AMD announces Multiuser GPU family

September 1, 2015 | 11:50

Tags: #directx-12 #gpu #grid #opencl #opengl #virtualisation

Companies: #amd #nvidia

AMD has fired its first virtualisation salvo towards rival Nvidia's Grid platform, announcing a new graphics card family capable of supporting up to 15 simultaneous users per GPU.

Virtualisation technology - the art of splitting one physical server into multiple virtual servers as a means of reducing overheads - has long been of interest to enterprise users, but has typically been slow to hit the desktop. While multi-user thin client environments have traditionally proven popular, their inability to handle graphically-intensive applications means they've been largely left behind in the modern corporate environment. At least, until Nvidia launched its Grid servers, offering graphics hardware suitable for virtualisation use - allowing client systems to ditch the expensive and noisy graphics cards they perhaps only occasionally use.

AMD has now responded to the reported success of Nvidia Grid with an upcoming launch of its own: the AMD Multiuser GPU family. As the name suggests, these are graphics processors designed for server use supporting more than one simultaneous user. According to AMD's announcement, each GPU can comfortably support 15 simultaneous users.

'The [new] AMD graphics cards are uniquely equipped with AMD Multiuser GPU technology embedded into the GPU delivering consistent and predictable performance,' crowed Sean Burke, AMD corporate vice president and general manager of the comany's professional graphics division. When these AMD GPUs are appropriately configured to the needs of an organisation, end users get the same access to the GPU no matter their workload. Each user is provided with the virtualised performance to design, create and execute their workflows without any one user tying up the entire GPU.'

The company is positioning the new GPUs to corporate users looking to reduce their spend on CAD/CAE and media workstations, but is quick to point out that they're good for general-purpose desktop virtualisation too. The GPUs offer each user drivers tapping in to the chip's OpenGL, OpenCL and DirectX 12 acceleration, while each user is give sole ownership of a share of local memory to boost security. The GPUs are said to support VMware's vSphere and ESXi hypervisor environments from version 5.5 upwards.

No pricing or availability details for the new GPUs have yet been released.
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