Clicky

Getting to Know AMD’s Newest Processor – The Six Five Insiders Edition
by Daniel Newman | May 7, 2020

On this special episode of The Six Five Podcast – Insiders Edition hosts Patrick Moorhead and Daniel Newman welcome Rick Bergman, Executive Vice President of Computing and Graphics Business Group at AMD to discuss the exciting new products coming from AMD.

The Need for the Right Tools

Now more than ever, it’s clear that there will be a fundamental shift in how we work once we return to normal. There will be more people working from home, but in order for that to be productive, people need the right tools. There has been a boom right now as people and companies have been scrambling to get the tools they need, but Rick predicts that in the long run we will see a higher refresh rate of notebooks and computers as more people consistently work from home.

AMD Stepping Up to Meet Demand

The demand for notebooks and consumer products that can handle multiple apps and programs will be greater as more people work from home. AMD is ready to meet this demand with the Ryzen Pro 4000 notebook processor. It brings a seven nanometer processor to the table with the brand new Zen 2 core which is 8-core/16-threads. Notebooks will have great graphics and incredible battery life.

Security is a Priority Too

When you’re looking at the pro market, which can be anything from enterprise to small business, everyone cares about security, especially now as hacking has seen a huge spike. There are people doing more at home than ever before, and we can’t slow down their productivity just because they’re at home. What used to belong just in a lab environment with firewalls and other security measures is now being done at home. You can’t afford to compromise security. Computers and other pieces of hardware need to be secure.

With the Ryzen Pro 4000, AMD has added in measures like memory guard to allow full encryption of memory to let people know their data is very safe both as it’s being transmitted as well as it’s residing on their local memory.

Why AMD

AMD might not be the most well-known company in the world, but with the Ryzen Pro 4000 they’re at the top of the game. It’s the best notebook processor in the world, but they couldn’t do it alone. With the help of their partner TSMC, they were able to make a big leap in semiconductor technology — something that has been unmatched so far.

AMD has also seen a huge growth in the last three years going from 35 commercial platforms in 2018 to 70 in 2020. The Zen 2 Core is in every market segment right now and it’s a big step up in performance from Zen 1 or Zen+. And it doesn’t stop there. AMD is already looking toward the future and the Zen 3 Core.

AMD is focused on innovation. If you’d like to learn more about the Ryzen Pro 4000 or any of AMD other products be sure to check out their website and listen to the full episode below. Don’t forget to hit subscribe so you never miss a great episode of The Six Five.

Transcript:

Patrick Moorhead: Welcome to a special edition of the Six Five Insider. I’m Patrick Moorhead with Moor Insights and Strategy and I’m joined by my ever-present and famous cohost, Daniel Newman with Futurum Research. Daniel, how the heck are you?

Daniel Newman: Hey Pat, I’m doing good and well. Thanks for the warm introduction. Great day today, late April, but it’s hard to even know what day it actually is anymore. But yeah, very excited about this podcast, getting some Six Five Insider info and by the way, you will not be hearing this podcast in April. When you’re hearing this, it’s going to be May.

Patrick Moorhead: Anyways, we have a very special guest today and that is Rick Bergman, Executive Vice President of Computing and Graphics Business Group at AMD. Rick, how are you doing, my friend?

Rick Bergman: Hey Pat, it’s great to catch up with you again.

Patrick Moorhead: I know. It’s been a while.

Rick Bergman: Yes, it has. I’m doing my second tour of duty here with AMD. Of course, we shared my first tour of duty a decade ago.

Patrick Moorhead: Excellent. It has been- Oh, sorry. Go ahead.

Daniel Newman: I said it’s probably important to mention that you are looking like you’re at home today. For everyone out there, we do our recordings on video and you’re not seeing that, but so we might fill you in every once in a while at what we’re seeing behind the scenes there. But as it is April 2020, we are still in the midst of COVID-19 lockdowns in many places. Rick, you look like you’re at home and you look like you’re somewhere warm. Why don’t you tell everybody where you’re at?

Rick Bergman: I’m in San Jose and we’re having a usual, beautiful California day. In my background here you see a bit of my backyard, which is a swimming pool and a trellis and so on. It sounds all glamorous, but you actually are seeing it more than I am because I’m facing the camera and the PC, literally, 10 hours a day doing various video calls internally and externally.

Daniel Newman: Yeah. Yeah. Being in Chicago here myself, I’ve seen the 70s and the 30s and sometimes it’s in two consecutive days. But yeah, I miss California. Usually, Pat and I get 47, 48 weeks a year of events and usually at least half of them are in San Jose. I didn’t realize there’s so many rooms in my home, I hadn’t been in it in a long time, but after six weeks of being sheltered in place, I realize I’m glad I have the space. I’m sure you are too, because Rick, even if it is a little bit chaotic and more conference calls than ever, I’m sure if you’re experiencing anything like Pat and I are, but it is nice to be home and see those people we love a little bit more.

Rick Bergman: Yeah, and it’s good to have some flexibility, as you pointed out. I do have an official den in my home, but it is a wood-paneled, dark type of thing that you see. So after a week of that, I migrated out here to the kitchen where the sun is shining and it feels a little bit better than a gloomy office.

Patrick Moorhead: So Rick, we used to work together. We’ve known each other close to 15 years, maybe a little longer. I know what you do, but can you talk just a little bit about what you do at AMD? It’s been quite a run for AMD Client Computing over the last few years. Maybe talk a little bit about that as well, if you could, for our listeners.

Rick Bergman: Well, we have three basic businesses that I’m responsible for. One is, AMD’s most noted for of course as you mentioned, the client business, the processors, the chip sets that people use in their notebooks or desktops.

Now actually, some higher end workstation type of products as well. The second piece is graphics products that also go in, typically, desktops with notebooks as well, more and more. Again, large enthusiast crowd in that area. Then the third piece is, we don’t talk a whole lot about, especially right now, is what we do for the game console manufacturers, where we build a combined GPU and CPU for them. Of course, there’s a big launch cycle coming up in this fall. So, it’s very exciting times in all three of those businesses. 2020 is certainly going to be a very interesting year.

Patrick Moorhead: Yeah, and from a market share standpoint in your group, you have significant consumer PC market share related to chip sets. I know more is always better, but I also understand you’re making headway in the commercial market as well.

Rick Bergman: Yeah. If you look at our market share, it’s been interesting in the last couple of years. It’s a percent per quarter as we’ve nicely progressed very steadily at that rate over the last couple of years. And the big next frontier for us, where our share is a little bit lower, is the commercial side. Consumers are more readily moved to the new technology where our value proposition is very clear. With the commercial accounts, they just tend to be more conservative. They’ve been buying a certain type of notebook for years. They’ll continue to buy that same type, so we tear down those barriers. It takes a lot more work and a lot more time, but we are really seeing some good progress moving forward.

Patrick Moorhead: Has anything changed with COVID here? Daniel and I both have some future pieces that talk about work from home actually not just being some flash in the pan after 12 to 18 months.

Rick Bergman: Yeah, no fundamentally, and you two guys probably talk to a lot of the same people I do, but I’m talking to the OEMs, of course the ecosystem partners, and there is a fundamental belief that people are saying, “Hey, you like to work at home and be you. Absolutely.” To make it reasonable, you need the right tools in your hands. There’s a lot of old either notebooks or desktop solutions out there, so we are seeing a big surge in interest immediately. Of course, that’s what’s going on today. How can we get more systems, education, universities plus small businesses, large businesses, all wanting to ramp up capabilities to keep their very valued employees fully productive? But this is going to be a long term shift. A reinvigorating the PC market, because these tools we have are actually a big step up from the past. So I think short-term there’s a boom, but long-term it will lead to just a higher refresh rate and a higher caliber of solutions in everybody’s home and office.

Daniel Newman: So Rick, I feel like you’re teeing us up here. It feels like you have something coming. I just sense it and maybe I even knew it before we started the show. I did allude earlier that it’s April, but the listeners here, you had to wait. We, however Pat, part of the benefit of what we do is we do not, but you’re about to announce something and I heard about it this week and it’s pretty exciting, but I want you to talk about it.

Rick Bergman: No, absolutely. Absolutely. We’ve been able to really, and a number of our products going to change the game the past couple of years. Now, I feel like we are about to announce a game changer for the commercial market as well. Of course, that’s the Ryzen Pro 4000 notebook processor. It really brings tremendous capabilities into the commercial marketplace. I’ve mentioned we’ve made some good progress over the past couple of years.

We’ve made that progress. I wouldn’t call it lagging technology, but it’s 12 nanometers type of technology. We look at now, we are actually going to be the leaders, so we’re going to bring a seven nanometer processor to the table with our brand new Zen 2 core, great graphics, incredible battery life, really allow us to accelerate that penetration of the notebook market.

Patrick Moorhead: Rick, isn’t there, I’m kind of leading, I know exactly what this is and I’m really excited about it, but cores and threads, isn’t that an important thing here?

Rick Bergman: Yes, yes, absolutely. Again, we did a bit of an announcement at CES at the beginning of the year for the consumer version, but now, yes, we’re bringing this 8-core/16-threads into the notebook market, again, for the first time. AMD, back to your days Pat, has always been noted for the guy that brings the most cores. The first quad-core I think is what was AMD noted for, and that was, of course, a super high end desktop product, but now we’re bringing in 8-core/16-threads into the notebook marketplace. I think people are starting to see back to the prior discussion from Dan, when you’re at home and we had this experience, we are logging in, I’m doing a Zoom call, I have a presentation up as well. So it’s only that the multitasking capability is just so essential to having a notebook.

Patrick Moorhead: Well, and that’s just one differentiator there, I think. And when you’re looking at the pro market, which can be anything from enterprise to, also small businesses care about security as well, that there are elements at over and above consumer people care about when it comes to a quote unquote Crow Line.

Rick Bergman: No, I mean absolutely. Of course, we’re all listening into the news these days. Spending probably a little too much time on CNN, but I was listening yesterday, and there was a discussion how the attacks are actually increasing during this period around the world, and the threats are greater than ever. I don’t know, the hackers must add some bandwidth or something, not only at night time but maybe during the daytime. And so whether you’re a large enterprise or a small entity, you don’t want your records to be axed or your security stolen. And so these features, I think again, the importance is just being elevated as we go forward. And we expect people to work at home.

I can kind of speak for AMD, we have people doing more at home than we ever dreamed about, frankly because we can’t slow down their productivity just because they’re at home. So what we thought used to belong just in a lab environment, now you’re doing at home and connecting through VPNs and those other things. You just cannot afford to compromise the security. You used to think you could firewall around your building so to speak, and don’t let anybody in there have a secure local network. Our definition now of a secure network extends to a vast majority of our employees at their homes during this period.

Patrick Moorhead: Do you view security as a differentiator, Rick, when it comes to this platform?

Rick Bergman: Yes. To me, AMD has really picked up our game over the past couple of years. We really had to focus on this. We knew, with the commercial market being about half, we have to look at what it takes to move into the commercial or enterprise market, and those customers are demanding a higher level of security. So we put things in like memory guard to allow full encryption of memory to let people know their data is very safe both as it’s being transmitted as well as it’s residing on their local memory. And so this hasn’t been something we just came up with six months ago. This has been a multiyear venture and investment for AMD to be prepared like today that we have this incredible processor in terms of performance and features and battery life. Equally, there is security.

Daniel Newman: And we have an interesting segment in the market that’s always going to be looking for comparatives, Rick. They’re always going to want to know how AMD stacks up. And obviously, when you start talking about expanding market share and commercial, you definitely know who you’re up against. And so Pat alluded to it a little bit earlier, but this launch, okay. If I had to say, “Package it up for me how this launch is different and it’s going to really grab hold of that commercial customer that’s locked in, those habits that you mentioned before and it’s going to compel them to move over.” What do you think that is?

What do you think is going to grab them of all these things? You mentioned security, you mentioned cores and threads and I think that gets all the geeks really excited. But the ITDM, they’re often locked in habits. They’re often set up in procurement systems. It’s a slow change. You mentioned this yourself, but I think the company is aggressive. It wants to grab that market share. So I’m leading you a little bit here, but what’s underneath that you can share that you think is going to really grab those commercial buyers and move them your way?

Rick Bergman: That’s a great, great question. Along with security, it’s manageability and all those things. First though, Dan has to start with the product and I think in the past, you could argue there’re gives and takes on who had the best solution. This time with seven nanometers performance that we have on the processor and the graphics side, first time ever that we can claim we have the best single thread, best multi-thread and best graphics performance as well as just incredible battery life.

I don’t think he can deny that today, when we announced this product, AMD has the uncontested best notebook processor in the world. And I know there’s this feeds and feeds part of it, but still at the end of the day, the IT buyers out there, they want to make sure their end users have the best solution, and they’re not making compromises. We don’t expect market share to triple overnight. We know we have to knock off the commercial customers one at a time and get them acquainted with our value proposition. But we really feel like this time, and what we have on our roadmap, the choice is very, very clear who the leader is with the notebook processor solution.

Patrick Moorhead: That’s awesome, Rick. I can’t wait to officially try one out here. Rick, you talked about battery life and with the consumer version, we’ve seen some super interesting things that mirror everything that you’re saying based on performance, and we’ve even seen a few interesting things on battery life even though what’s been out there right now has been more gaming focused. But can you talk a little bit about the expectations for battery life on this platform? It’s super important to these users, and even if it’s a lot of battery life moving from room to room inside of the house, if we’re still locked in, which hopefully after a while we’ll be able to get back on airplanes and work in coffee shops, but battery life is incredibly important to IT users.

Rick Bergman: You’re absolutely right, Pat. And so we’re talking about 20 hours of battery life, and that being four or five times the battery life that you could get just three or four years ago from the AMD. So again, very much like what we talked about in security, battery life became everybody’s job at AMD. There’s no magic switch that you find. It’s looking at every circuit, looking at how our firmware interacts, or software, where can we squeeze every minute of battery life. We did have one big dial to be fair, which of course, seven nanometers. So with the help of our partner, TSMC, we were able to make this big leap in semiconductor technology that really puts us ahead of the game there, and that’s really tough for our competition to match that, considering they’re a click or two behind us in that particular area, which is a switch, as we all know, from five or six years ago.

Daniel Newman: Rick, I’d love to talk to you a little bit about the ecosystem. AMD is pretty successful and known for working closely with its partners, and although the public market will be just hearing about this and may with the announcement, the company has been in talks with its partners. I’m sure it’s been in tests. They’ve been trying out, beating up these new Ryzen Pro 4000. You guys can tout your wares, but if these customers tout your wares, it’s going to be big for the products since ultimately it’s going to be these OEMs and these partners that are going to do the customer facing marketing and a lot of capacities, especially to enterprises. What are the customers saying so far?

Rick Bergman: Yeah. When you asked me what’s going to change the game for us this time, it is very hard to like zero down into one thing and I think you’re helping me along, pointing out another really important thing as well. What about the platforms that you’re in? And again, just the quality of the platforms we’re in is it’s going to be so much higher. There’s a couple that are announced from HP and Lenovo, but if I look more broadly and see the adoption in commercial platforms, so our trends is, let me take a quick look at my notes here, is we’re going from 35 to 50 to 70 in terms of ‘18, ‘19 and ‘20.

Now, you haven’t seen those 70 plus platforms in 2020 clearly. You’ve only seen a couple. And so far, I think you’ll agree that the quality of the platforms, where we are in a customer stack is much higher, and so consumers can go out and now buy AMD-based solutions with a lot of confidence. We’ve worked with the ecosystems, we’ve worked with our OEM partners to make sure that these are the absolute best and highest quality platforms in the marketplace.

Patrick Moorhead: So in terms of a design wins, is that a hundred percent increase? I wasn’t tracking the numbers closely enough.

Rick Bergman: If you look from 18 to 20 yes, it’s a hundred percent or doubling the number of platforms during that time period. Now keep in mind, it sounds like our products weren’t great a couple of years ago. That’s not true at all. We had pretty competitive products a couple of years ago. So again, I think it’s just in recognition to how AMD has gained credibility in all the different fronts that’s required in the commercial space, whether it’s, as we discussed, the performance of the solution, the manageability, security, or battery life. That steady cadence of improvements ultimately coming with this Ryzen Pro 4000 series puts it all together in just an incredible package, and so our customers are very eager to get these solutions out to the marketplace as soon as possible.

Patrick Moorhead: So when I step back and look at the entire portfolio now, is this a full Zen 2 portfolio desktops, notebooks, across businesses?

Rick Bergman: Yeah, and no, but you’re right, desktop notebook, commercial, consumer. We have Zen 2 in every segment at this juncture, so we all know is a big step up from Zen 1 or Zen+ in terms of performance. Back to the earlier question around single thread performance, that’s one area where we really improved with the Zen 2 core, so the complete family and seven nanometer, at least on the leading processors. We’ve got all bases covered at this junction.

Patrick Moorhead: So Rick, is there any support or any value in having commercial enterprise PCs and also on the server side as well with EPYC related to OEMs and ODMs and maybe even ISV? Is there any play between those? Any benefit to having a strong server line related to a strong client enterprise line?

Rick Bergman: No, absolutely. That’s another huge advantage that we have this time. If you think, one of our challenges as we go into commercial customers, and they’re certainly familiar with our competitor. They may not be so familiar with AMD, so we have to get over hurdle that Dan was talking about, so get that awareness and preference for the AMD processors. Because we’ve made so much progress on the server line, now our commercial sales or business development individuals can go into those customers and say, “Well, you’re trusting your data with our EPYC processors, whether it’s on-prem or with a Google, or a Xeon or whomever.” Why wouldn’t you trust it with your client solutions? Boy, that has changed the dialogue remarkably, when you can start to tell that complete story that AMD offers a complete set of solutions for client as well as server based solutions.

Daniel Newman: So Rick, we’re coming to the end here, but I want to ask you one more question. I always like to get your take right. You’re sitting in the chair, you’re helping call a lot of shots and driving the business unit. What has you really excited? What got you most fired up about this launch? You can tell you’re like me, you’re a quieter guy. I can tell, just spending a little time here. But when people get tech they love, they get excited. So if there’s one or two things that you want that customer out there, that you want that OEM to really get fired up about, what are the one or two things of this launch that you’re really pumped about?

Rick Bergman: To me, the biggest thing is AMD is delivering and executing. And as much as yes, I’ll proclaim the glory of this particular solution because again, I think it’s uncontested that we have the best solution, but we’re not stopping. So if customers make a commitment on the Ryzen Pro 4000, they can rest assured, a year from now, we’re going to raise the bar yet again. Pat talked about, “Hey, if you have Zen 2 everywhere,” we’ve talked about, “We’re going to have Zen 3 by the end of this year.” So we aren’t stopping. We’re going to keep that execution, that cadence, and continue to provide solutions that our customers can count on today, and five years from now.

Patrick Moorhead: Wow, I’m fired up. It’s so good to see AMD literally firing on all cylinders. It’s funny, I look at my history there and I’m like, “Yeah, these were the years that we did really well. Here’s the years that were difficult.” And you guys have been on quite the run, and to be frank, actually I’m Pat but I’ll be Frank, the market needs competition, and everything’s better. Innovation goes up, costs go down. Here you are, you just cranked out Zen 2 and you’re talking about Zen 3. And typically, architectures just don’t come out that quickly. And I commend you and I commend everybody at AMD for what you have been able to deliver. You have raised the bar of the industry.

So Rick, with that, I want to thank you for your time. Can’t wait to get one of these into my hands. I’ll have to hit up by HP, Lenovo, and Dell to get that. And Daniel, as usual buddy, you’re looking good. You’re all that stuff.

Daniel Newman: It’s great. It’s been great to be here. One of those HP creators that I want to get in here, it might have to have the new platform in it and that would be a big change for me. But I’m open to trying.

Patrick Moorhead: And I wrote that blog on the HP creator series and gave them a little bit of grief for not having a Ryzen Pro 4000 in their mid-range. Because I know when it comes to video, it’s just going to be no competition there. So for the Six Five Insider, this is Pat Moorhead with Moor Insights and Strategy, Daniel Newman with Futurum Research saying goodbye. If you liked what you heard, press that subscribe button right now. Take care, folks.

Disclaimer: The Six Five Insiders Podcast is for information and entertainment purposes only. Over the course of this podcast, we may talk about companies that are publicly traded and we may even reference that fact and their equity share price, but please do not take anything that we say as a recommendation about what you should do with your investment dollars. We are not investment advisors and we do not ask that you treat us as such.

Image Credit: The Verge
Daniel Newman