AMD Aims for Enterprise PC Users with 7th-Gen PRO Processors
By Jef Cozza / CIO Today. Updated October 03, 2016.
AMD is hoping that the latest generation of AMD PRO processors will help it gain a bigger foothold in the enterprise desktop market. The new series of PRO APUs (accelerated processing units), announced at the Canalys Channels Forum in Barcelona today, is the seventh generation of the processor.
The new models promise to deliver increased computing power and graphics performance, along with improved security and energy efficiency. The PRO, according to AMD's pitch, stands performance, reliability, and opportunity.
Lenovo and HP have already signed on to produce enterprise desktops featuring the new chips, while AMD said it expects to see more manufacturers jump onboard in the future.
HP said the PRO APUs will be featured in its EliteDesk 705 G3 desktop series, touting their ability to provide the added performance, security, and flexibility that enterprise customers need, without added IT complexity. The new systems also provide fully support for Microsoft Windows 10 Pro features including Device Guard, Windows Hello, Biometric Security, and BitLocker Encryption.
AMD has been making a renewed push for enterprise clients over the last year. In January, it finally rolled out "Seattle," the code name for its long-awaited 64-bit ARM chip designed for the data center. The PRO series, which had been going under the nickname "Bristol Ridge," is likewise geared toward enterprise clients.
AMD says the new chip is focused on three key areas likely to appeal to enterprise users: increased security, better computing and graphics capabilities, and a more open standard that is easier to integrate with other systems.
Businesses will likely be looking most carefully at the PRO series' security features, given the increased threat of network intrusion companies are facing today. The AMD Secure Processor, one of the PRO features the company is hyping, is a dedicated processor that forms the core of a hardware-based security solution. The Secure Processor provides a trusted execution environment for trusted third-party applications, allowing systems to boot up securely directly from the BIOS.
The trusted execution environment partitions the CPU into two virtual "worlds." Sensitive tasks are run on the AMD Secure Processor, the secure world, while other tasks are run in the "standard operation" area. "This helps ensure the secure storage and processing of sensitive data and trusted applications. It also helps protect the integrity and confidentiality of key resources, such as the user interface and service provider assets,' the company said.
Faster, Better Graphics, and More Efficient
Increased performance, particularly in graphics, is the PRO line’s second major selling point. AMD says the new processors provide up to 14 percent more computing power and 22 percent better graphics performance while being up to 32 percent more energy efficient than the previous generation of AMD PRO processors.
The company is also touting Bristol Ridge's increased flexibility over previous generations, thanks to its use of DASH architecture standard. According to the company, the CPU-agnostic DASH standard should make the new processor line more flexible, upgradable, and stable when integrating with other processors on a network.
The PRO series has been helping AMD in its decades-long competition with Intel, and the company has high hopes for its 7th-generation version continuing success in the enterprise market.
"In the past two years we made incredible progress in the commercial client segment," said Jim Anderson, general manager of AMD's Computing and Graphics Business, noting that AMD PRO processor unit shipments increased more than 45 percent since its inception in mid-2014.