Shares of Advanced Micro Devices (AMD 5.78%) were up 4.2% today as of 3:30 p.m. EDT. The run higher builds on the 13% return AMD had in July following the company's superb second-quarter 2021 earnings update. The chip designer reported a 99% year-over-year increase in sales and updated its outlook for full-year 2021, now calling for sales growth of 50% to 60%.
As for today's jump in the stock price, it can be chalked up to a new product-line announcement from AMD. The company said its new Radeon PRO W6000X series GPUs (graphics processing units) will be available in Apple's (AAPL 4.86%) Mac Pro desktop computers. The GPUs, designed exclusively for the Mac Pro, will give Apple's flagship computer a big upgrade in the graphics department. The cheapest tier in the lineup, the W6900X, has more than double the performance of AMD's Mac Pro predecessor, the W5700X GPU.
The big jump in capabilities will allow users to run not just high-end video games, but also 8K resolution graphics, 3D film and game animation creation, and other computing-intensive rendering activities for professional creators and gamers.
The heavy punch the Radeon PRO W6000X series delivers in performance has an equally heavy-hitting price tag: $2,400 to equip a Mac Pro with the W6800X, and $5,600 for the W6900X. A configuration that allows for two GPUs running in tandem (the W6800X Duo, or two W6900X GPUs) doubles the price from there.
AMD's GPU work for Apple isn't new, so the chips don't necessarily represent the incremental addition of customers to help AMD build on its torrid pace of growth. Nevertheless, among those Apple users who choose to upgrade their Mac Pro desktops, AMD is likely to generate quite a lot in sales and profits.
The semiconductor company has come a long way technologically in recent years and continues to advance its chip capabilities as it scoops up market share from the likes of Intel (INTC 4.05%). The exclusive GPUs for Apple by themselves aren't a reason to invest in AMD, but they do illustrate the niche this small-ish chip designer has carved out for itself as a leader in high-end computing hardware.