Wednesday, May 22, 2024

AMD vs. Nvidia: The Battle for Trillion-Dollar Dominance in AI

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The trillion-dollar club, boasting only Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN), Alphabet Inc. (GOOG), and Meta Platforms, Inc. (META) as its only members, is incredibly exclusive. However, the landscape might soon shift, with another company on the brink of joining the ranks within the next decade.

Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD), being a stalwart force in driving innovation for over 50 years, particularly in high-performance computing, graphics, and visualization technologies, has now emerged as a formidable contender to NVIDIA Corporation (NVDA) in the AI chip market, signaling a potential shake-up in the industry’s hierarchy.

AMD’s Growth and Expansion Ventures

AMD stands to benefit significantly from its expansion initiatives, evidenced by the recent unveiling of its MI300 lineup. These data center chips, catering to AI workloads, offer two configurations: the pure GPU MI300X and the combined GPU-CPU MI300A, directly challenging NVDA’s dominance.

With NVDA struggling to meet chip demand, AMD has a prime opportunity to capture market share. This sentiment was echoed at the “Advancing AI” event, where industry giants showcased their use of AMD’s Instinct MI300X accelerators for cloud and enterprise AI infrastructure, reflecting growing adoption and trust in AMD’s offerings.

Moreover, AMD’s efforts to expand its AI software ecosystem, exemplified by the ROCm™ 6 software stack optimized for generative AI, have garnered support from key players like Databricks and OpenAI. The collaboration could position AMD as a preferred choice for AI solutions, further enhancing its competitive edge.

The company’s commitment to innovation further extends to hardware, with the integration of neural processing units (NPUs) in its Ryzen 8040 Series mobile processors. The advancement, delivering up to 1.6x more AI processing performance, has garnered interest from leading PC OEMs, with new laptops featuring AMD Ryzen 8040 Series processors set to hit the market soon.

Additionally, strategic partnerships, including the one with Microsoft Corporation (MSFT), underscore AMD’s role in enabling new services and computing capabilities across various domains, including cloud computing and AI-capable PCs. Such collaborations validate AMD’s technology prowess and ability to drive transformative business outcomes.

Furthermore, its collaboration with JR Kyushu Railway Company highlights its foray into AI-driven automation, revolutionizing traditional track inspection methods with the AMD Kria™ K26 System-on-Module.

The deployment highlights AMD’s commitment to innovation and its potential to address real-world challenges with AI-powered solutions, further solidifying its position as a critical player in the evolving tech landscape.

AMD’s Robust Financial Performance

AMD’s fiscal 2023 fourth quarter showcased remarkable growth across its Data Center and Embedded segments, driven by significant developments. Notably, the company achieved record Data Center segment annual revenue and robust overall growth, buoyed by the rising adoption of Instinct AI accelerators and strong demand for EPYC server CPUs across cloud, enterprise, and AI sectors.

The company’s revenue for the fourth quarter surged by 10% year-over-year to $6.17 billion, fueled by substantial double-digit growth in both the Data Center and Client segments. The remarkable $1.2 billion increase in annual revenue for the Data Center and Embedded segments is of particular significance, which collectively contributed over 50% of the total revenue for 2023.

This surge underlines AMD’s success in capturing server market share, driven by the launch of next-generation Instinct AI accelerators and its continued leadership in adaptive computing solutions.

In addition, the company’s fourth-quarter non-GAAP gross profit grew 10% year-over-year to $3.13 billion, while operating income was up 12% from the year-ago value to $1.41 billion. Similarly, its non-GAAP net income and non-GAAP EPS grew 12% from the prior year’s period to $1.25 billion and $0.77, respectively.

AMD and NVDA Growth Comparison

AMD’s recent strides toward securing a spot in the trillion-dollar club spell trouble for its rival, NVDA. AMD’s robust growth trajectory seems poised to challenge and potentially surpass NVDA in the market. This is primarily due to the recent events in the stock market, which have raised eyebrows.

NVDA’s stock took a significant hit last week, tumbling into correction territory with a 10% decline from its recent peak. This downturn comes at a crucial juncture, highlighting potential vulnerabilities for the market darling.

Adding to NVDA’s woes is the persistent supply constraint plaguing its H100 GPU chips. Despite soaring demand, the company has struggled to meet supply requirements for months, leading to significant challenges in fulfilling orders. The severity of this supply-demand mismatch was underscored by Tesla, Inc. (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk’s admission that even TSLA couldn’t acquire the chips quickly enough.

Furthermore, the lackluster performance of NVDA’s stock from July 2023 to October 2023, as highlighted by Evercore ISI strategist Julian Emanuel, serves as a cautionary tale. This stagnant period failed to generate momentum for NVDA and catalyzed broader market downturns, impacting the S&P 500 index.

In light of AMD’s upward trajectory and NVDA’s recent setbacks, it’s evident that the competitive landscape in the semiconductor industry is undergoing a significant shift, with AMD emerging as a formidable challenger to NVDA’s dominance.

Furthermore, in a Texas federal court, NVIDIA was sued for trademark infringement by the financial technology company Modulus Financial Engineering over the chipmaker’s Modulus artificial intelligence software.

Modulus Financial asked the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas to force NVDA to stop using the Modulus name, which it said would create consumer confusion with its AI-related software.

Bottom Line

Investor interest in AI has reached a fever pitch, driving substantial gains in the stock market throughout 2023 and 2024. With the global AI market valued at $515.31 billion in 2023 and projected to reach $2.74 trillion by 2032, the industry’s growth trajectory is undeniable.

The surge in AI is fueled by several factors, including the proliferation of AI applications, increased partnerships, the emergence of small-scale AI platforms, and the evolving needs of businesses to navigate complexities. AMD, recognizing the immense potential, is heavily investing in the sector and forging lucrative partnerships to solidify its position in the AI landscape.

Moreover, with potent AI accelerator designs and leveraging third-party manufacturing solutions, AMD is poised to capture significant market share in the AI space, potentially elevating its status in investor discussions alongside NVDA.

Further, AMD’s discounted valuation compared to NVDA presents an attractive investment opportunity, further bolstering its appeal as a solid buy in the market. Regarding forward EV/Sales, AMD is trading at 10.15x, 47.5% lower than NVDA’s 19.34x. Also, the stock’s trailing-12-month Price/Sales and Price to Book are 11.62x and 4.72x compared to NVDA’s 35.74x and 50.56x, respectively.

Against this backdrop, AMD stands well-positioned to make it into the trillion-dollar club and surpass NVDA with its innovative product launches, strategic investments and partnerships, and market dominance.

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