News AMD Patent Shows Off Potential CPU With Integrated FPGA

tommo1982

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FPGA's are used in chip design, are they not? I don't recall them being fast. Reprogrammed to see how a chip might behave, but it's not fast.
 

everettfsargent

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FPGA's are used in chip design, are they not? I don't recall them being fast. Reprogrammed to see how a chip might behave, but it's not fast.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Field-programmable_gate_array

If you CISC/RISC complex algorithm runs slower than on an FPGA or uses more energy for the same task you just might want to use the FPGA. I don't have any first hand knowledge of FPGA's but I assume AMD does, especially since their acquisition of Xilinx . I did reputedly run into FPGA's as used for generating PRNG's. Having said that, as the article states, this is only a patent and may never see the light of day in a desktop CPU.
 

jimmysmitty

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FPGA's are used in chip design, are they not? I don't recall them being fast. Reprogrammed to see how a chip might behave, but it's not fast.
FPGAs are much faster at tasks like hashing, hence why they took over in Bitcoin vs GPUS.

I don't see this as useful for the every day user as it requires programming made specificaly for said FPGA. But in HPC enviroments where raw throughput is key it can be. They might be looking to integrate it into their higher end server and HPC CPUs to make a more all in one platform. I doubt we will see this in the consumer market.
 

plateLunch

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I smelled this coming as soon as AMD acquired Xilinx. This will fit nicely into the chiplet architecture that AMD has.

FPGAs are fast. And they don't run instruction sets like a computer. They are "gate arrays", like raw AND and OR gate hardware. The programming of bits tells the chips how to connect the gates on the chip. And from the gates, you can build all kinds of things including regular processors like an ARM core.

One of the neat things about FPGAs are "cell libraries".
Cell libraries are complete functions that are designed and sold by somebody else that you plop into your FPGA. And ARM core would be an example. The logic is all programmable so you could alter the instruction set if you wanted to. There are cells you can buy for all kinds of things. One I could see paired up with a Ryzen processor is an encryption cell. Maybe high speed decrypting of data on chip with a custom algorithm that can be easily changed. Or maybe a cell that could decrypt instructions as they are read from memory before they are executed by the CPU. NSA would love that.

Use your imagination. Anything you can implement in hardware can probably be put into an FPGA and paired up with a Ryzen core.
 
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ARM cores + FPGA, been around for years and is the base for the very popular
MiSTer project that recreates every old console/home micro/arcade etc.
https://software.intel.com/content/www/us/en/develop/topics/iot/hardware/fpga-de10-nano.html

Use your imagination. Anything you can implement in hardware can probably be put into an FPGA and paired up with a Ryzen core.
Just because it can doesn't mean it's worth it, just like with the mister any half way recent PC core will run things faster.
But it is a great way to give a CPU abilities it didn't came with, you can encode it with hardware protection/negation for spectre/meltdown or anything that might come up in the future without having to design a whole new CPU.
 

overlord

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FPGA's are used in chip design, are they not? I don't recall them being fast. Reprogrammed to see how a chip might behave, but it's not fast.
Imagination Technology of PowerVR fame bought a Ray tracing company called Caustic a few years ago, which was FPGA based. It was more power efficient and faster back then!
https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2009/04/caustic-graphics-launches-real-time-ray-tracing-platform/
Fast forward to now, Imagination announced they're targeting Desktop High performance computing.
 
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I'm almost certain this will be for Epyc.

For years Intel made custom CPU extensions for each big client in server space. It made them a lot of money and is their bread and butter.

This FPGA arrangement would allow these custom extensions to be put into place at a much lower development cost. It will also cause less bloat.

If they stick them on consumer CPU's we will see another mining boom for algs like etherium and monero. AMD would be shooting themselves in the foot if they did that. While they would make a killing, their traditional markets would die. (Oem desktop/diy/laptop)
 
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Chung Leong

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I don't see this as useful for the every day user as it requires programming made specificaly for said FPGA. But in HPC enviroments where raw throughput is key it can be. They might be looking to integrate it into their higher end server and HPC CPUs to make a more all in one platform. I doubt we will see this in the consumer market.
If it doesn't take up too much silicon, I can see AMD putting it in all their CPUs simply for marketing purpose.
 
This FPGA arrangement would allow these custom extensions to be put into place at a much lower development cost. It will also cause less bloat.
And it would be a lot less involvement from AMD which means they would get a lot less money which is not what AMD should be doing right now.
Intel is making the money because they have to make them custom.
While they would make a killing, their traditional markets would die. (Oem desktop/diy/laptop)
Don't they have any control where to send their CPUs? This would only be a problem if they would sell all of their CPUs straight trough their webpage without first suppling all of their big customers.
 
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FPGAs are much faster at tasks like hashing, hence why they took over in Bitcoin vs GPUS.

I don't see this as useful for the every day user as it requires programming made specificaly for said FPGA. But in HPC enviroments where raw throughput is key it can be. They might be looking to integrate it into their higher end server and HPC CPUs to make a more all in one platform. I doubt we will see this in the consumer market.
A future Windows application may contain binaries for the FPGA for specific functionality.
Just like an application can check for a GPU being present, it can check for the FPGA and execute specific functionality on it.
 
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There seems to be a little bit of confusion about what an FPGA can do.
A processor's hardware is fixed. You can only express your functionality in terms of its instructions.
An FPGA is simply a huge collection of logic gates, flipflops, registers.
The programmability is in the interconnection.

If there is a functionality your CPU cannot efficiently implement using the processor's instructions, you describe the functionality in AND's and OR's and gates, in fact you build a circuit inside the FPGA.
On hardware level the FPGA is not faster than the hardware of the CPU. It may be able to execute some functionality faster than a CPU because you create the optimal hardware (description) for that specific functionality.
In an FPGA you can also implement (part of) a processor, if that helps executing your functionality faster.
If the FPGA integrated with the AMD CPU is 'big enough' you could map an ARM or a RISC-V processor on it.

But in the end, an FPGA is just a bunch of gates and basic logic circuits you can interconnect
 

jimbo007

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Possibility of dynamically downloaded and implemented fixed function hardware and other special purpose accelerators on the FPGA component has been interesting for many years. Perhaps this brings us closer to its realization. For example instant hardware encoding and decoding support for some latest video codec or temporary allocation of hardware for extremely wide vector instructions.
 
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And it would be a lot less involvement from AMD which means they would get a lot less money which is not what AMD should be doing right now.
Intel is making the money because they have to make them custom.

Don't they have any control where to send their CPUs? This would only be a problem if they would sell all of their CPUs straight trough their webpage without first suppling all of their big customers.
If AMD can duplicate the same custom functionality without the same large investment as intel, then AMD would be a more logical choice for the client and likely would have higher margins. It's a win win

Sure you can buy a Ferrari but the Corvette and Nissan GTR goes just as fast for a fraction of the cost.

And we all know you can't control distribution on a large scale in a free open market. If AMD makes these things miner friendly, then prices will skyrocket. It will be stupid for AMD to do so. Whether AMD wants to admit it or not, the only reason they are around is because Intel got fat pudgy and stupid by milking customers. If they get greedy, people will find alternatives or go back to intel. And if Microsoft/Apple have their way x86 may be a dead end.
 

jimmysmitty

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A future Windows application may contain binaries for the FPGA for specific functionality.
Just like an application can check for a GPU being present, it can check for the FPGA and execute specific functionality on it.
It would still require specific prgramming though. FPGAs are currently designed to be directly addressable and programmed for, they are not built to actually work with specific programming.

It may eventually come but I still see no use in consumer ends. HPC would easily benefit from it.
 

tommo1982

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Possibility of dynamically downloaded and implemented fixed function hardware and other special purpose accelerators on the FPGA component has been interesting for many years. Perhaps this brings us closer to its realization. For example instant hardware encoding and decoding support for some latest video codec or temporary allocation of hardware for extremely wide vector instructions.
Real mitigations to hardware bugs like Spectre, comes to mind. I don't know much about all of it, but the first thing that came to my mind was "hardware bugs". Regular consumers might not be the target, but I see financial sector benefit from added security. No need to wait for a new processor with fixed, apply them now. I'd say it's worth the money.
 

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