AMD Alveo MA35D Media Accelerator Presented

Cost Efficient Sclae, 5nm Targeted ASIC and AI Enabled Video Pipeline

AMD has launched the Alveo MA35D Multimedia Accelerator, which comes with a specialized ASIC architecture and a video processing unit (VPU) that has been designed for high-density and “ultra” multimedia streaming. This accelerator is perfect for live performances as it provides minimal latency. AMD Alveo MA35D tests indicate that this Media Accelerator can significantly benefit a new category of low-latency streaming applications while also reducing infrastructure costs.

AMD Alveo MA35D: Accelerator card that marks the beginning of the AV1 era

According to AMD, the VPU of Alveo MA35D has been specifically engineered to expedite the complete video pipeline. The PCIe card’s dedicated VPU can perform all video processing tasks, which reduces the need for data transfer between the CPU and accelerator. This results in significantly lower latency and increased channel capacity, enabling each card to handle a maximum of 32 1080p60 streams, 8 4Kp60 streams, or 4 8Kp30 streams.

As per AMD, the Alveo MA35D offers a channel density that is up to four times greater and a latency that is up to four times lower than its predecessor, the Alveo U30, in 4K. In addition, it provides 1.8 times higher compression efficiency while achieving the same VMAF score. VMAF, which stands for Video Multi-Method Assessment Fusion, is a widely used objective video quality metric created by Netflix.

AMD’s latest media platform is capable of supporting widely used video codecs such as H.264 and H.265, along with the advanced AV1 codec that can provide up to 52% lower bitrate, resulting in significant bandwidth savings without compromising on the video quality.

Matt Frost, the director of Alliance for Open Media says, the Alveo MA35D expansion card represents a crucial achievement in establishing a comprehensive ecosystem to sustain open-source high-definition video devices, products, and services while preserving their intellectual property.

The Alveo MA35D incorporates an AI processor that aligns with the most recent technology trends to enhance user experiences by minimizing bandwidth consumption. The processor supports an ‘intelligent video pipeline’ empowered by AI, which evaluates content frame by frame and adjusts encoder settings accordingly. This dynamic process optimizes the perceived visual quality while minimizing the bitrate.

According to AMD, the Alveo MA35D was created with the aim of helping enterprises optimize their server performance by increasing the number of channels per server, while simultaneously reducing power consumption and bandwidth usage per stream. By utilizing eight cards in a 1U rack server, the Alveo MA35D can support a maximum of 256 1080p60 channels (with 32 1080p60 streams per card) at a mere 1 watt per stream. This level of efficiency translates into significant benefits for servers, racks, and data centers.

Product Availability and Software Development Kit

Developers can effortlessly develop platform applications using the popular FFmpeg and GStreamer video frameworks, thanks to the AMD Media Acceleration SDK’s assistance.

Testing is already underway for the AMD Alveo MA35D media accelerators, and they are set to be shipped for production in the third quarter. In order to accelerate the development process, eligible customers can participate in an early access program, which includes thorough documentation and software tools to facilitate the exploration of the architecture. The cost of the accelerator card is $1,595.

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