AMD speeds up virtual desktop delivery through new graphics cards

AMD's FirePro S9000 graphics cards offer up to 4 teraflops of performance and support 6GB of memory

Advanced Micro Devices is looking to speed up the delivery of virtual desktops through servers with its latest FirePro S9000 and S7000 graphics cards, which the company started shipping on Monday.

The FirePro S9000 server graphics card offers up to 4 teraflops of performance, making it among the fastest graphics products offered by AMD. It has 6GB of GDDR5 internal memory, which is matched only by AMD's top-line FirePro W9000 graphics card announced earlier this month. The new FirePro S7000 is a low-end product that offers up to 2.4 teraflops of performance and draws less power.

Server makers such as Dell and Hewlett-Packard offer the option of graphics processors inside servers to speed up the deployment of virtual desktops to client devices such as desktops, laptops and diskless thin clients. Graphics processors are considered faster than CPUs on certain tasks and can be speedier than CPUs in deploying virtual desktops while drawing less power. AMD's graphics processors support virtualization technologies such as RemoteFX from Microsoft, ESXi from VMware and XenServer from Citrix.

Users will be able to run common office applications on client devices through virtual desktops delivered via the new FirePro graphics cards, AMD said. The graphics cards can also deliver advanced graphics to thin clients through support for graphics technologies such as Microsoft's DirectX 11. The graphics processing capabilities on the cards will also enable thin clients to front-end engineering workloads like CAD/CAM, AMD said.

In the server graphics market AMD lags Nvidia, whose Tesla graphics processors are used in some of the fastest supercomputers for complex math and scientific calculations. AMD has been trying to raise its profile by adding software support, reducing power consumption and adding new features. For example, AMD recently added CPUs to its new FirePro A300 series graphics cards, bringing a unique processing dimension typically not found in graphics products. Nvidia has said it plans to add CPUs to its Tesla graphics cards in the future.

The FirePro S9000 graphics card is priced at US$2,499, while the FirePro S7000 server graphics card is $1,249. The products are now available worldwide.

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