AMD reveals more about Barcelona power saving

Intel isn't the only one sharing details about its new chip designs at the Integrated Solid State Circuits Conference. As The Inquirer relates, AMD has taken the opportunity to reveal a few nuggets of information concerning power management features in its upcoming quad-core Barcelona processors. Barcelona will be able to scale power planes for each core independently, although voltage will be set by the most loaded core and remain the same across the chip. The chip's memory controller will also be able to run at full speed when the cores are powered down, and The Inq says it will even be able to shut down DDR read or write channels to save power.

Looking inside the individual cores, AMD has employed finer clock gating in order to cut power to logic areas that aren't in use. Last, but not least, Barcelona won't require a software driver to fully enable its power management features, unlike current Athlon 64 chips that need a special "Cool'n'Quiet" driver. AMD says "Barcelona" Opterons will come in 68W, 95W, and 120W power envelopes, just like current dual-core Opterons. The upcoming chips are still on track to launch in the middle of this year.

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