With the increasing trend of thin clients and lower-powered user machines, the cloud and virtual machines are taking on an ever more important role. In order to supply users with graphics and compute power even when they are using thin clients, Nvidia introduced their GRID hardware virtualization and cloud gaming service. Now AMD is jumping into the game with their own Multiuser GPU solution.
For now, it looks like AMD is focusing on the hardware virtualization side of things. With the top end card, AMD is allowing up to 15 users per card. This means the GPU is being shared between up to 15 users. Of course, this is for lighter loads, with heavier loads requiring fewer and fewer simultaneous users. Virtualization will also be done on a hardware level, with users being able to access most of the usual features with OpenCL, OpenGL and DirectX acceleration.
AMD’s announcement comes as Nvidia is also refreshing their platform with GRID 2.0. With Nvidia having already carved out their turf, it will be interesting to see how AMD will attempt to move in. Good news for AMD is that it appears that some FirePro cards will support Multiuser while GRID 2.0 requires different cards. This means for FirePro users, it may be an easy switch to enable multiple users. With true hardware virtualization support though, AMD may be able to snag some much needed marketshare before the market gets saturated.