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The Clear Horizon – AMD: Next Horizon Conference

AMD is bound to go full force on their 7nm products in 2019 and as a follow up on their New Horizon event last 2016 where they first revealed details of their Zen architecture, they are now hosting the Next Horizon event in San Francisco California to reveal the first details of what’s next for their product line up.

I am here right now in San Francisco to see first hand details and presentations of their next generation EPYC processors and 7nm Vega for their datacenter products.

In the welcoming letter we received from Dr. Lisa Su, she said that “AMD is set to enter it’s new chapter to deliver the datacenter of the future.” Come back to this post as the event is set to start at 9am Pacific Time (1am, Wednesday in the Philippines) and follow our updates on the event and see the details on what AMD has in store for us.

UPDATE 9:25am

In Dr. Lisa Su’s keynote, she elaborated how far they have come since they first revealed Zen two years ago. And now they are excited to talk about the next horizon of computing.

Though today’s focus will be on the datacenter, Dr. Lisa Su said that they love all of their markets including the consumer and gaming market. There are still a lot of things to do but they are always adding value to the ecosystem by coming up with solutions and differentiation for all market segments.

She also said that AMD’s approach in the market is different from their competition as they don’t just look at incremental performance improvements in their products.

One of the major announcements was their partnership with Amazon Web Services who will now be deploying new M5, T3 and R5 instances to leverage the core density and memory bandwidth of AMD EPYC to support a wide range of workloads in the cloud. Matt Garman, Vice president of AWS, said that AMD brings the best value for customers as they bring reliability, security, and choice for their customers.

They are also previewing their next Generation EPYC processors codenamed Rome.

AMD CTO, Mark Papermaster takes the stage to talk about what’s next in their CPU journey. He focused on the showing what AMD has with their strong roadmap. The Zen architecture had +52% IPC improvement in their previous generations and continued to improve upon Zen+.

Now, with Zen 2, the expected performance increase is going to be much wider with expected 25% increase on it’s 7nm process. Not only that, it also offers 2x density, 0.5x power and 1.25x performance at the same power at tremendous value. It is the first in the market with AMD gaining leadership with the 7nm technology. Double the CPU cores but half the energy per operation.

Now for their new GPU, the latest Radeon Instinct MI60 is the world’s first 7nm GPU optimized for the datacenter. It promises a felxible Vega architecture with 13.2B transistors and comes with 32GB HBM2 memory. This highly efficient memory subsystem has 1TB/s memory bandwidth with built-in error correction with ECC to support huge datasets with enterprise class reliability. It is also the first PCIe 4.0 capable GPU with 64GB/s bidirectional processing between the CPU and GPU.

This new GPU is also utilizing the Infinity Fabric in each GPU core at 100GB/s per link without bridges or switches that will also help with scaling multi-GPU setups.

Enterprise users can expect this to run multiple Virtual Machines per GPU: 16 VMs per GPU or one VM to 8 GPUs.

At the end of the session, Dr. Lisa Su also showed us a preview of their new “Rome” processor, offering up to 64 Zen 2 cores and 128 threads, and the first processor to be PCIe 4.0 capable. These new upcoming Rome processors are socket compatible with the existing Naples platform which allows existing EPYC users to upgrade easily.

In the enterprise space, being able to deliver 2x performance and 4x floating point per socket compared to previous generations is a big thing as this hasn’t been the case before. They actually showed a live demo of this processor: a single socket Rome processor versus a dual socket Intel system which you can see on the video below. What would this mean for the datacenter market? The efficiency of a single socket CPU that can deliver dual socket like performance will reduce the cost and need for resources which will enable datacenters to allocate these resources to other expansions in their respective areas.

Things are definitely looking bright for AMD. Though admittedly, they are still catching up in the GPU space, their CPU products has been a total game changer ever since they introduced the Zen architecture last 2016. Throughout the following years, Ryzen and EPYC has won over 700 awards globally and enabled AMD to reach a new golden era in the computing market, bringing the best value for their customers as well as changing the industry landscape in multi-core CPU offerings.

Ira James
Ira James is an enthusiast who has his roots on PC hardware and gaming. His career as a tech journalist began after working in the PR industry for two years. He started GGWPTech to write PC hardware reviews, gaming, cyber security, and enterprise tech news. His works are also syndicated by other media publishers: Tech Sabado, and the Sunday and Business I.T. section of Manila Times.

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