AMD has a new GPU for the data center. Specifically, the AMD Instinct MI210 is out and is a new PCIe accelerator. AMD previously had its OAM accelerators, the Instinct MI250X and MI250, so this is another GPU filling in the line for data center compute.
AMD Instinct MI210 PCIe Accelerator Launched
Discussing the line quickly, the AMD Instinct MI250X and MI250 are higher-end cards that use the OAM form factor. Using OAM GPUs can handle higher power and thermal levels to increase performance. Still, PCIe cards are very flexible and often run at lower clock speeds thereby helping efficiency. That is where the Instinct MI210 fits in as a lower power part that can fit into more servers.
AMD is focused on things like the FP64 compute since it is focused more on HPC with its GPUs while NVIDIA is riding the wave of AI. AMD is comparing the MI210 to the NVIDIA A100 in this release, and the timing is important. NVIDIA GTC 2022’s keynote is about to start, and we will cover that on STH, but AMD likely knows it is best to compare the card to its 202 NVIDIA competition. The GPU cycles are slightly offset, so the NVIDIA A100 was a 2020 part, the AMD CDNA 2 cards like the MI210 are from a late 2021 era architecture, and at some point in the future, we expect NVIDIA will have a new generation as well for 2022 given its previous release cadence.
AMD has four HBM2e packages alongside a single CDNA 2 compute die. On the MI250X this is doubled but the OAM form factor allows for the power and cooling. We also get 64GB of HBM2e. On the top of the card we get Infinity Fabric bridges.
Here are the MI210 performance specs. The PCIe Gen4 card is a 300W card which is on the upper end of what we see right now for PCIe GPUs, but that will change very soon. It is also roughly half of what we see from optimized form factor GPUs like OAM and SXM.
Here is AMD’s performance chart for the new cards:
AMD also has a number of partner systems that are compatible with the MI210 but also looking at the full scale from these PCIe accelerators to larger models.
At STH we did a ton of GPU system reviews in 2021 and we saw many of those models support the MI210. One example is the ASUS ESC8000A-E11 8x GPU AMD EPYC server we reviewed. In this system, one can get two AMD EPYC 7003 series CPUs (and likely the Milan-X parts with a BIOS update) along with up to eight MI210 GPUs.
If you want to see a GPU server that will use the MI210, that would be a good place to start.
The timing of this one is fun. We just had the Milan-X launch yesterday. NVIDIA GTC 2022 is going to be a huge day today, so stay tuned for that. Still, AMD is managing to get the MI210 out just before NVIDIA’s big data center day so we cannot discuss any of the announcements at GTC.