from the making-money dept.
2017 has been a great year for the tech enthusiast, with the return of meaningful competition in the PC space. Today, AMD announced their third quarter earnings, which beat expectations, and put the company's ledgers back in the black in their GAAP earnings. For the quarter, AMD had revenues of $1.64 billion, compared to $1.31 billion a year ago, which is a gain of just over 25%. Operating income was $126 million, compared to a $293 million loss a year ago, and net income was $71 million, compared to a net loss of $406 million a year ago. This resulted in earnings per share of $0.07, compared to a loss per share of $0.50 in Q3 2016.
[...] The Computing and Graphics segment has been a key to these numbers, with some impressive launches this year, especially on the CPU side. Revenue for this segment was up 74% to $819 million, and AMD attributes this to strong sales of both Radeon GPUs and Ryzen desktop processors. Average Selling Price (ASP) was also up significantly thanks to Ryzen sales. AMD is still undercutting Intel on price, but they don't have to almost give things away like they did the last couple of years. ASP of GPUs was also up significantly, and the proliferation of cryptocurrency likely played a large part in that. Operating income for the segment was an impressive $70 million, compared to an operating loss of $66 million last year.
Previously: AMD Ryzen Launch News
AMD GPU Supply Exhausted By Cryptocurrency Mining, AIBs Now Directly Advertising To Miners
AMD Epyc 7000-Series Launched With Up to 32 Cores
Cryptocoin GPU Bubble?
Ethereum Mining Craze Leads to GPU Shortages
Used GPUs Flood the Market as Ethereum's Price Crashes Below $150
AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 and 56 Announced
First Two AMD Threadripper Chips Out on Aug. 10, New 8-Core Version on Aug. 31
Cryptocurrency Mining Wipes Out Vega 64 Stock
AMD Expected to Release Ryzen CPUs on a 12nm Process in Q1 2018
AMD Ryzen 7 Launches
Reviews and benchmarks for AMD's Ryzen 7 8-core desktop CPUs flooded out at 9 AM EST/6 AM PST:
Along with the new microarchitecture, Zen is the first CPU from AMD to be launched on GlobalFoundries' 14nm process, which is semi-licenced from Samsung. At a base overview, the process should offer 30% better efficiency over the 28nm HKMG (high-k metal gate) process used at TSMC for previous products. One of the issues facing AMD these past few years has been Intel's prowess in manufacturing, first at 22nm and then at 14nm - both using iterative FinFET generations. This gave an efficiency and die-size deficit to AMD through no real fault of their own: redesigning older Bulldozer-derived products for a smaller process is both difficult and gives a lot of waste, depending on how the microarchitecture as designed. Moving to GloFo' 14nm on FinFET, along with a new microarchitecture designed for this specific node, is one stepping stone to playing the game of high-end CPU performance.
Ryzen 5 chips will be released sometime in "Q2", and are presumed to have 4 to 6 cores with hyperthreading enabled. One of these has been revealed: the Ryzen 5 1600X. It has 6 cores, and equivalent clock (3.6 GHz) and turbo (4.0 GHz) speeds to the $500 8-core flagship Ryzen 7 1800X. Ryzen 3 chips will be released in the second half of the year, and include quad-cores with no hyperthreading.
The Intel Core i7-7700K maintains a lead in single-threaded performance, but the Ryzen 7 chips lead in many multi-threaded benchmarks (sometimes beating the $1089 Intel Core i7-6900K).
AMD Radeon RX 500 series graphics cards, particularly the RX 580 and 570, have been out of stock for weeks now owing to the cryptocurrency mining craze. The market had shifted away from GPU mining a couple of years back after several China based companies launched specialized ASICs that were much faster and more power efficient at resolving the block chain equations necessary to mine Bitcoin and Litecoin, the Gold and Silver of cryptocurrencies.
However GPU mining has seen a massive resurgence over the past little while due to the rising popularity of ASIC resistent coins. Chief among which is Etherium which has seen its price more than triple in a matter of months. AMD's Add-In-Board partners have caught on to this and have already started directly advertising to miners.
AMD has launched its Ryzen-based take on x86 server processors to compete with Intel's Xeon CPUs. All of the Epyc 7000-series CPUs support 128 PCIe 3.0 lanes and 8 channels (2 DIMMs per channel) of DDR4-2666 DRAM:
A few weeks ago AMD announced the naming of the new line of enterprise-class processors, called EPYC, and today marks the official launch with configurations up to 32 cores and 64 threads per processor. We also got an insight into several features of the design, including the AMD Infinity Fabric.
Today's announcement of the AMD EPYC product line sees the launch of the top four CPUs, focused primarily at dual socket systems. The full EPYC stack will contain twelve processors, with three for single socket environments, with the rest of the stack being made available at the end of July. It is worth taking a few minutes to look at how these processors look under the hood.
On the package are four silicon dies, each one containing the same 8-core silicon we saw in the AMD Ryzen processors. Each silicon die has two core complexes, each of four cores, and supports two memory channels, giving a total maximum of 32 cores and 8 memory channels on an EPYC processor. The dies are connected by AMD's newest interconnect, the Infinity Fabric, which plays a key role not only in die-to-die communication but also processor-to-processor communication and within AMD's new Vega graphics. AMD designed the Infinity Fabric to be modular and scalable in order to support large GPUs and CPUs in the roadmap going forward, and states that within a single package the fabric is overprovisioned to minimize any issues with non-NUMA aware software (more on this later).
With a total of 8 memory channels, and support for 2 DIMMs per channel, AMD is quoting a 2TB per socket maximum memory support, scaling up to 4TB per system in a dual processor system. Each CPU will support 128 PCIe 3.0 lanes, suitable for six GPUs with full bandwidth support (plus IO) or up to 32 NVMe drives for storage. All the PCIe lanes can be used for IO devices, such as SATA drives or network ports, or as Infinity Fabric connections to other devices. There are also 4 IO hubs per processor for additional storage support.
AMD's slides at Ars Technica.
There are many reasons for investors to buy chipmakers Nvidia and Advanced Micro Devices, but the recent rush for an indirect way to play skyrocketing cryptocurrencies bitcoin and ethereum should not be one of them, CNBC's Jim Cramer said Friday. "One of the reasons why AMD and Nvidia have been going up is their chips are used for mining, for cryptocurrency mining," Cramer told "Squawk on the Street." But he warned, "Do not play it for this is what I'm saying. But it is being played for that." [...] Cramer cited a recent note from RBC Capital Markets, which said the growing cryptocurrency mining market has contributed $100 million worth of GPU sales for Nvidia in the past 11 days alone. "AMD chips are the best ones for the ethereum platform," he added.
German retailer MindFactory has removed many AMD and Nvidia graphics cards from sale because the products have a delivery time of 3 months. According to them, the GPU shortage affects "the whole of Germany" or even the "whole Europe".
The demand for GPUs to mine cryptocurrencies, particularly Ethereum, has led to OEMs creating products specifically tailored to cryptocurrency mining. For example, new cards that are smaller, have fewer display ports, with cooling systems:
While the GPU shortage continues, there are some signs of improvement. There are now several models of Nvidia's GeForce GTX 1070 in stock from various OEMs, but prices remain high and relatively close to the price of the GTX 1080. There are also a few more GTX 1060 6GB graphics cards available, and the price on the least expensive one has dropped significantly, down from $484.80 to $259.99.
At the same time, however, the price on the least expensive GTX 1050 Ti has climbed by about $10, and several models now cost around $200. The price on the least expensive Geforce GTX 1060 3GB has also climbed by roughly $20, as well. This likely indicates that sales of these cards have increased somewhat, pushing prices up accordingly.
Meanwhile, several OEMs, including Asus, Biostar, Sapphire, and Zotac, have announced new mining graphics cards that are tailored for cryptocurrency mining. We have also seen a new motherboard from Asrock that can support up to 13 GPUs for mining. Biostar has a similar board for AM4 CPUs that can support six GPUs. Although we haven't seen them yet, EVGA and MSI also have mining GPUs coming soon, and MSI will also have a motherboard designed for mining. Although these may be attractive to cryptocurrency miners, one source told us that they use the same GPU cores as traditional graphics cards, and thus don't address the underlying supply problem.
The shortages go all the way to the source. OEMs are reportedly having trouble getting GPU cores from Nvidia, and Nvidia can't get enough from TSMC. This is presumably the same situation for AMD and GlobalFoundries.
Submitted via IRC for Bytram
Over the past few months, there has been a GPU shortage, forcing the prices of mid-range graphics cards up as cryptocurrency miners from across the world purchased hardware in bulk in search for quick and easy profits.
This has forced the prices of most modern AMD and certain Nvidia GPUs to skyrocket, but now these GPUs are starting to saturate the used market as more and more Ethereum miners sell up and quit mining. Some other miners are starting to look at other emerging Cryptocurrencies, though it is clear that the hype behind Ethereum is dying down.
Earlier this week Ethereum's value dropped below $200, as soon as the currency experienced a new difficulty spike, making the currency 20% harder to mine and significantly less profitable. This combined with its decrease in value has made mining Ethereum unprofitable for many miners, especially in regions with higher than average electricity costs.
Now Ethereum is valued at less than $150, with the currency costing $134.97 at the time of writing, which is less than half of the currency's peak value. The currency has the potential to bounce back, though it is difficult to see the currency go back over £250 [sic*] in the near future.
On second-hand sales websites like eBay and Gumtree, we have seen a lot of new GPU listing appear in recent days, with plenty of used AMD RX series GPUs appearing over the weekend. More hardware is expected to hit these sites over the coming days as some miners wind down their operations, though many will simply move to a more profitable currency or to invest their computing power into an emerging Cryptocurrency that has the prospect of high values in the future.
AMD has announced two new GPUs, the Radeon RX Vega 64 and 56. The GPUs are named in reference to the amount of "compute units" included. Both GPUs have 8 GB of High Bandwidth Memory 2.0 VRAM and will be released on August 14.
AMD's TR 1950X (16 cores) and TR 1920X (12 cores) CPUs will be released on August 10th:
The news at the top of the hour is the date at which AMD is making Threadripper and associated TR4 based motherboards available at retail: August 10th. This is expected to be a full worldwide retail launch, so don't be surprised if your favorite retailer starts posting teaser images about how much stock they have. August 10th will see both the 1950X and 1920X with their retail packaging, along with motherboards from the main four motherboard vendors.
AMD has also announced an 8-core version of Threadripper, the TR 1900X, for $549. Why buy it instead of spending $300 on the Ryzen 7 1700 or $420 on the Ryzen 7 1800X, both of which have eight cores?
There are some questions around why AMD would release an 8-core Threadripper, given that the Ryzen 7 1800X is also eight core and currently retails around $399 when distributor sales are factored in. The main thing here is going to be IO, specifically that the user is going to get access to quad channel memory and all the PCIe lanes required for multi-GPU or multi-add-in cards, along with a super high-end motherboard that likely contains multiple CPU-based PCIe x4 storage and/or 10G Ethernet and additional features.
AMD's Vega 64 GPU is an underwhelming chip that competes against the GTX 1080, which is a 15 month old GPU. Nvidia could lower the price of the GTX 1080 and 1070 to better compete against Vega 64 and 56, or launch Volta-based consumer GPUs in the coming months. But Vega 64 is sold out everywhere due to cryptocurrency miners.
AMD has released an updated (Windows-only) driver called Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition Beta for Blockchain Compute. The driver improves the hash rate for Ethereum mining significantly, and Vega 56 performance may even exceed that of Vega 64 (it is a beta driver so these results are subject to change):
As you can see, we're getting some pretty significant gains already (at stock speeds) with this beta driver. We wouldn't be surprised if there are even further optimizations to be found, once AMD is ready to go with a production driver, but we'll take what we can get right now. We did have one performance anomaly that we ran into, however. When cranking up the memory speeds, the Vega 56 actually vaulted past the Vega 64, cranking out 36.48 MH/s. That's not bad for a card that's supposed to retail for $399.
Unfortunately, there is some confusion over the true price of Vega 64, although they are out of stock anyway aside from some hardware and game bundles.
Nvidia's market cap hit $100 billion on the day of the Vega 64 launch. Nvidia's CEO told investors that the company has the ability to "rock and roll" with the volatile cryptocurrency market (implying less shortages).
AMD's high Ryzen sales may have convinced the company to release a new version on a slightly improved process in Spring 2018:
AMD has informed its partners that it plans to launch in February 2018 an upgrade version of its Ryzen series processors built using a 12nm low-power (12LP) process at Globalfoundries, according to sources at motherboard makers.
The company will initially release the CPUs codenamed Pinnacle 7, followed by mid-range Pinnacle 5 and entry-level Pinnacle 3 processors in March 2018, the sources disclosed. AMD is also expected to see its share of the desktop CPU market return to 30% in the first half of 2018.
AMD will launch the low-power version of Pinnacle processors in April 2018 and the enterprise version Pinnacle Pro in May 2018.
The new "Pinnacle Ridge" chips appear to be part of a Zen 1 refresh rather than "Zen 2", which is expected to ship in 2019 on a 7nm process. The 12nm Leading-Performance (12LP) process was described by GlobalFoundries as providing 15% greater circuit density and a 10% performance increase compared to its 14nm FinFET process.
AMD has yet to release 14nm "Raven Ridge" CPUs for laptops.
At the top of the stack are two Core i7 Coffee Lake processors. In previous generations 'Core i7' meant that we were discussing quad-core parts with hyperthreading, but for this generation it moves up to a six-core part with hyperthreading. The Core i7-8700K starts at a 3.7 GHz base frequency and is designed to turbo to 4.7 GHz in single threaded workloads, with a thermal design power (TDP) of 95W.
[...] In the middle of the stack are the Core i5 processors, with the new generation matching the 'same configuration without hyperthreading' philosophy that followed in the previous generation. The two Core i5 parts operate at lower clockspeeds compared to the Core i7, and perhaps more so than we are previously used to, especially with the Core i5-8400 having a base frequency of 2.8 GHz. Intel sampled us the Core i5-8400 for our review, because it hits an important metric: six cores for under $200.
[...] It is interesting to note that in the last generation, Intel had processors with two cores and two threads (2C/2T), two cores with hyperthreading (2C/4T), quad cores with four threads (4C/4T) and quad cores with hyperthreading (4C/8T). This layout had staggered, regular steps. With the move to 6C/12T on the high-end Core i7, and 6C/6T on the mid-range Core i5, Intel completely skips the 4C/8T parts and moves straight to 4C/4T on the Core i3. This is likely because a 4C/8T processor might overtake a 6C/6T part in some multi-threaded tests (it would also explain why moving from a previous 4C/8T Core i7 processor to a 6C/6T Core i5 8th generation is not always an increase in performance).
However at the bottom of the stack are the 4C/4T Core i3 processors, where Intel is pushing out an overclockable Core i3 processor again. This is a little bit of a surprise: in our testing of the previous generation overclockable Core i3, the fact that it was dual core was a setback in a lot of testing. With the Core i3-K now being quad-core, and overclocking it to try and beat a six-core chip for less money, for certain things like gaming we might see less of a difference between the two.
Previously: AMD's Ryzen Could be Forcing Intel to Release "Coffee Lake" CPUs Sooner
Intel's First 8th Generation Processors Are Just Updated 7th Generation Chips
Intel Launches 8th-Gen Core Desktop Chips; Claims New Core i7-8700K is its Best Gaming Chip Ever
These are 15 W TDP chips intended for lower-power but high performance designs (e.g. "Ultrabooks"). Chips with higher TDPs will come out later. In comparing the Ryzen 7 2700U to the AMD FX-9800P, an Excavator-based 15 W TDP chip that was released in 2015, AMD claims that CPU performance has been increased by 200% while GPU performance has increased by 128%. The 200% figure is a result of doubling the core/thread count (the Excavator chip used 2 "modules" rather than 4 real cores) and Ryzen's approximate 52% increase in instructions per clock:
Shipments of GPUs are being slowed down or suspended in light of a slowdown in demand driven by cryptocurrency miners:
Taiwan-based graphics card makers including Gigabyte Technology, Micro-Star International (MSI) and TUL are expected to see their shipments for April plunge over 40% on month, as many clients have suspended taking shipments in response to drastic slowdown in demand for cryptocurrency mining machines, according to industry sources.
Channel distributors and larger mining farm operators have cut orders with makers of mining graphics cards and mining motherboards or asked them to suspend shipments due to the crypto mining craze waning abruptly from the beginning of April, the sources said.
Quite a few mining farm operators have even stopped purchasing graphic cards, as they are awaiting the rollout of Ethereum mining machines by China's Bitmain in the third quarter of 2018. They anticipate mining rewards to pick up gradually in the third quarter, as Bitcoin and Ethereum values may rebound following sharp declines seen in early 2018, the sources indicated.
Previously: AMD GPU Supply Exhausted By Cryptocurrency Mining, AIBs Now Directly Advertising To Miners
Cryptocoin GPU Bubble?
Ethereum Mining Craze Leads to GPU Shortages
Used GPUs Flood the Market as Ethereum's Price Crashes Below $150
Cryptocurrency Mining Wipes Out Vega 64 Stock
GPU Cryptomining Hurting SETI and Other Astronomy Projects
Related: AMD Profits in Q3 2017