AMD releases FirePro S9050, S9150 server GPUs to rumble with Nvidia Tesla

Summary:The new cards take aim at the high-performance supercomputing market with up to 16GB GDDR5 memory and 2,816 stream processors.

AMD-FirePro-S9150-gpu-graphics-card-board

AMD appears to be making good on its goals of greater product diversification , with the company preparing to enter the SSD market and now dropping two new graphics cards that will provide major competition in the supercomputing space.

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Microservers: A Data Center Revolution?

The rise of cloud computing has put new and different demands on data center capacity. Powered by smaller chips like the ones in mobile devices, microservers have emerged to help meet the needs of 'scaling out' and to produce servers that are lower cost and lower power.

Dubbed the FirePro S9050 and S9150, the server GPU will compute floating-point to floating-point with Nvidia's Tesla board, which has seen success recently for the AMD rival. While the Tesla K40, Nvidia's current top single-GPU-server performer, offers 12GB of GDDR5 RAM and 288GB/sec memory bandwidth, the S9150 includes 16GB of GDDR5 memory and 320GB/sec memory bandwidth. That helps AMD's new board outpace the K40 in both single precision floating-point performance (5.07 TFLOPS versus 4.29 TFLOPS) and double precision floating-point performance (2.53 TFLOPS versus 1.43 TFLOPS). The S9050 is no slouch, either, coming with 12GB of GDDR5 RAM and 264 GB/s memory bandwidth to provide 3.23 Tflops of single precision floating-point performance and 806 GFLOPS double precision floating-point performance, which is more in line with the Tesla K20.

AMD is touting the fact that the S9150 can deliver that performance while requiring the same maximum power (235 watts) that the K40 needs. The less-powerful S9050 sips a little less juice, with a maximum power requirement of 225 watts. Both cards' computing cores are based on the company's Graphics Core Next architecture, which is found in consumer GPUs like the Radeon R9 295X2 and workstation boards like the  FirePro W9100 . For the high-performance computations clients will require, they support OpenMP 4.0 and the forthcoming OpenCL 2.0 framework, and as Nvidia has its CUDA parallel programming platform , AMD has Stream technology to optimize the FirePro's workflow.

A number of partners have been lined up to provide servers equipped with the new FirePro GPUs, including Asus, Gigabyte, and Supermicro. They will be competing with Nvidia-based supercomputers, such as the forthcoming systems that make use of ARM processors along with Tesla cards. No pricing has been announced for the S9050 or S9150, but they are expected in the third quarter of this year.

Topics: Hardware, Processors, Servers

About

Sean Portnoy started his tech writing career at ZDNet nearly a decade ago. He then spent several years as an editor at Computer Shopper magazine, most recently serving as online executive editor. He received a B.A. from Brown University and an M.A. from the University of Southern California.

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