Versal Adds AI To Premium Line

AMD has added two new FPGA products to its Versal Premium line. They combine AI engines to accelerate neural networks along with plenty of programmable logic and DSP blocks for signal processing.
Linley Gwennap
Linley Gwennap

Sometimes you can have your cake and eat it too. When Xilinx introduced its Versal FPGA lineup, it offered AI Core products and Premium products; the former can accelerate neural networks, whereas the latter omit the neural-network features in exchange for more signal-processing performance. Now part of AMD, the company announced two new models with the self-explanatory but lengthy name Versal Premium with AI Engines.

The VP2502 and VP2802 are nearly identical to the earlier VP1502 and VP1802, respectively. They differ mainly in the addition of AI engines, which originally appeared in the Versal AI Core family. These engines deliver peak performance of 157 trillion operations per second (TOPS) for 8-bit integer (INT8) data. AMD plans to sample the two parts in the first half of next year.

The enhanced FPGAs, which the company calls ACAPs, combine traditional programmable logic with a complete embedded processor. Like other Versals, the new chips integrate two Cortex-A72 CPUs, which can run Linux or another high-level OS, plus two Cortex-R5F CPUs that can handle real-time software.

The CPUs can offload computation to an FPGA fabric that contains programmable gates (LUTs), DSP blocks, and memory (RAM) blocks. The Versal lineup provides a wide range of fabric sizes, letting customers pick a model that fits their design. Both new parts include 472 AI engines, yielding a total of 14.75MB of parameter storage. At a 1.3GHz clock speed, they generate 157 TOPS. The engines can also support 4-, 2-, or even 1-bit data for greater performance.

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