Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), under the direction of its President and CEO Lisa Su, garnered some big headlines in 2018 for both its technology advances as well as its growing stock price. Su gave an opening keynote at CES yesterday, first noting that AMD is marking its 50th anniversary.
Su, who is a dynamic and enthusiastic public speaker, spent the lion’s share of her CES speech talking about gaming. And who can blame her? Videos depicting games like “Assassin’s Creed” and “Fnatic” captivated the audience.
Eventually, she spoke about the (comparatively boring) topic of the company’s Epyc high-performance data center server processor.
“In 2017 we took a big step forward with the introductions of our Epyc server processor,” Su said. “It combines more cores, more memory, and more I/O to offer leadership performance at every price point. There are more than 50 Epyc platforms that are now shipping from the leading server providers.”
Su said AMD is also winning deals with the biggest cloud providers. Microsoft Azure offers its highest performance big data in computing instances on Epyc. And Amazon Web Services (AWS) offers Epyc on its most powerful cloud instances. “If you use AWS, you can save 10 percent or more by simply migrating your instance to Epyc,” Su said. “The process takes about four minutes to do. If you look at the memory bandwidth of Epyc, it’s really the ideal platform for supercomputing.”
Currently, AMD is working on the next generation of its Epyc processor powered by its new Zen2 processor core and built using 7nm manufacturing technology. Codenamed “Rome,” the new Epyc processor is slated for launch in mid-2019.
“We believe it is the best server processor the world has ever seen,” said Su. “We’re seeing incredible performance gains compared to the current generation of Epyc. We use the same socket and the same platform as the current generation, which actually makes upgrading really easy.”
Su also shared some thoughts on the slowing down of Moore’s Law and how it is affecting the semiconductor industry.
She said Moore’s Law has governed the pace of innovation. “Performance doubled every two years, and that was really good,” she said. “But frankly, life got a little more difficult. Over the last 10 years that trend has gotten slower. It places a significant premium on innovation.”
While Moore’s Law slows, the number of connected devices grows. She said there were 15 billion connected devices in 2016, and that’s expected to more than double by 2025, reaching more than 34 billion connected devices. The associated increase in data is projected to grow 10 times.
“You really need high-performance computing so you can visualize, analyze, and make decisions based on all this data,” Su said. “How do we deliver all that computing performance? It’s going to require new approaches and new innovations, and it’s a phenomenal opportunity for all of us.”