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AMD Announces Multiple Dell Servers in Major Epyc Win

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AMD’s Ryzen was a huge success for the semiconductor company in 2017, winning new business, reinvigorating the consumer market, and pushing Intel to make the most aggressive realignment of its consumer product families we’d seen in a decade. From the addition of Hyper-Threading to low-end processors to huge price cuts on higher core counts, Ryzen pushed Intel in new directions.

The server market, however, has been a different animal. While AMD has always made it clear that it intended to return to the server space, the company also stated it would do so gradually, ramping up production over time. Now we’re seeing what some of those partnerships will look like, courtesy of a newly announced initiative with Dell.

The three platforms are the Dell PowerEdge R6415, R7415, and the R7425. The R6415 is a 1U configuration, while the R7415 and R7425 are 2U designs (shown below).

The R7425 is an impressive server, as such things are reckoned. It’s a two-socket system with support for the entire Epyc processor stack, including top-end models with 32 CPU cores per physical chip. It can hold up to 24 2.5-inch or 12 3.5-inch SSD or HDDs, offers various gigabit configurations (including 2x 25GbE), various riser options, and 32 DIMM slots (presumably that’s 16 per processor socket). It’s significant to see these kinds of options rolling out, because these clearly aren’t low-end servers or an attempt to test the waters by dropping a single entry-level product into the market. Dell isn’t exactly throwing out its Intel platforms, and I wouldn’t expect to do so in the future. But the R6415, R7415, and the R7425 are what you’d look for from a partner whose still testing the water on your platforms, but who thinks they’ve got a solid, competitive product.

An Epyc Forecast

Epyc was a major topic at last week’s conference call. During the call, AMD CEO Lisa Su noted that Sunnyvale’s enterprise, embedded, and semi-custom product family (EESC) sales were up 3 percent that quarter, on the strength of Epyc. She also noted that Epyc had a positive impact on gross margin and AMD’s overall financial position. Asked to give details on what AMD is expected for 2018, Su stated:

I do expect that steady ramp of EPYC as we go through the year. Our target is to be at mid-single-digit unit share by the end of 2018. And so, there would be significant revenue from EPYC as we are in the second half of ‘18.

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Dell says AMD’s servers deliver up to 20 percent lower cost of ownership in a single-socket, four-node, VSAN configuration. Those sorts of improvements could appeal to a number of customers, and AMD’s stated goal of hitting a midrange single-digit market share by the end of the year seems plausible (let’s call that 4-6 percent). That relatively small improvement would still constitute a significant increase for AMD, and it’d be in line with year-on-year improvements AMD has seen previously when it fielded competitive server architectures, as shown above.

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