Xilinx offers Versal HBM series to loosen up memory bottlenecks

Xilinx has unveiled its Versal HBM adaptive computing acceleration platform (ACAP), targeted at high-performance applications in data centers and elsewhere that face challenges having enough memory bandwidth and power.

“There has been exponential growth in network traffic and with large data sets and the amount of data being stored, but there remains a significant bottleneck in memory bandwidth,” said Mike Thompson, Senior Product Line Manager, Versal Premium & HBM ACAPs, Xilinx. “There is also a big problem with more data that is requiring better security, but is being left unprotected.”

Though memory bottlenecks could be addressed by adding more external memory, additional memory usually comes at the expense of greater power consumption, he said.

The Versal HBM (high bandwidth memory) series looks to address these challenges via a single platform encompassing ACAP, fast memory and secure connectivity. It features HBM2e DRAM, providing 820Gbps of throughput and 32GB of capacity for 8X more memory bandwidth and 63% lower power than DDR5 implementations, according to Xilinx. 

Thompson said it is being aimed directly at the “compute-intensive, memory-bound applications” in data center, wired networking, test and measurement, and aerospace and defense environments. In these arenas the HBM series would tackle workloads like fraud detection, recommendation engines, database acceleration, data analytics, financial modeling, and deep learning inference for natural language processing. 

 The new series leverages the architectural foundation of the existing Versal Premium series and its power-optimized networking cores for high bandwidth connectivity and security. The Versal HBM series offers 5.6Tbps of serial bandwidth with 112Gbps PAM4 transceivers, 2.4Tbps of scalable Ethernet bandwidth, 1.2Tbps of line rate encryption throughput, 600Gbps of Interlaken connectivity, and 1.5Tbps of PCIe Gen5 bandwidth with built-in DMA, supporting both CCIX and CXL. 

“A lot of what’s in the Premium series we copy and pasted it forward into HBM, along with integrating these new capabilities,” Thompson said.

Xilinx said the HBM series delivers network scalability and performance for 800G routers, switches, and security appliances. The company explained a traditional network processing unit implementation of an 800G next-generation firewall would require multiple NPU devices and DDR modules, whereas a single Versal HBM ACAP eliminates external memories and performs packet processing, security processing, and adaptable AI-infused anomaly detection at dramatically lower power and at a fraction of the form factor.