AMD had quite the year in 2016, splitting its GPU division off into the successful Radeon Technologies Group, with the newly-focused RTG team quickly jumping into action with the Polaris unveil, launch, and now the new cycle is coming in for Vega in 2017.
Consumers and investors are also excited for AMD's return to the enthusiast CPU arena with their upcoming Ryzen processors, with AMD shares increasing after their Q1 2017 financial results. The company pulled in $1.1 billion in revenue, beating analysts' expectations of around $1.07 billion, and quarterly losses of 1c per share - lower than analysts' expectations of 2x per share.
This resulted in a 16% increase in AMD shares from $10.40 or so, to $11.60 each. AMD President and CEO Lisa Su said in a press release: "We met our strategic objectives in 2016, successfully executing our product roadmaps, regaining share in key markets, strengthening our financial foundation, and delivering annual revenue growth. As we enter 2017, we are well positioned and on-track to deliver our strongest set of high-performance computing and graphics products in more than a decade".
AMD has also set some goals for its next-gen Ryzen processors, expecting an 18% increase in revenue. This will only help their share prices, which have been skyrocketing over the last 12 months - increasing over 463%. I reached out to Patrick Moorhead, Founder, President, Principal Analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy - asking for his thoughts on AMD's financials: "AMD had a solid 2016 and Q4 2016. Nearly every indicator was improved from 2015 to 2016, driven by the game console business and by a new Polaris graphics launch. This is really positive as Ryzen desktop and notebook, Naples server and Vega graphics are all upsides in 2017. AMD and CEO Lisa Su has architected what looks like a turnaround. It's all up to AMD to flawlessly execute this year".
Personally, I think AMD will have a killer 2017 with the double punch of Ryzen and Vega. It has secured over 10% of the discrete GPU market back from NVIDIA in the last 12 months thanks to the Radeon 400 series, increasing their GPU market share from 18.8% early last year, to 29.1% in late November 2016.
The company has ambitious goals of reaching 50% discrete GPU market share, a number I'm confident they'll hit with Vega-based graphics cards in the enthusiast arena. AMD has been missing in the high-end GPU market for a while now, with the last flagship graphics card being the Radeon R9 Fury X, based on the Fiji architecture. Vega will be a return to form, the first high-end consumer graphics card with HBM2, and a fresh new GPU architecture with Vega - on top of exciting things from the HBC (High Bandwidth Cache) on the new Vega GPU.
The last time AMD - or ATI rather, had 50% of the GPU market was in 2010 - so if AMD pulls it off, it'll be a victory that has been 7 years in the making, and should continue throughout 2018 and beyond with the second wave of Vega, and then the next big leap with Navi.