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AMD's Raja Koduri Takes Q4 Off, Lisa Su Takes The RTG Helm

Raja Koduri, AMD's senior vice president and chief architect of the AMD Radeon Technologies Group (RTG), has announced that he is taking leave for through the fourth quarter of this year. Koduri recently went on "radio silence" immediately following the launch of the company's Vega lineup, which spawned a rash of theories on Reddit and enthusiast forums.

AMD's RTG group has faced quite a bit of criticism following the Vega launch, largely due to pricing and shortages, and the lack of a cohesive response from the company has been a bit frustrating for the enthusiast community. Many in the enthusiast community attributed Koduri's absence to the delayed AMD response. Koduri later responded with a series of tweets explaining that he was attending a wedding in India. He also addressed many of the questions raised by the community. 

Last night, TweakTown reported that Koduri had taken leave through the end of the fourth quarter, which was later confirmed by PC Perspective. PC Perspective also got its mitts on Koduri's internal letter to his team outlining his reasons for taking leave, which you can find below.

AMD CEO Dr. Lisa Su will step into Koduri's role during his absence, so it's obvious that RTG is in good hands. As noted in his letter, Koduri will return in December. Notably, Koduri cites a "new wave of product excitement" in early 2018 as one of the key reasons for the timing of his extended vacation, so we might have something to look forward to early next year.

Here's the full text from Koduri's memo:

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

  • photon123
    Whoever is responsible for the Vega disaster should be fired.
    Reply
  • hannibal
    Someone making those fansy HBM memories... good Luck trying to get that happen.
    The realese was not what it should have been, but some things were out of AMDs hands. It was not possible to turn back to gddr5 after the product was planned. Interesting to see next amd gpu. Is it still HBM or not. Most likely it is because the product is quite ready in anyway. Hopefully the HBM suply is better next time, or the gpu situation is not getting any better to the customers.
    Reply
  • redgarl
    The Vega 56 is an excellent card Photon123. If you are playing games, 70W more or less doesn't matter.
    Reply
  • JamesSneed
    20169727 said:
    Whoever is responsible for the Vega disaster should be fired.

    I disagree AMD put very little money into it(Admitted to already by Lisa). They put there weight behind the Zen cores for Ryzen, Threadripper and EPYC. If Navi is a bust as well then I'm with you until then I really think it's just a matter of what they chose to spend money on and Vega wasn't the focus.
    Reply
  • falchard
    I'll be honest. For the Chief Architect to take a couple months off before moving into the next set of product development is always a good idea. It resets yourself and allows you to enter the development with a clear mind. This wind down period helps mature ones skills and grow in their position. A lot of development type companies do this as their staff is usually committed through the entire product development cycle.
    Reply
  • TMTOWTSAC
    Part of me wants to accuse him of hiding from the fallout over pricing/availability/performance until the holidays are over.
    Reply
  • JonDol
    I still fail to understand why this people's holiday is hardware news...
    Reply
  • artk2219
    20171803 said:
    Part of me wants to accuse him of hiding from the fallout over pricing/availability/performance until the holidays are over.

    I honestly dont think there's anything to hide about, its selling well, and they have a few major design wins, especially with the new iMacs. They over promised in their marketing sure, but its not the unmitigated disaster everyone makes it out to be. Its competitive with the cards that it is targeting, and it can be an efficient architecture when its not chasing absolute performance as seen in the reviews below. That being said, it was late, and they need to work on a process and architecture refresh to help its high end power and heat issues (like they did for the 4870 to create the 4890). But its nowhere near the problem that it was with the GTX 480 when it was released, in case some of you have short memories (Holy cow I forgot the average noise and power levels that we used to put up with). All in all, there is definitely promise in Vega.

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-rx-vega-56,5202-21.html
    https://www.gamersnexus.net/hwreviews/3020-amd-rx-vega-56-review-undervoltage-hbm-vs-core
    https://translate.google.de/translate?sl=de&tl=en&js=y&prev=_t&hl=de&ie=UTF-8&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.hardwareluxx.de%2Findex.php%2Fartikel%2Fhardware%2Fgrafikkarten%2F44084-amd-radeon-rx-vega-56-und-vega-64-im-undervolting-test.html&edit-text=

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/geforce-gtx-480,2585-15.html
    http://www.anandtech.com/show/2977/nvidia-s-geforce-gtx-480-and-gtx-470-6-months-late-was-it-worth-the-wait-/19
    Reply
  • TMTOWTSAC
    20174359 said:
    20171803 said:
    Part of me wants to accuse him of hiding from the fallout over pricing/availability/performance until the holidays are over.

    I honestly dont think there's anything to hide about, its selling well, and they have a few major design wins, especially with the new iMacs. They over promised in their marketing sure, but its not the unmitigated disaster everyone makes it out to be. Its competitive with the cards that it is targeting, and it can be an efficient architecture when its not chasing absolute performance as seen in the reviews below. That being said, it was late, and they need to work on a process and architecture refresh to help its high end power and heat issues (like they did for the 4870 to create the 4890). But its nowhere near the problem that it was with the GTX 480 when it was released, in case some of you have short memories (Holy cow I forgot the average noise and power levels that we used to put up with). All in all, there is definitely promise in Vega.

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-rx-vega-56,5202-21.html
    https://www.gamersnexus.net/hwreviews/3020-amd-rx-vega-56-review-undervoltage-hbm-vs-core
    https://translate.google.de/translate?sl=de&tl=en&js=y&prev=_t&hl=de&ie=UTF-8&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.hardwareluxx.de%2Findex.php%2Fartikel%2Fhardware%2Fgrafikkarten%2F44084-amd-radeon-rx-vega-56-und-vega-64-im-undervolting-test.html&edit-text=

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/geforce-gtx-480,2585-15.html
    http://www.anandtech.com/show/2977/nvidia-s-geforce-gtx-480-and-gtx-470-6-months-late-was-it-worth-the-wait-/19

    Was referring more to the availability, pricing, and bundles. You can apportion blame however you want between retailers and miners and so forth, but for the typical consumer all they know is that the card was advertised at a given price, and practically none were to be had at that price. But, if you're willing to pay $100-200 more for a bundled card, you can get the card and couple free games, or coupons to make your Ryzen or Mobo or Freesync Monitor cheaper. Otherwise it's just the massively (up to 50%) marked up stand alone cards.

    Then there's the speculation that AMD could be losing money on each card sold. Fudzilla was estimating about $100 loss for every Vega 64 sold:

    http://fudzilla.com/news/graphics/44401-amd-is-losing-100-on-every-vega

    Gamersnexus estimated the cost of just the 8 GB HBM2 memory and interposer at $175. Most of the components of Vega 56 are the same as Vega 64, so the margins on the cheaper 56 are likely worse.

    https://www.gamersnexus.net/guides/3032-vega-56-cost-of-hbm2-and-necessity-to-use-it

    Either way, it doesn't look like AMD can make much by way of profits with consumer Vega, and if the goal was to grab marketshare for Ryzen and Freesync, they have to keep the cards out of the hands of miners. Since they released a mining-specific patch less than a week after release, it really looks like they've resorted to the pricy bundles in order to recoup costs, and are relying on miners to buy those bundles.
    Reply
  • heviink
    I will be buying 56 once third party products are out (assuming availability is good) as an upgrade to my R9-290. While many of us were hoping that Vega would be a great challenge in the 1080ti bracket, the truth is that I was not going to spend in the 1080ti bracket anyway. Vega is more than enough for me for gaming at 1080p, and if the R9 was anything to go by it will actually hold its ability longer in tomorrow's games than the currently comparable 1060/70.
    Reply