more open to putting chips from the likes of AMD or Qualcomm in their laptops.
Quote:Overall, this was a strong quarter and a good finish for 2018. The company ended the year firmly in the black. Its winning partners in enterprise segments and expanding its reach in the consumer market. None of the semiconductor companies are forecasting huge upside in 2019 at the moment — there’s too much concern about a potential recession — but AMD clearly believes its well-positioned for the year ahead.
Quote:When AMD released its Q4 revenue figures for 2018, it said it would wait for additional data on market share to come in from the analyst firms that track this sort of information. Now, Mercury Research has released data on AMD’s overall performance throughout the quarter. It’s all good news for AMD, though Mercury didn’t find that the company hit its goal of midrange single-digit market share for 2018. More on that in a moment.
These numbers show strong growth for AMD in multiple markets, emphasizing that the company’s financial improvement wasn’t simply driven by crypto sales. Intel obviously remains the dominant player in all three spaces, but the market is clearly responding to Ryzen’s value proposition across the entire computing space. Increased competition and better product options are always a good thing for consumers, regardless of what kind of hardware they’re looking to buy.

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