A unified memory APU: a new chapter in the heterogeneous architecture of AMD




A unified memory APU: a new chapter in the heterogeneous architecture of AMD
Vladimir Skripin Progressive_D progressive_dreamer
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Since the release of the first micro-processor-based Fusion, which housed the GPU and CPU on a single chip, the company AMD started talking about his plans for the revolutionary heterogeneous architecture ( HSA ). Currently, AMD said the next step in this direction. The new technology is called hUMA (heterogeneous unified memory).

Architecture HSA is an attempt to solve the age-old problem with different architectures. First APU codenamed Llano combined on a single chip CPU and GPU. Combining the two components is a very important step, but the basic model of the relationship between them is not too different from the AMD motherboards previous generation.

AMD has moved a little further by launching the next generation of APU codenamed Trinity, in which the “white-green” improved power management, and technology supports C + + AMP to move computing on the GPU.

Currently, AMD started talking about a new step on the path to heterogeneous computing – to add a bi-directional coherent memory and paging memory. In other words, standardization and distribution of the total system memory between computational and graphics cores. This will allow the CPU and GPU faster communication, to perform various tasks and work closely with each other depending on the status of tasks.

Despite all the improvements in processor Trinity , the path between computational and graphics cores are still very long. In the Trinity, AMD has not thought through how to implement shared access to a shared system memory. This feature of the “white-green” want to implement next-generation APU codenamed Kaveri. At the system level, the transition to a unified memory is as follows:


Thus, CPU and GPU at the same time be able to read and modify the same memory location without loss of time to wait until one of them, the first up to the task. This will allow the allocation of resources between the CPU and GPU.

The CPU will be able to consider the results of the GPU directly from memory without copying and heaps of intermediate steps that can be clearly seen on the slides below.



As mentioned above, the chips Kaveri , which is scheduled for the second half of 2013, the first to receive these features. Most likely, this technology will also be implemented in the new game console Xbox Durango PlayStation and 4, despite the fact that the graphic data in the core is based on products based micro GCN. By adopting this technology, Microsoft and Sony will be able to win in many ways. Ability to communicate and support the coherence between the CPU and GPU are the key factors in the performance of video game consoles.

The last interview lead designer Mark CERN confirms that the PlayStation 4 will be implemented technology AMD hUMA. Previously, AMD talked about using the embedded chip eDRAM as cache memory for commenting on the memory structure in the Xbox Durango.

At the moment, there is one question: how much technology can help hUMA APU AMD new generation? At the moment it is difficult to predict. In theory, the next generation of discrete graphics processors will also use these opportunities. Perhaps in the future, users will see the games that support the technology of AMD. Significant barrier to hUMA can become indifference Intel and NVIDIA to such technologies. At the moment, also definitely not clear whether the HSA fits into long-term plans for GPGPU-calculations. By some criteria Radeon HD 7970 looks good enough in comparison with high-performance NVIDIA Titan, but NVIDIA continues to invest heavily in the development of proprietary technologies CUDA and Tesla, which provide her superiority in the market, while AMD is silent.
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