AMD's Lisa Su: Our processor sales are Ryzen faster than the PC market is growing

Chip designer records bumper final quarter and full year, predicts more of the same to come, says supply flow will increase

Sometimes, things just go right. AMD on Tuesday reported record full-year and fourth-quarter financial figures, all due to interest in its chips across the board, from microprocessors in PCs and servers to GPUs in games consoles, and all during a pandemic.

In a conference call with financial analysts after revealing the numbers, CEO Lisa Su acknowledged her processor design biz had suffered supply issues as demand for components outstripped production capacity at TSMC, which manufactures AMD's products. Supply is expected to remain tight in the first half of this year – particularly at the low-margin bottom-end PC level – and open up in the second half, we're told.

AMD continues to ship its 7nm processors, such as the Ryzen 5000 series launched in January after much teasing. It is due to unveil its 7nm Epyc server chips code-named Milan in March this year, and said it is on track to ship TSMC-made 5nm parts in 2022. As for this year, AMD expects to grow its annual revenues by 37 per cent over 2020.

Here's a summary of AMD's fourth-quarter and full-year results up to December 26:

  • Q4:
    • Revenues: $3.24bn, up 53 per cent on the year-ago period, and $210m more than Wall Street expected. AMD reckons it will take in another $3.2bn or so in revenue in the coming quarter, an 80 per cent rise on Q1 2020. Of those Q4 sales:
      • Computing and Graphics, which covers Ryzen PC processors and Radeon GPUs for gamers: $1.96bn, up 18 per cent on the year-ago quarter. This is mostly due to people snapping up Ryzen chips and Ryzen-powered gear during the work-from-home pandemic. AMD's average selling price for these parts was down on the year-ago quarter, due to selling more laptop-end components, and the price tags for Radeon gear did not dip. It's estimated by analysts that AMD has taken about 20 per cent of the PC market
      • Enterprise, Embedded and Semi-Custom, which includes Epyc server chips and parts for Sony PlayStation and Microsoft Xbox games consoles: $1.28bn, up 176 per cent on Q4 2019 and 13 per cent on the prior quarter, mostly from data-center deals and the aforementioned consoles. While more and more supercomputers and cloud instances are powered by AMD, enterprises are somewhat taking their time to ramp up Epyc deployments on-premises
    • Gross margin: Flat at 45 per cent
    • Profit: $1.8bn, up 948 per cent due to an income tax benefit of $1.3bn. If you look at the non-GAAP numbers, profit was up 66 per cent to $636m. The tax benefit is the result of some shuffling in the accounting, an AMD executive explained to us. As we understand it, when AMD was struggling to be profitable in recent years, the corporation was allowed to defer some taxes and as such built up a valuation allowance to help reduce that tax asset. Now it's releasing part of that allowance, which shows up as profit in the books
    • Earnings per share: $1.45, up 867 per cent, and $1.04 more than Wall Street expected
  • Full year:
    • Revenues: $9.76bn, up 45 per cent on 2019. Of those sales:
      • Computing and Graphics: $6.43bn, up 37 per cent
      • Enterprise, Embedded and Semi-Custom: $3.33bn, up 65 percent
    • Gross margin: Up two percentage points to 45 per cent
    • Profit: $2.5bn, up 630 per cent, thanks to that tax benefit
    • Earnings per share: $2.06, up 587 per cent
    • Research and development: $2bn, up 28 per cent

"While the PC market grew approximately 13 percent in 2020 to surpass more than 300 million units for the first time since 2014, our annual client processor revenue grew by more than 50 percent as AMD Ryzen processor adoption increased," Su told investors on her call. "We delivered record client annual processor revenue as we gained significant share in 2020.

"Adoption of Epyc processors across cloud, enterprise and HPC customers also accelerated significantly in 2020. We set a new all-time record for annual server processor revenue. Server processor sales more than doubled year-over-year, and our overall data center sales were a high teens percentage of our total annual revenue."


AMD, Arm, non-Intel servers soar as overall market stalls


When asked if AMD had lowered its prices in the data-center world to compete with Intel, Su said her Epyc average price-tags have remained more or less unchanged. "Our focus is not to compete on price but on overall value and TCO," she added. "The ASP [average selling price] primarily depends on the mix of cloud and enterprise customers. We're still cloud weighted as we go into 2021."

It was almost six years ago that we suggested praying for AMD. It no longer needs your prayers, though if you want to keep going, it won't stop you. It's still growing, and has plenty of more growing to do. To put today's numbers into perspective, AMD's chief rival Intel just reported $78bn in annual revenues and $21bn in profit. And that's a tepid year for Intel.

AMD shares have largely remained the same today, wobbling around $94 apiece in after-hours trading at time of writing. The chip designer is still hoping to acquire FPGA giant Xilinx for $35bn in stock. ®

Read more AMD analysis over at our sister site The Next Platform.

Similar topics

Broader topics

Other stories you might like

  • Zuckerberg sued for alleged role in Cambridge Analytica data-slurp scandal
    I can prove CEO was 'personally involved in Facebook’s failure to protect privacy', DC AG insists

    Cambridge Analytica is back to haunt Mark Zuckerberg: Washington DC's Attorney General filed a lawsuit today directly accusing the Meta CEO of personal involvement in the abuses that led to the data-slurping scandal. 

    DC AG Karl Racine filed [PDF] the civil suit on Monday morning, saying his office's investigations found ample evidence Zuck could be held responsible for that 2018 cluster-fsck. For those who've put it out of mind, UK-based Cambridge Analytica harvested tens of millions of people's info via a third-party Facebook app, revealing a – at best – somewhat slipshod handling of netizens' privacy by the US tech giant.

    That year, Racine sued Facebook, claiming the social network was well aware of the analytics firm's antics yet failed to do anything meaningful until the data harvesting was covered by mainstream media. Facebook repeatedly stymied document production attempts, Racine claimed, and the paperwork it eventually handed over painted a trail he said led directly to Zuck. 

    Continue reading
  • Florida's content-moderation law kept on ice, likely unconstitutional, court says
    So cool you're into free speech because that includes taking down misinformation

    While the US Supreme Court considers an emergency petition to reinstate a preliminary injunction against Texas' social media law HB 20, the US Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday partially upheld a similar injunction against Florida's social media law, SB 7072.

    Both Florida and Texas last year passed laws that impose content moderation restrictions, editorial disclosure obligations, and user-data access requirements on large online social networks. The Republican governors of both states justified the laws by claiming that social media sites have been trying to censor conservative voices, an allegation that has not been supported by evidence.

    Multiple studies addressing this issue say right-wing folk aren't being censored. They have found that social media sites try to take down or block misinformation, which researchers say is more common from right-leaning sources.

    Continue reading
  • US-APAC trade deal leaves out Taiwan, military defense not ruled out
    All fun and games until the chip factories are in the crosshairs

    US President Joe Biden has heralded an Indo-Pacific trade deal signed by several nations that do not include Taiwan. At the same time, Biden warned China that America would help defend Taiwan from attack; it is home to a critical slice of the global chip industry, after all. 

    The agreement, known as the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), is still in its infancy, with today's announcement enabling the United States and the other 12 participating countries to begin negotiating "rules of the road that ensure [US businesses] can compete in the Indo-Pacific," the White House said. 

    Along with America, other IPEF signatories are Australia, Brunei, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Combined, the White House said, the 13 countries participating in the IPEF make up 40 percent of the global economy. 

    Continue reading
  • 381,000-plus Kubernetes API servers 'exposed to internet'
    Firewall isn't a made-up word from the Hackers movie, people

    A large number of servers running the Kubernetes API have been left exposed to the internet, which is not great: they're potentially vulnerable to abuse.

    Nonprofit security organization The Shadowserver Foundation recently scanned 454,729 systems hosting the popular open-source platform for managing and orchestrating containers, finding that more than 381,645 – or about 84 percent – are accessible via the internet to varying degrees thus providing a cracked door into a corporate network.

    "While this does not mean that these instances are fully open or vulnerable to an attack, it is likely that this level of access was not intended and these instances are an unnecessarily exposed attack surface," Shadowserver's team stressed in a write-up. "They also allow for information leakage on version and build."

    Continue reading
  • A peek into Gigabyte's GPU Arm for AI, HPC shops
    High-performance platform choices are going beyond the ubiquitous x86 standard

    Arm-based servers continue to gain momentum with Gigabyte Technology introducing a system based on Ampere's Altra processors paired with Nvidia A100 GPUs, aimed at demanding workloads such as AI training and high-performance compute (HPC) applications.

    The G492-PD0 runs either an Ampere Altra or Altra Max processor, the latter delivering 128 64-bit cores that are compatible with the Armv8.2 architecture.

    It supports 16 DDR4 DIMM slots, which would be enough space for up to 4TB of memory if all slots were filled with 256GB memory modules. The chassis also has space for no fewer than eight Nvidia A100 GPUs, which would make for a costly but very powerful system for those workloads that benefit from GPU acceleration.

    Continue reading
  • GitLab version 15 goes big on visibility and observability
    GitOps fans can take a spin on the free tier for pull-based deployment

    One-stop DevOps shop GitLab has announced version 15 of its platform, hot on the heels of pull-based GitOps turning up on the platform's free tier.

    Version 15.0 marks the arrival of GitLab's next major iteration and attention this time around has turned to visibility and observability – hardly surprising considering the acquisition of OpsTrace as 2021 drew to a close, as well as workflow automation, security and compliance.

    GitLab puts out monthly releases –  hitting 15.1 on June 22 –  and we spoke to the company's senior director of Product, Kenny Johnston, at the recent Kubecon EU event, about what will be added to version 15 as time goes by. During a chat with the company's senior director of Product, Kenny Johnston, at the recent Kubecon EU event, The Register was told that this was more where dollars were being invested into the product.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022