AMD Instinct MI210 Accelerator Announced: Half of MI250 in PCIe card form factor

AMD Instinct MI210 Accelerator Announced: Half of MI250 in PCIe card form factor

AMD continues to actively explore the gas pedal and AI processor market. Following the heavy-duty Instinct MI250 and MI250X announced last fall, the «reds» have introduced a new & ; the Instinct MI210 gas pedal. This is a less powerful, single-chip version of the gas pedal with CDNA 2 architecture, complementing the MI200 family and having a more universal PCIe card form factor.

While the Instinct MI250/250X only exists as an OAM module, the new Instinct MI210 looks like a regular expansion card with a PCI Express 4.0 connector. This is not surprising, as the MI250 is physically impossible to fit within the thermal and power limits provided by such a form factor, as the two Aldebaran chips require 560 watts versus the usual 300 watts for PCIe boards. The MI210 uses both a PCIe slot and an 8-pin EPS12V connector for power.

Since there is only one onboard gas pedal, it is twice as low as the MI250/250X in all respects, but still offers very good performance in all forms of computing. It's worth noting that the MI210's functionality has not decreased. For example, it still supports Infinity Fabric 3.0 & ; the connectors are located at the top of the card, and it supports clustering of two or four gas pedals.

The MI210 uses a simpler variant of Aldebaran with a single crystal. Interestingly, this variant is inferior to the older MI100 (104 CU vs. 120, 416 matrix cores vs. 480) in terms of the number of processing units. However, the latter uses the first iteration of the CDNA architecture and runs at a lower frequency & ; 1500 versus 1700 MHz for the newcomer. The MI100 may be faster in some computing formats, but the difference is extremely insignificant.

AMD Instinct MI210 performance vs NVIDIA A100 40GB PCIe

CDNA2 enables unique data formats, like packed FP32, but it requires support from developers, which makes it difficult to create universal software that can fully leverage the MI210's capabilities. But first of all, it's a gas pedal that doesn't «clamp» FP64-performance: over 22 Tflops in vector operations and 45 Tflops & ; in matrix operations. A server with one or more MI210s can be used as a universal software development platform for supercomputers based on more powerful AMD Instinct MI250/250X gas pedals. The new product is already available from AMD's traditional server partners, including ASUS, Dell, HPE, Supermicro and Lenovo, which also offer more powerful MI250/250X-based solutions.

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