AMD Aims for 25 Times Boost in APU Energy Efficiency by 2020

Paul Lilly

Future APUs will feature a "dramatic" improvement in energy efficiency

According to AMD, there are 3 billion PCs and 30 million computer servers that use more than 2.5 percent of all energy consumed. With that in mind, AMD today went public with a goal to deliver a 25x improvement in the energy efficiency of its Accelerated Processing Units (APUs) by 2020 . If AMD is able to reach its goal, it would represent a significant improvement over the 10x gain in energy efficiency it achieved during the past 6 years.

"Creating differentiated low-power products is a key element of our business strategy, with an attending relentless focus on energy efficiency," AMD's Chief Technology Officer Mark Papermaster stated during a keynote at the China International Software and Information Service Fair conference in Dalain, China. "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."

AMD's Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA) combines CPU and GPU compute cores and special purpose accelerators such as digital signal processors and video encoders all on the same chip, or APU. Energy is saved with this approach by eliminating connections between discrete chips, and by reducing computing cycles by treating the CPU and GPU as peers.

Looking ahead, AMD is banking on gains in several different areas. These include inter-frame power gating, per-part adaptive voltage, voltage islands, further integration of system components, and other techniques still being developed.

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