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AMD Business Blog


High performance business desktop PCs powered by the new AMD Ryzen™ PRO 5000 Series desktop processors


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Manufacturing firms have a diverse set of desktop/PC resource requirements for their staff. Learn about AMD based Azure virtual machines and how they map to various workflows in a manufacturing context.  


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Custom AMD Ryzen™ Microsoft Surface® Edition processors deliver a great balance of portability, speed, and performance.


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In this article, mobile processor marketing manager Donny Woligroski explores how AI can be used to dramatically increase video quality, how machine learning trains AI to do a better job, and how AMD mobile processors are faster than the competition when using Video Enhance AI software from Topaz Labs.   


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With the introduction of this latest generation of EPYC processors there are now 200+ cloud instances based on the AMD EPYC series of processors with more than 100 new server platforms from our OEM partners that will support the new processor. 

Let’s have a look at how he ecosystem around AMD EPYC 7003 Series Processors enable support for your business.


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AMD “Zen3” processors feature a new technology called Predictive Store Forwarding (PSF).  PSF is a hardware-based micro-architectural optimization designed to improve the performance of code execution by predicting dependencies between loads and stores. 

 Security research in recent years has examined the security implications of various CPU micro-architectural optimizations..  In particular, programs that implement ‘sandboxing’ entirely in software may need to be concerned with PSF behavior.

 AMD CPU architects write about PSF in a paper describing how PSF works, potential security concerns, and available mitigations.   The paper is available here.

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Highlighted steps within this support article

  • NVv4
  • Prerequisites changing from NV6 to NVv4
  • Change virtual machine from NV6 size to NVv4
  • NVv4 AMD GPU driver    
    • Install NVv4 driver in Azure Portal virtual machine extensions
    • Install NVv4 driver manually
  • GPO for NVv4

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AMD and Microsoft have collaborated to bring leading innovative technologies to AMD client products, whether it is integration of Pluton processor or enablement of Secured-core PC. Now AMD is extending the relationship to server products where future AMD EPYC™ server processors will be Secured-core Server compatible.


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At a Glance

  • The Situation: Working from home will continue to be a way of life for many after the pandemic.
  • The Challenge: IT must address the complexities of a remote workforce: application performance, data security, and technology management—all while reducing costs.
  • The Solution: Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) keeps telecommuters connected but can be tough to deploy and expensive to maintain. VDI on hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) makes it easier.
  • The Game Changer: AMD EPYC™ processors help you get the full benefits of VDI on HCI. They accelerate virtualized applications, help protect data in use on virtual machines (VMs), and can reduce costs. 

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Business transformation is driving enterprise data centers towards hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) for its simplicity and scalability. Unlike traditional hardware-defined infrastructure (siloed compute, storage, and networking), HCI is a virtualized, software-defined environment (single, streamlined system). Hyperconverged data centers are easier typically to maintain, can expand capacity quickly, and help to reduce operational costs. HCI solutions with better computing power can help you capture the full benefits of hyperconvergence. 


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At AMD, we look forward to celebrating Exascale Day with the rest of the HPC community. For us, it is a reminder of the important work we are doing alongside our partners to change and advance the world of computing, research, and science.


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Confidential Computing is revolutionary security technology for computing. It is a game-changing paradigm shift for computing in the public clouds. Confidential Computing addresses key security concerns many organizations have about migrating their sensitive applications to the cloud and safeguarding their most valuable information while in-use by their applications. The 2nd generation AMD EPYC™ processor helps make this possible by using hardware-based security features to isolate and help protect data-in-use, in real-time, through a breakthrough technology called Secure Encrypted Virtualization(SEV).


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Securing sensitive data is a high priority for individuals and enterprises. In today’s connected world, there are several points of vulnerability, from your smartphone or laptop, to the internet, intranet and data centers.


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AMD continues to grow and help customers move to a more modern, hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) for running their business critical applications, and today we’ve been recognized for that!


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To meet its customers’ computing needs, AMD and AWS have collaborated to create distinct types of cloud instances designed to meet specific application needs: AMD-powered Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) instances are available in four categories: general-purpose (M5a & M5ad), general-purpose burstable (T3a), memory optimized (R5a & R5ad), and now compute-optimized (C5a & C5ad).


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In order to understand Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI), a brief history of the evolution of the legacy data center to the modern-day data center is needed.


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It is exciting to observe the rapid evolution of the cloud high-performance computing market and to think of what it can mean for customer innovation. Just a year ago, Microsoft Azure was the first to run a 10,000 core Simcenter STAR-CCM™+ job in the cloud with AMD EPYC processor-based HB-series VMs. This run proved the viability of large-scale cloud HPC while showcasing impressive performance that rivals on-premises HPC clusters. Azure customers shared resoundingly positive feedback about how this newfound scale helped them to accelerate research and be more productive.


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We talked in a previous AMD blog about enterprise IT teams moving to Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI), as well as the new Dell EMC VxRail systems with AMD EPYCTM processors. The evolution toward HCI allows enterprises to consolidate multiple pieces of function-specific hardware into more manageable clusters. This is accomplished leveraging advancements in software defined networking capabilities and high-performance virtualization technologies in a more general-purpose server.


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New Dell Technologies HCI systems are the latest to tap AMD EPYC™processors to deliver efficient infrastructure and simplified management for the enterprise 

Editor's Note: We invite you to join Greg Gibby, AMD data center expert, on Thursday, July 16, 2020 at 11am CDT as he provides insights on how to deliver the most from your HCI deployment. Please register for the webinar here


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With today’s launch of the Ryzen PRO 4000 series mobile processors, AMD offers a range of business solutions to meet the computing needs for modern businesses. Whether your business is a SMB or a large enterprise, devices are IT managed or BYOD (Bring your own device), AMD’s portfolio of Ryzen processors and Ryzen PRO processors offer businesses the flexibility to choose the right solution based on their performance, manageability and security feature requirements.


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Relational Database Management Systems (RDBMS) have a half century of history. They laid the foundation for modern business computing. Today, many types of data stores and data management systems are deployed. Still, RDBMS remains the core of enterprise applications for transaction processing, business analytics, and decision support systems – all part of the enterprise business.


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I introduced the 2nd Generation of AMD EPYC ™ and its world record capabilities for the data center ecosystem when we launched the 2nd Gen in this blog. Now, continuing the legacy of choice without restriction, the next set of AMD EPYC™ 7002 Series Processors brings the world’s highest per-core performance x86 server CPU*


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With the AMD EPYC™ processor family, our goal is to provide our customers the right performance, in cores and speed, for the workloads they run in their environment. Today, we’re growing the EPYC family and giving our customers more performance choices for their workloads.


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We are excited to be at SC’19 with our friends and family of ecosystem partners. I’d like to share my thoughts on how AMD has unleashed the EPYC revolution for HPC. AMD is all about innovation and our mission is to deliver products that help to solve the world’s toughest challenges – in life sciences, earth science, energy, manufacturing, fundamental research, oil and gas, machine intelligence and many more. We celebrated our 50th anniversary milestone this year with what analysts called the ‘7nm storm’. The 7nm EPYC, Radeon and Ryzen processors bring new possibilities to the new era of computing with ground-breaking performance and outstanding power efficiency driving lower TCO.


Creating an inflection point with trailblazing performance and unprecedented scalability for today’s HPC workloads, AMD EPYC processors mark the next milestone in “exascale computing” characterized by compute power in exaFLOPS, or a quintillion floating-point calculations per second. AMD is uniquely positioned to lead the exascale era with CPU and GPU technologies. We are collaborating with the US Dept of Energy, Cray and Oak Ridge National Laboratory to build the world’s fastest supercomputer named Frontier, expected to hit 1.5 exaflops. This will be five times faster than today’s top supercomputers. Powered by AMD CPUs and GPUs, Frontier will help model the entire lifespan of a nuclear reactor, uncover disease genetics, and build on recent developments in science and technology to further integrate artificial intelligence with data analytics and modeling and simulation.


HPC touches every aspects of lives. HPC in the enterprise segment also is being accelerated as many industries are looking for faster and safer solutions for real world problems, challenging the status quo to find breakthrough innovations in fields such as weather modeling and simulation, materials and manufacturing industries, oil and gas, healthcare and medicine, to name a few. HPC requires high performance CPUs.


HPC is all about high performance CPUs. AMD EPYC offers a range of processor options for HPC. Let me highlight two specific CPUs from our broad portfolio of processors. EPYC 7542, with 32 cores (2.9GHz base, up to 3.4GHz boost, 225W TDP) and 128MB of L3 cache, has been a popular option in the middle of the market, while EPYC 7742, with 64 cores (2.25GHz base, up to 3.4GHz boost, 225W) and 256MB of L3 cache, has been a popular choice at the high end. New addition to our innovative portfolio is the EPYC 7H12 which packs 64 cores (2.6GHz base, up to 3.3GHz boost, 280W TDP) specifically built for extreme performance. Here are some examples of how AMD EPYC steps up the game, yet again. Our ecosystem partners have announced highly optimized server platform for HPC to address the performance and scalability needs of emerging demands.


Faster Weather Forecasting

We are reminded of the importance of weather forecasting every day. AMD EPYC empowers solutions to more efficiently predict weather, including weather-related natural disasters, which helps reduce the enormity of losses caused by these disasters. 

The Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model is a popular application for predicting weather. It is used for both atmospheric research and operational weather forecasting applications. It’s data assimilation system and parallel compute capability allows WRF to server a wide range of meteorological applications.

AMD EPYC demonstrates exceptional performance and scalability running WRF and AMD EPYC 7742 has been a popular choice for it. With 128 cores and 256 threads in dual CPU configurations EPYC 7742 powered servers have demonstrated approximately twice the performance of our previous generation of EPYC processors. Since WRF is open source, there are no software license costs to consider in choosing the number of cores that you run.

WRF Results.JPG

See additional 2nd Gen AMD EPYC performance test reports running WRF use cases here.

Building Faster Physical Models through Computational Fluid Dynamics

Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) is another critical workload for solving today’s engineering challenges. We have tested several CFD codes and demonstrated industry leading performance on AMD EPYC 7002 series of processors. I want to highlight ANSYS CFX, a popular application which has a long history and is best known for its ability to simulate turbomachinery accurately and quickly.  Let us look at a performance of ANSYS CFX running on two mid-range SKUs – Intel Xeon Gold 6248 processor with 20 cores, 2.5GHz base frequency and 27.5MB cache, and, AMD 2nd Gen EPYC 7542 with 32 cores, 2.5GHX base frequency and 128MB of cache. 


On five standard ANSYS CFX benchmark models, the 2nd Gen AMD EPYC 7542 significantly outperforms the Xeon Gold 6248. Efficiently running this many cores per CPU with stellar results allows for much denser solutions.  More density with better performance allows reductions in total systems required resulting in, lower power, and a smaller footprint in the data center. 


Automotive Safety is Top of Mind

Driving a safe car is one of the highest priorities for consumers. Designing a safe car quickly is one of the highest priorities for automotive manufacturers. Designing better and safer products requires the engineers to predict the consequence of any design changes on the real-world performance of their product. 2nd Gen AMD EPYC allows car makers to analyze the safety of their designs faster, leading to safer cars and faster time to market. 

Altair Radioss is a leading structural analysis solver and has established itself as a leader and an industry standard for automotive crash, drop & impact analysis, terminal ballistic, blast and explosion effects and high velocity impacts.

Altair Radioss was used to compare the performance of the highest core-count 2nd Gen EPYC processor (AMD EPYC 7742) vs. the highest core-count industry-standard pin-based (LGA) competitive processor (Intel Xeon Platinum 8280).  We ran 2 standard benchmarks on both systems.  The results are summarized below.


Comparing the top of the product stack of 2nd Gen EPYC processors and Intel Xeon Platinum processors, once again demonstrates the dominant performance of the 2nd Gen EPYC processors.  The 7742 is 38% faster on average than the Intel Platinum 8280 across these two benchmark models.

See how AMD EPYC supports real world simulation for safety from the performance test results on Radioss.

2nd Generation EPYC processors are truly changing the game in HPC, delivering exceptional performance on real-world workloads.  Talk to your AMD sales team, your software partner, or your server partner to find out which AMD EPYC processor best fits your workload’s demands.  Innovation is in our DNA.  We are just getting started on the EPYC journey to revolutionize HPC!


We are grateful to our technology partners who have collaborated with our engineers in creating a wide range of datacenter application use cases:  Altair, Ansys, Atos, Broadcom, Cadence, Cray, Dassault Systems, Dell EMC, Docker, ESI Group, Gigabyte, HPE, LSTC, Mellanox, Mentor Graphics, Microsoft, Micron, Mentor Graphics, Microsoft, Oracle, Red Hat, Samsung, ScaleMP, Siemens PLM, Supermicro, SUSE, Synopsys, WekaIO, Xilinx and others.


Raghu Nambiar is the CVP & CTO of Datacenter Ecosystems & Application Engineering for AMD. His postings are his own opinions and may not represent AMD’s positions, strategies or opinions. Links to third party sites are provided for convenience and unless explicitly stated, AMD is not responsible for the contents of such linked sites and no endorsement is implied. 

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By Pawel Jaruga, 3D Artist, Poland


Creative technology for the ages

Over the course of my decade-long career as a 3D artist and digital sculptor, there has never been greater opportunity for creative freedom as there is today. With access to powerful software and hardware, professionals in creative industries today are able to put all of their efforts into bringing their vision to life – without being held back by technology.

At the start of my career, I found that my creative vision was often limited to creating and delivering what was easy, achievable and realistic. A decade on, and with several investments in technology along the way, my creative process – from modelling and texturing to shading and rendering – has allowed me to create increasingly detailed models faster and more seamlessly.

In the past, when processors (CPU) and graphic cards (GPU) didn’t have the high-performance capabilities they do today, I found that I was constrained by the number of triangles and faces I could achieve and the textures I could create in a character model.

This lack of processing power made things challenging when I was working from home using a single workstation as everything took so long, especially when creating animations. Even the difference in hardware now compared to three years ago has given my workflow a huge boost.

In my everyday workflow, I now use the 3D sculpting software Zbrush and several GPU renderers including AMD Radeon ProRender, while my hardware includes AMD Radeon Pro WX 9100 Graphics (provided to me by AMD) and an 8-Core 4.0 GHz processor with 64GB RAM. With previous hardware a few years ago, I was creating models where 20-50 million triangles models were considered a lot for a freelancer. But today, my workstation can handle upwards of 200 million triangles. So for high poly models going up to 70-120 million of triangles is nothing special anymore.

Meanwhile, for texturing, I use Substance Painter and 3D Coat and my hardware includes at least 8GB of video memory. This is really the minimum you can have for texturing a standard game character with a 4096-texture set, which means a resolution of 4096 x 4096 pixels. This is a huge jump from the start of my career, back when the texture limit was 1024 x 1024 per character.

Technology advancements such as these have not only allowed us creatives to develop more realistic and vivid characters, but have also enabled real-time rendering, which means I can see any changes as I make them, resulting in a much faster workflow. I also have the ability to produce photorealistic images that help create a highly detailed and believable 3D world.

You can also easily light scenes and models with single HDRI images and include photogrammetry scans in your modelling workflow – real world items and human 3-dimensional scans based on photo sets taken around objects, which can also include high resolution textures.

Overall, this helps make the creative process much more fun, as you’re not having to wrestle with your hardware. There really has never been a better time to be a video game designer.

Best ever performance, best ever value

The affordability of software and hardware tools has continued to improve, to support this technology journey toward creative freedom, and 3D artists and developers can now focus on using superior software and their skills to their full potential.

However, how you balance performance and value depends on your needs. My requirements change depending on whether I’m earning money from rendering work, or whether I’m modelling and texturing high-end video game characters where I need to be able to work in real-time with multiple 4K textures sets. Or whether I’m creating simple models for mobile games or lower-end video games, where I don’t need to display as many textures at once. As I need a lot of video memory, it can be difficult to find the right balance, but I will always buy the best GPU I can afford to help boost my workflow.

How a diverse industry creates diverse thinking

3D artists come into the field from diverse backgrounds, both technical and artistic. To be a 3D artist, you need some creative skill, but creativity is something you can nurture throughout your career. As for technical skills, if you don’t already possess these you can learn (although it’s harder if you don’t have a background in computing). Saying that, today’s software tools are far more accessible and user-friendly, helped by powerful hardware that speeds up the workflow and improves performance. For instance, nowadays you don’t have to start modelling with a base mesh, you can create forms and shapes without using any mathematical or technical approach. So effectively whatever jumps out of your head can materialise as a 3D model.

While technical skills and an artistic background will make your first steps in your career as a 3D artist easier, patience is also a key skill, as you’ll need to work for many hours a day to hone your craft. I recently taught two people from scratch, neither of whom had much experience with specialised computer software, and now they are working as successful professional 3D artists. Both have a high level of patience, persistence and a willingness to learn and develop.

Being Polish, it’s also exciting to see the growth of this industry in my home country. We have great 3D artists and developers here, and with today’s modern technology, we are now afforded the same level of creative freedom as those users in western Europe and America, where the biggest productions are made.

Our home-grown game development industry is evolving, with studios including Flying Wild Hog, The Astronauts, 11 Bit Studios, CI Games, Techland, People Can Fly and CD PROJEKT RED – of course, the much-anticipated Cyberpunk 2077 is on the way next year. Not only are these companies attracting employees from around the world but investors too, drawn by the investment opportunities in our local industry.


AR & VR: The next frontier

While powerful hardware is currently used to provide the best possible experience to users via a screen in front of them – through the use of, for example, AMD FreeSync Technology and 8K screens – the next frontier will be immersive experiences, such as VR and AR.

The professional applications of VR and AR is already advancing, with 3D artists using headsets such as Oculus and HTC Vive to sculpt and draw in VR. This will be the next step on our collective technology journey and an extremely exciting one for creatives here in Europe and beyond.

HEADSHOT pj_highres.jpg

About Pawel Jaruga

Pawel "Levus3D" Jaruga is a character artist, digital sculptor and instructor based in Poland. He has over 10 years’ experience in games, commercials and cinematics industry. He’s also the owner of, miniatures and collectibles studio. You can view his work here.

Notable game credits:

  • Witchfire (The Astronauts, TBC)
  • Hard Reset: Redux (Flying Wild Hog, 2016)
  • Shadow Warrior 2 (Flying Wild Hog, 2016)
  • Ryse: Son of Rome - Legendary Edition (Crytek/Microsoft, 2014)
  • Ryse: Son of Rome (Crytek/Microsoft, 2013)
  • Shadow Warrior (Flying Wild Hog, 2013)
  • Hard Reset: Exile (Flying Wild Hog, 2012)
  • Hard Reset (Flying Wild Hog, 2011)
  • Ancient Quest of Saqqarah (Codeminion, 2008)
  • Stoneloops! of Jurassica (Codeminion, 2008)

Specific focus areas:

  • 3D Design, Modelling and Printing
  • Character Design and Modelling
  • Creature Design and Modelling
  • Digital Sculpting
  • Physically Based Rendering
  • Texturing

Software used:

  • AMD ProRender
  • Zbrush
  • 3DCoat
  • 3DS Max
  • Blender
  • Marmoset
  • Marvelous Designer
  • Octane Render
  • Substance Painter

Pawel Jaruga received a Radeon Pro WX9100 graphics card in exchange for his blog contribution. The blog represents Mr. Jaruga’s own thoughts and opinions as of the date published. AMD and/or the third-party blogger have no obligation to update any forward-looking content in the above blog. AMD is not responsible for the content of any third-party and does not necessarily endorse the comments made therein. Links to third party sites are provided for convenience and unless explicitly stated, AMD is not responsible for the contents of such linked sites and no endorsement is implied.

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Today I am excited to let you know that the AMD EPYC Cloud footprint is increasing globally with Tencent Cloud announcing its 2nd Gen AMD EPYC processor-based “Star Lake” Server Platform at the Tencent Global Digital Ecosystem Conference.


Let’s take a closer look at the latest Tencent Cloud announcement and how the 2nd Gen AMD EPYC processor-powered “Star Lake” platform enables Tencent Cloud to achieve their business goals and extend performance & TCO advantages to their customers.


Enhanced efficiency and scalable performance for exponentially growing cloud service

Tencent recently became the first Chinese company with more than 1.1 million servers in their network and is one of the fastest growing cloud computing companies in the global IaaS market. This rapid business growth brings new challenges including efficiency improvement and operational cost reduction for the infrastructure. To address these challenges Tencent Cloud developed a technology system from the infrastructure layer to the application layer to enable the next stage of cloud computing growth.


Server design, energy efficiency, security features, and reliability have a direct impact on the performance and cost efficiency of Cloud Service Provider offerings. The 2nd Gen AMD EPYC processor based “Star Lake” server platform is Tencent’s first self-designed server developed for the Tencent Cloud environment. Tencent employed many advanced capabilities to improve energy efficiency. For example, according to Tencent, the advanced thermosyphon heat dissipation technology used in “Star Lake” improves maximum load energy efficiency by 50%. The “Star Lake” platform is designed to optimize cloud computing, storage and network requirements to effectively meet 98% of Tencent cloud application scenarios.

Tencent Blog Picture.jpg

Liu YuXun, General Manager of Tencent's server supply chain Announcing the AMD EPYC™ Powered Star Lake Server Platform at the Tencent Global Digital Ecosystem Conference, 2019.

Industry's best single core performance and significant single core TCO savings with 2nd Gen AMD EPYC Processor Powered “Star Lake” server

According to test results presented by Tencent Cloud at the Tencent Global Digital Ecosystem Conference, the “Star Lake” Server with Tencent’s SA 2 instance powered by 2nd Gen AMD EPYC processors achieved the industry’s best single core performance and provides a significant TCO advantage. Tencent Cloud’s results in the image above show that the 2nd Gen AMD EPYC processor-based “Star Lake” server platform improves the overall performance of Tencent’s SA 2 cloud service instances by 35%, including 40% improvement in video processing, 35% improvement in graphics transcoding and 150% improvement in page QPS. This enables Tencent Cloud to provide performance enhancements and cost efficiencies to end customers.


You can read more about this at the Tencent Cloud Star Lake Announcement here. It's in Mandarin but can be translated easily!


I greatly appreciate the close collaboration and efforts of the Tencent Cloud and AMD teams to bring these innovations to our customers.

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We at AMD are proud to be at the forefront of innovation through our collaboration with Microsoft Azure to offer our latest innovations to cloud-based enterprises with the general availability of the new Azure D-series and E-series virtual machines powered by AMD EPYC 7452 Processors. AMD and Microsoft Azure will continue our collaboration to provide guidance on optimization & migration to Azure virtual machines powered by AMD EPYC Processors. AMD and Microsoft are also expanding their partnership with Azure Data Explorer, a leading managed data analytics service for near real-time ingestion and ultra-fast queries.

Operational cost efficiency, space optimization, and faster application response times are critical for today’s modern data centers. Architectural innovations in AMD EPYC 7002 Series processors are designed to deliver exceptional performance and scalability to help drive TCO savings for users of a variety of cloud environments including traditional bare metal, software defined, converged and hyper-converged infrastructures in private, public, and hybrid cloud environments.

Let’s take a quick look at how Azure and AMD EPYC continue to give customers leadership performance for cloud workloads.

Enhanced Performance with Azure D-series virtual machines powered by AMD EPYC

Microsoft considers the Azure Da_v4 and Das_v4-Series the fastest Azure VMs in their class, with a balanced core-to-memory ratio, providing enhanced performance for a wide variety of production workloads. Example use cases include most enterprise-grade applications, relational databases, in-memory caching, and analytics. Microsoft Azure D-series virtual machines are powered by AMD EPYC 7452 Processors and provide up to 96 vCPUs, 384GB DDR4 RAM, and 2.4TB of SSD-based temporary storage per virtual machine.

Optimize large in-memory business critical workloads with Microsoft Azure E-Series virtual machines powered by AMD EPYC

Azure Ea_v4 and Eas_v4 VMs offer class-leading performance for memory-intensive applications such as relational databases, caching servers, and in-memory analytics. Powered by AMD EPYC 7452 Processors, the E-Series offer up to 96 vCPUs, up to 672GB DDR4 memory, and 2.4TB SSD-based temporary storage per VM. For database workloads, the Ea-series VMs offers a 22% better performance/dollar than competitive VMs.

Power a lightning fast data exploration engine

AMD and Microsoft are expanding their partnership with Azure Data Explorer, a leading managed data analytics service for near real-time ingestion and ultra-fast queries. Azure Data Explorer is using commercially available Azure compute powered by AMD EPYC to deliver groundbreaking and cost-effective interactive analytics.

Microsoft Ignite offers a great opportunity to explore innovative ways to build solutions, migrate and manage your infrastructure, using the new Azure D-series and E-series virtual machines powered by AMD EPYC processors.

In addition, there are plenty of chances to learning the latest skills from technology leaders and industry users shaping the future of cloud. AMD is hosting a technical breakout session (BRK1114: “Turbocharge your infrastructure with AMD EPYC”) on Thursday, November 7 at 11:30AM-12:15PM in OCCC W208. You can also come by meeting room MR-32, Sponsor Rooms B in the Partner Solution Zone for a deeper dive into our innovative technologies or join us at Booth # 249 to experience solution demos and interact with AMD experts.

You can also read more about the new Azure VMs on the Microsoft blog, here.

I would like to thank the Microsoft and AMD teams who partnered to bring these innovations to our customers.

"Results as of 10-28-2019 using MS SQL Server 2019. Comparison based on internal testing of HammerDB TPCC/OLTP workload. Azure E16asv4 virtual machine generated a result of 600K transactions/minute and costs $0.5301/hour based on three year reserve pricing in US East with RHEL operating system. Pricing found at AWS r5.4xlarge virtual machine generated a result of 545K transactions/minute and costs $0.587/hour based on effective hourly 3-year reserve pricing in US East region with RHEL operating system. Pricing found at ROM-340

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In today’s world, computer security is becoming very important due the exponential increase in malware and ransomware attacks. Various studies have shown that a single malicious attack can cost companies millions of dollars and can require significant recovery time. With the growth of employees working remotely and connected to a network considered less secure than traditional corporate network, employee’s computer systems can be perceived as a weak security link and a risk to overall security of the company. Operating System (OS) and independent hardware vendors (IHV) are investing in security technologies which will make computers more resilient to cyberattacks.

Microsoft recently announced their Secured-core PC initiative which relies on a combined effort from OEM partners, silicon vendors and themselves to provide deeply integrated hardware, firmware and software for enhanced device security. As a leading silicon provider to the PC market, AMD will be a key partner in this effort with upcoming processors that are Secured-core PC compatible.

In a computer system, low level firmware and the boot loader are initially executed to configure the system. Then ownership of the system is handed over to the operating system whose responsibility is to manage the resources and to protect the integrity of the system.

In today’s world, cyberattacks are becoming increasingly sophisticated, with threats targeting low level firmware becoming more prominent. With this changing paradigm in security threats, there is strong need to provide end customers with an integrated hardware and software solution which offer comprehensive security to the system.

This is where the Microsoft Secured-core PC initiative comes into the picture. A Secured-core PC enables you to boot securely, protect your device from firmware vulnerabilities, shield the operating system from attacks and prevent unauthorized access to devices and data with advanced access controls and authentication systems.

AMD plays a vital role in enabling Secure-Core PC as AMD’s hardware security features and associated software helps safeguard low level firmware attacks. Before we explain how AMD is enabling Secured-Core PC in next gen AMD Ryzen™ products, let’s first explain some security features and capabilities of AMD products.

SKINIT: The SKINIT instruction helps create a “root of trust” starting with an initially untrusted operating mode. SKINIT reinitializes the processor to establish a secure execution environment for a software component called the secure loader (SL) and starts execution of the SL in a way to help prevent tampering SKINIT extends the hardware-based root of trust to the secure loader.

Secure Loader (SL): The AMD Secure Loader (SL) is responsible for validating the platform configuration by interrogating the hardware and requesting configuration information from the DRTM Service.

AMD Secure Processor (ASP): AMD Secure Processor is dedicated hardware available in each SOC which helps enable secure boot up from BIOS level into the Trusted Execution Environment (TEE). Trusted applications can leverage industry-standard APIs to take advantage of the TEE’s secure execution environment.

AMD-V with GMET: AMD-V is set of hardware extensions to enable virtualization on AMD platforms. Guest Mode Execute Trap (GMET) is a silicon performance acceleration feature added in next gen Ryzen™ which enables hypervisor to efficiently handle code integrity check and help protect against malware.

Now let’s understand the basic concept of firmware protection in a Secured-core PC. The firmware and bootloader can load freely with the assumption that these are unprotected code and knowing that shortly after launch the system will transition into a trusted state with the hardware forcing low level firmware down a well-known and measured code path. This means that the firmware component is authenticated & measured by the security block on AMD silicon and the measurement is securely stored in TPM for further usage by operating systems including verification and attestation. At any point of time after system has booted into OS, the operating system can request AMD security block to remeasure and compare with old values before executing with further operations. This way the OS can help ensure integrity of the system from boot to run time.

The firmware protection flow described above is handled by AMD Dynamic Root of Trust Measurement (DRTM) Service Block and is made up of SKINIT CPU instruction, ASP and the AMD Secure Loader (SL). This block is responsible for creating and maintain a chain of trust between components by performing the following functions:

  • Measure and authenticate firmware and bootloader
  • To gather the following system configuration for the OS which will in turn validate them against its security requirements and store information for future verification.
    • Physical memory map
    • PCI configuration space location
    • Local APIC configuration
    • I/O APIC configuration
    • IOMMU configuration / TMR Configuration
    • Power management configuration

Whilst the above methods help in safeguarding firmware, there is still an attack surface that needs to be protected, the System Management Mode (SMM). SMM is a special-purpose CPU mode in x86 microcontrollers that handles power management, hardware configuration, thermal monitoring, and anything else the manufacturer deems useful. Whenever one of these system operations is requested, an interrupt (SMI) is invoked at runtime which executes SMM code installed by the BIOS. SMM code executes in the highest privilege level and is invisible to the OS. Due to this, it becomes attractive target for malicious activity and can be potentially used access hypervisor memory and change the hypervisor.

Since the SMI handler is typically provided by a developer different then the operating system and SMM handler code running at a higher privilege has access to OS/Hypervisor Memory & Resources. Exploitable vulnerabilities in SMM code leads to compromise of Windows OS/HV & Virtualization Based Security (VBS). To help isolate SMM, AMD introduces a security module called AMD SMM Supervisor that executes immediately before control is transferred to the SMI handler after an SMI has occurred. AMD SMM Supervisor resides in AMD DRTM service block and the purpose of AMD SMM Supervisor is to:

  • Block SMM from being able to modify Hypervisor or OS memory. An exception is a small coordinate communication buffer between the two.
  • Prevent SMM from introducing new SMM code at run time
  • Block SMM from accessing DMA, I/O, or registers that can compromise the Hypervisor or OS

To summarize, AMD will continue to innovate and push boundaries of security in hardware, whether it is DRTM service block to help protect integrity of the system, the use of Transparent Secure Memory Encryption (TSME) to help protect data or Control-flow Enforcement technology (CET) to help prevent against Return Oriented Programming (ROP) attacks. Microsoft is a key partner for AMD and as part of this relationship there is a joint commitment with the Secured-core PC initiative to improve security within software and hardware to offer a more comprehensive security solution to customers.

Akash Malhotra is Director of Security Product Management at AMD. His postings are his own opinions and may not represent AMD’s positions, strategies or opinions. Links to third party sites are provided for convenience and unless explicitly stated, AMD is not responsible for the contents of such linked sites and no endorsement is implied.

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At AMD, we are excited to celebrate Exascale Day along with Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Cray, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company, as our research and development teams are hard at work to change the world of computing with the groundbreaking Frontier supercomputer.

Frontier is expected to be the most powerful supercomputer of all time when it goes live, with an expected performance upwards of 1.5 exaFLOPS, or 1.5 billion, billion calculations per second. Powered by AMD EPYC™ CPUs, Radeon™ Instinct GPUs, Radeon Open eCosystem (ROCm) and EPYC open source software, Frontier targets more than five times faster performance than the world’s current reigning fastest supercomputer.

We are optimizing AMD Radeon Instinct GPUs and AMD EPYC CPUs in a 4:1 GPU to CPU configuration which will allow us to achieve high throughput of data. AMD’s Infinity Fabric will support high-speed connections between processors and allow Frontier to hit historic, sustained high-performance computation across the system.

As we approach and pass the barrier of exascale computing, the Frontier supercomputer opens up new possibilities for scientific research. Oak Ridge National Labs, Cray and AMD have created the Center for Accelerated Application Readiness (CAAR) program to develop applications designed for problems which only Frontier can help solve:

  •       Princeton University: to simulate future states of the Milky Way galaxy using massive amounts of satellite and telescope data in an astrophysical simulation code called Cholla.
  •       ORNL: to use a codebase known as Combinatorial Metrics (CoMet) to study the genetics of opioid addiction and toxicity, chronic pain, Alzheimer’s, and autism.
  •      Georgia Institute of Technology: to run GPUs for Extreme-Scale Turbulence Simulations (GESTS) to simulate turbulence with nearly 35 trillion grid points in order to better understand fluid turbulence as it relates to pollution, ocean currents and astrophysics.
  •      Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University: to study the Lattice Boltzmann Methods of Porous Media (LBPM) code to understand the volumetric maps of mineral composition in order to train neural networks to predict future geometric configuration of fluids.
  •      ORNL: to run calculations of realistic condensed matters from first principles (FP) calculations, previously inaccessible before Frontier, through the Locally Self-Consistent Multiple Scattering (LSMS)
  •      University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: to use Frontier in conjunction with codebase Nanoscale Molecular Dynamics (NAMD) to understand viruses like Zika and pave the way for new drugs and vaccines to prevent future outbreaks.
  •      Michigan State University: to study complex-time dependent phenomena at the particle level such as nuclear reactions and fission through symmetry-projection techniques on a code called Nuclear Coupled-Cluster Oak Ridge (NuCCOR).
  •      University of Delaware: to develop advanced particle accelerators for radiation therapy of cancer, high energy physics, and photon science using code Particle-in-cell on Graphics Processing Units (PIConGPU).

This list inspires the work we do every day, as it takes the millions of hours of work that has gone into the latest AMD processors and brings it to life in tangible ways that will truly change the future. AMD is proud to be at the forefront of innovation and discovery through our collaboration with Cray and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Working together with these exceptional technology partners and the researchers Frontier aims to empower, we can redefine the future of high-performance data centers and  have a profound effect on advancing science and technology.  


Cautionary Statement

This blog contains forward-looking statements concerning Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD) including, but not limited to, the expectations and benefits of the Frontier supercomputer, which are made pursuant to the Safe Harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements are commonly identified by words such as "would," "may," "expects," "believes," "plans," "intends," "projects" and other terms with similar meaning. Investors are cautioned that the forward-looking statements in this blog are based on current beliefs, assumptions and expectations, speak only as of the date of this blog and involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from current expectations. Such statements are subject to certain known and unknown risks and uncertainties, many of which are difficult to predict and generally beyond AMD's control, that could cause actual results and other future events to differ materially from those expressed in, or implied or projected by, the forward-looking information and statements. Investors are urged to review in detail the risks and uncertainties in AMD's Securities and Exchange Commission filings, including but not limited to AMD's Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended June 29, 2019.

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The AMD Embedded business provides SoCs and discrete GPUs that enable casino gaming companies to create immersive and beautiful graphics for the latest in casino gaming platforms, which are adopting the same high-quality motion graphics and experiences seen in modern consumer gaming devices.

AMD Embedded provides casino and gaming customers a breadth of solutions to drive virtually any gaming system. The AMD Ryzen™ Embedded V1000 SoC brings CPU and GPU technology together in one package, providing the capability to run up to four 4K displays from one system. The AMD Ryzen™ Embedded R1000 SoC is a power efficient option while providing up to 4X better CPU and graphics performance per dollar than the competition.

Bringing New Embedded GPU Options to Customers

Beyond SoCs, AMD also offers embedded GPUs to enable stunning, immersive visual experiences while supporting efficient thermal design power (TDP) profiles. AMD delivers three discrete GPU classes to customers with the AMD Embedded Radeon™ ultra-high-performance embedded GPUs, the AMD Embedded Radeon™ high-performance embedded GPUs and the AMD Embedded Radeon™ power-efficient embedded GPUs. These three classes enable a wide range of performance and power consumption, but most importantly offer features that the embedded industry demands including planned longevity, enhanced support and support for embedded operating systems.  

Continuing to provide our customers with more choice, high performance and better power efficiency, we are launching two new versions of the AMD Embedded Radeon GPUs, the E9560 and the E9390. These two new cards are in the PCIe® form factor, use 8GB of GDDR5 memory and support 4K high-speed video, 3D visualizations and other compute-intensive graphics applications seen in the casino and arcade gaming.

For customers that need the superior performance with an Embedded GPU, the E9560 delivers up to 11%[ii] more performance compared to the existing E9550. It does this with 36 compute units, a TDP of 130W or less and up to 5.7 theoretical TFLOPS of performance.

For the customer that is looking for better power efficiency, the E9390 has a TDP of 75W or less with 28 compute units and provides up to 3.9 theoretical TFLOPS of performance.

Beyond more choice, we’ve heard from our customers about an area of concern when it comes to graphics processors. The memory used by graphics cards, GDDR5, is being phased out across the industry for an updated standard, GDDR6. To help our customers manage this transition, the E9560 and E9390, as well as our existing ‘Polaris’ architecture E-Series GPUs will have planned availability until 2022.

New Platforms Based on AMD Embedded Processors

Our ability to provide customers with high-performance CPUs and GPUs that can power the video and graphics demanded by modern gaming is evident in the companies bringing new systems to the market:

  • Casino Technology, a casino gaming company based in Europe, just announced its support for the AMD Ryzen Embedded V1000 SoC, bringing discrete-GPU caliber graphics and multimedia processing to their slot machine customers.
  • Quixant announced a new generation of gaming controllers, the QXi-7000 LITE, are using the AMD Ryzen Embedded R1000 SoC, enabling game design to be pushed to the limit.

Come by the AMD booth #3814 at the G2E Casino Gaming convention and you can see how AMD embedded solutions provide the eye-catching graphics and enable the rewarding experiences of next-gen gaming, from touch screens to 3D graphics and more. As well, the booth will have numerous solutions and systems from other casino and gaming companies using AMD embedded products including Advantech, Axiomtech, iBase Gaming, IGT, Scientific Games, Sapphire and TUL


Stephen Turnbull is the director of product management and business development, Embedded Solutions, AMD. His postings are his own opinions and may not represent AMD’s positions, strategies or opinions. Links to third party sites are provided for convenience and unless explicitly stated, AMD is not responsible for the contents of such linked sites and no endorsement is implied.  GD-5

Testing done at AMD Embedded Software Engineering Lab on 3/13/2019.  The AMD R1505G Embedded scored 360 running CineBench R15 Multi-core and 1,988 running 3DMark11 benchmarks. The Intel Core i3-7100U (Kaby Lake) scored 254 running CineBench R15 Multi-core and 1,444 when running 3DMark11 benchmark which measures Graphics performance.  Recommended Customer price for Intel Core i3-7100U is $261 as of 4/1/2019 (check DBB price for R1505G is $80. System Configurations: AMD Embedded R1505G used an AMD R1505G Platform, with a 2x8GB DDR4-2400 RAM, 250GB SSD Drive (non-rotating), TDP 15W, STAPM Enabled and ECC Disabled, Graphics Driver 18.50_190207a-339028E-AES, BIOS RBB1190B, Microsoft Windows 10 Pro. The Intel Core i3-7100u used an HP 15inch Notebook with i3-7100u with Intel® HD Graphics 620, 1x8GB DDR4-2133 RAM, 1 TB 5400 rpm SATA, Microsoft Windows 10 Pro, Graphics Driver, BIOS F.07.  EMB-159

[ii] Testing conducted by AMD Performance Labs as of 10/09/2019 on the AMD Radeon™ Embedded E9550 PCIe module and AMD Radeon™ Embedded E9560 PCIe module on an AMD Dibbler Embedded reference platform using 3DMark® 11. Results may vary. EMB-163

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