from the competition++ dept.
Intel has enjoyed a virtual monopoly in the server CPU arena for some time. However, AMD's EPYC series of processors, based on the latest iteration of Zen architecture, may change that. The first generation of these chipsets, Naples, managed to reduce Intel's market share to 99% shortly after its launch. This may sound less than impressive, but in a billion-dollar industry, it was possibly quite valuable to AMD.
The latest report on the server market by DRAMeXchange indicates that Intel's share is down to 98% by now. This represents a 100% improvement for AMD. Furthermore, the analysts estimate that the release of EPYC Rome-based silicon will result in further gains. They will ultimately result in a total market share of 5% for these CPUs by the end of 2019.
Intel is keeping AMD under 15%. For now:
Now it's easy to tell that Intel will still remain the dominant player in the market, retaining a 90-95% market share lead over AMD but Intel's Ex-CEO, Brian Krzanich, stated that his company wouldn't want AMD capturing 15-20% server market share. In fact, at the pace at which AMD is gaining their server market share, 15% doesn't really feel like a far cry from now.
[...] Looking at the market penetration rate, Intel's Purley platform has been adopted by 60% users in the server space and is expected to reach 65% in the coming year. On the other hand, AMD's EPYC Naples platform has been adopted by 70% and considering that AMD is keeping socket longevity intact with Rome, we can see the adoption rate further expanding after 7nm chips launch.
Previously: AMD Misses Q1 Earnings Target; Withdraws from High-Density Server Market
AMD Ratcheting Up the Pressure on Intel
More on AMD's Licensing of Epyc Server Chips to Chinese Companies
AMD's server marketshare hits 1% for the first time in 4 years
Two stories regarding chipmaker AMD in the news today. First, they missed their Q1 earnings target, after reporting losses of $180 million, or $0.23/share:
Revenue landed at $1.03 billion, down 26 percent on the year-ago quarter (statement) ...Non-GAAP earnings were a loss of 9 cents per share ...Wall Street was expecting a loss of 5 cents per share on revenue on $1.05 billion.
"Under the backdrop of a challenging PC environment, we are focused on improving our near-term financial results and delivering a stronger second half of the year based on completing our work to rebalance channel inventories and shipping strong new products," [said AMD chief executive Lisa Su].
Secondly, AMD is withdrawing from the high-density server business, reversing a strategy that began 3 years ago with the acquisition of SeaMicro:
AMD paid $334 million to buy SeaMicro, which developed a new type of high-density server aimed at large-scale cloud and Internet service providers ...The purchase was made under former CEO Rory Read, and has now been reversed by Lisa Su, who took over the CEO job last October ...AMD said the move is part of its effort to "simplify and sharpen" its investment focus. As a result, it is taking a charge of $75 million.
AMD still sees growth potential in the server market, but not from selling complete systems. It's returned its focus to x86 chips and to the development of its first ARM server processor, code-named Seattle.
Intel expects to lose some server/data center market share to AMD's Epyc line of chips:
The pitched battle between Intel and AMD has spread to the data center, and while Intel has been forthcoming that it expects to lose some market share in the coming months to AMD, Brian Krzanich's recent comments to Instinet analyst Roman Shah give us some insight into the surprising scope of AMD's threat. Shah recently sat down with Intel CEO Brian Krzanich and Barron's reported on his findings:
Shah relates that Krzanich "was very matter-of-fact in saying that Intel would lose server share to AMD in the second half of the year," which is not news, but he thought it significant that "Mr. Krzanich did not draw a firm line in the sand as it relates to AMD's potential gains in servers; he only indicated that it was Intel's job to not let AMD capture 15-20% market share." (emphasis added).
Furthermore, Intel's problems with the "10nm" node could allow AMD to pick up market share with "7nm" (although it may be similar in performance to Intel's "10nm"):
Nomura Instinet is less bullish on further stock gains for Intel after talking to the chipmaker's CEO, Brian Krzanich. [...] The analyst said Intel's problems in moving to its next-generation chip manufacturing technology may be a factor in its potential market share losses. The chipmaker revealed on its April 26 earnings conference call that it delayed volume production under its 10-nanometer chip manufacturing process to next year. Conversely, AMD said on its call that it plans to start next-generation 7-nanometer chip production in late 2018.
[...] "We see Mr. Krzanich's posture here reflecting the company's inability thus far to sufficiently yield 10nm for volume production while AMD's partner TSMC is currently making good progress on 7nm; thus, setting Intel up for stiff competition again in 2019," the analyst said.
Here are a couple of post-mortem articles on Intel's misleading 28-core CPU demo and more:
Rather than 28 cores, Intel may introduce 20 and 22 core CPUs to compete with AMD's Threadripper 2, along with 8-core Coffee Lake refresh CPUs to compete with Ryzen.
Chinese companies are manufacturing chips nearly identical to AMD's Epyc server CPUs, using two joint ventures with AMD. This move comes after the US blacklisted certain Chinese supercomputing centers in 2015 in an attempt to prevent them from using Intel Xeon chips, and more recently, Chinese telecom equipment maker ZTE was banned from buying components from US companies. China's Sunway TaihuLight supercomputer (formerly #1 on the TOP500 list) also uses domestically designed Sunway SW26010 manycore chips.
China isn't eager to embrace another American chipmaker like AMD. In response, AMD established two joint ventures with Chinese holding company THATIC -- one with Chengdu Haiguang Microelectronics Technology (CHMT), and another with Haiguang IC Design, also known as Hygon.
AMD owns a majority stake in CHMT, which ensures that its IP isn't transferred to THATIC. THATIC owns a majority stake in Hygon, which licenses AMD's IP from CHMT. Hygon designs the chips, and CHMT produces the chips through a suitable foundry and then sends them back to Hygon for packaging, marketing, and sales.
This arrangement seemingly placates American and Chinese regulators -- AMD's IP isn't being passed to a Chinese company, and a Chinese chipmaker gains access to superior data center CPU designs. AMD generates less revenues through these JVs than it would through direct sales, but it still gains a foothold in China's massive data center market. But more importantly, this move could wound Intel.
Good luck maintaining control of your "IP". As for the pain?
Many big companies, including Microsoft and Baidu, started installing AMD's cheaper chips in their data centers. In a meeting with Nomura Instinet analyst Romit Shah in June, then-CEO Brian Krzanich admitted that AMD was gaining ground, and Intel was trying to prevent it from gaining a "15% to 20%" share of the data center market. That admission was stunning, since Intel traditionally controlled more than 99% of the data center market with its Xeon chips. Intel's data center group grew its revenues by 11% to $19.1 billion last year, and accounted for 30% of its top line. Epyc was already a thorn in Intel's side, but AMD's sponsorship of Chinese clones could throttle its sales in mainland China, which accounted for 24% of its sales last year. Its total sales in the region only rose 6% in 2017, compared to 20% growth in 2016.
AMD CEO Lisa Su has announced that second-generation "Rome" EPYC CPU that the company is wrapping up work on is being produced out at TSMC. This is a notable departure from how things have gone for AMD with the Zen 1 generation, as GlobalFoundries has produced all of AMD's Zen CPUs, both for consumer Ryzen and professional EPYC parts.
[...] As it stands, AMD seems rather optimistic about how things are currently going. Rome silicon is already back in the labs, and indeed AMD is already sampling the parts to certain partners for early validation. Which means AMD remains on track to launch their second-generation EPYC processors in 2019.
[...] Ultimately however if they are meeting their order quota from GlobalFoundries, then AMD's situation is ultimately much more market driven: which fab can offer the necessary capacity and performance, and at the best prices. Which will be an important consideration as GlobalFoundries has indicated that it may not be able to keep up with 7nm demand, especially with the long manufacturing process their first-generation DUV-based 7nm "7LP" process requires.
Related: TSMC Holds Groundbreaking Ceremony for "5nm" Fab, Production to Begin in 2020
Cray CS500 Supercomputers to Include AMD's Epyc as a Processor Option
AMD Returns to the Datacenter, Set to Launch "7nm" Radeon Instinct GPUs for Machine Learning in 2018
AMD Ratcheting Up the Pressure on Intel
More on AMD's Licensing of Epyc Server Chips to Chinese Companies
Intel has announced the next family of Xeon processors that it plans to ship in the first half of next year. The new parts represent a substantial upgrade over current Xeon chips, with up to 48 cores and 12 DDR4 memory channels per socket, supporting up to two sockets.
These processors will likely be the top-end Cascade Lake processors; Intel is labelling them "Cascade Lake Advanced Performance," with a higher level of performance than the Xeon Scalable Processors (SP) below them. The current Xeon SP chips use a monolithic die, with up to 28 cores and 56 threads. Cascade Lake AP will instead be a multi-chip processor with multiple dies contained with in a single package. AMD is using a similar approach for its comparable products; the Epyc processors use four dies in each package, with each die having 8 cores.
The switch to a multi-chip design is likely driven by necessity: as the dies become bigger and bigger it becomes more and more likely that they'll contain a defect. Using several smaller dies helps avoid these defects. Because Intel's 10nm manufacturing process isn't yet good enough for mass market production, the new Xeons will continue to use a version of the company's 14nm process. Intel hasn't yet revealed what the topology within each package will be, so the exact distribution of those cores and memory channels between chips is as yet unknown. The enormous number of memory channels will demand an enormous socket, currently believed to be a 5903 pin connector.
Intel also announced tinier 4-6 core E-2100 Xeons with ECC memory support.
Meanwhile, AMD is holding a New Horizon event on Nov. 6, where it is expected to announce 64-core Epyc processors.
Related: AMD Epyc 7000-Series Launched With Up to 32 Cores
AVX-512: A "Hidden Gem"?
Intel's Skylake-SP vs AMD's Epyc
Intel Teases 28 Core Chip, AMD Announces Threadripper 2 With Up to 32 Cores
TSMC Will Make AMD's "7nm" Epyc Server CPUs
Intel Announces 9th Generation Desktop Processors, Including a Mainstream 8-Core CPU
During the company's recent earnings call, AMD CEO Lisa Su alluded to market share gains in the fourth quarter of 2018 but didn't provide specific figures.
Today AMD shared numbers from third-party industry analyst firm Mercury Research that outline those gains. AMD gained share in desktop PC processors, notebooks, and servers, highlighting that its Zen-based processors continue to pressure Intel on all fronts, but more importantly, AMD's rate of growth is also accelerating. These improvements come as the company is on the cusp of releasing 7nm processors for the desktop PC and server markets, marking its first process node lead over Intel.
AMD now holds 15.8% of the desktop processor market, a 2.8% gain on a quarterly basis and a 3.9% year-over-year (YoY) improvement. That represents the company's largest portion of the market since the fourth quarter of 2014. [...] Notebook processors are critical because they comprise two-thirds of the overall processor market, but AMD has been plagued by slow uptake. That tide seems to be turning as the company gained 1.3% share on the quarter and a whopping 5.3% more share YoY. That marks the company's highest percentage of the notebook market since Q3 2013.
[...] During the company's recent earnings call, Lisa Su said that AMD had achieved its goal to claim "mid-single-digit" data center share in 2018. However, Mercury Research's server share projections are lower at 3.2% unit share. AMD shared its take on the disparity:
Mercury Research captures all x86 server class processors in their server unit estimate, regardless of device (server, network or storage), whereas the estimated 1P [single-socket] and 2P [two-socket] TAM [Total Addressable Market] provided by IDC only includes traditional servers. We used IDC's server forecast of the 1P and 2P server TAM of roughly 5M units to compute our server market share estimates. We believe that in Q4 2018 we achieved ~5% unit share of the 1P and 2P server market addressed by our EPYC processors (as defined by IDC).