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AMD Optimistic About 7nm EPYC Future for Servers

Thursday Oct 25th 2018 by Sean Michael Kerner

AMD reported third quarter fiscal 2018 results, with CEO Lisa Su providing new insights into the company's server and data center plans.

AMD is working on its next generation server and data center silicon in a bid to further challenge Intel's dominance.

That's one of the key messages that emerged from AMD's third quarter fiscal 2018 earnings call on Oct. 24. For the quarter, AMD reported revenue of $1.65 billion, up four percent year-over-year, while net income came in at $102 million, up by $41 million over the third quarter of fiscal 2017.

"We continued to build momentum for our new products as strong sales of our Ryzen and EPYC processors offset soft GPU channel sales," Lisa Su, President and Chief Executive Officer of AMD, said during her company's earnings call.AMD Product logos

The Ryzen is AMD's desktop processor, and Su noted that she has seen strong demand for the higher end Ryzen 7, Ryzen 5 and Ryzen Threadripper processors. AMD's desktop silicon also expanded during the quarter, with the Zen processor core and Vega Graphics capabilities coming to the Athlon APU.

For AMD's GPU business, Su said AMD is on track to launch the industry's first 7-nanometer datacenter GPU this quarter.

"Customer interest in the product is strong based on its performance and differentiated feature set, and we have already secured multiple data center wins, with shipments expected to begin in the fourth quarter," Su said. "We continue to increase investments in GPU hardware and software to deliver industry-leading products that we believe will drive growth in the gaming, professional, and data center markets."

EPYC

AMD first announced its EPYC Processor for data center servers back in June 2017 and has been steadily evolving the silicon ever since.

"We are seeing the largest demand for our top of the stack 24- and 32-core EPYC processors, which combine industry-leading core counts and I/O to deliver performance advantages across cloud, virtualization and HPC workloads," Su said.

AMD is also scoring EPYC partnerships with cloud providers, including one with Oracle announced on Oct. 23. Oracle stated it's making AMD EPYC-powered cloud instances available to its Oracle Cloud Infrastructure customers.

"We expect additional Tier 1 cloud service providers to announce availability of new EPYC processor deployments this quarter," Su said.

EPYC is also being used for High Performance Computing (HPC) deployments, including one from Microsoft. Su said Cray is building an EPYC-powered supercomputer for the Haas F1 Team to improve their computation fluid dynamics modelling for future cars.

"We continue to build a strong pipeline and accelerate the ongoing ramps of EPYC-based offerings from the major OEMs, including Cisco, Dell and HP Enterprise," Su said. "In the third quarter, we added dozens of new-end customers across oil and gas, healthcare, aerospace, banking and other industries, based on the superior performance of EPYC processors in both data analytics and general purpose virtualized workloads."

All Roads Lead to Rome

The next generation of AMD's EPYC chip is codenamed "Rome" and is being built on a 7-nanometer process. Su said AMD began sampling the next generation Rome server chip broadly across its customer base in the third quarter, with positive feedback.

"As a result, cloud and OEM customers are engaging earlier, deeper, and more collaboratively with us on both Rome, and our long-term data center roadmap," She said.

The opportunity for Rome is that it potentially will be able to be in market before Intel has a competing product. Su said 7nm gives AMD better density for data center servers.

"So, for a given system, we can put more cores on it and it gives us better power," Su said. "We're excited about what the second generation of EPYC can do for us."

The AMD EPYC 7nm Rome CPU is set to ship in 2019. AMD has scheduled a data center event on Nov.6 where it plans to provide more details on the technology.


Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at ServerWatch and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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