Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Saturday, December 3, 2022

AMD Lines Up New China Datacenter Partners 

(Virgiliu Obada/Shutterstock)

As the server market stalls, processor makers continue to search for greener pastures. Among the most promising is the booming Chinese datacenter market, where processor maker Advanced Micro Devices announced expanded partnerships this week with a trio of hyperscale providers along with Lenovo, which has vowed to cultivate the Asian server market since acquiring IBM's server business in 2014.

AMD (NASDAQ: AMD) announced deployments of its EPYC server processor during an event in Beijing, including new customer The Chinese e-commerce giant along with Internet search giant Baidu (NASDAQ: BIDU) said they would deploy the AMD server processor during the second half of this year while media and web services provider Tencent (HKG: 0700) rolls out the AMD platforms in its datacenters by year's end.

Meanwhile, AMD said partner Lenovo (HKG: 0992) would introduce EPYC-based ThinkSystem servers early next year.

Lenovo and other AMD server partners that include Chinese HPC vendor Sugon also cited the new processor's balance of high-speed I/O (the AMD processor includes 128 lanes of PCI Express 3), memory bandwidth and cores. New customer (NASDAQ: JD) said it would deploy a 32-core version of the EPYC in its datacenters with eight memory channels as it collaborates with the chipmaker on cloud, big data and artificial intelligence deployments.

Lenovo said it expects to deploy single- and dual-socket servers based on the AMD processor as part of its expansion throughout Asia.

Tencent Cloud will roll out AMD-based cloud servers with up to 64 process cores by the end of the year as it expands its cloud services.

The EPYC processor scales from eight to 32 "Zen" processor cores with each core supporting two high-end threads. Each processor comes with eight channels of memory. The two-socket version of the server processor can support up to 32 DDR4 modules on 16 memory channels, which works out to about 4 Tb of total memory capacity.

AMD along with server makers such as Lenovo are targeting the booming Chinese IT market as the server sales plateau elsewhere. The partners also stressed they are targeting emerging enterprise workloads such as e-commerce and big data. In so doing, the chip maker is gaining a foothold in "one of the fastest growing technology markets in the world," noted Forrest Norrod, AMD's general manager for enterprise, embedded and semicustom products.

AMD's server processor design is built around its high-end x86 core "with server features" dubbed "Zen." The new processor microarchitecture includes high-bandwidth and low-latency features that target emerging "mega" datacenters. AMD claimed at a recent chip industry conference that Zen delivers a 52 percent performance increase as measured in instructions per cycle compared to earlier AMD processors.

The new 14-nanometer core is based on an emerging chip processing technology called FinFET. According to reports, a 7-nanometer version of Zen is expected by 2020.

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).

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