AMD CES 2020 Keynote Recap

AMD SmartShift

Since AMD has the resources of its own designed CPU, iGPU in an APU processor plus discrete graphics on board laptops it is in a unique position to bring all this technology together in an interesting way.  With a new technology dubbed SmartShift AMD can load balance difference aspects of the hardware ecosystem to better shift to performance or battery savings.    

SmartShift can literally shift power from the CPU or APU to the discrete GPU to allow it to overclock higher automatically for better performance when that workload is needed.  It can also allow the opposite to happen, to shift power from the GPU back to the CPU when CPU intensive workloads are needed.  In the right conditions, it can improve performance and save power and it does it seamlessly with no OS interaction. 

In the demo shown it improved performance in The Division 2 by 10%.  It will also help content creation, for example in Cinebench R20 it was shown to improve performance by 12% with it enabled.  It does this freely, no extra thermal solutions need to be added, no binning of the CPU or GPU, this is a free performance lift when this feature is built-into the laptop.  It was also said that these are preliminary results, and it is only going to get better from here.

The new Dell G5 SE was shown supporting all these new technologies.  It will have an AMD Ryzen 4000 H-Series processor, Radeon 5600M discrete GPU, AMD SmartShift, AMD FreeSync, and Radeon Software.  This new laptop will be available Q2 2020.  It was also said that there will be a new power profile included that will actually help preserve battery life during gaming and content creation.  AMD has focused a lot on trying to optimize battery life with these new designs.

David’s Notes: Laptops will need to be specifically qualified to use the SmartShift technology as it requires a monolithic cooling design in order for it to work. There are also some low-level engineering considerations that need to be reviewed. SmartShift works outside of the OS, thus, should not require any specific operating system or software for it to work properly.

Brent Justice
Former managing editor of GPUs at HardOCP for 18 years, Brent Justice has been reviewing computer components since the late 90s, educated in the art and method of the computer hardware review, he brings experience, knowledge, and hands-on testing with a gamer-oriented and hardware enthusiast perspective. You can follow him on Twitter - @Brent_Justice You can sub to his YouTube channel - Justice Gaming You can check out his computer builds on KIT - @BrentJustice

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