AMD's Q1 Financial Results

AMD has released its Q1 financials, giving us a look into the company's execution through what is normally considered a down quarter, as well as an opportunity to judge the impact of Brazos on the company's bottom line. The results are quite good relative to AMD's financial performance these past few years.

The company reports revenue of $1.61B (up two percent from Q1 2010), a net income of $510 million, and an operating income of $54 million. AMD, therefore, is in the black—even if just barely. According to acting CEO Thomas Seifert, Llano is "the most impressive processor in history."

Overall sales in Q1 were driven by demand for Llano products. "First quarter operating results were highlighted by strong demand for our first generation of AMD Fusion Accelerated Processing Units (APUs'). "APU shipments greatly exceeded our expectations, and we are excited to build on that momentum now that we are shipping our Llano APU."

Brazos was similarly praised; Seifert noted that it accounted for nearly half of AMD's mobile shipments in Q1. Llano-based systems are expected to arrive this quarter, presumably in laptops first. Gross margins held steady at ~43 percent. Computing Solutions revenue decreased two percent from Q1 (always a down quarter) but rose three percent year-on-year, thanks to strong sales in channel (retail). The company is also now shipping Llano to multiple partners, including Acer, Asus, Dell, Fujitsu, HP, Lenovo, MSI, Sony, and Toshiba.

Sunnyvale's server space has been under attack for years, but there was a small victory here, too—both Lockhead Martin and the University of Sao Paulo are building advanced HPC clusters using AMD hardware. (Overall server market share for the company was guesstimated at 5-6 percent.

Llano has largely been overshadowed by Bulldozer, but it's no less important.

Overall, Seifert admitted being disappointed with Opteron's sales performance in Q1, but affirmed that Bulldozer-based products were on target for the end of the summer. (that's server 'dozer, not client 'dozer.) GPU revenue fell by three percent quarterly due to a decreased number of console shipments and was flat year-on-year. GPU ASPs also fell slightly year-on-year, but Sunnyvale was crowing over the launch of the Radeon 6990 and Apple's decision to use Radeon HD 64690M nd HD 6750M in some of its Macbook Pro systems. No explanation was given for why GPU revenue also fell compared to March 2010 (from 47 million to 19 million).

AMD expects strong volume demand for Llano beginning this quarter. According to Rick Bergman, OEMs responded very positively to the Brazos platform AMD launched earlier this year; Sunnyvale expects many of these companies to enthusiastically support Llano as well. Both Bergman and Seifert referenced Brazos' strong debut, but opted not to give details on where the APU was seeing the greatest level of success. Llano's introduction timeline is also a bit muddled. Bergman refers to volume and production ramps occurring in Q2, but then says "our key for Llano is to hit the critical cycle in the industry, which is the 2C [ph] or the back-to-school cycle."

AMD's Q&A guidance generally implies that the company expects strong launches for all of its new products and may be able to strengthen its market share in multiple segments in the back half of 2011. If such statements are somewhat vague, it's actually a good thing—the company needs 'business-as-usual' quarters much more than last-minute saves and Hail Mary passes.

These next few months are some of the most important in AMD's history, with both Llano and Bulldozer dropping in the next few months. The long, long, wait is almost over.