The big picture: Chip maker AMD is on the rise, especially when it comes to consumer-oriented products. Not only are the Ryzen 5000 processors the fastest CPUs you can buy for consumer PCs, but the Radeon RX 6000 GPUs also offer the market leader Nvidia a chance on the performance side. Oh yeah, and let's not forget that AMD also supports two of the most sought-after tech devices currently available (or rather, still “not available” to many who might want to buy them): the Sony PlayStation 5 and the Microsoft Xbox Series X. Unknown to many, however, AMD has also expanded its business-oriented offerings.
Seldom has this been more evident than with the successive launches of the latest 3rd generation Epyc server CPUs and the Ryzen Pro 5000 series of mobile processors for corporate notebooks.
Both the Epyc 7003 chip family (codenamed “Milan”) and the Ryzen Pro 5000 mobile processors (like consumer versions codenamed “Cezanne”) are based on the company's Zen 3 core architecture – a 7 nm design that Continuing the company's impressive performance path The company started with the original Zen cores introduced in 2017.
While each of the new chips is optimized for their very different needs and applications, they share a number of improvements that are at the heart of Zen 3 cores, including larger, more uniform caches for faster processing of larger amounts of data – as many AI-focused ones Require workloads on servers and PCs.
Cezanne Detailed Die Shot
With Zen 3, all eight available CPUs in each core complex can access the full amount of L2 cache (32 MB for Epyc and 16 MB for Ryzen Pro, both of which are twice the size of their predecessors). This is a significant improvement over Zen 2 designs that had clusters of four cores that could each access 16MB and 8MB, respectively. This new architecture facilitates multithreaded applications that can use all cores at the same time to fully utilize the cache, resulting in vastly improved performance for these types of programs. Again, this is very useful on both servers and notebooks, but for completely different types of applications.
In addition to performance improvements – including a 19% improvement in the critical Instructions Per Clock (IPC) metric for the Zen 3 cores in both chips – AMD added several hardware-based security improvements that are becoming increasingly important for businesses of all sizes. For example, both the Epyc 7003 and Ryzen 5000 Pro offer Shadow Stack to fend off hardware-related malware attacks like Specter, Meltdown, and other location-focused threats.
AMD Epyc 7003 series processor
For the Epyc 7003, the company also added a number of security features it calls Infinity Guard, including support for securing virtual machines and hypervisors through Secure Encrypted Virtualization Encrypted State (SEV-ES) and Secure Nested Paging (SEV-SNP) include. These features are a big reason why Microsoft has announced that it will now offer confidential, computer-facing VMs in Azure that take advantage of these third-generation Epyc parts.
On the notebook side, the Ryzen Pro 5000 series CPUs offer support for Microsoft's Secured Core PC initiatives as well as FIPS 140-3 encryption certification. Together, these new security features represent part of what the company describes as a layered security model.
For the enterprise data center and the cloud computing world, the Epyc 7003 series builds on the impressive performance and TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) indicators that AMD set with its second generation Epyc line in 2019. CPUs offer significant performance leadership in critical workloads for cloud computing, corporate data centers, and high performance computing (HPC).
In fact, the company even cited comparative benchmarks that show how a single-socket Epyc 7003-based server can outperform many dual-socket Intel Xeon solutions with correspondingly lower power consumption (and a significantly lower purchase price) for certain workloads. In another example, AMD cited the ability to run more than twice the number of active virtual desktop sessions on an Epyc 7763-based server compared to a comparatively configured offering with an Intel Xeon 6258R CPU.
AMD also announced an impressive range of new partnerships, including new 3rd generation Epyc-based cloud computing instances from Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, IBM Cloud, Oracle Cloud, Tencent Cloud and Alibaba Cloud, as well as new servers from Dell and HPE, Cisco, Lenovo, SuperMicro and many more.
For Ryzen Pro 5000, AMD had well-known starting partners, including various notebook designs from HP, Lenovo and others. The company also noted the rapid increase in both market share and design gains (albeit due to a small base in commercial notebooks). As with the Epyc line of products, AMD claims the Ryzen Pro 5000 line of products will have significant performance gains over the latest Intel business notebook offerings, especially for content creation applications and workloads such as video encoding and working with the Creative Cloud Tool suite from Adobe. The company was also quick to point out significant battery life improvements over previous generation Ryzen mobile designs, as it did with the consumer-centric Ryzen 5000 series that debuted at CES this January.
However, unlike these CPUs, the Ryzen Pro line also focuses heavily on manageability functions for IT departments, as well as image stability to ensure that businesses have a stable, consistent software image and set of systems on systems that meet their needs Drivers receive validation tests.
Overall, the two days of business-centric CPU debuts provided a good opportunity to shine a light on increasingly important, if lesser-known, parts of the AMD business. Despite its strength in the consumer market, the company still has a long way to go in attracting buyers of all kinds of business computers. However, as these new Zen 3-based Ryzen and Epyc offerings point out, the benefits of strong competition have never been more apparent.
Bob O’Donnell is the founder and chief analyst of TECHnalysis Research, LLC, a technology consulting firm that provides strategic advisory and market research services to the technology and professional finance communities. You can follow him on Twitter @bobodtech.