AMD recently announced their Q1 2018 financial results, which were impressive in their own respect – year-on-year, revenues for were up 40% from US$1.18B to US$1.65B and operating income was up by an astounding 990% from US$11M to US$120M.
AMD operates across three business divisions: computing and graphics; enterprise, embedded and semi-custom; and others. Not surprisingly, this growth is completely attributable to brisk sales of the Ryzen and EPYC product lines, and even stronger sales of Radeon-based graphics cards due to the surge in the demand for cryptocurrency mining.
While all this is certainly great, a far more interesting tidbit during the earnings call was the confirmation by Dr. Lisa Su that Radeon Technologies Group was already testing working 7nm silicon in its labs, with customer samples on track for later in the year. Not to be confused with Navi (the successor to Vega), this instead refers to a die shrink of the current 14nm Vega 10 parts. The new parts (expected to sell under the Vega 20 moniker) will be built by TSMC (also confirmed during the earnings call), as opposed to GlobalFoundries, simply because TSMC’s N7 (7nm) process is more mature, with several tape outs already under its belt.
Aside from the usual benefits associated with a die shrink such as lower power consumption, Vega 20 has been optimized for machine learning and artificial intelligence workloads, and should bring with it improved compute performance and support for up to 32 GB of HBM2 memory. If all goes well, we could expect to see retail availability of Vega 20 parts in early 2019.