AMD Ryzen CPUs help drive record-breaking revenue – but the news isn’t all good

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X
(Image credit: Future)

AMD has revealed its latest financial results which break new records, with Ryzen CPUs highlighted as a big success – although there was grimmer news when it came to ongoing processor and GPU stock woes.

The firm’s Q4 2020 results saw it take $3.24 billion (£2.4 billion, AU$4.2 billion) in revenue which was 53% more than the same quarter in 2019, a big leap indeed – and the best quarter AMD has ever had. That figure was 16% up on the last quarter, too.

Profits were stacked high as well at $1.78 billion (£1.3 billion, AU$2.3 billion), with this net income being inflated by an income tax benefit of $1.3 billion (£950,000, AU$1.7 billion), due to a valuation allowance release, AMD notes.

Full year revenue for 2020 stood at a towering $9.76 billion (£7.1 billion, AU$12.7 billion), so Team Red was a whisker away from raking $10 billion into its coffers during the course of last year.

Sales were strong across the board, and chips for consoles helped the money piles grow bigger, as well as sales of the recently introduced Ryzen 5000 CPUs, and Big Navi (RX 6000 series) GPUs.

As ZDNet spotted, in a conference call related to the earnings report, CEO Lisa Su noted that the new RX 6000 graphics cards “are our fastest-selling high-end GPUs ever, with launch-quarter shipments three times larger than any prior AMD gaming GPU priced above $549.”

As we all know, they still sold out in a flash, though, with big demand for Big Navi.

Stock issues

The gloomier news is that Su again confirmed that the stock issues which have been plaguing Big Navi graphics cards – and some models of Ryzen 5000 CPUs – aren’t going away anytime soon.

Su observed: “We did have some supply constraints as we ended the year … primarily, I would say, in the PC market, the low end of the PC market and in the gaming markets.

“That being said, I think we’re getting great support from our manufacturing partners. The industry does need to increase the overall capacity levels. And so we do see some tightness through the first half of the year.”

That ‘tightness’ of supply in the first half of 2021 is a point Su has made before, earlier in January.

AMD’s head of corporate communications, Drew Prairie, made a separate comment to the effect that: “We expect the pockets of tightness to remain in the low end of the PC market and in that broader category of gaming [through] the first half of the year.”

Certainly going by what we’ve heard from the rumor mill, as far as the Ryzen range goes, the 5950X and 5900X are set to remain very short on supply at least for the next few months. Scalpers buying up what scarce stock there is and reselling it for hefty profits are hardly helping, either.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).