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Measuring Processor Power: TDP vs. ACP

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Measuring Processor Power: TDP vs. ACP

Specifications for the power a microprocessor can consume and dissipate can be complicated and may vary from one manufacture to the other. When comparing power specifications from one manufacture to the other it is important the comparisons are made with specifications which are most similar to each other. This paper specifically compares how Intel and AMD* specify processor power for their server processors and how you can use those specifications to more accurately compare processors from each manufacturer.

Introduction Intel has traditionally specified processor power with a specification called Thermal Design Power (TDP). AMD also has a TDP specification. Recently, AMD has introduced an additional power value called ACP (Average CPU Power). As of this writing, ACP is only specified on AMD’s server processors. This white paper examines the power specifications from both manufactures to help customers understand the best way to compare them and to clarify the differences.

Let’s start with a definition of the two key power specifications, and then look at how these specifications are typically used.

TDP (Thermal Design Power) Intel defines TDP as follows: The upper point of the thermal profile consists of the Thermal Design Power (TDP) and the associated Tcase value. Thermal Design Power (TDP) should be used for processor thermal solution design targets. TDP is not the maximum power that the processor can dissipate. TDP is measured at maximum TCASE.1. The thermal profile must be adhered to to ensure Intel’s reliability requirements are met. Note: Different processors SKU’s have different TDP’s. At the time of this writing, Intel® Xeon® processors for 2 socket servers (5600 series) are available with a TDP specification from 40W up to 130W depending on the particular SKU.

Read the full Measuring Processor Power: TDP vs. ACP.