AMD's Next-Generation Opteron "Bulldozer" Chips to Feature Adjustable TDP

AMD's Interlagos and Valencia to Sport TDP Power Cap Feature

by Anton Shilov
06/28/2011 | 10:37 PM

Advanced Micro Devices' next-generation Opteron microprocessors based on Bulldozer micro-architecture will support capability to adjust maximum thermal design power (TDP). The technology will allow customers to regulate TDPs in order to balance power consumption and performance of data centers.

 

Today's AMD Opteron processors allow turning off processor states in order to reduce power consumption, though that ultimately can lead to somewhat lower performance. Still, some large server users value power efficiency higher than pure performance. AMD promises that code-named Interlagos and Valencia will be able to reduce the TDP and maintain performance level of the chips.

"With today’s AMD Power Cap Manager, you can limit the processor P-states and cut power consumption although this limits the processor’s ability to get to the top frequency (which is also the most power-hungry spot on the curve as you can imagine).  By essentially “locking out” the top P-state, the processor never gets into that state, even under heavy utilization, helping cut down total power to the processor," explained John Fruehe, director of product marketing for server, embedded and FireStream products at AMD.

With the new TDP Power Cap for AMD Opteron  processors based on the upcoming “Bulldozer” core, customers will be able to set TDP power limits in 1W increments.  This means that instead of having to choose between different TDPs for processors, one can actually buy any power range and then modulate down.

Reducing per-processor TDP slightly means that it will be possible to install more processors into pre-specified power budget without compromising performance significantly. Moreover, if a workload does not exceed the new modulated power limit, one can still get top speed because since the top P-state is unlocked and allows to reach a power level.