AMD aims for 25-fold energy efficiency gains by 2020

June 23, 2014 | 09:42

Tags: #apu #energy-efficiency #mark-papermaster #moores-law #power-draw

Companies: #amd

AMD has announced a programme to increase the energy efficiency of its accelerated processing unit (APU) designs 25-fold by 2020, dubbed 25X20.

Announced by AMD chief technology officer Mark Papermaster late last week, the programme sets a hefty pace: in the previous six years the company has claimed a ten-fold improvement in energy efficiency, while Moore's Law - the observation by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore that the transistor density of chips doubles roughly every 18 to 24 months - suggests a trend AMD is looking to outpace by more than 70 per cent.

'Creating differentiated low-power products is a key element of our business strategy, with an attending relentless focus on energy efficiency,' claimed Papermaster at the China International Software and Service Fair keynote speech in which the project was announced. 'Through APU architectural enhancements and intelligent power efficient techniques, our customers can expect to see us dramatically improve the energy efficiency of our processors during the next several years. Setting a goal to improve the energy efficiency of our processors 25 times by 2020 is a measure of our commitment and confidence in our approach.'

'The energy efficiency of information technology has improved at a rapid pace since the beginning of the computer age, and innovations in semiconductor technologies continue to open up new possibilities for higher efficiency,' explained Dr. Jonathan Koomey, research fellow at the Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance at Stanford University, in support of AMD's efforts. 'AMD has steadily improved the energy efficiency of its mobile processors, having achieved greater than a 10-fold improvement over the last six years in typical-use energy efficiency. AMD’s focus on improving typical power efficiency will likely yield significant consumer benefits substantially improving real-world battery life and performance for mobile devices.

'AMD’s technology plans show every promise of yielding about a 25-fold improvement in typical-use energy efficiency for mobile devices over the next six years, a pace that substantially exceeds historical rates of growth in peak output energy efficiency,' Koomey added. 'This would be achieved through both performance gains and rapid reductions in the typical-use power of processors. In addition to the benefits of increased performance, the efficiency gains help to extend battery life, enable development of smaller and less material intensive devices, and limit the overall environmental impact of increased numbers of computing devices.'

AMD hopes to achieve its goals through active real-time power management and optimisation technologies, new advances in its Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA), and the implementation of numerous technologies currently on the lab bench including inter-frame power-gating, per-part adaptive voltage, voltage islands, and highly-integrated chip designs. Details surrounding the company's plans can be found in a white paper commissioned by AMD and produced by TIRIAS Research, available for download at the official website.
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