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AMD re-enters server battleground with lucrative Baidu deal

CHIPMAKER AMD has struck a deal with Chinese internet search outfit Baidu to provide the CPUs behind the Chinese company’s AI, big data and cloud computing services.

The deal marks a decisive return to the server market for AMD after almost a decade of decline in the face of Intel, a turnaround instigated over the past year with the development by AMD of its Zen architecture, which features in the Epyc CPUs that Baidu is scooping up.

The Chinese company said that it will tap into the performance and advanced features of AMD’s Epyc processor to “optimise and deliver massive storage and compute services to its customers”.  

Baidu will start rolling out Epyc-based servers across its global data centres from the beginning of 2018 as part of a broader plan to improve the company’s compute performance. 

Liu Chao, senior director of Baidu System Technologies Department, said: “The AMD Epyc platform provides flexibility and high-performance in our datacenter, which allows Baidu to deliver more efficient services to our customers.”

“We are constantly looking to discover and apply the latest cutting-edge technologies, innovations, and solutions to business.

“AMD Epyc processors provide Baidu with a new level of energy efficient and powerful computing capability.” 

AMD unveiled its Epyc server CPUs during 2017 when it launched three lines of Ryzen PC microprocessors based on its new Zen architecture, a performance PC chip dubbed Threadripper and, towards the end of the year, a duo of Ryzen chips with embedded graphics capabilities intended for high-end laptops

But it is the Epyc line of CPUs that will make or break the company’s comeback. 

AMD claims that the Epyc microprocessor “offers 2.6-times the I/O [input/output] density [compared to any] competitive solution” and “enables Baidu to achieve a level of scale and efficiency unrivaled in high-performance x86”.

Scott Aylor, corporate vice president and general manager of AMD Enterprise Solutions, said: “Baidu is a long-recognised pioneer in datacenter innovations.

“And with their adoption of AMD Epyc, they continue down that path by leveraging our single-socket innovations to power their ABC strategy.

“It is a thrilling experience to work side-by-side with Baidu to explore the capabilities of AMD Epyc and maximise its application across their customers’ workloads.” µ

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