In a pre-show launch on January 6, 2020, Dr. Lisa Su, President and CEO of AMD Micro Semiconductors, USA, said AMD’s PC chip market share has increased by 8 consecutive quarter, and that’s just the beginning.
Dr. Su said AMD will take advantage of its advantages , the Zen 2 architecture and the 7 nm manufacturing process , to catch up with Intel in 2020. At CES 2020, AMD introduced the Ryzen 4000 Series APU processor and the Ryzen Threadripper 3990X 64 core processor. On the graphics side, AMD has announced a new mainstream GPU to compete with rival Nvidia. The Zen3 CPU will also be released this year.
After the pre-show, Dr. Su Zifeng received a media group interview, the following is a transcript of the dialogue of the media group visit.
Q: You didn’t disclose any console chips today.
A: Our partners will announce the news the first time, but presumably you’ve heard that the new console will feature AMD Zen 2 and RDNA, and we’re looking forward to it.
Q: Do you think it’s a little early to talk about desktop APUs?
A: Yes, it’s a little early. AMD is very focused on desktops and servers in 2019, and we’ve introduced the first Navi-based RDNA chip. As I move into 2020, many people have asked me about the Zen 2 notebook, and the expectations for AMD should be higher. What I’m saying is that we’re looking forward to the third generation Ryzen 4000 CPU series, but now it’s January and we’ve got a lot more to do.
Q: What do you think AMD faces intel challenges in PC chip?
A: For desktops and servers, we focus on the CPU and take advantage of the “chiplet” technology. For notebooks, we have an integrated CPU plus GPU and focus on optimizing battery life. We think the Ryzen 4000 will be very powerful.
Looking back over the last 8 quarters, we’ve had a certain share of the PC market every quarter, so we’re confident. If you talk to some vendors, you’ll find that they’re doing more design around AMD’s ecology. We’re seeing Lenovo Yoga Slim 7, as well as Asus and Dell devices, and more products with the Ryzen 4000 series in the future.
Q: With the development of chips over the past few years, what do you think has changed in the laptop market from the beginning to the present?
A: I think expectations are higher, expect laptops to perform better. Bringing desktop performance to laptops is one of the fastest growing areas on the market. We don’t spend much time on commercials at the moment, but we think it’s also important. In addition, the work we do in terms of security and manageability is very important in laptops.
Q: These chips were in the design phase three years ago, so why are the new components using Vega instead of Navi?
A: It’s about how we integrate components at the right time. The Vega architecture is well known and well optimized. AMD has always planned to consolidate it into Zen 2 plus Vega. But you’ll also see Navi in our APU.
Q: How can AMD compete with Intel in the face of its fierce stalauns?
A: It’s like a journey. We’ve seen potential in the PC market, and if you look at AMD’s sales of desktops and laptops, we’ve come a long way. Both large retailers and commercial manufacturers are starting to build AMD microprocessors, and they’re becoming more and more recognized for AMD, so I’m optimistic.
The second generation Ryzen Pro Mobile series is doing well, and AMD wants to make further progress, and both the 7nm process and the third generation Ryzen Mobile will definitely help.
Q: Intel has introduced low-power products, do you think you should compete with Intel’s new collapsible devices and other forms of devices?
A: AMD will continue to focus on PC form factor. We are working closely with Microsoft to achieve some of the features that are required for these form factors. You can see what’s on our mind through Surface.
We know what we’re good at. We are good at ensuring differentiated performance, and that’s what we’re focused on. AMD works with device manufacturers to add these performancetos to differentiated designs. For us, unique design sits with AMD chips is critical.
Q: Intel provides a market development fund to partners to use their hardware while having a great design. AMD’s marketing is doing well, but how will AMD compete with it at this point?
A: It’s really about bringing great technology to market with an ecosystem behind it. We feel that success is built on success. With more designs from the first generation Ryzen mobile to the second generation of Ryzen mobile, with more than 50 designs in total in 2019, partners have gained a better understanding of our capabilities, and we’ve actually been on track.
Imagine more than 100 laptops coming out in 2020, which involves the entire retail marketing. I think our brand is doing a good job and we will continue to work to improve AMD’s brand and ecology.
Q: Have you seen some comments on how products such as Threadripper change AMD’s brand image?
A: We’ve seen it. It’s not as clear as “Threadripper brings X% market share to AMD,” but AMD does gain more recognition for Threadripper, which again shows that success is built on success.
If you look at Amazon, you’ll see that 12 of the top 12 desktop processors are from AMD. That’s a change – and there’s more in laptops. During the holiday season, we saw very good sales of devices built into AMD, which is only the third generation of the Ryzen mobile series.
Q: IN THE PAST, AMD HAS BEEN A LEADER IN HIGH-END GAMING DESKTOPS, BUT CAN IT BE SAID THAT THIS WILL BE AMD’S FIRST LEADERSHIP POSITION IN HIGH-END LAPTOPS?
A: Yes, it’s a big attempt at laptops, and we’re doing a lot of work. Previously, we were a leader in the form factor of our laptops, but they were usually low-end laptops. This time, we’ll see a broader range of technologies. Frankly, we think the Ryzen 4000 Series is the best notebook processor right now.
Q: Do you think real-time ray tracing will have a huge impact on graphics, as Nvidia says?
A: I think ray tracing is important, and we talked about its importance a long time ago. We are investing heavily in ray tracing and its ecosystem. Both of our partners also say they are using ray tracing. One should expect that our discrete graphics will also have ray tracing in 2020. It’s still early, but I believe ecosystems need to evolve. More games, software, and applications should use it.
Q: Will AMD focus on the high-end discrete graphics market?
A: In fact, the discrete graphics market, especially the high-end market, is very important to us. I know some Reddit users want a high-end Navi, AMD does come out high-end Navi, and you can expect it, although I don’t usually reveal products that haven’t been announced yet.
Q: We’ve noticed some reports of extended TMC delivery, can you talk about how AMD will handle its partnership and orders with TSMC in 2020?
A: We now have 20 7nm-based products in production or development, so we have a big bet on TSMC’s 7nm, we have a good relationship with TSMC, they have been supporting us, but wafer supply is tight. In our view, we need to make sure that we are able to anticipate demand in advance.
In the desktop product line, when we first introduced the third generation Ryzen, some high-end products were out of stock, especially the 3900X and 3950X. However, these CPUs are now readily available through the retailer. So all you see is the surface, and I think the 7nm technology is really working well, and we’re happy with it.
Q: AMD previously said that Zen3 would use the 7nm plus (N7P) process for on-stage cladding. Given some product changes, does this help alleviate this situation?
A: To be fair, all of TSMC’s 7nm versions share a lot of technology, whether it’s N7, N7P, or N7 Plus. It’s important to make sure we’re making predictions and planning, and that’s what we do.
Q: With Threadripper currently 64 cores, how much can the core number of consumers be increased?
A: Currently, 64 is the limit for the third generation of Threadripper. According to some data, expanding from 16 cores to 32 cores is actually good. For multithreaded applications, rising to 64 may have some impact, but we believe it will get better by optimizing it. A lot of people don’t know what to do with 64 cores, so we need to make sure that they can actually use all of them through the ecosystem. We like to see new applications and work with people who can really use them – we’re really trying to optimize.
Q: AMD has also had Arm-based products before, such as Seattle and K12. Arm is approaching the high-performance server space and is on track to achieve 25% year-over-year performance growth, which exceeds AMD’s forecast for its own performance. Will AMD work with Arm again?
A: We’ve used Arm’s microcontrollers in some products. From a server perspective, we don’t have an investment in Arm at the moment, and I do think Arm has a market and a capability, but we think x86 has a huge market, so we plan to continue using x86 starting with Gen 2 Epyc.
Q: What do you think of RISC-V across the industry?
A: Someone will see the good momentum of it and then use it. But our focus is very clear – high-performance computing. So we see the industry leader in x86.
Q: Intel has invested heavily in mobile technology and has worked closely with many vendors. Does AMD also need to invest money to compete with Intel’s ecosystem?
A: We think technology is the key. Ryzen Mobile’s performance is very important – we’re working with the ecosystem to optimize panels and other components. But I think the ecosystem is changing, and I don’t think one person or one company can define what the next generation of laptops looklike.
If you look at what Microsoft, Dell, or HP are doing, they have their own ideas about the shape of the next generation of products. For AMD, our goal is to have a large share of the market, so it’s important for us to push Ryzen Mobile into ultra-thin devices, H-Series, and business. I think we have a lot of opportunities to grow and that’s our goal.
Q: Do you think Intel’s actions in manufacturing pose a new threat?
A: It’s about their technology. We never expect others to complete their plans when we finish them. We have drawn up a plan over the past five years, and if we can maintain this momentum, it will continue for the next five years. We’ve made some good choices, and it’s all about making them at the right time. What market do you bring technology to? In what order? How do you do that? We all need to continue because that’s our key.
I expect that we will have very intense competition, whether in process, architecture or packaging technology. But I also expect AMD to do well because that’s our job.
Q: For the past three years, AMD products have been released on a regular 12-14 month cycle. Will we see Zen 3 this year? You’ve shared a 12-month roadmap before, but this year you’ve only talked about the first and second quarters. Can you talk about Zen3 or something?
A: You should expect AMD to be very active in developing a CPU plan. We’re proud of the Zen 2 as the best CPU core we’re today. We’ve finished the series and Zen 3 has done very well and we’re happy with that. You’ll see Zen 3 in 2020!