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Chipmaker AMD says its chips have become 31.7 times more efficient in 6 years

While this clarifies that AMD has surpassed its goals by quite a bit, the announcement is more significant because of the timing

Chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), today, announced that it has achieved a goal it set for itself six years ago. According to the company, the AMD Ryzen 7 4800H processor is 31.7 times more performance efficient as compared to the Kaveri FX-7600P from six years ago. The company has set itself a target in 2014, that it would achieve 25 times the performance efficiency in its processors by 2020.

While this clarifies that AMD has surpassed its goals by quite a bit, the announcement is more significant because of the timing. Over this week, Apple announced that it will be moving from x86 architecture-based processors from Intel to Advanced RISC Machines’ (ARM) 64-bit architecture. PC giant Microsoft has been doing the same, and had even designed an ARM-based chipset called the SQ1 in partnership with Qualcomm earlier.

Chipsets based on ARM have always been known for their efficiency, and are used in mobile devices because they draw less power than AMD and Intel’s processors, which are both based on x86 architectures. Apple’s announcement this week has raised questions about the future of companies like AMD and Intel in the PC industry.

The two companies though still provide more powerful processors than ARM-based chipsets and most powerful PC software require these processors to perform at their best. While companies like Adobe have made some such apps available on ARM-based systems, they still sport less than half of their full features.

Companies like Adobe have been working on ARM versions of their software, but it’s still unclear whether full versions of these software will ever be available for such chipsets. What ARM processors on PCs really achieve almost double the battery life on laptops right now, which is perhaps enough to compromise on the performance loss.

If companies like Intel and AMD can produce more efficient processors, while keeping true to their performance goals, they could remain relevant. In context of this announcement, Sam Naffziger, AMD Fellow, told AnandTech that ARM chipset designs are still to reach the same level of performance as AMD and Intel’s high end processors.

To be clear, AMD’s announcement today don’t mean its processors are as efficient as ARM. But it’s an indicator that companies like these are working towards that goal, perhaps taking note of ARM’s onslaught. Competitor Intel recently revealed its Lakefield processors, a hybrid CPU program that has been touted to be the company’s answer to ARM architectures. They use Intel’s Foveros 3D packaging technology to improve efficiency and reduce the size of the chip.

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