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Delivering exceptional graphics and cost advantage with CPUs

February 18, 2022

By T R Ravi Teja, Software Development Manager, Amagi

At Amagi, we offer one-of-a-kind cloud solution for global media and entertainment customers as we completely rely on CPU-based cloud instances. We deliver a 6x-8x lower cost on cloud by leveraging microservices and on-demand instances and completely relying on Central Processing Units (CPUs), and not on Graphics Processing Units (GPUs).

Consider what we made possible for the NBC Olympics.

Tokyo Olympics 2021: Powered by CPUs

With over 11000 athletes participating from more than 200 countries, The Tokyo Olympics was a massive event. Amagi was chosen by NBC Olympics, a division of the NBC Sports Group, to provide UHD playout with cloud automation for its production of the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2021, on its Olympics Channel.

They needed UHD-grade cloud playout without using even a single piece of hardware. Amagi rose to the challenge by offering an end-to-end cloud playout solution with features including:

  • On demand orchestration of the solution on the cloud
  • Dual region redundant live and non-live streams with UHD
  • Rich HDR graphics with DVE effects including HTML graphics

Most importantly, Amagi delivered cost effectiveness by offering a compute-efficient architecture with CPUs and no GPUs.

Read more: Tokyo Olympics: A new era dawns for Cloud

Driving cost effectiveness using CPU-only cloud instances

Amagi leverages CPU-based cloud instances to deliver a wide range of best quality graphics that enable rich viewing experiences. While both CPUs and GPUs are critical computing engines, the latter are believed to be better. They have lightning-fast, advanced processing capabilities and multiple cores, enabling parallel processing to reduce operations time. However, a major drawback that comes with these advantages is the cost factor.

GPUs continue to become costlier

Cryptocurrency became massively popular during the pandemic that raised its hood in 2019. Interestingly, GPUs are an indispensable part of cryptocurrency mining and hence there was a steep rise in their demand as well. As a result, there was a sharp increase in their prices as well.

This chain reaction deeply affected various industries, including the TV and broadcasting space, thus making graphics processing more cost-intensive. This is where you have the choice of using CPUs to embrace the following key advantages:

  • While there are some striking architectural differences between CPUs and GPUs, the former brings a huge cost advantage to the table. Amagi uses CPU-only instances that ensure lower cost per feed and offer more flexibility.
  • CPUs are more versatile and are much more efficient when it comes to applications such as 3D, non-image based and high definition deep learning that revolves around time-series data, text and so on.
  • CPUs have the potential to support much larger memory capacities compared to GPUs.
  • CPUs are also extremely portable. This makes them highly favorable for the changing world conditions where more and more production operations are going remote.
  • Another critical advantage of using a central processing unit is it is better suited for workloads where latency is critical.

An interesting thing to note is that while GPUs can perform parallel operations seamlessly and super quick, they cannot replace CPUs completely. The reason is simple – CPUs are powerful execution engines and specialize in performing a wide spectrum of generic computation tasks, while GPUs are specifically designed for specific mathematical functions. GPUs also prove to be more rigid than CPUs as they limit the system to a specific platform.

More on CPU cloud instances
Cloud-based CPUs are also referred to as vCPUs (Virtual Central Processing Units). CPU-based instances can also be defined as virtual machines running on shared hardware. The number of these virtual units to be used depends solely on the workload.


CPU advantages in a nutshell

  • Ease of availability
  • Cost efficiency
  • Portability

Get the CPU power with Amagi

Amagi delivers a wide range of best quality graphics using CPUs. In addition, our solutions are Linux-based and capable of powering nearly 50 percent in cost-savings over Windows-based platforms, while offering dynamic redundancy.

Ready to provide an enthralling viewing experience in the most cost efficient way? Write to us at cloudandme@amagi.com

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