AMD gives Opterons adjustable TDP

Fabless chip maker AMD has said that its next-generation Opteron microprocessors, which use Bulldozer micro-architecture, will be able to adjust the maximum thermal design power (TDP).

It means that customers can regulate TDPs in order to balance power consumption and performance of data centres.

Opterons allow for turning off processors when they are not doing much to reduce power consumption. This leads to somewhat lower performance but some data centres prefer this to having huge power bills.

John Fruehe, director of product marketing for server, embedded and FireStream products at AMD said that the Opteron Power Cap Manager limits the processor P-states and cuts power consumption. But this limits the processor’s ability to get to the top frequency because this can suck the juice out of a lemon.

Now, according to X-bit, AMD promises that code-named Interlagos and Valencia will be able to reduce the TDP and maintain performance level of the chips.

The TDP Power Cap for AMD Opteron processors will allow customers to set TDP power limits in single watt increments. Instead of having to choose between different TDPs for processors, it is possible to buy any power range and then modulate it down as much as you need.

For a data manager it means that they can install more processors into pre-specified power budget without compromising performance significantly.

If a workload goes past the new modulated power limit, it is possible to get get top speed because since the top P-state is unlocked and allows to reach a power level, Fruehe said.