AMD has released a broad prediction that graphics cards could reach 700W power usage levels as we head into 2025.
Specifically, this comes from a recent interview with an AMD executive conducted by VentureBeat (opens in new tab)on the broad topic of AMD’s big push for energy efficiency and its new goal of achieving 30X better energy efficiency by 2025 for high performance computing (HPC), after reaching the previous goal of 20X by 2020.
During this lengthy chat, AMD Senior Vice President, Corporate Fellow and Product Technology Architect Sam Naffziger also talked about the company’s secret weapon against Nvidia – namely chiplets for GPUs – and the subject of increasing power demands from graphics cards.
Naffziger underlined the push for much better efficiency not just on HPC but gaming GPUs as well, mentioning again that AMD’s next-gen RDNA 3 graphics cards will offer a 50% improvement in terms of performance per watt (the same boost witnessed with the launch of the RDNA 2 products, as you may remember).
Although Naffziger did not comment directly on a graph provided in the interview, it is a very interesting graph as it shows the expected progression curve with power consumption for GPUs over time. In fact, it’s labeled by AMD as an illustration of how power consumption is ‘exploding’ and that we can expect 700W TDPs for high-performance graphics cards as we approach 2025.
Analysis: How realistic does this level of energy consumption look?
Okay, the first thing to note here is that this is just Team Red’s prediction of where it predicts energy usage will end up – actually more of a warning considering the terms it’s expressed in – as opposed to an expectation of where AMD’s future graphics cards are headed (or Nvidia’s, or Intel’s for that matter).
The forecast seems to fit the timeframe for the next generation of graphics cards after the next generation products, which are Nvidia Lovelace and AMD RX 7000 (RDNA 3) – meaning this is looking into the crystal ball for RTX 5000 and RX 8000 in theory (currently thought to be planned for 2024, for Team Green anyway – apply the seasoning liberally, of course).
Does 700W seem like a realistic expectation for the most power-hungry GPU of these generations? Well, let’s face it, this is referring to Nvidia’s flagship and RTX 5000’s biggest power hog, which would likely be the 5090 Ti. Now, given that Nvidia’s next-gen Lovelace GPU is reportedly targeting a 600W power usage, bumping things up to 700W for the next-gen wouldn’t seem like an unrealistic assumption.
(It should be noted at this point, for those concerned about the potential power demands of the RTX 4000 cards, it has lately become theorized that the RTX 4090 could launch at around 450W, and only the full-fat AD102 GPU will likely the Ti version – or maybe even a Titan – will reduce power consumption to that 600W level; and even that is still a rumor).
We can’t draw any firm conclusions that Nvidia intends to continue going down the same hotter, faster path with its future GPUs after Lovelace, of course – and we can’t be sure of that regarding the RTX 4000 until the cards actually arrive, though. it would be a shock if they were better on the energy efficiency front than the avalanche of rumors we’ve seen suggest.
But AMD has already firmly established that efficiency will be a big thing for next-gen GPUs, while at the same time, Naffziger admitted elsewhere that Nvidia’s push for performance, which is pushing up TDPs, means graphics cards RX 7000 also has to increase power usage. It’s just that, as Naffziger said recently, Nvidia “will have to push them a lot higher than we do” due to AMD’s continued power efficiency victories.
The problem with this direction in general, of course, is that not only do graphics cards that demand huge power demands potentially force gamers to look for PSU upgrades, but they can also cause more financial problems in terms of increased energy bills, that have passed the roof in recent times.