AMD Delivers a Major Mobile Efficiency Milestone

Posted on June 25, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Hardware, Mobile with 38 Comments

In 2014, AMD said that it would improve the energy efficiency of its mobile processors by 25 times by 2020. But the firm has exceeded that goal: The new AMD Ryzen 7 4800H mobile processor improves on the energy efficiency of the 2014 baseline measurement by 31.7 times, the firm says, while offering “leadership performance” for portable PCs.

“We have always focused on energy efficiency in our processors, but in 2014 we decided to put even greater emphasis on this capability,” AMD CTO Mark Papermaster says in a prepared statement. “Our engineering team rallied around the challenge and charted a path to reach our stretch goal of 25 times greater energy efficiency by 2020. We were able to far surpass our objective, achieving 31.7 times improvement leading to gaming and ultrathin laptops with unmatched performance, graphics and long battery life. I could not be prouder of our engineering and business teams.”

As AMD notes, greater energy efficiency leads to significant real-world benefits, including improved battery life, better performance, lower energy costs, and reduced environmental impact from computing. And with the focus in mobile computing hardware switching to performance-per-watt these days, AMD is trying to position itself as the traditional PC chipmaker that can rise to the ARM challenge.

You know, unlike Intel.

Most readers are probably familiar with “Moore’s Law,” the observation made by Intel’s Gordon Moore that the number of components in integrated circuits would double every year. (At least originally, this was modified over time to 18 months and then 2 years.) For mobile, AMD is citing the similar “Koomey’s Law,” created by Stanford consulting professor Jonathan G. Koomey, by which energy efficiency will likewise double every year and a half.

“Six years ago, AMD challenged itself to dramatically improve the real-world energy efficiency of its mobile processors,” Dr. Koomey says of AMD’s milestone. “I have reviewed the data and can report that AMD exceeded the 25×20 goal it set in 2014 through improved design, superior optimization, and a laser-like focus on energy efficiency. With a chip 31.7 times more energy-efficient than its 2014 predecessor, AMD has far outpaced in real-world efficiency gains what would be expected from a traditional Moore’s Law pace as embodied in Koomey’s Law.”

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