AMD has announced it has started shipping nine new mobile processors as part of its 8040 series* dubbed “Hawk Point”, just nine months after its did so with the 7040 “Phoenix” series but that’s not the biggest news from yesterday’s announcement.
Hawk Point looks like a mere stepping stone to Strix Point, which will launch in less than a year (shipping in 2024) and will feature a “next generation NPU for generative AI”.
Phoenix delivers 10 NPU TOPS with a total of 33 TOPS, Hawk Point adds a more powerful NPU (60% faster, 16 NPU TOPS/39 Total TOPS) while Strix Point promises more than 3x generative AI NPU performance compared to Phoenix, thanks to the new XDNA 2 technology.
So that’s at least 31 NPU TOPS for a total performance of at least 54 TOPS (but probably much more as Strix Point will likely introduce a new Zen architecture). Some serious firepower that could pave the way for transformative experiences and use cases at the edge.
Even as a transitionary platform, Hawk Point is significantly faster than the previous generation; AMD claims improvements of up to 40% on Llama 2 and Vision Models, based on tests carried out in April 2023 (yes, April) and involving two systems based on the Ryzen 9 7940HS system and the Ryzen 7 8840HS respectively.
AI mobile powerhouse
Small prints in AMD’s marketing slides mention that this is a projection made by AMD engineering staff rather than an actual benchmark so expect numbers to vary, depending on market conditions (i.e. how aggressive arch-nemesis Intel is). In addition we don’t know exactly what parameters AMD used to gauge the AI performance. That prevents us from doing straight apple-to-apple comparisons with other rivals.
The focus on AI underlines AMD’s obsessive focus on what the company calls the “future of innovation” and the “most transformative technology in 50 years” and managed to assemble one of the most compelling AI-hardware product lines in tech, spanning from the data center, all the way to end users and the edge.
Gaming was conspicuously absent from the presentation we received with creative solutions (Davinci Resolve, Premiere Pro, Boris FX) being highlighted instead.
AMD has also quietly launched a global competition on Hackster.io to encourage developers to come up with innovative applications that tap into its AI hardware. The AMD Pervasive AI contest has a total cash prize bounty of $155,000 spread across three categories (Robotics AI, Generative AI, PC AI) and four product ranges. The challenge closes on May 31st, 2024 with winners announced on July 15th next year.
* At the time of writing, AMD hasn’t confirmed whether a tenth CPU, the Ryzen 9 8940H, was also part of the announcement.