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AMD outlines product roadmap at Financial Analyst Day

by Ryan Martin on 6 May 2015, 20:46


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Re-entering the CPU market

AMD announced its Q1 2015 financial results back in mid-April where the company's revenue fell 26 per cent year-on-year and 17 per cent quarter-on-quarter. Despite the sharp decline in revenue the operating losses weren't as significant as in previous quarters due to better margins and inventory adjustments. While it's difficult to say if Q2 of 2015 will deliver better results, AMD has revealed its future plans to restore the company to a better financial position.

At the 2015 Financial Analyst Day (FAD) AMD delivered an important presentation to outline the roadmap for its two key businesses - the Computing and Graphics segment and the Enterprise and Embedded Solutions area. An interesting change is that AMD is organising its product strategy in terms of three key markets: Datacenter, Gaming and Immersive Experiences. AMD believes its current and upcoming products are best-suited to excel in these three markets.


The headlining announcement coming from AMD's FAD is the company's decision to throw itself back into the x86 CPU market with strength. Leading the CPU resurgence is AMD's upcoming Zen x86 microarchitecture. AMD hasn't yet disclosed specifics about the microarchitecture but it did share new information above what we already know. Zen will make use of a Simultaneous Multi-Threading (SMT) design which uses a 1-core, 2-thread structure, similar to Intel's Hyper-Threading Technology.

Furthermore, Zen promises a 40 per cent improvement in instructions-per-cycle over AMD's current Excavator design, and the new architecture will be able to scale across multiple market segments, meaning mobile through datacentre. AMD didn't specify exact core counts but Zen will be available in up to 8-core, 16-thread designs, at the very minimum, with the potential for higher core counts to target datacentre markets.

To support Zen AMD will provide a new CPU socket, named AM4, which will support all AMD's Zen-based desktop products. That means it will have full compatibility for Zen-based FX CPUs as well as AMD's 7th Generation desktop APUs - the successors to Carrizo. Consumers can expect Zen-based products to become available in 2016 when AMD claims it will put competition back into the high-performance x86 CPU market. CEO Lisa Su promised as much in our exclusive interview in January.

AMD's Zen will be made available first in the consumer FX line of CPUs with a later rollout to the server and datacentre with a new Opteron line. Core counts and specifications for the new Opterons are still under wraps but AMD promises a 'high native I/O capacity' and 'disruptive memory bandwidth.'