Late last night, PC Perspective confirmed rumors that Raja Koduri, AMD's Radeon Technologies Group (RTG) Senior Vice President and Chief Architect, is to go on sabbatical. Sourcing Raja’s internal letter to the RTG team, he will be taking leave from September 25 until an unspecified date in December, to spend time with his family. Dr Lisa Su, AMD's CEO, will lead RTG in the interim.

As reproduced by Ryan Shrout, Raja’s letter is as follows:

RTG Team,

You haven’t heard from me collectively in a while – a symptom not only of the whirlwind of launching Vega, but simply of the huge number of demands on my time since the formation of RTG. Looking back over this short period, it is an impressive view. We have delivered 6 straight quarters of double-digit growth in graphics, culminating in the launch of Vega and being back in high-performance. What we have done with Vega is unparalleled. We entered the high-end gaming, professional workstation and machine intelligence markets with Vega in a very short period of time. The demand for Vega (and Polaris!) is fantastic, and overall momentum for our graphics is strong.

Incredibly, we as AMD also managed to spectacularly re-enter the high-performance CPU segments this year. We are all exceptionally proud of Ryzen, Epyc and Threadripper. The computing world is not the same anymore and the whole world is cheering for AMD. Congratulations and thanks to those of you in RTG who helped see these products through. The market for high-performance computing is on an explosive growth trajectory driven by machine intelligence, visual cloud, blockchain and other exciting new workloads. Our vision of immersive and instinctive computing is within grasp. As we enter 2018, I will be shifting my focus more toward architecting and realizing this vision and rebalancing my operational responsibilities.

At the beginning of the year I warned that Vega would be hard. At the time, some folks didn’t believe me. Now many of you understand what I said. Vega was indeed hard on many, and my sincere heartfelt thanks to all of you who endured the Vega journey with me. Vega was personally hard on me as well and I used up a lot of family credits during this journey. I have decided to take a time-off in Q4 to spend time with my family. I have been contemplating this for a while now and there was never a good time to do this. Lisa and I agreed that Q4 is better than 2018, before the next wave of product excitement. Lisa will be acting as the leader of RTG during by absence. My sincere thanks to Lisa and rest of AET for supporting me in this decision and agreeing to take on additional workload during my absence.

I am looking to start my time-off on Sept 25th and return in December.

Thank you, all of you, for your unwavering focus, dedication and support over these past months, and for helping us to build something incredible. We are not done yet, and keep the momentum going!

Regards, Raja

Since his return to AMD in 2013 and the reformation of a monolithic graphics division with RTG in 2015, Raja has overseen and led all aspects of AMD graphics hardware and software. Raja’s public presence and involvement render him the face of graphics at AMD, in all senses of the word, from Capsaicin events to Twitter and Reddit. Following Vega’s launch, Raja had taken two weeks vacation to visit family, following visits to company sites in India.

Given the news in his letter, we hope all is well.

Source: PC Perspective

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  • nunya112 - Wednesday, September 13, 2017 - link

    Raja is cooked. vega is a flop 20% over furyX and terrible power with a node shrink. nope.avi this is a non compete clause being enacted before he leaves Reply
  • Amandtec - Wednesday, September 13, 2017 - link

    Around here they call it gardening leave. Generally looks better for everybody involved than firing the poor basturd. Reply
  • Samus - Thursday, September 14, 2017 - link

    Why would they fire the guy who cooked up the vega 56, probably the most competitive dollar for dollar offering AMD has had against nvidia in years? Reply
  • wumpus - Thursday, September 14, 2017 - link

    Because it costs AMD exactly as much to make as the Vega 64, only they get so much less profit from it? Don't expect to see any manufactured until the cryptomining boom cools off enough that they have to put the "graphics" back in GPU.

    I suspect his job is safe as long as the cryptomining boom continues. Remember, computational use of GPUs has been a key AMD strategy since they mortgaged* the company to buy ATI. While nvidia certainly has the supercomputer GPU computing market to themselves, AMD really never gave up the idea of moving CPU work to the GPU (and look at AVX[256-512] to see how seriously Intel is about preventing that). Cryptomining sales are proof that at least some people buy AMD for GPU computing.
    Reply
  • ravyne - Thursday, September 14, 2017 - link

    That's not how chip manufacturing works. The Vega 56 product exists because not everyone can afford the 64, and because the 56 product can absorb Vega dies that either have a few defective compute units, or which wouldn't meet energy/thermal specs if all 64 NCUs were enabled. It can also absorb lower-binned HBM production, which are available at a lower cost. You're correct that its a lower per-unit profit, but all of these cards have really healthy margins if you only account for the material manufacturing costs -- most of the investment is in R&D of the architecture and other major expenses include validation of the silicon, neither of those costs increase as a result of Vega 56, yet Vega 56 increases revenue and and market-share. The only risk posed is that a lower-tier product can cannibalize higher-tier product sales, but that's only true if you're not selling as many of the high-tier product as you can manufacture; in normal markets that tends not to be true until later in the product's lifecycle, but its certainly not true now with the crypto boom going on and won't be true for the entire lifecycle of Vega if the trend holds.

    I do wish power consumption were better under control with Vega, and people who under-volt have been able to get much lower power consumption without giving up much performance. I also wish Vega had come out sooner, and its a big headline to say "AMD's best and latest only competes with nVidia's year-old GPU", but we also have to remember that this means we're comparing a brand-new product with brand-new drivers that no one's had much time to understand and optimize for, to a product from nVidia where all of those things have had a year to mature. I think over the next year Vega is going to look better and better, whereas Pascal doesn't have much room left to grow.

    Raja isn't going anywhere, people forget that the graphics business has seen about 20% growth year-over-year since he's returned, which is huge given their market position. Besides that, the word on the street is that Navi is the first GPU that was fully brought up under Raja, not Vega. I suspect, as they do over at Hot Hardware, that AMD will bring in someone to handle more of the day-to-day business of the Graphics Unit, with Raja remaining at the head, but giving him more time to focus on the technical side of things; he's done the business thing for a number of years, but he's an engineer, not a suit.
    Reply
  • versesuvius - Wednesday, September 13, 2017 - link

    They are selling like hotcakes. What kind of a flop is that? RX 480 and RX 580 did not do bad at all either. What kind of a flop is that? Reply
  • SharpEars - Wednesday, September 13, 2017 - link

    Selling for mining purposes, sure, but not to be used as graphics cards. Reply
  • JoeyJoJo123 - Wednesday, September 13, 2017 - link

    Kinda this. That being said RX 480 when it was launched was a valid buy for mid-tier gaming purposes, assuming you could get it for MSRP. Even better if you got one of the few reference style RX 480s that were advertised as being 4GB but could be unlocked to 8GB with flashing.

    Ever since then, mining took off and RX 400s and RX 500s are nowhere to be found for rational prices, so while, yeah AMD's stuff is apparently selling "well" it's not actually going into the hands of people using it for a gaming PC. I imagine a "lot" of that stock is going to miners around the world, but supposedly it's quite a bit more popular in Asia than even the US.
    Reply
  • xype - Wednesday, September 13, 2017 - link

    Yeah, I’m pretty sure money made with miners is worth less than money made with gamers, so it’s really a bad, bad flop all around.

    If people stop buying AMD’s new GPUs all of a sudden then, yeah, Raja would be in trouble. As long as they sell well he won’t be — AMD doesn’t make products to please the ah-so-important gamers, AMD makes products to sell to whomever is willing to buy them, and the higher the margins, the happier AMD (and their business partners) will be.
    Reply
  • Makaveli - Wednesday, September 13, 2017 - link

    I don't understand the logic here Money is Money.

    How is a miners dollar worth less than a gamer dollar?
    Reply

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