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AMD Releases First CDNA Accelerator

December 8, 2020

Author: Aakash Jani

The Instinct MI100 is the first chip to implement the AMD CDNA architecture for high-performance-computing (HPC) systems. It doubles the number of compute units relative to the older MI50 while quadrupling FP16 throughput per compute unit. The new GPU, based on the Arcturus chip design, achieves this impressive leap by integrating a matrix-multiplication unit in every core. It also doubles the L2 cache size while maintaining the same power envelope as its predecessor.

Many supercomputers employ Nvidia’s A100 or V100 to accelerate HPC. AMD plans to loosen that company’s market vise by delivering 23.1Tflop/s of FP32 throughput and 11.5Tflop/s of FP64 throughput at a lower TDP. It has already won a deal to supply Zen 4 CPUs and Instinct accelerators for the El Capitan supercomputer. Once completed, the $600 million El Capitan will perform two quintillion operations per second, making it the world’s fastest supercomputer.

To aid AMD’s move toward AI training and inference, the MI100 supports Bfloat16 and INT4 operations. But the Austin chipmaker further revealed its AI aspirations by unveiling its ROCm 4.0 machine-learning and HPC software. This open-source package extends the company’s AI-framework capability and ports common math libraries to the MI100.

MI100 PCIe cards are in production now, selling for $6,400 apiece. The silicon is manufactured in a 7nm TSMC process, employing the foundry’s chip-on-wafer-on-substrate (CoWoS) technology to add four High Bandwidth Memory (HBM2) stacks. It features 27 billion transistors on a huge 604mm2 die with a 300W thermal envelope (TDP).

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