As Q1 earnings season continues to roll along, on deck today is AMD, who is getting the privilege of reporting some very positive earnings for the first three months of 2021. Firing on all cylinders – CPU, GPU, and semi-custom – AMD’s numerous product launches over the last several months are now paying major dividends for the company, as everything AMD is in high demand. And indeed, AMD is the poster child for the current chip crunch, as the company is making everything it can and even after selling over 3.4 billion dollars’ worth of chips in Q1, it’s still not enough.

For the first quarter of 2021, AMD reported $3.45B in revenue, making for another staggering jump over a year-ago quarter for AMD, when the company made just $1.79B in what was their best first quarter in a decade. For 2021 it’s now all about setting (and beating) records for the company, as evidenced by the 93% leap in year-over-year revenue.

AMD’s big run-up in revenue is also reflected in the company’s other metrics; along with that revenue AMD’s net income has grown by 243% year-over-year, now reaching $555M. And if not for an unusual, one-off tax benefit for AMD last quarter, Q1’21 would be AMD’s most profitable quarter ever – and indeed is on a non-GAAP basis. Meanwhile AMD’s gross margin is holding at 46%, steady versus Q4 and up one percentage point versus the year-ago quarter.

AMD Q1 2021 Financial Results (GAAP)
  Q1'2021 Q1'2020 Q4'2020 Y/Y Q/Q
Revenue $3.45B $1.79B $3.2B +93% +6%
Gross Margin 46% 46% 45% Flat +1pp
Operating Income $662M $177M $570M +274% +16%
Net Income $555M $162M $1781M* +243% -69%
Earnings Per Share $0.45 $0.14 $1.45 +221% -69%

One more the flag bearer for AMD is their Computing and Graphics segment, which encompasses their desktop and notebook CPU sales, as well as their GPU sales. That division booked $2.1B in revenue for the quarter, $662M (46%) more than Q1 2020. Accordingly, the segment’s operating income is (once more) up significantly as well, going from $262M a year ago to $485M this year.

As always, AMD doesn’t provide a detailed breakout of information from this segment, but they have provided some selective information on revenue and average selling prices (ASPs). Overall, client CPU sales were quite strong; according to AMD Ryzen processor sales are up overall, as are ASPs, on both a quarterly and yearly basis. The big wins appear to be coming from premium devices such as ultra-thin laptops and gaming devices, especially as notebook revenue is up once again, setting a sixth consecutive record for AMD. On which note, according to AMD their Ryzen 5000 mobile (Cezanne) revenue has ramped up twice as fast as the mobile 4000 series (Renoir), underscoring AMD’s continuing push into mobile.

Meanwhile the company is reporting similarly good news from their GPU business. Sales and ASPs are up due to the launch and ongoing sales of various Radeon RX 6000 products. Overall, AMD’s Radeon RX 6000 revenue has more than doubled versus Q4, as the company scrambles to make as many GPUs as it can in a very GPU-starved market.

AMD Q1 2021 Reporting Segments
  Q1'2021 Q1'2020 Q4'2020
Computing and Graphics
Revenue $2100M $1438M $1960M
Operating Income $485M $262M $420M
Enterprise, Embedded and Semi-Custom
Revenue $1345M $348M $1284M
Operating Income $277M -$26M $243M

Meanwhile AMD’s Enterprise, Embedded, and Semi-Custom segment has seen an explosion of growth of its own over the past year, thanks to the launch of AMD’s third-gen EPYC (Milan) processors, as well as the 9th generation consoles. This segment of the company booked $1.35B in revenue, $997M (286%) more than what they pulled in for Q1’20. It’s such a strong performance that it’s even up on a quarterly basis, more than offsetting the usual seasonal decline in semi-custom sales that occurs in Q1.

The big jump in revenue also means that the segment is well into the black on an operating income basis, a major improvement over Q1’20 where AMD lost money on the segment. $277M on $1345M in revenue is not quite as strong as what AMD’s computing segment pulls off, but this is a long-standing artifact of bundling AMD’s low-margin semi-custom business with its high-margin (and ever increasing) enterprise CPU business.

Overall, semi-custom sales were down slightly for Q1’21 versus Q4’20 (“by a single digit percentage”), which was more than offset by increased EPYC processor sales, thanks to the launch of AMD’s third-generation (Milan) EPYC processors. On the latter, AMD had another record quarter, as EPYC processor sales have more than doubled on a year-over-year basis and a “double-digit percentage” on a quarterly basis.

On a side note, if there’s any single metric in AMD’s latest earnings announcement that underscores just how much things have turned around for a company that nearly went bankrupt half a decade ago, it’s the company’s cash balance: AMD is sitting on $3.1B in cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments. Conversely, long-term debt is down to $313M. At this point AMD is in a stronger financial position than they ever have been before.

Looking forward, AMD’s expectations for the quarter and for the rest of the year are as equally lofty as the preceding quarters. Demand for AMD chips still outpaces supply in most segments thanks to the ongoing chip crunch and substrate supply issues, so AMD has yet to fully tap the current market, let alone prepare for any further growth in product demand. Consequently, AMD is projecting some very rosy figures for Q2’21 and for the full year. The company expects to book $3.6B (+/- $100M) in revenue for Q2, which if it comes to pass will be an 86% jump over Q2’20. Meanwhile AMD has revised their full year 2021 projections, and are now expecting total revenue to increase by 50% versus their $9.8B FY2020.

As for AMD’s product lineup, while the company is now decidedly early-to-mid cycle on its CPU products, today’s earnings release does have some interesting GPU news. First up, AMD is still in the middle of launching its complete Navi 2x stack of GPUs and associated video cards. Along with continuing that launch on the desktop, the first mobile Radeon RX 6000 products are slated to launch later this quarter. And in the HPC space, AMD is expecting to ramp their next-generation Radeon Instinct products in the second half of the year, which will be going into the forthcoming Frontier supercomputer, among other projects.

Source: AMD

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  • Silver5urfer - Wednesday, April 28, 2021 - link

    What is your DRAM speed and timings ? Also I know with Zen 3 DRAM latency doesn't matter that much due to the improved cache layout.

    Claiming such with absolutely no numbers is as useful as a toilet paper. DRAM tuning on Zen needs Zentimings software and the undocumented bullshit terms and their numbers, Intel has Datasheets for LLC and other points while AMD has none, period. The only data points for AMD is go to the OCN and Reddit and find those bs numbers that people do and run the CTR and try to tune with tons of OCCT and other load / stress testing, want to get CO stable ? Run P95 core testing esp this is even more important due to the previous RMA / WHEA issues. This is all public knowledge from OCN and Reddit.

    Where as having nebulous lines and typical defense on AMD is cheesy at max and worse second.
  • duploxxx - Wednesday, April 28, 2021 - link

    why would you tune DRAM further than default settings when the ryzen CPU already beats all the Intel stuff by default? easy plug and play memory fit just buy 3xxx ish memory. The time when massive gains from memory and cpu tuning were possible are long gone. gains are still possible if you want.

    running x570 - 3700x - 2*16GB Crucial @3600 16-18-18-38-1T

    what about the 10900 vs 5900 review?
    its faster in any general task you can imagine by at least 20%, gaming is on par (mainly because of old less cpu demanding games in test) but it consume 25% less power. There is still a cpu upgrade on its way (warhol) and motherboards with PCI-e4 are already there for a LOOONG time with normal pricing.
    no brainer choice vs a dead intel platform.

    but as usual on any AMD post you are smoking some fine INTEL wheat....
  • Silver5urfer - Wednesday, April 28, 2021 - link

    I don't even have new Intel PC here. I'm in the market to buy, what to buy and what to expect. Down to the LAN port Intel problems to the AMD USB issues.

    Intel LGA1200 is dead so is AM4, Warhol is a rumor, how can anyone expect a rumor to be proper future for an AM4 platform ? Did you read AT review on any of the Intel CPUs ? They mention both platforms are dead end only thing is AM4 has a 16C32T option while Intel is dead at 8C on Gen 4 and 10C on Gen 3 PCIe.

    I mentioned above 5900X is the processor which beats 10900K and where I would spend money on, and that is expected of 2C4T more, if it's not then Zen 3 would have been a failure.

    DRAM tuning is not dead on either of the platforms, G1/G2 on RKL has a hard cap on G1 vs CML no issues and Zen 3 parts have solid DRAM tuning too, which is even that 2000Mhz FCLK tuning, for those few lucky IMCs on the CPUs. And both the platforms help with improving performance, depends on the user budget and needs.

    And why would you run 3600 on that DR with poor spec 18trc kit ? X570 doesn't even have 2 DIMM mobos like Dark and Apex, a 3600C15 SR Bdie would be easy on Ryzen 5000 over that DRAM ah you don't even know and think that is a solid spec DRAM. Got it.
  • Spunjji - Wednesday, April 28, 2021 - link

    "DRAM tuning on Zen needs Zentimings software"
    Oh noes, doing unnecessary tweaking is made easy with free software, how terrible
  • Spunjji - Wednesday, April 28, 2021 - link

    "the end user has to scour over the reddit and other forums to get those numbers and voltage readings with tons of software to tune even to DRAM"

    This has always been the case for RAM tuning, what are you even on about?
  • eva02langley - Tuesday, April 27, 2021 - link

    Don't bid against AMD, you are going to get burned...
  • Unashamed_unoriginal_username_x86 - Wednesday, April 28, 2021 - link

    What if I'm bidding on Arm?

    (Not that I could outbid Nvidia of course)
  • eva02langley - Wednesday, April 28, 2021 - link

    1. ARM will not be sold to Nvidia
    2. ARM custom silicon can be a major security concern in the data center
    3. Data center ecosystem are closed and compatitbility can be an issue even from one x86 uarch to another. ie Intel to AMD)
    4. AMD/Xilinx could reshape the norm in term of custom enterprise silicon. FPGA, micro controllers, DSP... with CPUs on SOCs, while ARM is just ARM.
  • mode_13h - Wednesday, April 28, 2021 - link

    > ARM custom silicon can be a major security concern in the data center

    ARM in the datacenter is already a fact. Amazon is scaling it up in AWS at a stunning pace. Microsoft reportedly has an ARM server chip in the works, as does Google.

    > AMD/Xilinx could reshape the norm in term of custom enterprise silicon. FPGA, micro controllers, DSP... with CPUs on SOCs, while ARM is just ARM.

    ARM's new interconnect fabric can do this, as well. ARM's entire business model is helping customers craft customized solutions.
  • GeoffreyA - Wednesday, April 28, 2021 - link

    I'm happy to see AMD in this position. Back when they were down, I never failed to believe in them and waited for the day they'd knock Intel. Well done! Keep up the fantastic work.

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