AMD: The modern Phoenix?

The myth

In the greek mythology the Phoenix is a bird that is a long-lived bird that cyclically regenerates or is otherwise born again. To regenerate itself, the Phoenix dies in a show of flames and combustion, and then rises from it’s own ashes.

The similarity

Now that you have a little bit of a knowledge about the Phoenix myth, let’s talk about the true star of this article, AMD. Hang tight, this will be a true rollercoaster… We’ll talk everything from going from Hero to zero and then trying to rise again.

From Hero…

Back in 2003, AMD received “The best PC Processor” of 2002 for the upcoming Athlon 64. Then in 2006, AMD introduced the first APU (Advanced Processing Unit), A CPU combined with a GPU on the same substrate. This was kind of an innovation and in 2010, Intel followed suite with the Westmere architecture. This proves that AMD was aiming high, and by getting their rival to invest time and effort into developing a product to challenge their own proved that they are still in the game. Then came the release of the Phenom II processors which was slightly beating the now pretty old i5 760.

To zero

Disaster struck in 2011 when Intel released Sandy Bridge, an improved version of Nehalem architecture. The Phenom II was struggling behind Intel’s new i5, having nothing against the i7 range. The whole thing got out of control, but AMD promised to come back with something better. And they did, but it was not enough. The highly anticipated Bulldozer architecture could not deliver to the level it needed. Once again AMD’s flagship was struggling behind Intel’s mid range CPU. Things got a little bit better with Vishera but, again, not enough. AMD tried to sweeten the deal with low prices, but things were not going so well. In 2012 AMD reported a net loss of 1.3 Billion Dollars. 2013 seemed to be a better year, with a net loss of “only” 83 Million Dollars, but things went worse and worse from there.

Ryzen (from the dead)

Until December of 2016 AMD seemed to be dead, at least in the CPU department. Shure, there were a lot of APU releases but no real attempt at a real challenger for Intel.  That all changed that December. AMD announced during their New Horizon summit that they will released a new CPU based on an all new architecture – Zen. The hype train began rolling. They showed to the world that they still have it. Performance in synthetic benchmarks was astonishing for the each of the SKUs price bracket.

Income started rising from that point. From a 497 Million dollars net loss in 2016, AMD grew to 43 Million dollars of net income in 2017. Stock prices went through the roof, which is a clear sign that investors were starting to have faith in AMD. When the Ryzen 1xxx CPUs started to appear on the market everyone was talking about them. AMD has finally found their old self.

An Epyc start.

AMD did not stop there.  In June 2017 Epyc was released. A new Server oriented CPU line, claiming to offer high core count at affordable prices.  This launch even got Intel’s attention as they started releasing a couple of new SKU’s and calling AMD’s Epyc CPUs as “glued together”. This was the moment AMD awaited, a scared Intel.

In August 2017 AMD released the unthinkable – Threadripper – an new HEDT platform for the ones in need of  a high core count and performance CPU. Intel got really disturbed by this launch and released the i9 series – a sign AMD became a real challenger for Intel.

Finally, after almost 10 years AMD was neck and neck with Intel’s offerings. Threadripper and i9 were almost had the same performance. All of this, with AMD’s top of the range Threadripper CPU at 600 dollars less than Intels best i9 CPU.

Conclusions

Truly AMD deserves to be called a “Phoenix”. When things got south, AMD came back. And what a come back they had. The best part of this is that Intel is no longer the only way to go. Things are competitive again, and at every price point you can make a choice. Gone are the days when Intel could release CPUs at any price point and get away with it. The true winner in this war is always the end user. If they compete in prices,  prices go down. If they compete in performance, there will be a better CPU at the same price point.

Hopefully things stay this way, and AMD stay relevant. Upcoming Ryzen 3xxx SKU’s seem pretty promising and the current Threadripper CPUs are the way to go in heavy threaded applications.

What do you think? Is AMD staying or they are going to disappear as they did before? Leave a comment down below with your opinion.

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