AMD CEO Lisa Su responded to questions about the company’s upcoming Zen microprocessors during AMD’s quarterly earnings call. Although it appears some of the Zen CPUs will ship in Q4 2016, most people won’t have access to them until 2017.
According to Su, Zen will not ship in large quantities until 2017. AMD might ship some desktop Zen processors towards the end of 2016, but supplies will be limited until Q1 2017.
AMD technically makes it’s 2016 deadline by releasing limited quantities of Zen in Q4 2016, but it will be unattainable to most people until the company can ship the new processor in volume. Instead, system builders planning to construct a Zen PC will likely have to wait until Q1 2017.
“We have been very focused on the server launch for first half of 2017. Desktop should launch before that. In terms of true volume ability, I believe it will be in the first quarter of 2017. We may ship some limited volume towards the end of the fourth quarter, based on how bring up goes and the customer readiness,” said Lisa Su, AMD’s CEO. “But again, if I look overall at what we're trying to do, I think the desktop product is very well positioned for that high end desktop segment, that enthusiast segment in both channel and OEM, which is very much a segment that AMD knows well and so that's where we would focus on desktop. You should expect a notebook version of Zen, with integrated graphics in 2017, and that development is going on as well. And so, I think it's just a time of a lot of activity around the Zen and the different Zen product families,” said Su.
Zen processors will eventually stretch into both the server and mobile market segments closer to Q2 2017. AMD and some of its close business partners are already testing server variants of Zen, and the company expects to be able to deliver volume shipments of Zen server parts in Q2.
AMD also recently entered into a new licensing agreement with Tianjin Haiguang Advanced Technology Investment Co. Ltd. (THATIC), which is a joint venture that consists of AMD and both public and private Chinese companies. Some industry analysts are concerned about possible legal repercussions from Intel in regards to AMD licensing out x86-based designs.
Su was queried directly about the potentially thorny legal issues, to which she replied, "Yes, so relative to the server JV that we have with THATIC, as we stated before, we believe that our joint venture is operational. I think it's well underway. The technology that we're licensing is AMD technology, and so we don't have any issues relative to licensing. I think."
It remains to be seen when the THATIC consortium will begin producing Zen chips.