Menu
AMD sows the seeds for hybrid CPU/GPU systems before January launch

AMD sows the seeds for hybrid CPU/GPU systems before January launch

AMD's new "Berlin" server APU will bring an innovative technology called HSA, or heterogeneous system architecture, when it launches in early 2014, and the company is already working hard to lay groundwork for its adoption.

The essential idea of HSA is to create a layer of abstraction that treats the CPU and GPU as a single processing entity allowing the GPU's logical muscle to be applied to tasks where it's useful, and eliminating the need for the two processors to write data back and forth to each other. This means that a computer can theoretically operate far more efficiently with HSA than without, getting much more performance out of any given hardware setup.

[MORE SERVERS:Cisco puts its unified computing servers into OpenStack clouds]

AMD says that it's seen excitingly outsized performance gains on some metrics including a face detection algorithm used on digital video that operated at more than twice the speed, using less than half the power, on an HSA-enabled system when compared to identical hardware structured traditionally.

Senior Product Marketing Manager Guy Ludden says that the main focus remains maximizing bang for the buck.

"You're really going for price/performance," he says. "It's not pure computing power with these initial APUs."

The undeniably promising technology has a number of obstacles to surmount before breaking into the mainstream, however, not least of which will be convincing software developers to get on board. While HSA should make development simpler in the long run, it still represents a short-term change.

This is why AMD will be playing up both new and existing efforts to lay the software foundations for HSA at its developer conference this week. Ludden gave several examples of this groundwork that have already been put in place, including projects like APARAPI. That particular project apes the general idea of HSA by converting Java bytecode into OpenCL and running it on a GPU.

APARAPI will be written directly into the OpenJDK by version 8 in 2015, according to Ludden.

"Just think of what that opens it up to," he says. "That's a huge step in the right direction."

Ludden also stressed AMD's commitment to open standards, highlighting the company's central role in the foundation of the HSA Foundation, and talking up its contributions to open-source software.

"Most of what we're working on is actually going to be open-source," he says. "We've always tried to work with the community, and that's why we're doing it with the HSA Foundation."

"Berlin" will blend AMD's new Steamroller CPU cores with existing Sea Islands GPU cores, allowing both to work together under the coordination of the HSA layer. An ARM version, codenamed "Seattle" is scheduled for later this year.

Email Jon Gold at jgold@nww.com and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold.

Read more about data center in Network World's Data Center section.


Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Configuration / maintenanceAMDhardware systemsData CenterserverOpenStack

Featured

Slideshows

Kiwi channel comes together for another round of After Hours

Kiwi channel comes together for another round of After Hours

The channel came together for another round of After Hours, with a bumper crowd of distributors, vendors and partners descending on The Jefferson in Auckland. Photos by Maria Stefina.​

Kiwi channel comes together for another round of After Hours
Consegna comes to town with AWS cloud offerings launch in Auckland

Consegna comes to town with AWS cloud offerings launch in Auckland

Emerging start-up Consegna has officially launched its cloud offerings in the New Zealand market, through a kick-off event held at Seafarers Building in Auckland.​ Founded in June 2016, the Auckland-based business is backed by AWS and supported by a global team of cloud specialists, leveraging global managed services partnerships with Rackspace locally.

Consegna comes to town with AWS cloud offerings launch in Auckland
Veritas honours top performing trans-Tasman partners

Veritas honours top performing trans-Tasman partners

Veritas honoured its top performing partners across the channel in Australia and New Zealand, recognising innovation and excellence on both sides of the Tasman. Revealed under the Vivid lights in Sydney, Intalock claimed the coveted Partner of the Year 2017 (Pacific) award, with Data#3 acknowledged for 12 months of strong growth across the market. Meanwhile, Datacom took home the New Zealand honours, with Global Storage and Insentra winning service provider and consulting awards respectively. Dicker Data was recognised as the standout distributor of the year, while Hitachi Data Systems claimed the alliance partner award. Photos by Bob Seary.

Veritas honours top performing trans-Tasman partners
Show Comments