AMD 2.1

Quick Chat: AMD’s Raja Koduri

By Randi Altman

In a new semi-regular column here at postPerspective, we are asking tool makers how they ensure they are providing gear targeting your needs.

Today’s deadlines call for fast turnarounds due to tighter deadlines, making fast graphics cards even more important tools of the trade. In this installment, we chatted up AMD’s corporate VP of visual computing, Raja Koduri, as he was gearing up for NAB 2014.

It seems like the industry is really embracing OpenCL. Can you talk about the benefits?
Absolutely. OpenCL is the only parallel computing API that works across multiple GPU platforms and across multiple OS platforms. So, it is not surprising to see the industry embracing it and benefitting from it. Along with being an open standard, OpenCL architecture is developed by collective wisdom of some of best parallel computing software and hardware architects whose expertise spans CPUs, GPUs, DSPs, FPGAs and other computing accelerators.

AMD has made a real push toward the pro Media and Entertainment (M&E) market after being heavily involved in the gaming universe. Can you talk about how that transition is going, and how your partnerships with editing and color correction companies are paving your way?
Our AMD Radeon products continue to be leaders in gaming and we continue to have a strong focus in that area. We certainly have increased our focus on the M&E market as well, which is has many synergies with the work we have done with game developers over the years. We are making very good progress on accelerating many M&E workflows through OpenCL, OpenGL and DirectX. There is a lot of momentum in this space for OpenCL and you will see significant performance and feature advances this year by leveraging GPU acceleration on FirePro.

How does AMD work with partners Like Adobe and Blackmagic Design and others to increase performance in those tools?
We have dedicated engineering teams that work with key partners like Adobe and Blackmagic to optimize their applications on AMD FirePro GPUs. Our hardware and software architects meet the senior architects from these companies periodically and take their input in formulating our architecture roadmaps as well. Input from these companies also plays a big role in the way we configure our AMD FirePro products as well.

You have a strong relationship with Dell. Will that transition to other workstation providers?
Definitely. Over the past year, we have been able to build a great relationship with Dell.  On the consumer side, we launched a new Alienware M17 notebook with our latest mobile discrete AMD Radeon GPU. On the workstation side, we also collaborated with Dell on its Precision mobile workstations, which range from the entry level M2800 to the M6800 systems with AMD FirePro graphics. AMD is well known to work with our OEM customers and optimize their platforms as if they are our own platforms. You will definitely see other workstation providers benefitting from close relationships with AMD.

You have a partnership with Silverdraft, supplying cards for their Devil and Demon products. Can you talk about your relationship with them?
Silverdraft’s Devil and Demon are very interesting and unique products. We really like their approach of customizing systems for visually enhanced performance, and I think AMD technology addresses everything they are looking to deliver to end users. Professional platforms, such as those from Silverdraft, are helping us enable a multiple AMD FirePro graphics card ecosystem and allowing AMD to address a rapidly changing industry and its OpenCL solution requirements.

Apple’s new Mac Pro has your cards inside. How did you work with them to optimize it all?

Winning a design with Apple is a huge challenge for any product and any technology company in the world today. Our leadership in OpenCL and OpenGL performance on Mac OS X helped here. What’s an even bigger challenge is to deliver the product to the incredibly high quality and performance bar that Apple sets.

Mac Pro is an engineering marvel. Fitting two big AMD FirePro cards in such a small package needed a lot of innovation on all fronts. Two GPUs being standard is also revolutionary for software developers. We worked very closely with Apple in optimizing our OpenCL and OpenGL drivers to work very well with the dual GPU setup. We continue to work with them to optimize our driver software and help optimize various pro apps as well.

You also recently teased some information about a new professional graphics product you will be launching soon. Can you tell me a little about the card?
Yes, our very own Matt Skynner showed off the new AMD FirePro W9100 graphics card from our Sunnyvale, California, office. The card will have a massive 16GB of on-board memory. We wanted to develop a solution that addressed all of the rendering and compute needs for high-end professionals.

For M&E professionals, 4K displays are quickly becoming the industry standard. For engineering applications, double-precision compute rates are an integral part of that workflow. This card was developed to address and exceed the current needs of these professionals.

The AMD FirePro W9100 in single, dual and quad configured solutions will be on the AMD booth at the show.


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