AMD: Frequency scaling may now be regressing

Posted on Monday, March 18 2019 @ 14:47 CET by Thomas De Maesschalck
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Speaking at the Rice Oil and Gas HPC conference, AMD SVP and GM Forrest Norrod revealed that after a decade of stagnating, CPU frequency scaling may now be regressing. Relying on higher frequencies to boost CPU performance stopped well over a decade ago, and now CPU makers like AMD see that the latest process node technology leads to lower frequencies:
Norrod explained the challenges with frequency scaling: "The dirty little secret in the industry, though, over the last ten years that has stopped, and may now be regressing[...]As we continually shrink our processes now, we don't get any more frequency, and really with this next node, without doing extraordinary things, we get less frequency."

Norrod didn't connect those statements to any specific node, such as TSMC's forthcoming 7nm node that will power its Ryzen 3000-series and EPYC Rome processors or the future 5nm node, but the underlying sentiment is clear: the industry can no longer rely upon increased frequency to drive performance improvements.
AMD CPU regression of frequency with new nodes

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Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

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