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[Seeking Alpha] AMD: More Confirmation Of Zen Troubles

post #1 of 114
Thread Starter 
http://seekingalpha.com/article/4003352-amd-confirmation-zen-troubles?page=1

Sign up for the free trial to read the full article, however, I can summarize it for you if you don't feel like it wink.gif.

This guy is apparently a market\stock research analyst.

He brings up some points. He talks about how everyone was thinking twice the performance of the 8350 based on AMD's recent slide. However, no one noticed that Orochi was the very first Bulldozer iteration, the 8100, not the updated 8350:


Quote:
...of course, Vishera CPUs were more performant than Orochi CPUs. But the problem doesn't end there. You see, AMD has been very keen on comparing same-frequency CPUs, and there wasn't one Orochi 8-core CPU, there were several. And what was closest to what AMD has been dubbing "Summit Ridge"? It was the FX-8100:

It had the same base frequency (2.8 GHz) as Summit Ridge.
It had a similar turbo frequency (3.1 Ghz full-load vs 3.2 Ghz for Summit Ridge). However, here there's doubt on whether Summit Ridge refers to a full or half-load turbo frequency. The FX-8100 half-load turbo frequency was 3.7 Ghz.
It even had the same TDP (95W).

Thus, it's very likely that AMD's chart referred to the FX-8100 and certainly not the FX-8350. Of course, you already wonder why AMD isn't clearer about these comparisons. That's never a good sign.

This, in turn, changes the "double performance" comparison quite a lot. You see, the FX-8350 has a Cinebench R15 multi-thread score of 640. Doubling that gives us 1280, which would be close to Intel's i7 5960X's 1337. But the thing is, the FX-8100 is necessarily lower.
Quote:
...comparing the FX-8350 to the FX-8150, we notice that the FX-8150 is 13.75% slower, whereas the base frequency difference alone would imply just a 10% difference. This is understandable, as the FX-8350 gained not just in frequency but also in architecture improvements.

Anyway, assuming the FX-8150 scaled linearly with frequency from the FX-8100, then the FX-8100 would have a Cinebench R15 score of around 429. That's a far cry from the 640 attained by the FX-8350 and then doubled by the media. Doubling 429 would put Summit Ridge at ~858. Now here's what this implies:

858 largely exceeds the 654 posted by the i5 6600K, which in my previous article based on the Ashes of the Singularity benchmark, showed up as being 33% faster. Not anymore. Part of this is expectable, the Ashes of the Singularity doesn't scale well above 8 threads, whereas Cinebench will make use of all 16 threads Summit Ridge can provide. However, it should also be noticed that on a multi-thread and Cinebench R15 basis, the FX-8350 was already competitive with the Intel i5 6600 (611 score, vs 640 for the AMD).

The Cinebench multi-thread improvement over the FX-8350 looks to be around 34%, which is more or less in line with what the Ashes of the Singularity benchmark predicted (38%).

This puts Summit Ridge below the Intel i7 6700K (a $350 CPU, though, vs the $177 FX-8350) on multi-thread performance. Also, it's likely that this will put Summit Ridge around the bottom of all 7th generation Kaby Lake i7s. And of course, it puts Summit Ridge significantly away from the i7 5960X. This benchmark confirms the Ashes of the Singularity benchmark, except in as much as this benchmark is better able to use all available threads. Such comparisons, however, were already valid with the FX-8350.
Quote:
Conclusion

AMD's Cinebench R15 slide was misleading, and media seems to have taken the bait, leading it to believe Summit Ridge would be competitive with a high-end Intel CPU (the i7 5960X). A closer analysis shows that such isn't so.

On situations needing single-thread performance, even an Intel i5 will remain more competitive than a Summit Ridge chip. The improvement in IPC does allow Summit Ridge (and presumably, the 4-core Zen chips as well) to be competitive on single-thread performance with the Intel i3.

On situations needing multi-thread performance, an Intel i5 won't necessarily be better - but then again, it already wasn't. Yet, an Intel i7 will remain competitive versus the Summit Ridge, and an 8-core Intel chip will still trounce it (though at a significant price difference).


Being optimistic, the Zen improvement might allow for a bit better ASPs for AMD in as much as Summit Ridge will go from competing with low end i5s to competing with low end i7s in multi-threaded applications, and from not competing with i3s to competing with them in single-threaded applications.
Quote:
This, however, won't change the competitive nature of the market. Going from the data we have, AMD will still be forced to use 8-core chips to compete with Intel 4-core chips. The benchmarks we have, flawed as they might be, indicate that this is the most likely outcome. The same benchmarks indicate that the multi-thread gains versus the FX-8350 should be slightly less than 40%, because the gain on IPC and SMT are then partially lost on lower frequencies.

We now have 2 different benchmarks confirming these conclusions: The Ashes of the Singularity benchmark, and the Cinebench R15 benchmark, though the Cinebench R15 reality was rather hidden.

Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

Keep in mind this is just one guy's opinion based on further extrapolation and speculation, so take it with a grain of salt. But he does have some points that warrant further discussion.
post #2 of 114
where's that Zen on Cinebench R15 leak?


edit:
oh saw it, move along biggrin.gif
post #3 of 114
Ehm yes, a grain of salt:


These assumptions are based on a whole lot of nothing.
post #4 of 114
Clock to clock it matched a 5960. I really can't give a damn if it can't do one thread faster than an 8350. Zen-8 isn't a gamer chip, it's a work chip. The gamer chips are the Zen-4 with APU. intel has NOTHING that is gonna match them for total performance in a micro gaming box.
post #5 of 114
seeking alpha rolleyes.gif
post #6 of 114
Quote:
This guy is apparently a market\stock research analyst.

Seeking Alpha and Paulo Santos should not be allowed to be posted here.
Every article he does is excessively negative toward AMD and shows his bias to Intel/Nvidia.

Here are a few other article titles he has posted:
AMD Has A Foundry Albatross Around Its Neck
AMD: Zen Likely Not Good Enough
You Can't Believe AMD And Intel At The Same Time
AMD Lost Again

Notice a pattern?
Edited by Seraphic - 9/3/16 at 9:29am
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post #7 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by prjindigo View Post

Clock to clock it matched a 5960. I really can't give a damn if it can't do one thread faster than an 8350. Zen-8 isn't a gamer chip, it's a work chip. The gamer chips are the Zen-4 with APU. intel has NOTHING that is gonna match them for total performance in a micro gaming box.

Yes - the famous total performance that made AMD APUs the powerhouse market hit it is today.
post #8 of 114
That site bashes AMD 2-3 times a week. I love this at the end of their articles.

"I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours."
"I/we are long Nvidia."
post #9 of 114
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Seraphic View Post

Seeking Alpha and Paulo Santos should not be allowed to be posted here.
Every article he does is excessively negative toward AMD and shows his bias to Intel/Nvidia.

Here are a few other article titles he has posted:
AMD Has A Foundry Albatross Around Its Neck
AMD: Zen Likely Not Good Enough
You Can't Believe AMD And Intel At The Same Time
AMD Lost Again

Notice a pattern?

Yes, thanks for those links. I just read the Foundry one, it's actually a good read if you check it out. I find it funny he even mentions it's negative. But is was he's saying untrue? He seems to be pointing out facts in this one. I'll summarize it by posting some snippets here:
Quote:
After the close of the market yesterday, AMD announced its sixth amendment to the WSA (Wafer Supply Agreement) it has with GlobalFoundries. This agreement was in part expected, in part unexpected. It has both more likely and less likely but possible reasons which are new and whose consequences range from negative to very negative.
Quote:
...to understand why this amendment was at least partially expected, it pays to understand what's being amended. The WSA is a supply agreement set between FoundryCo (now GlobalFoundries) and AMD, where AMD committed itself to use GlobalFoundries as its main foundry and where AMD also made significant future purchase commitments.

This agreement, lasting for up to 15 years, was the basis for the 2009 spin-off of the GlobalFoundries operations. By agreeing to firm purchase commitments from GlobalFoundries, this made the resulting foundry a more stable and thus valuable business, allowing AMD to attract more investments to it. Ultimately, AMD shed its remaining interest in 2012 (already on account of what was going to follow).

While at its origin these commitments allowed GlobalFoundries to be more attractive (and thus for AMD to get more cash from it), over time these commitments also turned into an albatross around AMD's neck.
Quote:
...its purchase commitments came back to haunt it, leading AMD to seek amendment after amendment to the original WSA. The amendment disclosed yesterday was the sixth. There had thus been five before it, in what has turned into a yearly affair usually punctuated by the need for AMD to pay a few hundred million dollars to change its past commitments towards something it can actually meet.
Quote:
However, there's something about the amendment which was unexpected. The unexpected part is that this sixth amendment involved asking GlobalFoundries for the ability to contract with another foundry for certain products.

It should be noticed that this isn't the first time AMD has had to pay GlobalFoundries for the ability to manufacture products elsewhere. This happened with the Kabini and Temash chips, for instance.

While some bulls will doubtless put forth the thesis that things look so bright AMD has got to wear shades and seek a second source to produce its wildly successful products, this event is different. You see, the original WSA already included the possibility of second sourcing in case GlobalFoundries was unable to meet AMD demand. So when AMD asks for the ability to second source, its reason is usually different.

Since the reason is not related to excess demand, what could the reason be? There are two possible and similar reasons, both negative, but one more negative than the other.
Quote:
...The most likely reason, is that AMD has a niche product whose performance targets cannot be met using GlobalFoundries' present 14nm process. What could this product be? A natural candidate will be AMD's next generation high-end GPU, codenamed Vega. It seems obvious:

Polaris is already shipping, but Vega was only set to be delivered months later.
Polaris has power consumption problems, is less performant and consumes more power than the directly comparable Nvidia GTX 1060, which is produced on TSMC's 16nm process.
AMD doesn't even have an answer to Nvidia's GTX 1070 and 1080...
Quote:
...it stands to reason that AMD might have had to fab its Vega GPU elsewhere (at Samsung (OTC:SSNLF) or TSMC (NYSE:TSM), most likely), for it to stand a chance of being competitive. This is a negative for AMD for two reasons:

It can make for further delays if this was unexpected (but it doesn't seem to be, since Vega was already expected to arrive later).
It makes AMD incur costs which Nvidia does not carry. This is so because AMD will have to pay GlobalFoundries for the wafer volume produced elsewhere (on top of paying the other foundry).
Quote:
There's another possible reason, though, which would be much more negative - because it would involve a more relevant and higher volume product.

The reason would be if this need to use another foundry arose from any Zen clock speed problems. This is a possibility, at least for the higher-end chips, as we've seen that AMD has had to downclock an Intel i7 6900K to make it comparable to its Zen engineering sample. Moreover, most leaks involving Zen chips currently reference 2.8Ghz base clocks.

I find this reason very unlikely because changing processes this late in the game would impose much longer, and as yet undisclosed, delays. Still, it cannot be fully discounted, at least for specific and higher-end Zen chips, if indeed there are problems ramping up clock speeds using GlobalFoundries' 14nm process.
Quote:
...any way one looks at this sixth amendment, it's a negative. We have AMD systematically paying hundreds of millions of dollars and accepting further dilution just to comply with a 2009 agreement which then brought it temporary reprieve.

This amendment might be a further negative, though, if it implies any more delays for either Vega (needed for AMD to have a presence in the GPU high-end) or Zen-based CPUs (needed for AMD to have a presence in the CPU market).

Finally, one should also notice that the agreement, by itself and not counting the cash outflow, implied a further ~9.1% dilution on account of the in-the-money warrant issuance alone. This is significant dilution which didn't exist yesterday and exists today - though these warrants can over time lead to a $450 million cash inflow as they're exercised.
post #10 of 114
The amendment to the WSA (Wafer Supply Agreement) is awesome for AMD. Samsung's 14nm is nearly twice the gain Intel got. Which would make it just shy of 12% better process performance over Intel. AMD's CEO is a genius! Now AMD can produce Zen at Samsung and reap the rewards of their foundry. biggrin.gif

https://semiaccurate.com/2016/09/01/intel-finally-narrows-14nm-process-technology-gap-samsung/
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