AMD has unveiled its new FirePro S-Series video cards, which it notes are a "world first" in terms of graphics technology, being virtualised GPUs boasting multi-user GPU (MxGPU) tech.
In other words, stick these cards in a server and they can provide virtual GPUs for remote PCs which are relatively underpowered lacking discrete graphics cards or the grunt to tackle heavy duty graphics tasks like, for example, CAD or video editing.
The new cards AMD has unleashed are the FirePro S7150 and FirePro S7150 x2. A single S7150 has 8GB of GDDR5 video memory on board and can support up to 16 simultaneous users, with the x2 version doubling up the memory to 16GB as the name would suggest, being able to support up to 32 users.
AMD boasts that its MxGPU technology provides consistent performance, and offers a secure environment in terms of the application data being passed through the card – one virtual machine can't access another VM's data thanks to hardware-enforced memory isolation logic.
The company also notes that all graphics functionality is accessible to remote users, with full virtualisation support for not just DirectX and OpenGL, but also the likes of OpenCL.
Head in the cloud
As well as providing graphics power to remote workstations, these cards could find many other uses, such as the delivery of cloud gaming to those with rigs that wouldn't otherwise have the power to play modern games.
Jon Peddie, president, Jon Peddie Research, commented: "AMD multi-user graphics promises to change how and when companies utilise workstations by providing workers with on-demand powerhouse graphics when needed, while helping significantly reduce the total cost of ownership typically associated with large installations of workstations.
"The move to virtualisation of high-performance graphics capabilities typically associated with standalone workstations only makes sense, and will likely gain significant traction in the coming years."
So when are these cards coming out? Both these GPUs should be available in the first half of this year.
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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).