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 is going to focus in 2017. The corporate has traditionally used these occasions to forecast its efficiency over the following few years and is driving excessive after the profitable launch of Ryzen 7 and Ryzen 5. Buyers, nonetheless, have been jittery concerning 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 identified the codename for AMD’s Ryzen server CPUs, Naples, however the firm unveiled the precise model identify at present. Henceforth, AMD’s server CPUs can be offered beneath the Epyc model. It’s pronounced just like the odd phrase, and as model names go…perhaps it’ll develop on individuals? That’s just about one of the best we’ve bought proper now. Opteron was a stronger product identify in our private opinion, however in the end, 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 information facilities when it introduced Zen to market. We haven’t seen a lot in the way in which 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 modifying and 3D rendering. Server workloads are typically their very own distinctive animal, however AMD loved super success with Opteron when it aimed Athlon 64 on the information middle first, shopper workloads second. It’s not shocking to see firm doubling down on this technique once more.

Diving into information facilities

AMD’s argument for its personal reentry into the information middle 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 lately, it has beforehand established its chops as a supplier of server options from single-socket blade servers to multi-socket methods.


The corporate’s Epyc processors will supply as much as 32 cores with 128 lanes of PCI Specific 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 infinite quantity of reminiscence bandwidth on a single-socket system with all eight of its reminiscence channels. Intel, in distinction, is proscribed to only 4 channels. Granted, Intel’s reminiscence controller effectivity may show to be increased than AMD’s, however eight channels is tough 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 methods, some assist two sockets, some vary as much as 4 sockets. AMD is just declaring that every one variations of all Epyc chips can 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 methods merely to have sufficient connectivity to run a full complement of GPUs in them, as proven above. The 128 lanes of PCI Specific connectivity that Epyc provides, in distinction, can drive six playing cards (16 lanes every) from one socket, with 32 lanes of PCI Specific left over for intra-chip communication.

One level of clarification right here: Not like Intel, which provides 40 PCI Specific lanes in a single socket and 80 lanes in a twin socket, AMD provides 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 type of market share in server, the place it’s principally ranging from scratch, however the firm appeared bullish on the prospects for its CPU structure and the place Zen will take it within the information middle house. However the firm seems decided to retake share in a market the place its 1S and 2S platforms are going to match fairly properly in opposition to what Intel is fielding. If Naples is as sturdy in server workloads as Ryzen has been in workstation and desktop work, Intel might have a critical battle on its arms. AMD’s new platform might additionally win followers from corporations constructing deep studying and AI platforms that need to subject the utmost variety of playing cards per socket with out paying a premium for multi-socket options.