AMD’s New Epyc Server Model to Tackle Deep Studying

At its Monetary Analyst Day on Thursday, AMD made quite a few bulletins about its upcoming product launches and the place it should focus in 2017. The corporate has traditionally used these occasions to forecast its efficiency over the following few years and is using excessive after the profitable launch of Ryzen 7 and Ryzen 5. Buyers, nevertheless, have been jittery in regards to the producer’s inventory efficiency to date this yr and AMD was additionally trying to calm the waters because it rolls out new .

We’ve recognized the codename for AMD’s Ryzen server CPUs, Naples, however the firm unveiled the precise model identify at present. Henceforth, AMD’s server CPUs will probably be offered below the Epyc model. It’s pronounced just like the odd phrase, and as model names go…possibly it’ll develop on folks? That’s just about the very best we’ve acquired proper now. Opteron was a stronger product identify in our private opinion, however finally, clients aren’t going to care what it’s referred to as, they’ll care the way it performs.

One level AMD constituted of the start of the occasion is that it centered on knowledge facilities when it introduced Zen to market. We haven’t seen a lot in the best way of server benchmarks on the core but, however Ryzen 5 and seven have been at their strongest when competing in opposition to Intel in workstation workloads like video enhancing and 3D rendering. Server workloads are typically their very own distinctive animal, however AMD loved great success with Opteron when it aimed Athlon 64 on the knowledge heart first, client workloads second. It’s not stunning to see firm doubling down on this technique once more.

Diving into knowledge facilities

AMD’s argument for its personal reentry into the info heart acknowledges that the corporate’s market share is successfully zero p.c at present. The corporate’s place is that whereas it’s been pushed out of the market in recent times, it has beforehand established its chops as a supplier of server options from single-socket blade servers to multi-socket programs.


The corporate’s Epyc processors will supply as much as 32 cores with 128 lanes of PCI Categorical connectivity and eight reminiscence channels. This mix of huge reminiscence bandwidth and core counts might give AMD a leg up on Intel in three key areas. First, AMD can supply an unlimited quantity of reminiscence bandwidth on a single-socket system with all eight of its reminiscence channels. Intel, in distinction, is restricted to only 4 channels. Granted, Intel’s reminiscence controller effectivity would possibly show to be greater than AMD’s, however eight channels is difficult to argue with, significantly in a one-socket system, and the two-socket comparability is fairly strongly tilted for AMD.

Second, AMD is purposefully eschewing Intel’s behavior of locking off sure capabilities to particular SKUs. Intel’s Xeon traces are subdivided by functionality — some SKUs are for single-socket programs, some assist two sockets, some vary as much as 4 sockets. AMD is solely declaring that every one variations of all Epyc chips may have the identical I/O, the identical reminiscence channels, and the identical capabilities.


Third, AMD needs to place Epyc as a really perfect match for machine studying and synthetic intelligence workloads. To that finish, it’s constructed a single-socket CPU with sufficient I/O connectivity to deal with a number of Radeon Intuition playing cards. AMD famous that in different servers, clients are required to purchase multi-socket programs merely to have sufficient connectivity to run a full complement of GPUs in them, as proven above. The 128 lanes of PCI Categorical connectivity that Epyc gives, in distinction, can drive six playing cards (16 lanes every) from one socket, with 32 lanes of PCI Categorical left over for intra-chip communication.

One level of clarification right here: Not like Intel, which gives 40 PCI Categorical lanes in a single socket and 80 lanes in a twin socket, AMD gives 128 lanes in each a 1S and 2S configuration. Within the two-socket system, 64 lanes of PCIe are devoted to intra-chip communication, with every CPU providing 64 lanes of chipset I/O.


It’s going to take time for AMD to construct any form of market share in server, the place it’s mainly ranging from scratch, however the firm appeared bullish on the prospects for its CPU structure and the place Zen will take it within the knowledge heart area. However the firm seems decided to retake share in a market the place its 1S and 2S platforms are going to match fairly nicely in opposition to what Intel is fielding. If Naples is as robust in server workloads as Ryzen has been in workstation and desktop work, Intel might have a critical combat on its fingers. AMD’s new platform might additionally win followers from corporations constructing deep studying and AI platforms that wish to discipline the utmost variety of playing cards per socket with out paying a premium for multi-socket options.

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