AMD Expected to Launch Zen 2, Possibly Navi at Computex 2019
AMD has announced that its CEO, Dr. Lisa Su, will give the 2019 Computex keynote address. The company is expected to unveil its next-generation of high-end products at the event, with launch dates kicking off throughout the summer. According to the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA), the topic of Lisa Su’s keynote will be “The Next Generation of High Performance Computing.”
“As one of the most important global events for our industry, I look forward to COMPUTEX each year,” Su said. “I am honored to deliver the opening keynote this year and provide new details about the next generation of high-performance AMD platforms and products. With our partners, we will tell the story of how leading-edge technologies and an open ecosystem are driving an inflection point in computing and industry innovation and positively impacting several important markets.”
All Eyes on AMD
The upcoming launch of AMD’s third-generation Ryzen is a hotly anticipated event. Over the past two years, Ryzen has reshaped the entire PC market, from the Pentium family to the Core i9-9900K. Intel’s top-end consumer CPUs now pack 2x the cores and threads they did in January 2017. Prior to these changes, Intel had kept its product segmentation identical for six years.
Intel’s 10nm delay and ongoing CPU shortage have opened opportunities for AMD; the company is expected to gain share in laptops and desktops this quarter partly because Intel remains supply constrained. These events, however, would be happening whether AMD had a competitive design in-market or not. What the market wants to see overall is evidence that AMD can both complete a challenging fab transition (both in terms of process node and manufacturing partners) and successfully scale the Zen architecture and deploy its new chiplet technology.
It’s particularly important for AMD to hit these metrics in the server market, where customers tend to be intrinsically conservative. Enthusiasts are typically willing to switch from AMD to Intel when they upgrade. Server customers tend to want long-term platforms and a guarantee that investing in these systems will allow them to stay competitive for years at a time. Demonstrating that its 7nm Rome Epyc CPU can hang with Xeon, including Intel’s own 48-core Cascade Lake AP CPUs, will give AMD a stronger position to argue for its own inclusion in server deployments.
There are rumors that we’ll see Navi at the show as well. Much less has been publicly said about Navi compared with Zen. There have been rumors that the first Navi will be a midrange part (presumably targeting the $150 – $250 market), with a higher-end SKU coming in 2020. AMD could use a new GPU for both the midrange and the high-end — Vega 56 and 64 have been outclassed by Nvidia’s refreshed Turing cards, while the RX 580 and RX 590 can offer some competition to Nvidia’s GTX 1660 and older Pascal hardware still in market, but not at competitive power consumption. Navi and Ryzen 3 are both expected to ship in the back half of the year, possibly within weeks of Computex itself.