AMD's Piledriver-based chips to feature energy-recycling tech

By on February 22, 2012, 10:51 AM

AMD is working hard on a successor to the Bulldozer core that arrived in the last quarter of 2011 with its FX desktop CPU lineup. Dubbed "Piledriver", little details are available about the new processor cores so far, except that they'll debut with AMD's upcoming 'Trinity' APUs. Now a company called Cyclos Semiconductor is spilling the beans about a new power-recycling feature that will make its first appearance on Piledriver chips.

Speaking at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) in San Francisco recently, Cyclos claimed that the x86 processing core design destined for Piledriver processors will include its resonant clock mesh technology, a patented technique that can reduce the total power consumption of the processor core by up to 10 percent without sacrificing performance.

As EE Times explains, the technology uses on-chip inductors coupled with capacitors that store energy in electric fields to create something known as 'tank circuits'. These tank circuits swing energy back and forth between the electric and the magnetic fields, allowing for energy to be harvested and re-used. This means the technology recycles clock power instead of dissipating as heat every clock cycle as traditional designs do.

Cyclos was founded in 2006 as a spin out of the University of Michigan and in its early years it experimented with technology from ARM Holdings. However, AMD's Piledriver processors will mark the first large-volume commercial deployment of a resonant clock technology. Based on its tests the company says Piledriver cores could come with a factory clock speeds of 4GHz or more and energy savings will be in the 10-24% range.

The Piledriver core will be used in multi-core computer chips destined for desktops, laptops and servers. The second-generation A-Series 'Trinity' APU should arrive sometime in Q2 for mainstream desktop and laptops, while the second-generation FX processors (codenamed 'Vishera') won't arrive until Q3. It's not clear at this point of all Piledriver-based chips will feature Cyclos' technology or just a subset of them.

For its part, Cyclos has announced plans to target SoC manufacturers like Texas Instruments, Nvidia, Qualcomm and Intel with the same technology in order to improve the power efficiency of their chips.




User Comments: 9

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Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Such feature will hold much more value in SoCs, no matter which manufacturer is building them. Until piledriver chips arrive / benchmarks show up I would rather not comment on AMD's future.

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Archean said:

Such feature will hold much more value in SoCs, no matter which manufacturer is building them. Until piledriver chips arrive / benchmarks show up I would rather not comment on AMD's future.

I completely agree with everything there. Sounds great, but after the Bulldozer fiasco, we've learned that sounding great doesn't mean you'll ever achieve greatness... I'm another on the sidelines quietly rooting for AMD, but not expecting a home run. Better to be pleasantly surprised than extremely disappointed.

Guest said:

Bulldozer fiasco???Should be joking;)

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

Bulldozer fiasco???Should be joking

I agree.

2+ years late to market, outperformed by smaller die, slower clockspeed and cheaper CPU's with half the cores, whilst consuming more power and released alongside underdone motherboard BIOS's...all the while hyping its performance as an Intel killer (that in reality barely beats their own K10), and blaming Microsoft even though Bulldozer predates Windows 7 ...mmmmm

You're right- fiasco doesn't come close.

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

dividebyzero said:

You're right- fiasco doesn't come close.

Heh, true... How about Bulldozer Apocalypse?

ikesmasher said:

Theres no reason for anyone to want an intel (laptop) than a liano/trinity.

Guest said:

i feel that amd bulldozer process has been treated with bit unfair. Because we doesn't have real resource to fully test the amd AMD FX-8150 8-Core processor. If we have software which can fully utilize the 8 core processor then amd would be outperforming all intel processor. I think amd is very close to intel, on some day it will sure answer all critics and will dominate intel.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Unfortunately at this point in time, it seems a very distant probability (if it is one).

Guest said:

i feel that amd bulldozer process has been treated with bit unfair. Because we doesn't have real resource to fully test the amd AMD FX-8150 8-Core processor. If we have software which can fully utilize the 8 core processor then amd would be outperforming all intel processor. I think amd is very close to intel, on some day it will sure answer all critics and will dominate intel.

Take BOINC and Folding for example. Both use however many core the CPU has. Results were that FX-81xx is slower than 2500K clock to clock. Why? While Bulldozer has 8 integer cores, it only has 4 floating point unit. When we look at 8 cores, we are talking about high performance computation, which floating point operation matter the most. Combine that with lower IPC, 2500K outperforms FX-81xx. Performance per watt is also inferior to 2500K, and I expect this holds true for PD as well, even with this new resonant clock.

AMD pretty much is after the mainstream market at this point. They are focusing on mainstream/mobile market, not performance segment.

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