AMD's Zen-based CPUs and its corresponding high-end X370 chipsets will make their arrivals at CES 2017 in January, but getting to that point without any more delays requires a few orchestral maneuvers in the dark to make sure that everyone notices.
AMD has begun adjusting product prices to accelerate inventory digestion because the last thing AMD wants is to be slowed down by a constipated inventory. However it can't let the cupboard become totally bare either. Zen is unlikely to start mass shipments until after February, it can't contribute any profits until the second quarter 2017.
However, CEO Lisa Su has been doing well keeping a holding pattern on the business so its profits continue. Sources from motherboard players also noted that AMD's performance has started to improve since early 2016. In addition to stable income from its semi-custom solutions, Su as also been pushing for more profits in China by licensing its patents, selling its testing and packaging plants, and forming joint ventures.
AMD's Polaris-based GPUs have also helped the company to raise its market share in the discrete graphics card market and AMD's market share rose to 34.2 percent in the second quarter, according to Mercury Research.
So far Polaris-based GPUs have been providing a high price-performance ratio, AMD's gross margins are unlikely to improve until AMD's next-generation Vega-based GPUs to hit the market in 2017.
Zen-based processors will be manufactured on Globalfoundries' 14nm FinFET process, featuring an eight-core-16-thread design. AMD will initially release Zen-based high-performance desktop processors (Summit Ridge), while one for notebooks is scheduled to launch at the end of second-quarter 2017.
The high-end X370 chipsets will be launched at CES 2017, while mainstream B350 and low-end A320 will be unveiled later. X370-based motherboards will begin shipments in December.
We did expect AMD to be in a much darker place at the moment. However by releasing Polaris and holding together the company so it actually grew this year, AMD is in a strong position as Zen is released. If Zen fails, then the company will still suffer badly, but it is not for want of trying.