CPU core control key to power efficiency, says AMD

03/09/2006 - 20:05 por Santiago José López Borrazás | Informe spam
Comment: IM-PRESIONANTE Intel a verlas venir

Sunnyvale (CA) - AMD's quad-core architecture won't be released until
mid-2007, but the company is already discussing some features of the new
Opterons and Athlons. Power consumption will remain a center piece of AMD's
product strategy: Clock speed control of the individual cores will allow
the chips to remain in the same power envelope as their dual-core

About a year ago, dual-core processors were just about becoming available
to the enthusiast computer buyer. Within another year, a dual-core system
will be making its way deep into the entry-level segment of the desktop and
notebook PC market. By then, quad-core systems are expected to dominate the
high-end range of PC and x86 server systems.

Intel has been touting its quad-core processors "Kentsfield," likely to be
named Core 2 Quadro, and "Clovertown," a future member of the Xeon DP 5000
series, since the beginning of this year and recently announced that it
will be releasing Kentsfield as high-end desktop CPU in time for the
Christmas season.

AMD will counter Kentsfield and Clovertown with the K8L processor on the
desktop side and a new Opteron chip on the server, but details are scarce.
What we learned earlier is that the first quad-core, likely the Opteron
variant, will launch in mid-2007 and that it will be a 65 nm chip, with a
45 nm version likely to follow in the first half of 2008. During a recent
presentation, AMD provided a few more pieces of information on the
architecture of the processor and how it will be able to reach a 68 watt
power envelope.

While clock speeds have not been revealed, each of the four cores will
integrate 64 KB L1 Cache and 512 KB L2 cache. The native quad-core
architecture will also include a 2 MB shared L3 cache, which may increase
in capacity over time. The processor will have a total of four
Hypertransport links - up from three today - that provide a total bandwidth
to outside devices of 5.2 GB/s. AMD is also thinking about integrating
support for FB-DIMMs "when appropriate."

AMD's startegy to reduce quad-core power consumption: Control every core
But it appears that pure speed isn't so much the focus of the quad-cores,
but that AMD is determined to regain its unquestioned leadership in
power-efficiency with its quad-core processors. While Intel's Kentsfield
and Clovertown processors are expected to bring a substantial increase in
power consumption to a thermal designer power rating of at least 110 watts,
AMD claims that its quad-cores will not consume more than today's

The key to achieve this goal is AMD's single-die architecture and its
ability to individually adjust the clock speed of each processor core. For
example, if the full processing power of all four cores isn't needed, the
architecture is able to reduce the clock speed of individual cores. One
core running at full speed and three cores at one third of their maximum
clock speed would drop power consumption by 40%. AMD can even completely
shut down individual cores for even greater reduction of the CPU's power

Compared to AMD's single-die architecture, Intel's Kentsfield and
Clovertown will be tow-die processors built from two Core 2 Duo chips and
two Xeon 5100 processors, which won't allow Intel to individually adjust
clock speeds. Intel has not yet confirmed an increase in power consumption,
but mentioned that it sees quad-core processors to remain on the very
high-end of desktop computing for some time. And since gamers usually could
care less how much power their computer system uses, AMD may just have
enough headroom left to catch up with Intel's performance once the
quad-core CPUs are released.



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#1 Santiago José López Borrazás
03/09/2006 - 20:13 | Informe spam

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