Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ:AMD) CEO, Lisa Su, is quickly turning into one of the best leaders in the tech world. When she took the reigns a few years ago, the company was a mess. Yet she cut costs and focused on investing on innovative technologies. As a result, AMD stock has gone from $3 in 2014 to $20 today.
As a point of reference, last year the shares logged a return of 81%, marking it as the best performance in the S&P. This was certainly impressive given the grueling correction.
Keep in mind that she not only has a strong technical background, with doctorate degrees in electrical engineering from MIT and being the author of over 40 technical papers, but also has strong operational experience. Su has held executive positions with companies like Freescale Semiconductor (NYSE:FSL) and IBM (NYSE:IBM).
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### Su's Success and AMD Stock
As a testament to her success, Su gave one of the keynotes at the mega CES event this week. Note that this is something usually for CEOs of the world's largest chipmakers like Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) and Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA).
In her keynote, Su set forth the roadmap for AMD for 2019. Interestingly enough, she is targeting INTC and NVDA.
So here are some of the announcements:
### AMD Radeon VII Will Be Big
This is the first ever 7nm gaming GPU (Graphics Processing Unit), which should get traction in key markets like high-end gaming, esports and VR (Virtual Reality).
The chip has a lower cost than NVDA's offerings as well as higher frame rates. Although, the AMD chip does lack AI capabilities and ray tracing. But for today's games, this may not necessarily be much of a drawback.
Consider that Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL, NASDAQ:GOOGL) has agreed to use the Radeon chip for its cloud-based gaming system, called Project Stream.
### Other Processors and AMD Stock
The 3rd Gen AMD Ryzen is a desktop processor based on 7nm process technology. As with the Radeon chip, this one will be focused on gaming and graphics.
The 2nd Gen AMD Ryzen Mobile is the fastest processor for ultrathin laptops. It has 12 hours of video playback battery life and 4K HDR capabilities. This year, AMD plans to include this in systems from Acer, Asus, Dell, HP (NYSE:HPQ), Huawei, Lenovo and Samsung.
But I think the most important technology is the EPYC processor. This is for powering the datacenter, which is at the heart of the massive cloud-computing business.
Already more than 50 platforms will use the EPYC chip. Then again, it has the advantage of 7nm technology. For example, based on a demo using a complex scientific application, the EPYC chip showed about 15% higher performance versus the Intel Xeon Platinum 8180 processor.
### Bottom Line On AMD Stock
One of the nagging issues for AMD stock is that the company lacks scale. And while this is certainly a legitimate concern, the company has pursued an asset-lite model (such as by outsourcing production) that makes it easier for it to be more nimble.
AMD has also put together a solid set of technologies that are targeting massive market opportunities. Again, the data center category is still in the early phases and there is already lots of traction with marque customers, such as with Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN).
They are definitely interested in using alternative technologies that have lower costs and better performance.
True, AMD stock may not necessarily have the blow-out return in 2019 that it did last year. Yet the bull case still looks very much intact, as the company's investments in new technologies should continue to pay off in a big way.
Tom Taulli is the author of High-Profit IPO Strategies, All About Commodities and All About Short Selling. Follow him on Twitter at @ttaulli. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.
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