AMD's upcoming Carrizo APU architecture will deliver the largest jump in performance-per-watt in the company's history, according to CEO Dr Lisa Su. The Carrizo family of mainstream APUs sport next-gen Excavator CPU cores paired with discrete-class GCN graphics. AMD will be coming to market with two variants, Carrizo and Carrizo-L, in Q2 of this year which we detailed back in November 2014.
These improvements are part of AMD's wider '25x20' plan to increase energy efficiency by 25 per cent between 2014 and 2020. AMD's Dr Lisa Su made the following statement at the earnings call for 2014 where the company revealed weak last quarter results for 2014 as well as a tentative forecast for the first quarter of this year.
"We plan to introduce a strong 2015 product portfolio, punctuated by the launch of Carrizo in the second quarter. Consumer and commercial design win momentum for Carrizo continue to gain momentum because it will deliver the largest ever generational leap in performance per watt for our mainstream APUs.
So we are enthusiastic about our Carrizo launch that will take place in the second quarter. I think if you look at, you know, the improvements that will come with that, HSA is one of them. We’ll also have significantly improved performance in battery life in Carrizo."
Carrizo manages to achieve said efficiency gains without relying on a die-shrink, it makes use of the same 28nm SHP process as its predecessor, Kaveri. Carrizo blends architectural enhancements with a full Heterogeneous Systems Architecture (HSA) implementation to reduce power consumption and increase performance within the same die-size constraints as Kaveri.
One of those architectural enhancements is 'voltage adaptive operation' which is an improved method of scaling voltage with frequency to maintain system stability and minimise power wastage. AMD expects voltage adaptive operation to deliver a 15 per cent increase in performance per watt on its own. That technology, combined with an array of other improvements, should allow AMD's Carrizo to bring impressive power efficiency to the table. Of course, that's if it isn't just marketing hype, only time will tell.