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AMD APUs to Become Efficient Faster Than Moore's Law

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 34 comments
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Wow. AMD is ambitious.

Rather than announcing a new product, AMD has announced a new target called the 25X20. The idea behind it is APU efficiency.

So what exactly does the target entail? Well, AMD wants its APUs to be 25 times more efficient by the year 2020. The company indicated that over the last six years (an equal time period from today till 2020), its products became about ten times more efficient. The company also recognized that if such improvements take place, the company will be outpacing Moore's law by about 70 percent.

"Creating differentiated low-power products is a key element of our business strategy, with an attending relentless focus on energy efficiency," said Papermaster. "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."

Of course, energy efficiency should not be confused with power consumption. It is very unreasonable to expect the APUs to use 25 times less power six years from now. Instead, they will become more powerful and consume less energy while doing so, improving the overall performance per watt. That is AMD's target -- improving performance per watt by a multiple of 25.

Now, we're not exactly sure about how AMD intends to outpace science, though the company does mention three core foci: heterogeneous computing and power optimization, where the GPU and CPU aboard the APU work more closely together; intelligent real-time power management; and future innovation in power efficiency. In short, not only will the company shrink the transistors to make for more efficient APUs, it'll also work on newer architectures and better power management, and maybe even more.

There has to be something that gives AMD the confidence to make an announcement as ambitious as this… We're curious what it is that AMD has up its sleeve.

Follow Niels Broekhuijsen @NBroekhuijsen. Follow us @tomshardware, on Facebook and on Google+.

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  • 43 Hide
    burkhartmj , June 23, 2014 1:22 PM
    This article leaves me confused on 2 points.

    A] last time I checked, Moore's law was about transistor count doubling every 2 years. While related to power efficiency, it's by no means a linear correlation from my understanding.

    B] Moore's Law is an observational law. Sure, it's held true up to this point, but it's not some scientific wall like the speed of light or something, it can be outpaced.
  • 14 Hide
    everygamer , June 23, 2014 1:47 PM
    They might not have a plan, sometimes people and companies set goals just to motivate. Think about it this way, set the bar at x25, they just did x10 over the last 10 year's, if they hit x15 in the next 10 year's it's still an improvement.
Other Comments
  • 43 Hide
    burkhartmj , June 23, 2014 1:22 PM
    This article leaves me confused on 2 points.

    A] last time I checked, Moore's law was about transistor count doubling every 2 years. While related to power efficiency, it's by no means a linear correlation from my understanding.

    B] Moore's Law is an observational law. Sure, it's held true up to this point, but it's not some scientific wall like the speed of light or something, it can be outpaced.
  • 4 Hide
    modulusshift , June 23, 2014 1:40 PM
    Um. So, right about then they'd catch up to Intel, huh?
  • 14 Hide
    everygamer , June 23, 2014 1:47 PM
    They might not have a plan, sometimes people and companies set goals just to motivate. Think about it this way, set the bar at x25, they just did x10 over the last 10 year's, if they hit x15 in the next 10 year's it's still an improvement.
  • -6 Hide
    bemused_fred , June 23, 2014 2:08 PM
    "There has to be something that gives AMD the confidence to make an announcement as ambitious as this… We're curious what it is that AMD has up its sleeve."

    Oooh! Oooh! Is it....more cores?
  • -8 Hide
    ferooxidan , June 23, 2014 2:54 PM
    "Creating differentiated low-power products is a key element of our business strategy, ...."

    more like low performance product. sigh.....Come Broadwell and destroy AMD, so ATI can be ATI again and no more AMD. If things continue like this, even budget consumer will pick Intel when building budget pc, even their APU is not popular on notebook market. May be consider to make mobile cpu and stick with that, APU so so performance but great graphic performance is perfect for tablet, not for PC.
  • -6 Hide
    utengineer , June 23, 2014 3:13 PM
    Dear AMD,

    Call me when you embed a 295x2 on-die with the CPU. IN-TEL then, we are still trying to make Bulldozer run uphill.

    Sincerely,

    Gordon E. Moore, co-founder of Intel Corporation
  • 4 Hide
    CaptainTom , June 23, 2014 4:28 PM
    God please let them succeed! Imagine an FX-8350 in a 5 watt package!!!!!
  • 7 Hide
    InvalidError , June 23, 2014 4:32 PM
    Quote:
    Dire Intel,
    a die size of i7 quad core Haswell with graphics = 2154 cortex M4 cores (base implementation with DSP 65K gates).

    An M4 core alone is not going to do you much good without the IGP, IO controllers and other support circuitry. It also won't give you much general-purpose compute performance without cache memory, superscalar and out-of-order execution. Add all those missing bits back in and the gap shrinks drastically.

    Qualcomm's Snapdragon chips are around 110sqmm while Intel's Haswell core is 177sqmm. The performance gap between the two is far wider than the die size gap.
  • 6 Hide
    bluestar2k11 , June 23, 2014 4:36 PM
    "Come Broadwell and destroy AMD, so ATI can be ATI again and no more AMD."

    If i'm not much mistaken, ATi is AMD, so to make AMD fail would be to make Ati fail, and both would cease to be. In the case AMD pulled out of the CPU market they would still be AMD making ATi cards, and all notebooks would be stuck with crappy intel graphics.

    Lastly, if i'm not much mistaken, intel and amd cross license instruction sets, specifically the x86 to AMD, and the x64 to intel. If AMD closed, it's likely your intel chip might mean next to nothing when they're forced to discontinue x64 instruction sets in their next line of CPU's until they create their own (If they can do so without infringing on AMD's design), as it isn't likely AMD would sell them.
  • 7 Hide
    TheMentalist , June 23, 2014 4:44 PM
    AMD is trying, thats all that matters. Hopefully one day they will be on par with Intel.
  • 7 Hide
    InvalidError , June 23, 2014 4:45 PM
    Quote:
    If AMD closed, it's likely your intel chip might mean next to nothing when they're forced to discontinue x64 instruction sets in their next line of CPU's until they create their own (If they can do so without infringing on AMD's design), as it isn't likely AMD would sell them.

    If AMD disappeared overnight with nobody taking over their assets, there would be no one administering the licenses and nobody to stop Intel from continuing to use the x86-64 extensions.

    Even if someone did pick up AMD assets, the instruction set cross-licenses are most likely perpetual and non-transferable so whoever purchased AMD would likely be unable to revoke Intel's perpetual license.
  • 2 Hide
    rush21hit , June 23, 2014 4:59 PM
    If anything, I just hope that some serious flood of applications that actually supports HSA would be that much more common by then, if not all of them...Or all that improvements will be for nothing.
  • 2 Hide
    DRosencraft , June 23, 2014 6:12 PM
    burkhartmj, you are correct. Moore's Law is about transistors, which forms a parallel track between the specific technology and the desired outcome, but is not a linear cause and effect relationship. And again on your second point, you are right, Moore's Law is not really a "law" as much as it is an observation of a phenomenon that is determined by the faith put into the law itself. It's not like gravity, that is persistent law concerning one of nature's forces. It's more like observing a pattern of behavior. There is no known means of breaking the laws of gravity, but Moore's Law can easily be thwarted by simple effort - either as AMD is trying to do here by way of pushing as hard as they can, or alternatively a lack of actual effort to make this same progress.
  • -4 Hide
    jasonelmore , June 23, 2014 6:47 PM
    Moore's law is not just about transistors. Its a philosophical idea that every two years chips will become either twice as powerful, OR twice as cheap to make.
  • 3 Hide
    InvalidError , June 23, 2014 7:16 PM
    Quote:
    Moore's law is not just about transistors. Its a philosophical idea that every two years chips will become either twice as powerful, OR twice as cheap to make.

    Moore's original comment applied to transistor count but got extended to other areas that happened to fit at that time.

    But no matter which Moore variant you look at for desktop CPUs though, things have been almost completely stagnant for the past three years. GPUs have been almost stagnant for quite a while too.
  • -5 Hide
    Achoo22 , June 23, 2014 10:10 PM
    The announcement is a trashy way to herald the fact that they're abandoning the x86 market because they just simply aren't good enough to compete.
  • -5 Hide
    wiinippongamer , June 24, 2014 6:00 AM
    ^This, they just keep embarassing themselves
  • 1 Hide
    InvalidError , June 24, 2014 6:03 AM
    Quote:
    The announcement is a trashy way to herald the fact that they're abandoning the x86 market because they just simply aren't good enough to compete.

    They are not abandoning x86. All they did was announce that they will be focusing heavily on efficiency and you can do that with x86 too. All you need to do is ditch enhancements that use a disproportionate amount of power for the performance gains they yield and put in new enhancements that yield better performance per watt. Clocks and IPC may suffer from this but total performance per watt still improves. You can look at Intel's Xeon Phi for an applied example of sacrificing single-thread performance optimizations in favor of massive parallelism using more energy-efficient cores.

    The only thing I am really reading from AMD here is that they have decided to officially give up on pursuing single-threaded performance at any cost.
  • 3 Hide
    Urzu1000 , June 24, 2014 7:58 AM
    25 times more efficient? Sounds like they're trying to become Intel! Jokes aside, I seriously hope they do. If AMD started spitting out processors with the same quality as Intel, I would be happy to switch to the more cost-efficient rival. Currently though, the AMD CPUs (I'm a desktop user) just drink too much power to justify the cost over time.
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