AMD now wants to take on Nvidia in the data center

There’s no doubt that AMD’s graphics business has kept the company afloat when its CPU business stunk. More than once I saw quarterly numbers that showed all the profitability was coming from the GPU side of the market.

The split between it and Nvidia is about 2:1, according to Steam analytics. Nvidia just has tremendous momentum and hasn’t lost it. And it allowed the company to branch out into artificial intelligence (AI) so thoroughly that gaming has almost become secondary to the firm. Not that they are leaving gamers hanging; they just aren’t the top priority any more.

With AMD on the upswing on the CPU side, the company has decided to finally stop ceding the whole data center to Nvidia. And this week it introduced two new GPUs with the data center and HPC/AI workloads in mind.

The Radeon Instinct MI60 and MI50 are based on the company’s current Vega architecture and built on TSMC’s 7nm process. Rather than gamers, they are specifically positioned for machine learning, high-performance computing (HPC), and rendering applications.

MI60 will come with 32GB of ECC HBM2 (High-Bandwidth Memory) while the MI50 gets 16GB of memory. Both cards will have a memory bandwidth up to 1 TB/sec, which is vital to AI and HPC apps.

The cards will also support PCIe 4.0, which has twice the transfer rate of the more ubiquitous PCIe 3.0 and direct GPU-to-GPU links using AMD’s Infinity Fabric, the same fabric that connects the CPU cores in the Ryzen and Epyc chips. This fabric will offer up to 200 GB/sec of bandwidth between up to four GPUs and is three times faster than PCIe 4.0.

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