AMD PowerTune

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AMD PowerTune
AMD PowerTune Technology logo 2014.svg
Design firm Advanced Micro Devices
Introduced December 2011
Type Dynamic frequency scaling

AMD PowerTune is a trademark for a series of dynamic frequency scaling technologies built into some AMD GPUs and APUs that allow the clock speed of the processor to be dynamically changed (to different P-states) by software. This allows the processor to meet the instantaneous performance needs of the operation being performed, while minimizing power draw, heat generation and noise. AMD PowerTune aims to solve thermal design power and performance constraints.[1]

Besides the reduced energy consumption, AMD PowerTune helps to lower the noise levels created by the cooling in desktop computers, and extends battery life in mobile devices. AMD PowerTune is the successor to AMD PowerPlay.[2]

Support for "PowerPlay" was added to the Linux kernel driver "amdgpu" on November, 11 2015.[3]

As a lecture from CCC in 2014 nicely shows, AMD's x86-64 SMU firmware is executed on some LatticeMico32 and PowerTune was modeled using Matlab.[4] This is similar to Nvidia's PDAEMON, the RTOS responsible for power on their GPUs.[5]


Architecture of the PowerTune version, that was introduced with GCN1.1-chips, such as the Bonaire

AMD PowerTune was introduced in the TeraScale 3 (VLIW4) with Radeon HD 6900 in Dec 15, 2010 and has been available in different development stages on Radeon- and AMD FirePro-branded products ever since.

Over the years, reviews which document the development of AMD PowerTune have been published by AnandTech.[6][7][8][9]

An additional technology named AMD ZeroCore Power has been available since the Radeon HD 7000 Series, implementing the Graphics Core Next microarchitecture.

The pointlessness of a fixed clock frequency was accredited in January 2014 by SemiAccurate.[10]

Operating system support[edit]

Support for PowerTune is contained in the Linux kernel device driver amdgpu.

AMD Catalyst is available for Microsoft Windows and Linux and supports AMD PowerTune since version.[which?]

The free and open-source "Radeon" graphics device driver has some support for AMD PowerTune, see "Enduro".[11]

Feature overview for AMD APUs[edit]

Features of AMD Accelerated Processing Units
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+[12] Excavator
Memory support DDR3-1866
Up to
3D engine[a] TeraScale (VLIW5) TeraScale (VLIW4) GCN 2nd Gen (Mantle, HSA) GCN 3rd Gen (Mantle, HSA) GCN 5th Gen[13] (Mantle, HSA) TeraScale (VLIW5) GCN 2nd Gen GCN 3rd Gen[13]
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[15]
Max. displays[b] 2–3 2–4 2–4 3 4 TBA 2 TBA TBA
TrueAudio N/A Yes[17] N/A[14] TBA
FreeSync N/A Yes N/A TBA
/drm/radeon[18][11] Yes N/A Yes N/A
/drm/amdgpu[19] N/A Yes[20] Yes N/A Yes[20] Yes
  1. ^ Unified shaders : texture mapping units : render output units
  2. ^ To feed more than two displays, the additional panels must have native DisplayPort support.[16] Alternatively active DisplayPort-to-DVI/HDMI/VGA adapters can be employed.

Feature overview for AMD graphics cards[edit]

Features of ATI and AMD Radeon GPUs
R100 R200 R300 R400 R500 R600 RV670 R700 Evergreen Northern
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
Direct3D 7.0 8.1 9.0 9.0b 9.0c 10.0 10.1 11.0 11.1 12.0 TBA
Shader Model N/A 1.4 2.0+ 2.0b 3.0 4.0 4.1 5.0 5.1 TBA
OpenGL 1.3 2.0 3.3 4.4 4.5
Vulkan N/A Linux experimental
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[21]
Video Coding Engine N/A VCE 1.0 VCE 2.0 VCE 3.0 or 3.1 VCE 3.4 VCE 4.0[21]
TrueAudio N/A Dedicated DSP Run on the shaders TBA
FreeSync N/A Yes TBA
Max. displays[a] 1–2 2 2–6
Max. resolution Unknown 2–6x 2560×1600 2–6x 4096×2160 @ 60 Hz 2–6x 5120x2880 @ 60 Hz TBA
/drm/radeon[b] Yes N/A
/drm/amdgpu[b] N/A experimental[22] Yes not in mainline yet
  1. ^ More displays may be supported with native DisplayPort connections, or splitting the maximum resolution between multiple monitors with active converters.
  2. ^ a b DRM (Direct Rendering Manager) is a component of the Linux kernel. Support in this table refers to the most current version.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "AMD PowerTune Technology" (pdf). AMD. 2012-03-23. 
  2. ^ "AMD PowerTune vs PowerPlay" (pdf). AMD. 2010-12-01. 
  3. ^ "Add amdgpu powerplay support". 2015-11-11. 
  4. ^ "AMD x86 SMU firmware analysis". 2014-12-27. 
  5. ^ "Reverse engineering power management on Nvidia GPUs" (PDF). 
  6. ^ "Redefining TDP With PowerTune". AnandTech. 2010-12-15. 
  7. ^ "Introducing PowerTune Technology With Boost". AnandTech. 2012-06-22. 
  8. ^ "The New PowerTune: Adding Further States". AnandTech. 2013-03-22. 
  9. ^ "PowerTune: Improved Flexibility & Fan Speed Throttling". AnandTech. 2014-10-23. 
  10. ^ "What is AMD’s PowerTune 2.0 and what does it do?". SemiAccurate. 2013-12-16. 
  11. ^ a b "Radeon feature matrix". Retrieved 2016-01-10. 
  12. ^ "AMD Mobile “Carrizo” Family of APUs Designed to Deliver Significant Leap in Performance, Energy Efficiency in 2015" (Press release). 2014-11-20. Retrieved 2015-02-16. 
  13. ^ a b "AMD VEGA10 and VEGA11 GPUs spotted in OpenCL driver". Retrieved 6 June 2017. 
  14. ^ a b Thomas De Maesschalck (2013-11-14). "AMD teases Mullins and Beema tablet/convertibles APU". Retrieved 2015-02-24. 
  15. ^ Tony Chen; Jason Greaves, "AMD's Graphics Core Next (GCN) Architecture" (PDF), AMD, retrieved 2016-08-13 
  16. ^ "How do I connect three or More Monitors to an AMD Radeon™ HD 5000, HD 6000, and HD 7000 Series Graphics Card?". AMD. Retrieved 2014-12-08. 
  17. ^ "A technical look at AMD’s Kaveri architecture". Semi Accurate. Retrieved 6 July 2014. 
  18. ^ Airlie, David (2009-11-26). "DisplayPort supported by KMS driver mainlined into Linux kernel 2.6.33". Retrieved 2016-01-16. 
  19. ^ Deucher, Alexander (2015-09-16). "XDC2015: AMDGPU" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-01-16. 
  20. ^ a b Michel Dänzer (2016-11-17). "[ANNOUNCE] xf86-video-amdgpu 1.2.0". 
  21. ^ a b Killian, Zak (22 March 2017). "AMD publishes patches for Vega support on Linux". Tech Report. Retrieved 23 March 2017. 
  22. ^ Larabel, Michael (7 December 2016). "The Best Features Of The Linux 4.9 Kernel". Phoronix. Retrieved 7 December 2016. 

External links[edit]