Everyone is interested in roadmaps – they give us a sense of an idea of what is coming in the future, and for the investors, it gives a level of expectation as to where the company might be in a year to five years. Today at AMD’s Financial Analyst Day, the company gave the latest updates on the CPU side of the business, for consumer and for enterprise.
AMD stated that its CPU roadmaps for its enterprise portfolio are going to offer more vision into the future than its consumer side for a couple of reasons. First, the enterprise market is built on a longer product cycle and it helps when planning these systems to know what is in the pipe publicly, but also from an investor standpoint where the enterprise market ultimately offers the bigger financial opportunity.
To that end, AMD confirmed what we essentially knew, with Zen 3 based Milan coming in ‘late 2020’. Zen 4 based Genoa has already been announced as the CPU to power the El Capitan supercomputer, and in this roadmap AMD has put it as coming out by 2022.
We asked AMD for clarification, and they stated that in this sort of graph, we should interpret it as the full stack of Genoa should be formally launched by the end of 2022. Given AMD’s recent 12-15 month cadence with the generations of EPYC, and the expected launch of Milan late this year, we would expect to see Genoa in early 2022.
Astute users might notice that Milan / Zen 3 has been listed as ‘7nm’, where previously it was listed as ‘7nm+’. We’ve got a whole news post on why AMD has made this change, but the short of it is that AMD initially put ‘7nm+’ to mean ‘an advanced version of 7nm’.
When TSMC named its EUV version of 7nm as N7+, people had assumed they were the same, and AMD wanted to clarify that Milan is on a version of 7nm, and the exact version will be disclosed at a later date. In the future the company will avoid using ‘+’ so this doesn’t happen again (!). We also have Genoa listed as a 5nm product.
Harder numbers about Milan and Genoa are expected to be unveiled closer to their respective launch times. On the consumer side, AMD said a little less, with its roadmap only going out to Zen 3, which has the codename ‘Vermeer’ for the desktop product. In this graph, we see that the Zen 3 product here is on the far right, but so is the date – 2021.
Does this mean Zen 3 for consumers is coming 2021? We asked AMD to clarify, and were told that we should interpret this as that the range of Zen 3 consumer products, such as desktop CPUs, HEDT CPUs, mobile APUs, and consumer APUs, should all be available by the end of 2021. The company clarified that Zen 3 will hit the consumer market ‘later this year’, meaning late 2020.
So here comes a poignant question – what is going to come first in 2020? Zen 3 for enterprise is listed as ‘late 2020’, and Zen 3 for consumer is ‘later this year’. AMD makes a lot more money on its enterprise products than its consumer products, and while it enjoys a healthy performance lead in both, it really wants to push its market share in enterprise a lot more to drive home the bigger financial potential.
With this in mind, I highly suspect that given AMD’s lead in the consumer market, we might see the company push more of its Zen 3 silicon into the enterprise market as a priority, with only a limited 2020 consumer release. I could be wrong, but we will find out closer to the time.