Sources with knowledge of Advanced Micro Devices’ roadmap have revealed that the company plans to introduce its new family of Radeon R9 300-series graphics cards closer to Computex than CeBIT, as originally planned. AMD had hoped to push out one or two new cards in March and then re-brand many others to refresh the range. That is no longer the plan.
The challenge for Advanced Micro Devices is that it needs to achieve two rather different (and sometimes opposing) tasks in the first half of this year. It must significantly reduce inventory in the channel and it has to try and boost its dropping market share. If AMD does not ship anything new, its own sales and market share will decline. However, if AMD ships brand-new offerings, older hardware stalls in the channel, impacts prices and makes it difficult to sell new products.
According to sources from the Far East, AMD originally wanted to unleash at least one of its all-new Radeon R9 300-series graphics card at the CeBIT trade-show in early March. These new cards would feature the company’s latest high-end GPU and high-bandwidth memory (HBM). If AMD’s engineers have done a good job, then this Radeon R9 290-series replacement would be the company’s fastest card ever, especially with the latest games running ultra-high-definition resolutions like 4K or 5K. If that happens, then the launch would significantly disrupt sales of all other Radeon R9 series products, so the company decided not to unveil its new top-of-the-range graphics boards this month.
Once AMD has a new Radeon R9-class product ready, it could change the schedule again, but it seems that the company does not want to launch its new product as soon as possible. In the wake of the GeForce GTX 970 memory allocation issue for Nvidia, a new launch might have helped AMD capture market share, but it now seems to be taking other factors into account.
The sources with knowledge of AMD plans revealed to KitGuru that Computex has been targeted as the launch timeframe for AMD’s upcoming graphics adapters and a “full line up” was demanded from senior management and engineers. Instead of launching just one new graphics solution and a load of re-brands, AMD intends to roll-out a whole new range of graphics cards at Computex in early June. At present details about the lineup are not clear, but expect several all-new graphics solutions to be unveiled, whereas some re-branded products will likely show up in the following months.
While AMD does not comment on reports about product plans and launch schedules, the company indirectly confirmed that its new graphics processing units will be out rather later than sooner during the Morgan Stanley Technology, media and telecom conference this week. Apparently, AMD considers second half of this year as a time when it will try to regain lost market share from Nvidia.
“We are confident that as we get into the second half of 2015 with the launch of that [new graphics] product, we will gain back the market share which is low from my standpoint and historically,” said Devinder Kumar, chief financial officer of AMD. “We need to be significantly higher than where we are right now.”
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KitGuru Says: The reason why AMD prefers to delay introduction of new graphics processing units seems could be rather simple: sales dynamics of Radeon R9 280- and 290-series is not very good in the first quarter and AMD’s partners need additional time to get rid of them. Still, while AMD’s plan regarding launch timeframe seems to be clear now, the details about the exact lineup will probably remain in doubt until the last moment. KitGuru will continue to investigate AMD’s intentions in the coming weeks.