AMD Alveo MA35D media accelerator transcodes up to 32 1080p60 AV1 streams in real-time

AMD Alveo MA35D media accelerator PCIe card is based on a 5nm ASIC capable of transcoding up to 32 Full HD (1080p60) AV1 streams in real-time and designed for low-latency, high-volume interactive streaming applications such as watch parties, live shopping, online auctions, and social streaming.

AMD says the Alveo MA35D utilizes a purpose-built VPU to accelerate the entire video pipeline, and the ASIC can also handle up to 8x 4Kp60, or 4x 8Kp30 AV1 streams per card. H.264 and H.265 codecs are also supported, and the company claims its “next-generation AV1 transcoder engines” deliver up to a 52% reduction in bitrate at the same video quality against “an open source x264 veryfast SW model”.

AMD ALVEO MA350 AV1 real-time encoding card

AMD Alveo MA350 highlights:

  • Auxiliary CPU – 2x 64-bit quad-core RISC-V to perform control and board management tasks
  • AI Processor – 22 TOPS per card for AI-enabled “smart streaming” for video quality optimization
  • Memory – 16GB LPDDR5
  • Encoding – AV1, H.265, and H.264 codec support
  • Decoding – H.264, H.265, AV1, andVP9 codec support
  • High streaming density at up to 32x 1080p60
  • Ultra-low latency at 8ms for 4K streaming
  • Host Interface – PCIe Gen4/Gen5 x8; bi-furcated x4, x4; SR-IOV
  • Power consumption
    • 1 Watt per stream (1080p60) to reduce power and cooling costs
    • Typical power usage for 8 4K streams or 32 1080p60 streams is estimated at 35W (preliminary testing)
    • 50W Total Thermal Design Power (TDP)
  • Form Factor – HHHL (half height, half length), Single Slot
  • Process – 5nm

The Alveo MA35D is said to deliver up to 4x higher channel density, 4x max lower latency in 4K, and 1.8x greater compression efficiency to achieve the same VMAF score (video quality metric) compared to the previous generation Alveo U30 media accelerator.

ALVEO MA350 SDK FFmpeg gstreamer

AMD provides the open-source Advanced Media Acceleration (AMA) SDK using FFmpeg and GStreamer video frameworks and including a C API to further customize the video pipeline. The ASIC is also embedding an AI processor and video quality engines to improve the quality and reduce the bandwidth using optimization techniques such as region-of-interest (ROI) encoding for text and face resolution, artifact detection to correct scenes with high levels of motion and complexity, and content-aware encoding for predictive insights for bitrate optimization.

The ALVEO MA350 is mostly designed for companies providing live streaming, video conferencing, and cloud gaming services and will be found in data centers with, for instance, a 1U rack server equipped with 8 cards able to process up to 256 channels in real-time. More details may be found on the product page and the press release.

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