AMD Shows Off New Zen Chip, On Track for Debut Next Year

  • CEO Says 2017 products will be most competitive in a decade
  • Chipmaker demonstrates first server version of design

Advanced Micro Devices Inc., Intel Corp.’s only rival in computer processors, showed off its Zen chip design, the heart of a product lineup that could determine whether it remains relevant in the chip industry.

“We are at our best when we’re focusing on great products and when we’re making sure the competition is on its toes,” Chief Executive Officer Lisa Su said at a company event in San Francisco late Wednesday. “In 2017 you will see the most competitive product portfolio from AMD in the last 10 years.”

The new chip is delivering on its design goal of a 40 percent performance improvement over its predecessor, the CEO said. She showed a demonstration against a top-of-the line Intel processor and said AMD’s new chip was showing similar performance.

AMD’s stock has rallied this year as it delivered revenue that’s exceeded analysts’ projections, helped by higher demand for graphics chips and custom chips used in game consoles. To justify those gains, and deliver enough profit to reduce its debt load, AMD needs to now reverse market share losses in personal computers and servers with the new design.

AMD’s lost almost all of its stake in the lucrative server market and orders for PC chips with a string of products that were either late to market or failed to perform as well as Intel components. By revenue, AMD had just 2.9 percent of the market for PC processors at the end of the first quarter, according to IDC Corp. It has less than 1 percent in server unit shipments.

“There needs to be competition in the data center,” Su said.

AMD has already sent samples of the Naples server version of Zen to prospective customers and is aiming to ship it in the second half of 2017. Some PC processors will ship beginning at the end of this year with high volume coming in the first half of next year.

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