PowerColor Radeon cards with integrated AI NPU to offer up to 20% lower power consumption


PowerColor GPUs with built-in NPU for lower power consumption

Reduced power consumption but lower performance and higher temperatures. 

PowerColor did not have new graphics card designs to showcase at Computex, but the company has revealed its new concept of a consumer Radeon model, purportedly equipped with an AI processor.

The NPU, which stands for Neural Processing Unit, is definitely a term every PC enthusiast should be aware of at this point. It will be part of nearly all next-gen CPUs moving forward, with some small exceptions in the enthusiast segment. Mobile platforms, in particular, will be at the forefront of NPU adoption as Microsoft deploys its Copilot+PC systems this summer.

Graphics cards, in general, are large NPUs that can perform the same calculations much faster. For this reason, NVIDIA came up with their own GeForce RTX AI PC program, promoting systems equipped with GeForce GPUs that outperform integrated NPUs by a large margin.

PowerColor, on the other hand, has a different idea and purpose for using NPUs on GPUs. They integrated a custom NPU chip onto the graphics card itself as a separate chip, which is seemingly capable of adjusting power consumption and fan profiles of the GPU, resulting in lower power consumption.

PowerColor NPU, Source: QuasarZone

PowerColor is using an NPU chip from Kneron, which confirmed that the chip’s purpose is to lower GPU output. In other words, the chip appears to automatically adjust power limit on the fly, resulting in lower consumption. The ‘breakthrough’ PowerColor describes sounds similar to what gamers can achieve with software technologies like Radeon Chill and Radeon Boost, both aimed at reducing power consumption during intensive gameplay.

However, PowerColor’s solution operates on a hardware level, also considering other variables such as GPU temperatures and controlling fan speeds. What we do learn is that the Kneron AI chip seems to support two modes, either ECO or Boost mode, most likely controllable through software.

The collaboration between TUL and Kneron not only showcases the power of technological innovation but also demonstrates the two companies’ commitment to green and low-carbon development. Hellhound and Red Devil series graphics cards, equipped with Kneron’s AI-powered NPU processor, Kneron’s AI model has the ability to intelligently adjust GPU output, allowing graphics cards to maintain high performance while reducing power consumption by up to 20%.

This breakthrough not only reduces energy consumption but also extends the lifespan of devices.In ECO mode, the graphics cards can intelligently detect GPU temperature changes and dynamically control fan speed, reducing power consumption by up to 20%.

This allows users to enjoy high-quality gaming experiences while being environmentally friendly.

In Boost mode, the graphics cards dynamically adjust GPU power consumption and heat dissipation, strictly managing powerconsumption to ensure high performance and stability.

In real-world testing, as shown during the PowerColor demo, it was clear that power consumption was significantly reduced. However, this also affected the framerate.

  • AI NPU Disabled: 118 FPS, 51°C, 338W, 1918 RPM
  • AI NPU Enabled: 107 FPS, 61°C, 261W, 1037 RPM

The enabling of the NPU also contributes to higher temperatures due to decreased fan speed.

PowerColor NPU, Source: ITMedia

The PowerColor/Kneron AI chip appears to be making real-time adjustments to GPU power settings and fan speeds. While this may indeed increase the lifespan of the GPU, it also affects performance and results in higher temperatures. It seems that similar functionality could be integrated into software without the NPU.

Source: @harukze5719 (QuasarZone), Kneron, ITMedia





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