Lisa Su, CEO of Advanced Micro Devices, said in a conference call with analysts today that AMD is on track to ship its Zen processors and Vega graphics chips on time in 2017.
AMD contends that its new designs will be the most competitive in a decade when compared to rivals Intel and Nvidia. AMD reported a slight loss for the quarter ended December 31, but it beat analysts’ expectations on both earnings and revenues. In after-hours trading was up 5 percent to $10.90 a share.
Su said that AMD is on track to ship its Ryzen desktop processors in the current first quarter. It will also ship Zen-based data center server processors in the second quarter. And it will ship laptop and embedded Zen-based chips in the second half of the year.
Meanwhile, Su said that the company is also on track to ship Vega graphics chips in the second quarter. Those chips could help the company gain high-end graphics and gaming computer customers. Vega will also be targeted at machine intelligence applications, a mainstay for both Intel and Nvidia.
“We are returning to the high end of the market, where we have not been in years,” Su said.
Su said the overall company is on track to grow profits and revenues in 2017, and that the products haven’t been this competitive in years. She said that potential server customers are giving “overwhelmingly positive” feedback on the new chips. That could translate into better shipments in the second half of the year, Su said.
“AMD had a solid 2016 and Q4 2016,” said Patrick Moorhead, analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy. “Nearly every indicator was improved from 2015 to 2016, driven by the game console business and by a new Polaris graphics launch. This is really positive as Ryzen desktop and notebook, Naples server, and Vega graphics are all upsides in 2017. AMD and CEO Lisa Su has architected what looks like a turnaround. It’s all up to AMD to flawlessly execute this year.”
Su said there is “pent-up demand” for high-end chips in the gaming space, and AMD will try to fulfill it. She said there is a lot of customer engagement and a “nice pipeline,” but AMD is not yet ready to talk about customer design wins.
“This year is about our product launches and making sure we have the right software lined up,” Su said.
As for the longer term, Su said the server and data center customers are “investing in a road map.” AMD is also planning on following up the Zen chips with new families of processors over time so it creates a “multi-generational road map,” she said.
AMD plans to ship a combo chip, Raven Ridge, in the second half of 2017. That chip will be an accelerated processing unit (APU), with both graphics and processor on the same chip.