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The New Balance of Power

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By Ben Boehman, Product Development Engineer, AMD


Microprocessor vendors are understandably proud of the innovation that we pour into our latest and greatest offerings, touting processor performance breakthroughs and benchmarks that push the boundaries of compute and IO speed. We balance these performance data points with important metrics about the processor’s energy efficiency, highlighting thermal design power (TDP) and performance-per-watt as critical measures of a processor’s value to the customer.

This is meaningful info that helps enable a discerning customer to make informed purchasing decisions. But these metrics don’t tell the full story about a processor’s performance-per-watt benefits for the customer’s unique design requirements, which can call for dynamic power/performance scaling to efficiently accommodate rapidly-shifting processing workloads and challenging thermal conditions.

What’s needed is the ability to reduce the power of underutilized cores and re-allocate that thermal budget to other cores for improved performance and better efficiency. This is especially important for APUs and other platforms with multiple onboard processing engines and varied functional ‘blocks’. AMD’s Turbo CORE technology utilizes algorithms that assess a variety of frequency, voltage, temperature and logic activity inputs to dynamically determine which core needs a performance boost and how much thermal headroom is available.

The latest generation of AMD Embedded APUs provides a ‘configurable TDP’ capability, essentially giving system designers a knob that they can turn to modify the APU’s TDP to better fit the needs of the target application.  Together, these features improve flexibility of APUs by maximizing performance under a variety of design constraints.

To learn more, read AMD’s white paper, ‘Advanced Power Management Helps Bring Improved Performance,’ available here.

Ben Boehman is a Product Development Engineer for Embedded Gaming at AMD. His postings are his own opinions and may not represent AMD’s positions, strategies or opinions. Links to third party sites, and references to third party trademarks, are provided for convenience and illustrative purposes only. Unless explicitly stated, AMD is not responsible for the contents of such links, and no third party endorsement of AMD or any of its products is implied.

*Originally Posted by Guest Blogger in AMD Business on Jul 25, 2014 10:53:50 AM