At this year’s CES, AMD CEO Dr. Lisa Su gave the show’s keynote, and she came with a glut of announcements and guests. The theme for the keynote was High Performance and Adaptive Computing to Help Solve Problems. Guests on stage included representatives from HP, Intuitive Surgical, Lenovo, Magic Leap and Microsoft. It also included a former NASA astronaut for a bonus.
Dr. Su made seven key product announcements ranging from energy-efficient PCs to extreme processors designed for supercomputers. With all the announcements and guests, it’s no wonder the keynote took much longer than expected. It seemed like every AMD group got a piece of the keynote.
A PC update
Despite the current slump in PC sales, most of AMD’s announcements have focused on PCs – both desktops and laptops. Of particular interest was AMD’s decision to add a dedicated AI core to its new Ryzen 7040 series laptop processors. The AMD Ryzen 7040 is designed to fit into ultrathin laptops with TDPs (thermal design power) from 15W to 45W and is manufactured using TSMC’s advanced 4nm process. The Ryzen 7040 has AMD’s most advanced Zen 4 processor cores paired with the latest RDNA3 GPU architecture.
The Ryzen 7040’s built-in AI technology was developed by Xilinx, which AMD acquired last year. But even before the acquisition, AMD had engaged with Xilinx to license the technology. Xilinx developed the AI engine for its Versal ACAP adaptive computing product. Details of the Ryzen AI Engine, as AMD is now calling it, have yet to be revealed, but the Versal AI Engines are 2D arrays of vector-to-vector and matrix-to-matrix VLIW compute engines. While AI workloads can be run on AMD’s integrated CPUs and GPUs, AMD claims that running these workloads on a dedicated AI engine is more power efficient. why the company first introduced it in a laptop processor. Microsoft Executive Vice President and Chief Product Officer Panos Panay gave Ryzen AI a big thumbs up and how Microsoft plans to use it initially for Teams and other features in the future. We encourage AMD to access Ryzen AI through open toolchains and APIs in addition to Microsoft’s Studio tools.
It’s great to see AMD truly embracing the pervasiveness of AI in computing. AMD has GPUs and FPGAs/ACAPs for AI acceleration, and is now integrating AI technology into mainstream laptop processors. Intel will also integrate an integrated AI accelerator into its Meteor Lake processors later this year.
AMD also brought its RDNA 3 architecture to mobile discrete GPUs by announcing the Radeon 7000M series. These new mobile GPUs can power games at 1080p at the highest gaming settings and support graphically intensive content creation applications. When you combine AMD Radeon RX 7000M series graphics with Ryzen 7000 series processors, AMD SmartShift RSR technology intelligently distributes image rendering, scaling, and presentation demands between APU resources and GPU to optimize performance. This capacity should be available in the first half of 2023.
Desktop computers also get a processor upgrade. The new Ryzen 7000 series X3D desktop processors come equipped with up to 144MB of cache and sport up to 16 cores and 32 threads. The newer processors are a little weird in that only one of the two CPU cluster chiplets in the package gets stacked memory, which gives the CPU an asymmetric bias. For example, the Ryzen 9 7950X3D has an 8-core CPU chiplet without the 3D cache that can clock up to 5.7 GHz with boost, but the other 8-core CPU chiplet with the stacked 3D cache has more cache. but a lower boost clock. It will be interesting to see how well the OS thread manager and application developers handle such an asymmetric configuration.
Other PC-related announcements include a high-powered Ryzen 7045HX laptop processor design for larger laptops, aimed at gamers and creative professionals. This processor uses the desktop part chiplet design to provide up to 16 cores.
There was also a low-key announcement of upcoming AMD Ryzen 7000-series desktop processors. Built on the Zen 4 architecture and featuring a TDP of 65W, this new line of Ryzen 7000 series processors is optimized for efficiency and performance. Some cost-optimized AM5 motherboards are also arriving before spring.
AI in the Data Center
There were three announcements about how AMD is working to advance AI for data center applications: AMD Vitis Medical Imaging Libraries, Alveo V70 AI Accelerator, and High Computing Accelerator. Performance Instinct MI300.
AMD announced its Vitis medical imaging libraries to bring high-end medical imaging products to market faster by reducing development times. These software libraries run on AMD Versal SoC devices with AI engines to deliver high-quality, low-latency imaging for medical applications.
AMD also showcased its XDNA adaptive AI architecture in a discrete PCIe expansion card with the Alveo V70. Based on AMD XDNA with AI Engine architecture, the Alveo V70 extends pervasive AI from the edge to the cloud.
Xilinx FPGAs are currently used in the Perseverance Mars rover, which is why AMD hosted an interview with former NASA astronaut Dr. Cady Coleman. Dr. Coleman was promoting NASA’s program of human space travel to the Moon and possibly Mars with the Artemis program. But the larger message was to promote STEM education and inspire more people, including women, to pursue careers in science.
Dr. Su ended his keynote with a preview of the company’s next GPU monster for high performance computing – the MI300 – which is comprised of 13 chips and uses both 2.5D and 3D packaging techniques. It has a total of 146 billion transistors. The MI300 not only offers GPU cores but also includes three Zen 4 CPU chips in the package. The goal of grouping CPU cores into the GPU cluster is to be able to run tasks closer to the GPU and eliminate transaction latency with the main host CPU. The CPU/GPU cluster will be supported by 128 GB of HBM (High Bandwidth Memory) local memory in the package. This design is similar to Nvidia’s Grace-Hopper HPC processor, which combines Grace’s ARM processors in the same package with Hopper GPUs. The MI300 should be delivered in 2H23.
The many presentations during Dr. Su’s keynote address showed that AMD continues to deliver industry-leading PC and high-performance computing products. Despite the current slowdown in the technology market, AMD continues to invest in new cutting-edge products and is accelerating its AI roadmap.