AMD hUMA, New Sophisticated Memory Architecture for APUs

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AMD hUMA, New Sophisticated Memory Architecture for APUs

AMD hUMA written by Sasa Marinkovic, the Senior Marketing Manager for AMD and letting us know the benefits and improvements that AMD is doing to better their line of APUs.

Over the past 50 years, we’ve seen our computers make significant advancements; they are faster, smaller and lighter. Despite these important improvements, the way we interact with our devices is still the same. We type, we click, we touch, we swipe… but we don’t truly interact. Our devices don’t recognize us, they don’t understand us and they don’t sense us. Have you ever wished that your device could simply scan your face to log you in or understand exactly what you are asking? Well, what sounded impossible in the past is now within our reach and let me tell you why.

The key to realizing these experiences lies in unlocking the full computing potential of today’s mainstream processors.  We know today’s GPUs have considerable compute capabilities that are measured in TFLOPS.  But all that horse-power remains relatively untapped for all but the most graphically demanding applications.  Through Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA), we want to unlock those TFLOPS for a much broader range of uses.

Although CPUs and GPUs have coexisted on the same piece of silicon (better known as an APU), for a few years now, the CPU and GPU have not been ‘equal citizens’. Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA) is an intelligent computing architecture that enables CPU, GPU and other processors to work together in harmony on a single piece of silicon by seamlessly moving the right tasks to the best suited processing element.  HSA creates an environment that allows the GPU to be used as fluidly as the CPU.

In order for HSA to be powerful and power-efficient, we still have two major obstacles to overcome in hardware:

  1. Unlock the GPU compute performance and
  2. Remove the bottlenecks of the GPU when accessing system memory.

Enabling high bandwidth access to memory will arguably be important in our quest for unlocking this compute performance. Breaking down bottlenecks in how GPU is accessing the memory is important to the future of programming because it allows apps to efficiently move the right tasks to the best suited processing element. heterogeneous Uniform Memory Access or hUMA signifies the first step in bringing  a heterogeneous compute ecosystem to life. hUMA is a highly sophisticated shared memory architecture used in APUs (Accelerated Processing Units).  In a hUMA architecture, CPU and GPU (inside APU) have full access to the entire system memory. hUMA architecture means that all processing cores in a true UMA system share a single memory address space. hUMA main features include

  1. Access to entire system memory space: CPU and GPU processes to dynamically allocate memory from the entire memory space
  2. Pageable Memory: GPU can take page faults, and is no longer restricted to page locked memory
  3. Bi-directional coherent memory: Any updates made by one processing element will be seen by all other processing elements – GPU or CPU




HSA’s revolutionary memory architecture is a new standard for high-speed GPU access to the system memory and removing the obstacle of having the GPU “starved for data”

HSA will empower software developers to easily innovate and unleash new levels of performance and functionality onall your modern devices and lead to powerful new experiences such as visually rich, intuitive, human-like interactivity.   Through HSA, we want to enable mainstream languages and programming models and bring heterogeneous compute to the broad development community. That will in turn enable broad performance uplift across mainstream applications and usages.

HSA has a number of unique features that enable powerful new experiences such as free-flowing  human interactivity with your devices and enable new levels of performance, functionality and efficiency on all modern computing devices. The following video shows the full potential of HSA technology (facial login, voice recognition, gesture recognition to name a few) and potentially gives people a fresh new reason to buy their next PC.

Watch a video on HSA Technology for AMD hUMA!


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