Intel aims to cut graphics power draw in chip

Intel says a new graphics core can cut power consumption by 40 percent and increase battery life in devices

Intel's new power-efficient graphics core

Intel's new power-efficient graphics core

Intel has designed a new integrated graphics core that the company claims can improve the battery life of smartphones, tablets and laptops.

Graphics can be power hungry and the new power-efficient core, when paired with a CPU, represents a leap in bringing down overall power consumption on chips, said Intel researcher Divya Kolar, in a blog entry.

"This graphics core incorporates several new features that allow it to improve energy efficiency by 40 percent -- essentially giving longer battery life for the same performance or improving performance when you really need it," Kolar wrote.

The graphics core was developed by Intel's researchers, and a paper about the technology is being presented at the International Solid State Circuits Conference in San Francisco this week. The graphics core was developed for Intel's latest chips made on the 22-nanometer manufacturing process, but the company did not provide a specific date on when the core would be in products. The core is being tested on a prototype chip in Intel's research labs.

Technologies developed by Intel's researchers selectively trickle down to the company's commercial products. Graphics and processing technologies derived from Intel's Larrabee chip are now being used in integrated graphics cores and the Xeon Phi supercomputer chips, but it took years for those features to be integrated.

Intel has been researching low-power circuitry and sleep states for years, and last year demonstrated a near-threshold voltage (NTV) CPU, which had the ability run at extremely low voltage levels. The CPU was able to operate a computer with the help of a light bulb, with power consumption dropping to as little as 280 millivolts when running at 3MHz, and up to 1.2 volts when running at around 1Ghz. Intel also said it was looking for ways to bring the near-threshold voltage technology to graphics processors.

Intel has improved power efficiency in the new graphics core by concentrating power consumption in fewer circuits, which allows inactive parts to go to even lower voltage. The researchers focused voltage concentration in the memory arrays of the graphics core.

Other tweaks include the introduction of a feature called "adaptive clocking," which involves boosting voltage regulators to automatically slow down the clock rates to prevent failures or errors. Power and performance is typically optimized in graphics cores by turning circuitry on and off, but errors can arise if voltage regulators do not function properly. Intel researchers added a feature in which voltage fluctuations are matched by slowing down the processor clock speed, which improves the power efficiency of the graphics core.

Researchers also added of a separate voltage supply to manage power, which could allow more circuits to go into sleep state, resulting in power savings.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags intelprocessorsComponents

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Agam Shah

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?