The past couple of weeks have been … well, interesting ones for Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMD) shareholders. AMD stock, after more than quintupling over the course of the prior 12 months, fell 16% in just four days a week ago and has struggled to pick itself up off the mat in the meantime.
The prod for the pullback? Reports that its new (and well-hyped) computer processor wasn’t performing quite as well as expected once put to the test in real-world applications. As Ars Technica reviewer Mark Walton put it:
“The [Ryzen] 1800X lags behind its Intel counterparts in gaming, regardless of whether it’s running at the same clock speed or higher.”
It was a real blow to optimistic investors, who had bid AMD stock up in a big way on hopes that the new CPU would be the centerpiece of a turnaround story. Now that story is in question.
Thing is, the Ryzen may not be as central to the company’s rebound as it’s been made it to be. Indeed, Advanced Micro Devices has a lot more going for it besides the new CPU that investors aren’t giving it credit for. Three specific items come to mind. Note than a handful of AMD’s competitors are now becoming partners.
3 Things AMD Still Has Going For It
While investors had high expectations for Ryzen, the future for Advanced Micro Devices isn’t dependent on it. In fact, there are three other areas that may end up meaning even more for its top and bottom lines.
In no particular order …
Penetrating the Cloud Market: While AMD has always had a presence in most key tech markets, cloud computing was never a key one for the company. That’s changing now though… a ball that got rolling just in the past few weeks. In November, Alphabet Inc’s (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Google division tapped AMD, looking to add its graphical processor units to Google’s machine learning architecture.
It’s a curious development, as GPU chips weren’t designed to do anything more than handle a computer’s display screen. As it turns out, though, its GPUs are very capable of parallel computing, which is a critical aspect of this new cloud-based function.
In the meantime, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) selected AMD processors to power its next-generation open course cloud platform.
At stake is a piece of the cloud infrastructure market worth an estimated $300 billion per year.
More Licensing Revenue: It’s only an unconfirmed rumor thus far, but a reasonably credible one. That is, Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) is reportedly interested in using AMDs Radeon graphics technology to power Intel’s integrated GPUs in future computers … displacing Nvidia Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA). The agreement between Nvidia and Intel ends at the end of March.
At the very least, the prospect of such an IP licensing deal could mean a couple hundred million dollars in annual high-margin revenue. If Intel really wants to step up its game, though, it could help fund improvements in the way its CPUs handle graphics.
New GPUs Will Enhance New CPU Revenue: While the reviews for the new Ryzen processor have been mixed, AMD stock holders should bear in mind that they’re only half the next generation of hardware for Advanced Micro Devices.
The other half of the one-two punch combination for AMD this year is the new Vega GPU, which should be unveiled around the middle of this year. As was noted back on Feb. 7:
“Vega, is a second-generation high bandwidth memory (or HBM2) design found on a stacked-memory architecture that performs significantly better than the more common GDDR5 (double data rate type-five) utilized by most graphics processing units today. An essentially-infinite amount of memory can be dedicated to handling the display — the maximum virtualization is capped at a ridiculous 512 terabytes. This platform is about twice as powerful as most current alternatives, and will make Advanced Micro Devices competitive with the newest generation of GPU architecture from Nvidia, called Pascal.”
More important, Vega was largely built with the Ryzen processor in mend, with each getting the most performance out of one another.
In the meantime, it’s not like the Ryzen CPU is a lost cause. As the company’s CEO Lisa Su recently explained, “We hear people on wanting to see improved 1080p performance and we fully expect that Ryzen performance in 1080p will only get better as developers get more time with ‘Zen.’ We have over 300+ developers now working with ‘Zen’ and several of the developers for Ashes of Singularity and Total [War:] Warhammer are actively optimizing now.”
Bottom Line for AMD Stock
As encouraging as the future may be for the company whether or not Ryzen ends up performing well, there’s still no denying that AMD stock is overbought and ripe for some profit-taking; that 16% dip is nothing compared to 2016’s huge rally.
But don’t confuse any future weakness from AMD as evidence of what’s in store, results-wise, from the company. Advanced Micro Devices is very well positioned for a great 2017. The trick is just being patient enough to wait for a truly palatable entry price. That could still be well below the recent low.
In other words, you don’t want to step into AMD stock for the long haul until it’s almost uncomfortable to do so. We aren’t there yet.
As of this writing, James Brumley did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.
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