Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) threw down a major gauntlet at the feet of Intel yesterday with the announcement that it will be going after the latter company’s stranglehold on the server market with the launch of its new EPYC datacenter chips. Intel controls about 99 percent of the server market thanks to its massively popular Xeon chip.

The EPYC chips, launched at an event in Austin, Texas, will be built on the same Zen architecture that's behind AMD's other processor lines. The company showcased several OEM partners, including Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Dell, Asus, Gigabyte, and Lenovo, which announced new servers that will be powered by the EPYC chip once it becomes available.

EPYC Performance

"The EPYC processor represents a paradigm shift in computing and will usher in a new era for the IT ecosystem," said Antonio Neri, EVP and general manager enterprise group, HPE. "Starting with the Cloudline CL3150 and expanding into other product lines later this year, the arrival of EPYC in HPE systems will be welcomed by customers who are eager to deploy the performance and innovation EPYC delivers."

The OEMs were joined by primary hypervisor and server operating system providers such as Microsoft, Red Hat, and VMware, which announced that they would be offering optimized support for the new systems. Meanwhile, server equipment provider Samsung said it was already collaborating with AMD on new memory and flash storage components that will be optimized for EPYC-based systems.

AMD said the new chips outperform the competition, with a system powered by its top-of-the-line EPYC 7601 model outperforming every other two-socket system on the market in internal tests. The company said it also expects single-socket systems running the 7601 to generate up to 20 percent in capital expenditure savings when compared to the Intel Xeon E5-2660 v4-based two-socket system.

In addition, AMD said every two-socket EPYC processor outperformed competing chips, with up to 70 percent more performance in the $800 price tag and up to 47 percent more performance at the high end of the market of $4,000 or more.

DoE PathForward Program

The unveiling of the EPYC chip is not the only news AMD has announced recently. Last week, the company also revealed that it had been selected by the U.S. Department of Energy to participate in the agency’s new three-year PathForward program to fund research into the development of exascale supercomputers.

The program provides funding for research and development to drive advances in next-generation supercomputing hardware technologies. AMD will be tasked with working on CPU and GPU microarchitectures, memory systems, component integration, and high-speed interconnects.

The EPYC processor line will feature system-on-a-chip designs ranging from eight to 32 cores, with support for two threads for every core. EPYC chips will also offer eight channels of memory, with a two-socket server offering up to four terabytes of total memory capacity. Each new chip will also come with its own dedicated security hardware, the company said.