This problem will inevitably show up on the server side. High-end desktop products from both Intel and AMD almost demand liquid cooling; air cooling is simply not viable anymore. And that’s on desktop processors, which have six, eight, or maybe 12 cores. AMD is making server processors with 192 cores. That means a whole lot more transistors packed into a small space that need to be cooled.
Instinct MI300 now shipping
AMD’s answer to Nvidia’s data center GPUs is the Instinct line of repurposed GPUs for high-performance computing and artificial intelligence. The world’s fastest supercomputer, Frontier, is powered by AMD Epyc CPUs and Instinct MI250 GPU cards, and it runs at faster than one Exaflops of performance.
Now AMD informs us that the successor to the MI250, the MI300A, has begun shipping to the help build the Department of Energy’s El Capitan Exascale Supercomputer, located at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Northern California. The announcement was made by CEO Lisa Su on a recent call with Wall Street analysts to discuss AMD’s quarterly earnings. This supercomputer is expected to hit 2 exaflops when completed next year.
The MI300 was announced in January at CES, of all places. There are two products in the family, the MI300A and MI300X. The MI300A is a combination CPU+GPU, much like Nvidia’s Grace Hopper superchip. All told, it consists of nine 5nm chiplets that’s are stacked on top of four 6nm chiplets for I/O with a total of 146 billion transistors, making it one of the biggest chips ever made.
The MI300X is a strictly GPU product and is meant for cloud acceleration, similar to Nvidia’s Hopper H100 GPU accelerator. The MI300X has a power draw of 750W and includes eight GPU chiplets, 192GB of HBM3 memory, and 5.2TB/s of memory bandwidth.
Su said AMD expects its data center GPU revenue to be $400 million in the fourth quarter of 2023, with that number hitting over $2 billion in 2024. Contrast that with Nvidia, which did $10 billion in the last quarter in data center sales, and it’s pretty obvious that this is a one horse race. For now, AMD still has bragging rights. It has the fastest supercomputer in the world, and it will likely have the fastest when El Capitan goes live, too.