AMD making moves in consumer PC, graphics, and data center

In the build up to earnings season this month, AMD is eager to get out from under some of the problematic and lingering concerns that have followed it. Deftly navigating around a potentially serious security concern and trying to find ways to offset the risk involved in too much of its graphics business being associated with the volatile cryptocurrency markets, AMD continues to put itself in a position for growth.

Over just the last week, AMD has seen momentum building in some of the key market segments that CEO Lisa Su has been promising advancement in. This couldn’t come at a better time, with the market looking for reasons to believe the Silicon Valley company has competitive hopes against both Intel and NVIDIA. Through three specific announcements this week, AMD looks to be maintaining energy for growth in consumer PCs, professional graphics, and the data center.

Consumer Notebook

Without a competitive chip to go against Intel in the notebook space for nearly a decade, AMD market share has withered to single digit levels. When it released the Ryzen Mobile processors late last year based on the company’s more advanced Zen processor and Vega graphics architectures, it looked to provide a credible threat to Intel in the space.

But that was only on paper. AMD had quite a bit of ground to make up with OEMs like Dell, HP, and Lenovo to prove that its products were capable of providing high quality user experiences. It takes a considerable amount of time for laptop designs to move from development to production with tight integration of cooling systems and physical design.

HP was the first to release a Ryzen Mobile based system and it was an indication that AMD had a winning product on its hands.

This week Dell released updated models of two of its most popular consumer notebook families in the Inspiron brand. These integrate the AMD Ryzen Mobile processor, flagship features like solid state drives, and modern form factors. Most importantly they place the AMD family of parts on the same level of its Intel counterparts. Pricing ranges from $600 up to $1000, indicating that Dell has confidence in the product line by putting it in higher tiers of solutions than Dell had previously been willing to do.

Professional Graphics

In the world of professional graphics, where chips are used to edit and create imagery, graphics, 360 video, and more, NVIDIA Quadro is the dominant brand and technology leader. The GPU giant has used a combination of advanced hardware and superior software solutions to maintain professional graphics leadership and AMD has struggled in attempts to cut the lead with its own Radeon Pro family.

At the National Association of Broadcasters show in Las Vegas this week, where the leaders in content creation segments across the globe meet, software leader Adobe announced support for a new AMD project aimed at high-end video creators and editors.

The Radeon Pro SSG is unique in the graphics market as it combines a traditional graphics chip and on-board memory with a very large solid state drive on the card. This allows the GPU to access a larger pool of total memory to improve the capability to edit and manipulate 8K video and 360 content from professional grade cameras from RED, Sony, and others in real time.

This is a configuration from AMD that NVIDIA has no direct competition for, though NVIDIA would argue its graphics cards don’t need a more complex hardware solution than already exists. The fact that Adobe optimized its video editing software for this new Radeon product is telling of the impact the technology could have on the pro market. Though professional graphics and video editing is relatively small in terms of unit sales, it is a $300M market and the margins are incredibly high.

Any momentum that AMD can maintain with this product could lead to increased sales through its product stack as design houses begin to trust the Radeon Pro brand.

Enterprise Data Center

In the world of servers and the enterprise data center, many hardware and solutions providers will tout evaluation periods by key providers like Facebook or Google. But in truth, very little matters until the word deployment is used – this indicates that the customer has moved past initial tests and is using hardware in the field.

Yahoo Japan Corporation is the latest customer to utilize AMD EPYC 7000 server processors for real-world application. Supplied via Dell PowerEdge servers, the EPYC chips will provide “highly scalable” solutions for Yahoo Japan to use for virtualized environments (where one server emulates many systems for better allocation of resources).

Yahoo Japan was quoted as saying the EPYC processors are helping “lowering total-cost-ownership” and that it “begins a significant new relationship.” AMD and Yahoo Japan wouldn’t comment on significant this rollout is for the Japanese ISP but every customer that AMD gets a foot in the door with is a potential opportunity for growth.