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AMD's Piledriver uses Cyclos clock IP

Posted: 22 Feb 2012     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:x86-64 core processor  Piledriver  resonant clock mesh technology 

AMD has selected Cyclos Semiconductor's resonant clock mesh IP for its next-generation x86-64 core processor family 'Piledriver'. "AMD's 4+ GHz x86-64 core code-named "Piledriver" employs resonant clocking to reduce clock distribution power up to 24 per cent while maintaining the low clock-skew target required by high-performance processors," said Cyclos.

Fabricated in a 32nm CMOS process, Piledriver represents the first volume production-enabled implementation of resonant clock mesh technology.

Cyclos resonant clock mesh technology employs on-chip inductors to create an electric pendulum, or 'tank circuit', formed by the large capacitance of the clock mesh in parallel with the Cyclos inductors. The Cyclos inductors and clock control circuits recycle the clock power instead of dissipating it on every clock cycle like in a clock tree implementation, which results in a reduction in total IC power consumption of up to 10 per cent.

"High-performance processors have used clock mesh designs for years, but with growing emphasis on power reduction in both servers and mobile PCs, the traditional approach has become too power hungry," said Linley Gwennap, principal analyst, The Linley Group. "This announcement proves that the Cyclos resonant clock mesh technology provides meaningful power savings in real-world products. We expect other processor designers to adopt the Cyclos technology in applications where power reduction is important."

Marios Papaefthymiou, founder and president, Cyclos Semiconductor, added, "Now that the Cyclos technology is validated, we're looking forward to expand into SoC designs via the design automation tools that are in development at Cyclos. We believe resonant clock mesh design will be a key enabler for GHz+ embedded processor IP blocks in next generation SoCs that also require ultra-low power consumption."

AMD is expected to launch chips with Piledriver cores later this year.

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