Continuing our Q2 earnings coverage this month, AMD is next out the gate in reporting their earnings. And, has been the story now for most of the last year, AMD is enjoying explosive revenue growth across the company. CPU, GPU, and semi-custom sales are all up, pushing the limits of what AMD can do amidst the current chip crunch, and pushing the company to new levels of profitability in the process.

For the second quarter of 2021, AMD reported $3.85B in revenue, making for yet another massive jump over a year-ago quarter for AMD, when the company made just $1.93B in a then-record quarter. Now, half-way through 2021, AMD’s financial trajectory is all about setting (and beating) records for the company, as evidenced by the 99% leap in year-over-year revenue – falling just millions short of outright doubling their 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 352% year-over-year, now reaching $710M. And if not for an unusual, one-off tax benefit for AMD’s Q4’2020, this would have been AMD’s most profitable quarter ever – and indeed is on a non-GAAP basis. Meanwhile, as you might expect from such high net income figures, AMD’s gross margin has risen even further and now sits at 48%, up 4 percentage points from the year-ago quarter and 2 points from last quarter.

AMD Q2 2021 Financial Results (GAAP)
  Q2'2021 Q2'2020 Q1'2021 Y/Y Q/Q
Revenue $3.85B $1.93B $3.45B +99% +12%
Gross Margin 48% 44% 46% +4pp +2pp
Operating Income $831M $173M $662M +380% +26%
Net Income $710M $157M $555M +352% +28%
Earnings Per Share $0.58 $0.13 $0.45 +346% +29%

Breaking down AMD’s results by segment, we start with Computing and Graphics, which encompasses their desktop and notebook CPU sales, as well as their GPU sales. That division booked $2.25B in revenue for the quarter, $883M (65%) more than Q2 2020. Accordingly, the segment’s operating income is (once more) up significantly as well, going from $200M a year ago to $526M 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 have remained strong; client CPU ASPs are up on both a quarterly and yearly basis, indicating that AMD has been selling a larger share of high-end (high-margin) parts. According to AMD this is the case for both desktop and laptop sales, and making this the fifth straight quarter of revenue share gains.

Meanwhile the company is reporting similarly good news from their GPU business. As with CPUs, ASPs for AMD’s GPU business as up on both a yearly and quarterly basis. According to the company this is being driven by demand for high-end Radeon 6000 video cards, as well as AMD Instinct (data center) sales. AMD began initial shipments of their first CDNA 2 architecture-based Instinct accelerators in Q2, opening the spigot there for data center GPU revenue going into Q3.

AMD Q2 2021 Reporting Segments
  Q2'2021 Q2'2020 Q1'2021
Computing and Graphics
Revenue $2250M $1367M $2100M
Operating Income $526M $200M $485M
Enterprise, Embedded and Semi-Custom
Revenue $1600M $565M $1345M
Operating Income $398M $33M $277M

Moving on, AMD’s Enterprise, Embedded, and Semi-Custom segment has once again experienced a quarter of rapid growth, thanks to the success of AMD’s EPYC processors and demand for the 9th generation consoles. This segment of the company booked $1.6B in revenue, $1035M (183%) more than what they pulled in for Q2’20, and 19% ahead of an already impressive Q1’21. The big jump in revenue also means that the segment is even further into the black on an operating income basis, continuing to close the gap with the Computing and Graphics segment even with the all-around growth.

Overall, both the enterprise and semi-custom sides of this segment are up on a yearly basis. AMD set another record for server processor revenue this quarter on the strength of EPYC processor sales. Meanwhile semi-custom revenue was up on both a yearly and a quarterly basis, reflecting the continued demand for the latest generation of consoles.

Looking forward, AMD’s expectations for the quarter and for the rest of the year have been bumped up once again. For Q3 the company expects to book $4.1B (+/- $100M) in revenue, which if it comes to pass will be 46% growth over Q3’20. Meanwhile AMD’s full year 2021 projection now stands at a 60% year-over-year increase in revenue versus their $9.8B FY2020, which is 10 percentage points higher than their forecast from the end of Q1.

Finally, while AMD doesn’t have any major updates on the ongoing Xilinx acquisition, the company has reiterated that it remains on-track. Which means that if all goes according to plan, it will close by the end of the year.

Source: AMD

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  • GeoffreyA - Sunday, August 1, 2021 - link

    Oxford Guy, I will look into this, but did AVX break or was it slower? Also, we know Bulldozer was a disaster: if they kept on churning out Bulldozer variants today, we've got licence to criticise, but the fact is, they made an architecture from scratch, so excellent that it's turning on the heat beneath Intel's bum; in fact, scorched it. And they've suffered enough from Bulldozer already, so I don't think it's fair to attack them for a mistake from their past.
  • GeoffreyA - Sunday, August 1, 2021 - link

    "Memory writes with the 256-bit AVX registers are exceptionally slow. The measured throughput is 5 - 6 times slower than on the previous model (Bulldozer), and 8 - 9 times slower than two 128-bit writes."

    You're right about Piledriver's AVX: it was slow enough to be considered broken. 256-bit stores were the problem, taking 17-20 cycles. However, Steamroller mended that, down to 2 cycles for aligned 256-bit stores and 3 for unaligned ones (faster than Bulldozer's 3 and 10). Excavator, no regression in that regard.
  • mode_13h - Sunday, August 1, 2021 - link

    > You're right about Piledriver's AVX: it was slow enough to be considered broken.

    Interesting. Thanks for the info. Irrelevant to any topic at hand (not your fault, I mean the one who raised it), but still interesting.
  • mode_13h - Sunday, August 1, 2021 - link

    BTW, the fact that it was such a huge regression makes it sound like a hardware bug. Maybe fixing it would've pushed it too close to the market window of Steamroller and not many things were using AVX at the time, anyhow?
  • GeoffreyA - Sunday, August 1, 2021 - link

    The block diagram could shed some light, or maybe not, but I'm going to guess that when they changed the FP backend, possibly adding more units, they were out of time and locked down AVX writes to a certain speed, which they knew worked. Then in Steamroller, had more time to validate and get it working at its right speed. AVX was pretty new back then, so no big loss. A bit slapdash? I suppose. Or: "It'll be fixed in Steamroller, so don't worry, my Piledriver comrades. You know, the Steamroller guys are busy tackling 256-bit stores as we speak. Got an email from the lead architect this morning."

    If you remember Zen 1, they set the L2 cache at 17-cycles latency because they were out of time. Then in Zen+ (and I think Raven Ridge), chopped it down to 12 cycles.
  • mode_13h - Sunday, August 1, 2021 - link

    > Vega ... with identical IPS to Fury X.

    I dealt with this, above.

    > It makes mining GPUs

    All GPUs are mining GPUs. Nvidia's flailing attempts to make its Ampere GPUs *bad* at mining is a perfect example of how hard it is, when it's in fact certain cryptocurrencies that are specifically designed to run well on GPUs.

    > allocates wafers for the 'console' scam.

    AMD is bound by supply agreements. It's not their choice.

    > It actively works to keep prices too high in the PC gaming market in a variety of ways


    > in order to make the 'console' scam function.

    What's their motivation for this, given that they could be making more $ if they had the freedom to re-target those wafers? This is the critical flaw in your argument, even before we get to the part where you provide zero evidence to back it up.

    > had the audacity to release the 9000 series, with extremely high prices
    > based on falsehoods like 5 GHz and 8 cores.

    It's just the same thing we've seen out of Intel. When these companies are stuck in a product line longer than they want to be, it pushes them to take desperate measures, like cranking up clockspeed.

    > The single-thread IPC of Piledriver was so terrible

    The two interviews Ian recently did with Jim Keller shed some very interesting insight into how much he had to transform the culture of AMD from one of defeatist incrementalism, in order to make Zen happen. If you haven't read those, I'd recommend them.

    What I don't understand is how you think this failure to execute is somehow evidence of a conspiracy. It also reveals quite a lot about the strength of your argument (or lack thereof) that you have to go so far back to make your case against AMD.

    > Even Nintendo is helped by the console scam

    Here's the part where you're bad at conspiracy theories. Any good conspiracy theory treats incentive almost as proof of complicity. Instead of launching on an unrelated tangent about Nintendo, you should find some way of tying Nintendo more deeply into the whole thing.

    > AMD has stated it had no intention of reducing the attractiveness of its cards for mining.

    Unlike Nvidia, they don't have a separate mining-oriented product line. That's why. Both companies would be punished by their investors (and probably even sued), if they went out of their way to shut out miners and that revenue stream. That's wholly different than saying they set out to build good mining cards.

    And lots of people use their cards for mining when they're not gaming, in order to offset the hardware costs. Of course, that only works of you're in a cheap electricity market (or someone else is paying the electric bill, which I'm sure is the case for most kids).

    What's weird is that you didn't even touch on AI. That's the one case where there's actual evidence that both companies juiced their hardware for AI. And it's surely consuming quite a bit of Nvidia's die allocation, although I don't think many people are using AMD GPUs for AI.

    HPC is another area you could attack. Vega 20 (the 7 nm version) added fp64, in addition to further AI-targeted enhancements. Their CDNA chips (MI100 and now MI200) take these themes even further. And Nvidia is targeting enormous A100 GPUs at HPC, as well as AI. Why go after consoles and not HPC?

    > These are the sort of bald facts that jokers on this site like to ignore

    They're tenuously-related and really don't support your claims. So much "empty rhetoric", as someone recently said.

    Again, I can see that we're beyond facts. You're starting with a scapegoat and trying to cherry-pick facts to support your case. You clearly feel something is deeply lacking in the PC gaming market. You want to recapture some lightning in a bottle, from a bygone era. Maybe it's the lack of better titles. Maybe you work/worked for a indie game developer and sales are/were too weak. Or maybe you're just upset at the high prices and poor availability of GPUs. One thing I can say for sure, this is really an emotional issue.

    I don't have a dog in this fight, other than my general disappointment with AMD's *lack* of support for GPU-compute on consumer hardware, in recent years. We waited years for them to rebuild their GPU software stack, and then they screwed us by supporting only CDNA cards with it.

    > AMD won't sell cards made for PC gaming

    They *just* introduced the RX-6600 XT!

    > a money-grubbing corporation that has absolutely no soul

    I'm not even saying they're not. However, this doesn't align with your whole argument. With PC GPU prices so high and such strong demand for their CPU products, the profit motive would have them re-target their wafer allocation from consoles to these higher-margin products. So, that's clearly not in their power (which should go without saying, if one has an iota of business accumen).

    > via delivering the least value to the consumer.

    Um, no. They simply have to behave in profit-maximizing ways. Period. One way to do that is by reducing costs, but there's no direct mandate to minimize the value of their products.

    *All* of these corporations are mandated to behave in profit-maximizing ways. Intel, Microsoft, and Nvidia, for sure. I can't really comment on Sony and Nintendo, since they're presumably Japanese-based and I don't really know anything about corporate governance laws and investor rights, in Japan.

    > Astroturf the truth away.

    Yeah, I'm sure anyone who disagrees with you must be a corporate shill. There can be no other possible explanation.
  • Qasar - Sunday, August 1, 2021 - link

    " > allocates wafers for the 'console' scam.

    AMD is bound by supply agreements. It's not their choice. "

    but is there anything that shows its its AMD's wafers, or sony/MS ??
  • mode_13h - Monday, August 2, 2021 - link

    I had the same question, but I seem to recall someone found a source that indicated such.

    Either way, if I'm Sony or MS, it'd be insane to leave my chip supply to the mercy of AMD. So, if AMD was in charge of getting the chips manufactured and packaged, then supply agreements will have been negotiated far in advance.

    With something like a console, they will have had an idea of how the sales ramp would look and should've pre-purchased the necessary wafers to support it, probably with options to buy more. Now, where things get interesting is if/how any of the pandemic-fueled demand surge was satisfied. However, I'm guessing even those wafers were purchased not long after it became apparent that most of their target marked would be confined to their homes for the rest of 2020.
  • Oxford Guy - Tuesday, August 17, 2021 - link

    'AMD is bound by supply agreements. It's not their choice.'

    Great defense, there.

    AMD has no choice but to do things like Polaris-forever, Vega has identical IPC to the previous generation, refusal to stop making GPUs designed for mining whilst pretending they're for PC gaming, etc.

    It has nothing to do with AMD being the central pillar in the console scam. Consoles are nothing more than PC gaming boxes in disguise, with machinations to create artificial demand — machinations AMD is very much a strong part of.
  • Alexvrb - Sunday, August 8, 2021 - link

    Regardless of whether you're a neutral enthusiast, or a fanboy of one firm or another... you've got to give a lot of credit to AMD. Their Phoenix-like rise from the ashes has reawakened competition and driven CPU performance way up in PCs and consoles alike. Intel is finally moving again, and AMD hasn't stopped moving since Zen. Things are interesting again.

    In the GPU space things are a little more complicated. On the one hand, they have changed course for the better with RDNA and are rapidly becoming more competitive. On the other hand, unless AMD and Nvidia can figure out a REAL way to drastically limit mining performance without harming gaming performance, prices are going to stay massively inflated. A software-based solution isn't likely to work for very long, even IF Nvidia can manage to avoid driver leaks. There's a lot of money at stake, custom drivers will pop up.

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