AMD today announced an extremely ambitious goal: to reach thirty times higher energy efficiency of its Epyc CPUs and Instinct GPU accelerators by 2025. AMD itself knows how lofty a goal this is: the aim surpasses typical industry-wide efficiency improvements by 150%.
AMD’s energy efficiency goal comes in wake of vastly increased processing requirements for accelerated compute nodes, which carry out functions such as AI training, climate prediction, genomics, and large-scale supercomputer simulations. if AMD reaches its goal, the company says overall energy consumption of these systems would be reduced by a staggering 97% over a five-year period.
“Achieving gains in processor energy efficiency is a long-term design priority for AMD and we are now setting a new goal for modern compute nodes using our high-performance CPUs and accelerators when applied to AI training and high-performance computing deployments,”, said Mark Papermaster, AMD’s Executive Vice President and CTO. “Focused on these very important segments and the value proposition for leading companies to enhance their environmental stewardship, AMD’s 30x goal outpaces industry energy efficiency performance in these areas by 150% compared to the previous five-year period”.
AMD has already been exploring a wealth of power-efficiency improvements on its CPU and GPU designs – so much so that AMD’s Zen CPUs actually beat Intel’s best in the performance/watt ratio. The company also made massive improvements to power consumption on its RDNA 2 GPUs, claiming the energy efficiency crown from Nvidia. Part of these improvements can be attributed to manufacturing node jumps, at least on the GPU side. However, as costs for denser manufacturing processes baloon and research and development times increase, AMD clearly isn’t banking solely on these. Rather, technologies such as 3D cache stacking (Infinity Cache as applied to RDNA 2’s chips reduces power consumption substantially) and an increasingly efficiency-first engineering approach will be required. It remains to be seen what techniques AMD will be looking for in order to reach this goal, as none were specifically mentioned on the company’s announcement.