The AMD Fusion Family of Accelerated Processing Units (APUs), introduced to market in January 2011, is a new generation of processors that combines the computing processing unit (CPU) and graphics processing unit (GPU) capabilities in a single chip (die). APU-based platforms can deliver a prodigious amount of computational horsepower, and can present enormous opportunities in developing an application ecosystem beyond today’s mainstream computer systems.
While APUs seek to deliver a superior, immersive PC experience, they also can provide tangible environmental benefits. By eliminating a chip to chip link and by introducing new holistic power management techniques, the APUs are ...view middle of the document...
AMD has a long history of corporate responsibility and has repeatedly made, met, and in many cases, exceeded ambitious environmental goals. From 2001 through 2009, AMD published a report solely dedicated to its climate protection actions. In each report, AMD transparently and voluntarily tracked progress to goals established to protect our climate.
With the recent changes at AMD to transfer its major manufacturing assets to a joint venture, the company’s focus on climate protection has also changed. Without fabrication facilities under its operational control, AMD concentrated efforts in studying the effects of its products on the climate. One example is a recently completed carbon footprint study of AMD’s Phenom™ II X4 processors (The Phenom Footprint Study) using the Carbon Trust Footprint ExpertTM tool (1).
Carbon footprints are one of the more widely accepted tools available to businesses to assess the environmental impact of their products, and the results of these studies can be very instructive. For example, it is clear from this study and others referenced herein, that the largest carbon impacts of semiconductor products come from the use of the product itself as opposed to the impacts from its manufacturing or other life cycle stages. While the focus and resources applied to carbon emission reductions in the manufacturing stage are important, far more emissions reductions can be achieved by focusing on the design and use of the product.
This paper compares two generations of AMD processors with very different designs. Through a life cycle carbon footprint assessment, we compare the AMD E-350 APU (formerly codenamed “Zacate”) to the platform codenamed “Nile” that has roughly an equivalent performance. Because the APU has both computational and graphics processing capabilities, this study compared an APU platform (with the “Hudson” chip) against an equivalent performing platform comprising of a central processing unit (CPU), graphics processing unit (GPU) and other associated chips.
The overarching objective for this study is a quantitative comparison of the carbon footprint of an APU platform against a platform consisting of separate CPU and GPU elements with roughly equivalent processor performance. This study focused more on a relative comparison rather than absolute carbon emissions associated with a particular processor or platform. There was also a focus specifically on the product use phase. Findings from other studies are used, when available, to provide data for other phases such as manufacturing and supply chain emissions, which have much smaller impacts on the total carbon footprint. By focusing on the relative impacts of the two systems, the intent of this work is to reveal the environmental implications of the
A. AMD Fusion™ Technology and the Accelerated Processing Unit
AMD Fusion is a new approach to processor design, combining x86 CPU cores with the vector processing...