AMD CEO confirms Threadripper is alive, well, and 'moving up'

It sounds like Computex will be phase one of AMD's announcements.

AMD Lisa Su
Mark Hachman / IDG

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Though AMD CEO and President Lisa Su didn’t mention the company’s Threadripper processor in her Computex presentation Monday morning, she told reporters that the company hasn’t discontinued it. 

Su wowed a keynote audience here on Monday with the disclosure of the company’s first 12-core Ryzen 9 processor, the first branding of the upcoming “Navi” processor, and more. But any omission of a key product raises questions of its viability, and Su put those questions to rest.

“You know. it’s very interesting, some of the things that circulate on the Internet—I don’t think we ever said that Threadripper was not going to continue—it somehow took on a life of its own on the Internet,” Su said, speaking to a small group of reporters following her keynote. “You will see more [Threadripper] from us; you will definitely see more.”

AMD 3rd Gen Ryzen & Navi chips Adam Patrick Murray/IDG

AMD’s 3rd-gen Ryzen and Navi chips.

If anything, Su said later, the challenge is to differentiate Threadripper as the core count within the 3rd-gen Ryzen chips continues to climb. The original Threadripper 1950X launched with 16 cores, and parts of the Internet wondered if the 3rd-gen Ryzen cores would launch with 16 cores, too. That would seemingly undermine the value proposition of the Threadripper lineup—massive core counts for applications like video rendering that demanded them.

“If mainstream is moving up, then Threadripper will have to move up, up—and that’s what we’re working on,” Su said. 

(As for satisfying AMD’s fans who might have expected a 16-core chip, Su said that while the community remains important to the company, “what we believe is that we’re giving the community an exceptional set of products.”)

Su fielded a variety of questions about AMD’s products, much as she did following her CES address in January. Back then, she was somewhat vague about AMD’s plans for ray tracing, a feature that rival Nvidia had driven into the market.

On Monday, Su implied that AMD would have much more to say about ray tracing during a presentation at the E3 video game show in Los Angeles roughly 10 days from now. “We’ll give you more of the roadmap then,” Su said when asked about AMD’s ray-tracing plans.

Other highlights of Su’s question-and-answer session included:

  • AMD has joined the ranks of those companies who are “complying” with U.S. regulations in terms of supplying parts to Huawei. Su described Huawei as a “customer of ours, who have done some very nice PCs,” but that AMD is “complying with the current regulations.:” She declined to elaborate further.
  • To no one’s surprise, AMD continues to work to develop the Zen 2 and Zen 3 generations of CPU architecture, as well as future versions of RDNA, too.  “As we go forward, we plan to be very, very aggressive on both the CPU and GPU engines,” Su said.
  • Responding to a question about Intel’s Project Athena designs and the new form factors that project is expected to engender: “We’re focusing a lot on the user experience,” Su said. “And you know, with what that brings, I think you will be very pleasantly surprised with new form factors that will be coming out from AMD in the coming months.”
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