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A new approach of Advanced Micro Devices to microprocessor design could lower manufacturing costs, decrease power consumption and even compensate for AMD's consistent lag with transition to new manufacturing processes compared to arch-rival Intel Corp.

Die size of chips directly affects not only their costs and yields, but also their power consumption. Therefore, it is crucial to shrink die sizes to limit power consumption and/or even improve performance. In a bid to do this, Advanced Micro Devices will adopt "high-density" and "thin" libraries of elements typically used to design graphics processing units (GPUs) to improve its code-named Excavator and post-Bulldozer family central processing units (CPUs) and accelerated processing units (APUs).

For the APU and CPU products made using 32nm SOI HKMG process technology, AMD's design team used a combination of automated place and route and hand-placed semi-custom design, which reduces power and area somewhat. In future products, AMD will be employing “dense” or “thin” libraries employed by its GPU design teams, but for APU/CPU implementations, to deliver more power efficient designs.

During a keynote at Hot Chips conference, Mark Papermaster, chief technology officer of AMD, revealed that adoption of "thin" and "dense" libraries of building blocks used by GPU designers can reduce die size and power consumption by as much as 30%, which is comparable to an improvement resulting from a switch to a more advanced process technology. Optimized designs could also result in higher amount of execution units within a chip, which directly affects performance and functionality of chips.

Usage of ultra-dense and ultra-thin libraries of elements is an industry standard design methodology well adapted to a foundry model. Cost and power consumption reductions by 15% - 30% are no less than impressive. What remains to be seen is whether specific libraries affect scalability of designs in terms of clock-speeds as today frequencies are still one of the most important factors that affect performance of microprocessors.

Tags: AMD, Excavator, Fusion, Semiconductor, Manufacturing, Intel


Comments currently: 33
Discussion started: 08/31/12 06:03:01 PM
Latest comment: 09/05/12 10:15:29 PM
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There's nothing wrong with this approach. Every little bit helps.
16 4 [Posted by: beenthere  | Date: 08/31/12 06:03:01 PM]
- collapse thread

Abolutely. History has shown that these sorts things can be just as useful as using a smaller fab process. SOI, additional layers (remember thoroughbred?), and many other things over the years have proved just as effective.
Rather baffling that you have some thumbs down for pointing out that its all good.
Only reason someone would do that is if theyre a fanboi, or like to be negative just for the sake of it.
0 1 [Posted by: Patrick76  | Date: 09/05/12 03:50:15 AM]

show the post
1 12 [Posted by: Azazel  | Date: 08/31/12 10:52:38 PM]

"Optimized designs could also result in higher amount of execution units within a chip"

If that's the case even a CPU with a lower clock speed can make good performance at a lower power consumption, just like GPUs with 750mhz to 1Ghz clock speeds. Hopes it works...
3 5 [Posted by: tks  | Date: 08/31/12 11:06:13 PM]

If they do things right with this then I expect that they might actually get a decent cpu out there after all. At least the dies will be smaller and cheaper while internal latency will be reduced. Who knows if they fixed it enough it might be decent competition to Intel's i5 at the least.
2 1 [Posted by: nforce4max  | Date: 09/01/12 04:52:17 PM]

"Die size of chips directly affects not only their costs and yields, but also their power consumption."

Wanna know the best way to achive this? Using smaller nodes instead of rehashing 32/28 nm over and over.
3 3 [Posted by: AnonymousGuy  | Date: 09/02/12 07:43:58 PM]
- collapse thread

You do realize they can't actually use smaller nodes until fabs support those nodes right?
4 1 [Posted by: mmstick  | Date: 09/03/12 10:15:32 PM]

a user hungry for CPU power needs AMD to fix the 8 cores at 3.6ghz that can not take on Intel lower tier i5 at 4 cores. i´m about to give-up on amd CPU so amd might as well give-up now or fix that 8 cores and i´ll be right back.
2 1 [Posted by: idonotknow  | Date: 09/03/12 08:22:14 AM]

I have to wonder how old most of you are.
All this talk of doom and gloom because AMD cant compete on the high end is nonsense. Seems a lot of you just spout uninformed re-iterations of what you read on websites.
High end isnt where the money is.
These rumors of AMDs demise have been going back 20 years and guess what? Theyre still here.
They didnt compete in the socket7 era, but people still bought k5's.K6/k6-2/k6-3 still sold when intel had moved onto P6 arcitecture. They didnt compete in the later p4 era (took athlon 64 to outdo even northwood). Even athlon/athlon xp, one of thier bigger successes was quickly outdone by P4 (was only really socket 423 P4 that was outperformed by k7).

Theyre still here, theyre still producing hardware (heck theyve even expanded thier market amidst all this Doom and Gloom).

Far be it for me to spoil peoples fun. If they feel the urge to re-itterate what theyve read elsewhere in an attempt to sound clever then good luck to them.
1 2 [Posted by: Patrick76  | Date: 09/04/12 08:32:59 AM]

Ive never seen so many intel and nvidia fan boys in one place (well apart from AT-TPU-HWC-HC). AMD is doing really good with trinity on the mobile side (more than a match for intel - whilst a few gens ahead on IGP) and not so bad on the server side either (best performance/dollar), they are destroying the competition on the GPU side (nvidia have still not released the lower end lol), AMD just needs to pass time until Steamroller rolls in, until then - hold tight and don`t go too far as i will be hunting you trolls down when that happens lol
4 1 [Posted by: keysplayer  | Date: 09/04/12 11:08:59 AM]

AMD just released the latest Trinity and Intel still can`t match it (Some selling now - OEM`s sell them already), the new mighty "Lightening-Bolt" which is better than intel blunderbolt. amd also has XBOX, PS4 and Nintendo contracts, AMD will (very soon) release Piledriver which is an OK upgrade, nonetheless - it will be enough until 2013 Steamroller pawnage and Gen 8 GPU Stomp-age...

4 1 [Posted by: keysplayer  | Date: 09/04/12 11:23:19 AM]


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