AMD finds itself in a relatively good place right now. The company's Zen CPU architecture is a success, and it will not be long before its third-generation Ryzen processors make a debut, with single-core performance that is rumored to close the gap with Intel. If the next-gen CPUs live up to the hype, and if Navi ends up being a worthwhile solution in the GPU space, AMD could see big sales gains in the second half of the year.
That would be good timing for AMD. Coming off a $1.42 billion quarter and capping off a second straight year of "significant revenue growth," AMD forecasts a 12 percent decline in revenue sequentially, and 24 percent year-over-year due to "continued softness in the graphics channel and seasonality across the business."
The longer term outlook is rosier, though. AMD anticipates high single-digit percentage revenue growth as it ramps 7-nanometer products throughout the year. That could end up being a conservative estimate, depending on how things play out.
Here's the thing—AMD is expected to launch its Ryzen 3000 series, and perhaps Navi, at Computex next month. It's all speculation at this point, but we have heard from a major AMD ecosystem OEM that the Zen 2 architecture is a strong performer. According to the OEM, it brings single-thread performance parity with Intel, while maintaining Ryzen's already strong multi-core performance.
AMD is also expected to be aggressive with pricing, though that bit is less clear. If the performance is as strong as we are hearing, and if AMD doesn't go nuts with pricing, it could see a surge in sales in the second half of 2019.
That is what PC makers are anticipating, according to Digitimes. In addition to what AMD has on tap, Intel is still battling CPU shortages in some areas. As such, HP and Lenovo have been placing orders for AMD's processors for their notebooks since the second half of 2018, while ASUS has seen better-than-expected sales of its AMD-based gaming laptops.
There are plenty of "ifs" and caveats, of course, including the big unknown surrounding Navi. Will the next-gen GPU be a high-performance part, or will it be a mid-range performer to supplant Polaris, leaving a spattering of Vega GPUs to compete at the high-end? We will have to wait and see.