AMD's Radeon memory business is slowing down

AMD's non-critical Radeon memory business could be on the verge of shutting down, though the company hasn't exited the business yet

AMD's Radeon memory business has slowed down, with fewer products available in the U.S. and no new product releases since the introduction of the Polaris GPUs last year.

Products are not being sold by key partners like Newegg, Best Buy, or TigerDirect, and some products are out of or almost out of stock at Amazon.com. Some Radeon DRAM is still being carried on Walmart's website and at specialist tech retailers at discounted prices.

When asked if AMD was exiting the DRAM business and why the memory was out of stock at retailers, a company spokesman said some DRAM stock is being moved around.

"Those are mostly distributed in Eastern Europe, only small quantities are diverted to North America, but we didn’t exit the business," the AMD spokesman said.

The company did not respond to request to questions on whether new Radeon DRAM modules would be released. The DRAM is designed more for older AMD GPU architectures.

AMD last introduced new Radeon-branded DDR4 memory modules in 2015 but hasn't released new memory since Polaris GPUs were released last year.

The DRAM business isn't critical for AMD, which relies more on its CPUs and GPUs. The Radeon DRAM modules are an ancillary business to support enthusiasts using AMD's Radeon GPUs. AMD also sells Radeon SSDs.

GPUs from AMD and Nvidia are packing in more advanced and faster memory like HBM2 and GDDR5X, and there is a declining need for external DRAM to supplement graphics applications, said Jim McGregor, principal analyst at Tirias Research.

AMD wasn't making the memory, but instead attaching the Radeon brand to modules manufactured by other companies. But the DRAM business is a highly volatile business, and it's better for resource-strapped AMD not to play in it, McGregor said.

It was more of an opportunity to leverage the Radeon brand, which is one of the longest lasting tech brands alongside GeForce, McGregor said.

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