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AMD's long-term mobile computing roadmap. (Source: AMD)
AMD prepares to take on Centrino with more power saving features

AMD is preparing to take on Intel’s Centrino, current Santa Rosa and upcoming Montevina, platforms with the next-generation Puma mobile platform. At the heart of Puma is AMD’s next-generation Griffin-core 65nm mobile processor, ready to take on Intel’s Core 2 Duo with a power saving vengeance. Griffin is a dual-core mobile processor geared towards enhanced performance without sacrificing battery life.

AMD’s Griffin features extensive power saving characteristics, more so than its upcoming Barcelona-family, such as an improved split power plane. The split power plane supported by Griffin allows the memory controller and each processor core to operate with independent voltages. Griffin’s DDR2 memory controller also features an improved DRAM pre-fetcher and enhancements in efficiency. With the split power planes, the memory controller’s power plane operates at a lower voltage than the two CPU cores.

AMD's Technical Director Sales and Marketing, Giuseppe Amato, hinted that independent core voltage would be an upcoming announcement on Griffin earlier this year.

The upcoming AMD Barcelona features split power planes for the processor cores and memory controller. Griffin one-ups Barcelona by allowing each processor core to have its own voltage plane, allowing each core to operate with different frequencies and voltages. The system can theoretically disable one core to conserve power with split voltage planes, for minimal idle power consumption.

Griffin also supports HyperTransport 3.0 with enhanced power management features. HyperTransport 3.0 allows Griffin to scale the link widths on demand to reduce power consumption. Griffin can also disconnect HyperTransport when it is not needed, even when the processor cores are executing instructions.

AMD’s upcoming 780G will join Griffin to form the Puma platform. Again, Amato detailed much of this platform earlier this year as an AMD780-based solution.

The AMD 780G delivers DirectX 10 graphics with the Universal Video Decoder, or UVD, for hardware accelerated Blu-ray and HD DVD high-definition video playback. Multiple display output capabilities are supported with the AMD 780G including DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort. The chipset also supports HyperTransport 3.0 and PCI Express 2.0.

New to the AMD 780G is AMD’s PowerXPress technology that allows the system to switch between integrated and external PCIe 2.0 graphics dynamically without restarting Windows. The technology promises “the best of both worlds” by enabling the integrated graphics core when the notebook is running on battery power and automatically switching to the higher performing external graphics while plugged in.

Other notable features of the AMD 780G include support for HyperFlash via upcoming SB700 south bridge. HyperFlash is similar to Intel’s Turbo Memory technology and allows notebook manufacturers to attach flash memory to the south bridge for enhanced performance.

Expect Puma to succeed Trevally in 2008.

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powerXpress is the way to go
By m104 on 5/18/2007 12:34:10 AM , Rating: 2
...but when will we see gfx cards that can adapt power consumption to whatever situation they'r in themselves? I mean a 8800 GTX draw alot of power just running a desktop - and that definatly keeps me from buying that card, as my bills would get really huge

RE: powerXpress is the way to go
By James Holden on 5/18/2007 12:36:01 AM , Rating: 2
Yep no kidding. Why care about saving 1W on the CPU when the GPUs are pulling 220W.

RE: powerXpress is the way to go
By leidegre on 5/18/2007 2:53:04 AM , Rating: 2
I've read some vague articles about the up-coming NVidia and ATI GPUs and they talk about splitting the GPU into a multi-core architecture. We all know that GPU rendering lends itself to parallelism very well (Shaders for one have always run well in parallel).

So maybe this is the way the architecture evolves. If you had as many as 32 cores, you could turn them on and off so save power. Also it might be more rewarding creating a much larger die to avoid single unit build up a lot of heat.

RE: powerXpress is the way to go
By Moishe on 5/18/2007 8:13:06 AM , Rating: 2
I'm always surprised when I see the huge power draws of GPUs at idle. I don't know anything about how they work, but I would have assumed that the 3D portion of the chip would be off while not in use. Of course, with Aero being 3D the desktop would no longer be in lower power mode, but still....

If there is no need for the heavy lifting, it should use no power. Maybe that's just a pipedream.

RE: powerXpress is the way to go
By m104 on 5/18/2007 8:38:42 AM , Rating: 2
i feel the same way

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