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AMD Takes Aim At Intel In The Data Centre With Naples Chipset

As News Editor of Silicon UK, Roland keeps a keen eye on the daily tech news coverage for the site, while also focusing on stories around cyber security, public sector IT, innovation, AI, and gadgets.

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The server chips offer a rack load of memory and PCIe lane support

AMD is gearing up to take its Zen architecture into the data centre world with new central processing units (CPUs) dubbed ‘Naples’ debuted by the chip maker.

The company will make a play for the server market which has mostly been dominated by processors from Intel.

“Today marks the first major milestone in AMD re-asserting its position as an innovator in the datacenter and returning choice to customers in high-performance server CPUs,” said Forrest Norrod, senior vice president and general manager at AMD’s Enterprise, Embedded and Semi-Custom business unit.  

“’Naples’ represents a completely new approach to supporting the massive processing requirements of the modern data centre. This groundbreaking system-on-chip delivers the unique high-performance features required to address highly virtualised environments, massive data sets and new, emerging workloads.”

AMD Naples

SamsungTo backup Norrod’s hyperbole, Naples’s system-on-a-chip configurations come sporting 32 cores with support for two high-performance threads per core.

Memory comes in DDR4 form with eight channels; AMD cites an example that in a two socket server interconnected using AMD’s Infinity Fabric, support for up to 32 DIMMS of 16GB DDR4 on 16 memory channels gives a total memory capacity of 4TB.

High-speed I/O support across 128 lanes of PCIe 3.0 offers connections for up to 24 SSDs, in a two socket configuration, using the non-volatile memory express interface or other devices reliant on the speedy PCIe connection.  

Such a setup paves the way for running AMD’s Radeon Instinct graphics cards, four of which could be used with a dual socket Naples server, that enable the training of machine and deep learning systems through the use of the graphics card’s parallel processing capabilities.

In a tech demonstration, AMD pitted its Naples chipset against a Intel’s Broadwell-E chipset with an equal number of cores up and running. The Naples system demonstrated superior performance against the Intel chipset.

Without any direct independent testing, it is difficult to ascertain just how well Naples performs when it comes to handling data centre workloads. But early indications suggest AMD is in with a fighting chance at gaining back its presence in the x86 based CPU data centre world.

However, Intel is set to debut new Xeon processors this year that could see it respond in force to AMD’s Naples chipset.

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