AMD has jumped on AI bandwagon with new GPUs

AMD has unveiled a trio of new GPUs aimed at the machine learning and AI arena to rival Nvidia’s Tesla range, backed up with a suite of open source software offerings for an all-round solution.

The Radeon Instinct range are high-performance GPU solutions for machine intelligence – deep learning and training – with three models to address different levels of performance.

The base card is the Radeon Instinct MI6 which uses AMD’s Polaris graphics and is passively cooled, offering 5.7 Tflops of peak FP16 performance alongside 16GB of video memory (drawing 150W of power).

Moving on up the scale, we have the Instinct MI8 which is driven by a Fiji Nano GPU (older tech) and boasts 8.19 Tflops in terms of performance, with 4GB of HBM video RAM on board (drawing 175W).

And finally, the Radeon Instinct MI25 uses AMD’s next-gen Vega technology and is billed as a ‘passively cooled training accelerator’, although the company didn’t spill any early spec details on this board save for the fact that it will utilise 300W of power.

Killer Instinct

As mentioned, along with the Instinct hardware, AMD also has offerings on the software front, and it revealed MIOpen, a new open source library for GPU accelerators intended to help implement high-performance machine intelligence solutions.

That comes alongside AMD’s ROCm software which is optimised for the acceleration of deep learning frameworks (such as Caffe, Torch 7, and Tensorflow), to take the nitty-gritty of performance tuning off the hands of programmers, enabling them to focus on actually training the neural network.

AMD President and CEO, Dr Lisa Su, enthused: “Radeon Instinct is set to dramatically advance the pace of machine intelligence through an approach built on high-performance GPU accelerators, and free, open-source software in MIOpen and ROCm.

“With the combination of our high-performance compute and graphics capabilities and the strength of our multi-generational roadmap, we are the only company with the GPU and x86 silicon expertise to address the broad needs of the data centre and help advance the proliferation of machine intelligence.”

Radeon Instinct GPUs will ship at some stage in the first half of 2017, with the free MIOpen software expected to be available in the first quarter of next year.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).