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Advanced Micro Devices today launched its best-performing data center processors ever with the debut of 4th-generation Epyc processors.
Lisa Su, CEO of Santa Clara, California-based AMD, unveiled the new family of 4th Gen AMD Epyc processors based on the Zen 4 architecture, which she said was AMD’s best-performing core ever.
She said the processors deliver leadership performance (over rival Intel) and energy efficiency. And they can help customers accelerate data center modernization for greater application throughput and more actionable insights.
AMD can now pack 96 cores into its top Epyc processors, and these cores can process 14% more instructions per clock cycle than the 3rd-generation Epyc processors that debuted in 2021.
“Choosing the right data center processor is more important than ever, and 4th Gen EPYC processors deliver leadership in every dimension,” Su said in a statement. “The data center represents the largest growth opportunity and most strategic priority for AMD, and we are committed to making AMD the partner of choice by offering the industry’s broadest portfolio of powerful and adaptive computing engines.”
She added: “We have built the industry’s best data center CPU roadmap and with the 4th Gen EPYC, we are delivering another significant step forward in performance and efficiency to make the best server processor roadmap even better. comprehensive suite of solutions on track to launch from our ecosystem of partners, customers can select 4th generation EPYC to power their data centers, improve performance, consolidate their infrastructure and reduce energy costs.”
During the event, she noted that the codename Genoa is aimed at general purpose applications. Bergamo will debut for the cloud in the first half of 2023. Genoa-X will debut for technical computing in the first half of 2023, and Siena will debut in the second half of 2023, optimized for performance per watt.
“Our goal with Epyc was to build the industry’s best data center CPU roadmap and I think we did that,” Su said at the event.
4th Gen AMD Epyc Details
The 4th Gen AMD Epyc processors can help businesses free up data center resources to create additional workload processing and speed up output. The chips have up to 96 cores in a single processor, allowing customers to deploy fewer and more powerful servers to meet their computing needs, AMD said.
The chips have a “security by design” approach that builds on AMD Infinity Guard, which provides both physical and virtual layers of protection. It has twice the number of encryption keys compared to previous generations.
The processors have different cores ranging from 16 to 96, and the power consumption also ranges from 200 watts to 400 watts. The Gen 4 processors have support for DDR5 memory and PCIe Gen 5, which are essential for artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. The processors also support CXL 1.1+ for memory expansion.
Ram Peddibhotla, AMD’s corporate vice president for product management, said in a news conference that 4th Gen AMD Epyc processors have broken 300 different performance records. He said the competitive gap over Intel processors is widening.
“With the introduction of 4th Generation Epyc, we are taking another step feature and achievement that dramatically lifts that Epyc curve and extends our leadership even further,” said Peddibhotla.
AMD started its Epyc in 2017, when its well-designed Zen 1 core made it much more competitive against Intel’s then-dominant microprocessors. Consumer and server products took hold in the market. By 2021, AMD’s Milan version of Epyc had a 40% performance advantage over Intel’s Icelake, Peddibhotla said, and now AMD is working on its fourth version of its Epyc processor family.
“We focus on general use with a balanced approach. It covers every market segment you can think of,” he said. “And that’s the beauty of the approach we’re taking. It’s not narrowly focused on a small piece of a particular use case.”
Comments from analysts
Peddibhotla said the ambition is to create the best performing general purpose data center CPU in the world. Codenamed Genoa, the latest product has impressed analysts.
“AMD, through some clever microarchitecture tweaks, expanded caches (and lots of them) and a smaller (5nm) process, managed to show a whopping 70% performance improvement in a 350w TDP over its previous 3rd generation. Epyc,” said Jon Peddie, analyst at Jon Peddie Research. “4th Gen Epyc for the data center is a tour de force and very impressive and affordable.”
Peddibhotla said the 4th generation Epyc has a 107% performance advantage over the 3rd generation Epyc on cloud applications. It’s 123% better on high-performance computing, and it’s 94% better on business apps, he said.
“What strikes me is the improved performance with lower power consumption. The new Epyc 4 will be very competitive against Intel’s current server CPUs and should receive serious attention from all those who continue to expand their server farms,” said Tim Bajarin, an analyst at Creative Strategies, in an email to VentureBeat. “Also using the new Epyc CPUs that can deliver equal, if not better – performance to Intel’s 15 servers through just five Epyc servers is very impressive and should be cost effective on paper when growing any type of server farm. .”
AMD has a slew of other products on the way, including the 5th-generation Epyc processors due in 2024.
Mike Clark, corporate fellow and silicon design engineer at AMD, said in a news conference that the engineering team strived to improve performance, instructions per clock cycle and frequency at the same time. They attacked latency with a larger L2 memory cache and were able to reduce power consumption with dynamic power techniques. And it has extensions for better machine learning and security.
The chips will be manufactured using a 5 nanometer and 6 nanometer hybrid production process. Kevin Lepak, a corporate fellow and silicon design engineer for server SoCs at AMD, said in a press conference that the 96 cores can handle 192 threads simultaneously and that power consumption ranges from 200 watts to 400 watts.
AMD compared performance to Intel’s third-generation 40-core Xeon processor (because it couldn’t get Intel’s latest chips on the market). On a key benchmark, AMD’s 96-core 4th-generation Epyc processor scored 1,790, nearly three times the Intel chip’s 602 score. And it was double the performance of AMD’s proprietary 64-core 3rd-generation Epyc processor at 861.
“That’s an amazing 2X achievement in one generation,” he said.
AMD said Intel’s dual-processor server chips required 15 server racks in a data center, compared to just five for AMD’s 4th-generation Epyc processors. That was a 67% smaller footprint and it used 54% less power. Peddibhotla said the power difference was enough to save 30 hectares of forest land for a year.
“There is a dramatic difference,” Peddibhotla said. “We use fewer servers, consume less power and have lower emissions. Using the five servers gives you the carbon sequestration equivalent of 30 acres of forest per year. We think the 4th Gen Epyc is the best server processor ever to hit the market.”
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