June 27, 2020 AMD Q2 Round Up

As Q2 is coming to a close, here is a brief summary of notable items.

Rome is doing very well. AWS (Amazon Web Services) just added more Epyc processors to its instances, detailed here by Amazon and Yahoo News.

More and more Epyc are being adopted for supercomputing and HPC, as detailed here. Below are four supercomputers on the latest Top 500 list.

  • Selene (No.7) an AMD EPYC 7742-based system in a DGX A100 SuperPOD platform from Nvidia.
  • Belenos (No.30), one of the two BullSequana XH2000 supercomputers at Météo-France,  the French national meteorological service powered by 2nd Gen AMD EPYC processors.
  • Joliot-Curie (No.34), moved up the list based on a new submission for the BullSequana XH2000 system using 2nd Gen AMD EPYC™ processors at GENCI, the French national high-performance computing organization.
  • Mahti (No. 48), a  2nd Gen AMD EPYC processor powered BullSequana XH2000 supercomputer at Finland’s Center for Science Information Technology.

Let’s not forget El Capitan and Frontier, both AMD wins, which will become the world’s top two exascale supercomputers in 2021 and 2022.

Nvidia has been on a tear lately. Its latest AI system DGX A100 is using the 64 cores Epyc 7742 processor instead of Intel Xeon. As described in this CRN.com article, Epyc offers more cores, faster speed and better throughput because of the PCIe Gen 4 support. This is quite an endorsement from industry leader Nvidia, proving that Epyc Rome is better than Xeon.

Zen2 desktop CPUs continue to do very well, even against Intel’s new releases. So much so that AMD is doing a very mild refresh in the form of Ryzen 3000XT lineup, available on July 7, 2020.

Here is AMD’s press release and Anandtech’s coverage. There is a 100 MHz increase of boost frequency for the 3900XT and 3700XT, and a 200 MHz increase for the 3800XT.

Additionally, there will be new B550 and A520 chipsets for new motherboards, complementing the current X570 motherboards. Furthermore, StoreMI 2.0 will be released also, after the original StoreMI was halted in April 2020. This feature is a “caching-based acceleration algorithm that allows SSD level speed using HDD level capacity”.

While all these may not be very exciting, we are reassured that Zen 3 is still on track for later this year. It would be most important for Milan to be launched this year, and of course we will also welcome Zen 3 desktop CPUs. Hopefully we will know more soon.

Meanwhile, Renoir based laptops are finally more available, with more to come for the ever important back to school season. Dell, HP, Lenovo, MSI, Asus and Acer are all coming out with new models. It is quite nice to see three Ryzen computers advertised in the latest Costco mailer, two are Ryzen laptops and the third one is a HP all-in-one. This is excellent because Costco sells them by the boat loads. Best Buy has also been a great vendor for AMD, selling the excellent Asus ROG G14 and G15 as well as other Ryzen laptops with good supply.

Digital Trend gives an excellent run down of all the Renoir laptops available right now, here.

It now looks like Q2 should come in at guidance or maybe even beat it. If Q3 guidance is good, then it will dispel lots of doubts about H2 slowdown. With both PS5 and XBox launching holiday season, prospect remains very good.

I am also keeping a close eye on the Samsung-Radeon joint effort, which should bear fruit in 2021.

As a side note, Apple had formally announced that they will use an in house CPU for their future lineup, dumping Intel for good. AMD is not mentioned as replacement. We will see if ARM will be good enough for Apple’s work station computers. While this is disappointing for AMD, it is not all that unexpected.

The overriding concern for everyone is the prospect of worsening COVID-19 disaster in the US. While most of Asia (excluding India), Europe (excluding Russia) are doing much better, the US (and Brazil) are doing terribly. The first wave in the US had never come down, and the second wave is already starting, with the reopening of the economy things likely will get worse.

AMD’s thesis is taking market share in a very large TAM. So even with a lousy economy, the need for more PC’s and more cloud continues to exist.

Even if AMD’s share price remains range bound through the rest of 2020, I will continue to profit from selling options.

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