While the NVIDIAs of the world are trying to build GPUs and unleashing AI supercomputers on the tech-hungry world, AMD seems to be focusing on bringing AI to edge devices, particularly CPUs.
“What I want to highlight is that AMD has a broader strategy for AI than just GPUs. This is what makes us different from NVIDIA,” Gilles Garcia, senior director business lead, data centre communication group at AMD, told AIM at IMC 2023, in New Delhi.
AMD believes that most of the AI workloads can be handled by CPUs alone. “CPUs are best for handling most of the problems with current edge processing such as thermal management, cost effectiveness, and reducing the footprint by working on edge,” said Garcia.
He emphasises that using only CPU as the AI processing compute engine, a lot of workload can be sustained because of the number of cores that AMD offers. This was enabled by AMD’s Siena, launched in 2022. “The industry was able to provide 32 cores in around 200 watts. With Siena, AMD is delivering 64 Zen 4 processor cores in 200 watts,” he added.
“If you want to use GPUs on the edge, where you can be latency challenged, you could be power constrained. So then you probably need to look at alternatives to GPUs, which can be offloading the power, but not on external GPUs as well,” said Garcia. “Depending on the workload, CPUs can handle the AI workload alone. You need accelerators laters, that is where GPUs are used.”
Therefore, AMD is not just focused on a single point strategy, but on all fields of AI, not leaving any stone unturned. In June, Lisa Su had announced the company’s plans to launch Instinct MI300X, an alternative to NVIDIA’s H100, soon. For this, the company is also focusing on developing ROCm even further, before the launch of the hardware.
“We are always monitoring what value we can bring and what value other companies can bring to us,” Garcia said about investing in AI startups. Though AMD hasn’t made any announcement of investing in any startups in India yet, it has been on an acquisition spree across the globe. Garcia highlighted the acquisition of Nod.ai and Mipsology, within the last few months.
Though the plans are not exactly revealed at the moment, Garcia emphasised on the presence of AMD in the country. “AMD has a significant presence in India, with over 10,000 employees, and the company has announced a $400 million investment to accelerate research and development in the country. While the specific areas for investment are yet to be determined, AMD’s commitment to the Indian market is evident.”
Garcia said that AMD is already working on the 5th generation of processors, called Turin, and is expected to come around 2024. “We are keeping our cadence of launching a new series every two years,” said Garcia, mentioning that the company released the 4th generation Genoa processors in November 2022, and thus, Turin is expected to be out by November 2024.
Going Beyond AI
At IMC 2023, Garcia presented the EPYC 8004 series processors and also revealed that AMD is teaming up with VVDN and C-DoT, Indian 4G and 5G equipment makers, for providing telecommunications solutions in the country. These would be enabled by AMD’s acquisition of logic chipmaker Xilinx.
“We are bringing leading edge, power efficient technologies to India to power radios, servers and compute requirements at data centres and the edge, and even in RAN (radio access network), ” said Garcia. AMD has been receiving great response from local 4G and 5G vendors for using the technology.
He further highlighted that Xilinx chips will also help AMD, being fabless, in developing bases for 6G networks in the future.
Evidently, AMD has extended its reach beyond GPUs and AI, now actively engaged in various technology sectors, with a specific focus on edge computing and workload optimisation.