|Design firm||Advanced Micro Devices|
|Type||dynamic frequency scaling|
AMD PowerPlay is the brand name for a set of technologies for the reduction of the energy consumption implemented in several of AMD's graphics processing units and APUs supported by their proprietary graphics device driver "Catalyst". AMD PowerPlay is also implemented into ATI/AMD chipsets which integrated graphics and into AMD's Imageon handheld chipset, that was sold to Qualcomm in 2008.
Besides the desirable goal to reduce energy consumption, AMD PowerPlay helps to lower the noise levels created by the cooling in desktop computers and extend battery life in mobile devices. AMD PowerPlay has been succeeded by AMD PowerTune.
The technology was first implemented in Mobility Radeon products for notebooks, to provide a set of features to lower the power consumption of the laptop computer. The technology consists of several technologies; examples include dynamic clock adjustments when the notebook is not plugged into a power socket and allowing different backlight brightness levels of the notebook LCD monitor. The technology was updated with the release of each generation of mobile GPUs. The latest release is ATI PowerPlay 7.0.
Since the release of Radeon HD 3000 Series, PowerPlay was implemented to further reduce the power consumption of desktop GPUs.
Currently supported products
The official ATI support list lists only the ATI Radeon 3800 series desktop cards, but PowerPlay is also a listed feature of all Radeon HD 3000/4000/5000 series products. Independent reviews indicated that the latter was already lower power compared to other 3D cards, so the addition of PowerPlay to that line was clearly intended to address an increasingly power, heat and noise conscious market. The ATI Radeon HD 2600 line - which does not support PowerPlay - was being phased out in favour of the 3000 series at the same price points that also support PCI Express 2.0, DirectX 10.1 and faster GDDR3 memory.
The entire ATI Radeon Xpress line is also supported for single board computers which tend to be power sensitive and used in large installations where configuration and boot image control are major concerns.
Support for "PowerPlay" was added to the Linux kernel driver "amdgpu" on November 11, 2015.
Desktop versus laptop
The main difference between the desktop and laptop versions is that the desktop version cuts the features which are aimed at notebook usage, including variable LCD backlight brightness. The PowerPlay technology for Radeon desktop graphics features three usage scenarios: normal mode (2D mode), light gaming mode and intensive gaming mode (3D mode), replacing notebook scenarios (running on AC power or battery power). Tests indicated that the lowest core clock frequency of an RV670 GPU core can reach as low as 300 MHz with PowerPlay technology enabled.
Feature overview for AMD APUs
|Brand||Llano||Trinity||Richland||Kaveri||Carrizo||Bristol Ridge||Raven Ridge||Desna, Ontario, Zacate||Kabini, Temash||Beema, Mullins||Carrizo-L||Stoney Ridge|
|Platform||Desktop, Mobile||Mobile||Desktop, Mobile||Ultra-mobile|
|Released||Aug 2011||Oct 2012||Jun 2013||Jan 2014||Jun 2015||Jun 2016||TBA||Jan 2011||May 2013||Q2 2014||May 2015||June 2016|
|Fab. (nm)||GlobalFoundries 32 SOI||28||14||TSMC 40||28|
|Die size (mm2)||228||246||245||244.62||250.04||TBA||75 (+ 28 FCH)||~107||TBA||125|
|Socket||FM1, FS1||FM2, FS1+, FP2||FM2+, FP3||FM2+, FP4||AM4, FP4||AM4, FP5||FT1||AM1, FT3||FT3b||FP4||FP4|
|CPU architecture||AMD 10h||Piledriver||Steamroller||Excavator||Zen||Bobcat||Jaguar||Puma||Puma+||Excavator|
|3D engine[a]||TeraScale (VLIW5)||TeraScale (VLIW4)||GCN 2nd Gen (Mantle, HSA)||GCN 3rd Gen (Mantle, HSA)||GCN 5th Gen (Mantle, HSA)||TeraScale (VLIW5)||GCN 2nd Gen||GCN 3rd Gen|
|Up to 400:20:8||Up to 384:24:6||Up to 512:32:8||TBA||80:8:4||128:8:4||Up to 192:?:?|
|Unified Video Decoder||UVD 3||UVD 4.2||UVD 6||TBA||UVD 3||UVD 4||UVD 4.2||UVD 6||UVD 6.3|
|Video Coding Engine||N/A||VCE 1.0||VCE 2.0||VCE 3.1||TBA||N/A||VCE 2.0||VCE 3.1|
|GPU power saving||PowerPlay||PowerTune||N/A||PowerTune|
Feature overview for AMD graphics cards
|Released||Apr 2000||Aug 2001||Sep 2002||May 2004||Oct 2005||May 2007||Nov 2007||Jun 2008||Sep 2009||Oct 2010||Jan 2012||Sep 2013||Jun 2015||Jun 2016||TBA|
|Instruction set||not publicly known||TeraScale instruction set||GCN instruction set|
|Microarchitecture||TeraScale 1 (VLIW5)||TeraScale 2 (VLIW5)||TeraScale 3 (VLIW4)||GCN 1st gen||GCN 2nd gen||GCN 3rd gen||GCN 4th gen||GCN 5th gen|
|Type||Fixed pipeline||Programmable pixel&vertex pipelines||Unified shader model|
Windows 7+ full support for 1.0
|OpenCL||N/A||Close to Metal||1.1||1.2||2.0||TBA|
|Power saving||Unknown||PowerPlay||PowerTune||PowerTune & ZeroCore Power|
|Unified Video Decoder||N/A||Avivo/UVD||UVD+||UVD 2||UVD 2.2||UVD 3||UVD 4||UVD 4.2||UVD 5.0 or 6.0||UVD 6.3||UVD 7|
|Video Coding Engine||N/A||VCE 1.0||VCE 2.0||VCE 3.0 or 3.1||VCE 3.4||VCE 4.0|
|TrueAudio||N/A||Dedicated DSP||Run on the shaders||TBA|
|Max. resolution||Unknown||2–6x 2560×1600||2–6x 4096×2160 @ 60 Hz||2–6x 5120x2880 @ 60 Hz||TBA|
||N/A||experimental||not in mainline yet|
- Cool'n'Quiet & PowerNow! – power saving technologies for CPUs
- NVIDIA PowerMizer, similar functionality provided in mobile GeForce products
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