Ahead of a speech in China, AMD executives have laid out a decades-long plan to increase mainstream processors' power efficiency 25-fold, making laptops have several days of battery life. Simultaneously, the company is aiming to catch up with Intel, and boost performance, while delivering the energy efficiency that the company sees as possible.
AMD researcher and fellow Sam Naffziger envisions a 1W processor for computers in the near-future, with "several days of battery life." Naffziger cites larger gains for the world with such technologies, nothing that the three billion PCs in use consume a combined one percent of the world's entire power output, with 20 million servers consuming another 1.5 percent.
Naffziger says that power management is getting so good, that soon a processor will shift to low-power between user keystrokes or between video frames. The concept, called "race to idle," turns off portions of a chip not in use, or as rapidly as possible following a processor-intensive job.
AMD's chief technology officer Mark Papermaster sees the technology as a massive shift away from the process-based improvements that have been made up until now, the framework for Moore's Law. He believes that power management and efficiency improvements are "going to have a big impact on the industry." In the last six years, AMD processors' power efficiency has improved by a factor of 10.
"Through APU architectural enhancements and intelligent power efficient￼ techniques, our customers can expect to see us dramatically improve the energy efficiency of our processors during the next several years." Papermaster said. "Setting a goal to improve the energy efficiency of our processors 25 times by 2020 is a measure of our commitment and confidence in our approach."