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Wednesday, June 29, 2011
AMD's Upcoming Bulldozer Chips to Offer Adjustable TDP

AMD will implement a new TDP Power Cap for the AMD Opteron processors based on the upcoming "Bulldozer" core, allowing users to set TDP power limits in 1 watt increments in order to balance power consumption and performance of data centers.

Many people in the cloud and dense computing world have data center racks that are packed that tight. Every watt counts because at load, they are maximizing everything in their power budget per rack.

Designed for blades, clouds and other dense environments where every watt counts, AMD will add a new feature in its upcoming processors codenamed "Interlagos" and "Valencia": TDP Power Cap.

In today?s products you can cap the power of a server by turning off processor states, though that ultimately can lead to somewhat lower performance. The currently provided AMD Power Cap Manager allows users to limit the processor P-states and cut power consumption although this limits the processor?s ability to get to the top frequency. By essentially "locking out" the top P-state, the processor never gets into that state, even under heavy utilization, helping cut down total power to the processor.

With the new TDP Power Cap for AMD Opteron processors, users will be able to set TDP power limits in 1 watt increments.This means that instead of having to choose between different TDPs for processors, users will able to buy any power range and then modulate down.

For example, let?s say that you have a maximum power draw on your fully configured server of 300W, and you have 42 slots in your server. The simple math says that you have 12.6Kw of power load that you need to be able to support. Now, if your power budget only allows you to bring 12Kw to the rack, you essentially have 2 slots that need to be left open in the rack because you can only support 40 and not 42 servers. But, by utilizing a custom TDP, you could drop the max power that some servers could draw, bringing you in under the limit of 12Kw and still getting 42 servers in the rack.

In addition, if your workload does not exceed the new modulated power limit, you can still get top speed because you aren?t locking out the top P-state just to reach a power level.

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