AMD's Radeon Sky hardware is designed to offer cloud gaming providers high-performance specialised rendering hardware, but can it compete with Nvidia's GeForce GRID?
AMD has confirmed its plans to compete with Nvidia in the burgeoning cloud gaming rendering-as-a-service market, launching a new family of server-centric graphics processors called the Radeon Sky Series.
Unlike the desktop boards, AMD's Radeon Sky Series is designed to be fitted into high-performance servers in a datacentre, where they can provide the computational grunt needed to render modern games for remote clients - providing the backbone required for a cloud gaming operation. If that sounds familiar, it should: Nvidia announced GeForce GRID at the GPU Technology Conference in May last year
, partnering with Gaikai to build a platform that uses specialised GeForce graphics processors to power cloud gaming servers. Where previous cloud gaming systems needed a dedicated GPU per user, Nvidia's GeForce GRID allowed up to eight players per Kepler-based board.
Nearly a year later, AMD's answer is somewhat similar: the top-end Radeon Sky 900 packs 3,584 stream processors in two high-performance Tahiti GPUs linked to 6GB total GDDR5 memory, while the lower-performance AMD Radeon Sky 700 drops the GPU count to one with 1,792 stream processors but retains 6GB of GDDR5, albeit with just 264GB/s memory bandwidth to the top-end model's 480GB/s. AT the entry level, meanwhile, is the Radeon Sky 500, which includes 1,280 stream processors on a Pitcairn GPU, 4GB of GDDR5 and 154GB/s memory bandwidth.
'Real-time gaming through the cloud represents a significant opportunity and AMD is poised to lead in this vertical thanks to our extensive graphics hardware and software capabilities,
' claimed David Cummings, senior director of AMD Professional Graphics, at the cards' unveiling. 'AMD is working closely with CiiNow, G-Cluster, Otoy and Ubitus to deliver exceptional AMD Radeon gaming experiences to the cloud.
That AMD is looking to cloud gaming as a potential growth area should surprise nobody: the company invested in CiiNow back in September
, while the company's 2009 Consumer Electronics Show keynote saw Dirk Meyer unveil the Fusion Render Cloud supercomputer
With Nvidia enjoying a year-long head-start and a partnership with Gaikai, one of the biggest cloud gaming companies not to be called OnLive, it remains to be seen if AMD's launch comes as too little too late to help the company gain ground in the datacentre.