Energy efficiency is a constant concern for larger organizations like enterprises and governments. However, energy efficiency is becoming a regular point of discussion among regulators when looking at the environmental costs of computing. It has been mentioned more than once by activists and governments that computing has a specific energy cost that society must bear. Additionally, everyone’s computers consume a certain amount of power, and let’s just say that power supply wattages haven’t necessarily gone down. However, there are some bright spots and initiatives from companies to reduce the total power consumption and to improve energy efficiency. AMD started an initiative in 2014 called 25x20. This initiative states that the company will attempt to improve energy efficiency by 25x by 2020 by combining the company’s GPUs and CPUs as an average metric of performance and power consumption.
AMD has announced that the company has not only reached the 25x20 goal but surpassed it by hitting a 31.7x improvement in energy efficiency. AMD got to this 25x objective by improving performance alone by 5x since 2014, which is a blend of CPU and GPU performance across all of AMD’s product offerings. If you focus on CPU alone, it appears to be even higher than 5x. The chip that AMD produced this year to accomplish that task is a Ryzen 4000 Series notebook chip, the Ryzen 7 4800H. The AMD Ryzen 7 4800H consumes less than 1/6th the typical energy of their 2014 APU while still delivering a 5x performance gain. The AMD Ryzen 4800H is 31.7x more energy efficient than the baseline metric, more than beating the company’s expectations of 25x set in 2014. AMD set this goal by following a baseline from Koomey’s Law and extrapolated it out to 2020, anticipating a 25x increase in 6 years.
Koomey’s Law is an energy efficiency law established for computing that was established in 2010, but looked at computations per kWh from 1946 to 2009 and found a trend. This trend says that for about 50 years, the number of computations per joule of energy dissipated doubled every 1.57 years. However, what Koomey’s Law doesn’t communicate very well is that if you were to take AMD’s example and replace 50,000 AMD laptops from 2014 with 2020 models with the latest architecture, you would be about 80% quicker while also being 84% lower power at the same time. I believe that AMD’s goals, while good for the environment, are also good for the company as they have struggled with power consumption in the past.
AMD’s reaching of the 25x20 goal is an admirable one, and it is nice to see a leading semiconductor vendor commit to such goals and then surpass them. We all know that energy efficiency and the pollution of the environment is something to be concerned about. Still, it’s also good to know that our computers are doing more computing, faster, at lower power. I believe that AMD’s massive advances in CPU performance have been a prominent driving force for the company hitting this goal, especially with the help of leading nodes like 7nm. I believe AMD’s innovations with power management and have been significant and have helped the company deliver a competitive mobile chip for laptop computing. The new ASUS Zephyrus G14 is a perfect illustration of AMD’s competitiveness in the category, which genuinely makes it a competitive laptop in terms of both total performance and battery life. I hope that we will continue to see this pace of innovation from AMD and for them to continue to set ambitious goals for the sake of sustainability as well as a better experience for the user.
Note: Moor Insights & Strategy writers and editors may have contributed to this article.