NVIDIA - Low-Power

Applying RTL Clock Gating to Reduce Power in Graphics Processors Chips

""RTL power optimization is a critical step in our high-performance,low-power design methodology for PC graphics,visual computing and applications processors.""

Dan Smith,director,Hardware Engineering,NVIDIA Corporation

Point to any entertainment or consumer product and chances are there is a graphics processing chip inside.Graphics processors have a full range of capabilities for workstations,personal computers,game consoles,and mobile devices.These processors transform visually-rich applications such as video gaming,medical imaging,film production,industrial design,and financial modeling into life-like imagery.Graphics processing chips require algorithms that are computationally intensive.As a result,these chips can be voracious consumers of power,generating unwanted heat,increasing system cost and limiting battery life.

Problem:

To remain the leader in the graphics processing market you must continually increase rendering performance and improve image quality.Graphic processing chips are known to push the technical limits of hardware design,semiconductor capability and power consumption.With every generation of chips,it becomes more important for engineers to:

  • Minimize power consumption during peak processing loads
  • Optimize power without impacting their existing design flows
  • Automate power optimization earlier in the design process

Solution:

The PowerPro team engaged with the NVIDIA laptop team on a project to include PowerPro CG in their low-power design flow.PowerPro CG is an automated RTL power optimization product.It is based on sequential analysis technology which identifies clock gating enable conditions that are complimentary and cumulative to those added by low-power design tools.  The clock-gating enable conditions added by PowerPro CG are inserted into the users RTL code while retaining the user's original style,comments and pragmas.

Results:

PowerPro CG reduced power from 16% to 34.8% on designs previously optimized for power.PowerPro CG found the additional clock gating opportunities the team suspected were present in their designs.

By integrating PowerPro CG into their low-power design flow,they were able to deliver a much lower power solution than if they had solely relied on manual optimization techniques.


""PowerPro CG has shown substantial power savings on designs,including blocks already manually optimized for low power by RTL designers.""

Dan Smith,director,Hardware Engineering,NVIDIA Corporation

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