cTDP feature in latest AMD and Intel processors

Configurable TDP (cTDP) is a mechanism to change the standard TDP of a processor to a lower TDP that requires less power and cooling compared to the standard TDP. This is achieved by a lower core frequency and voltage. cTDP is a requirement if the cooling solution of the CPU is not suitable, e.g. very thin devices or when a quite mode is preferred over the maximum performance mode. AMD made this feature first available in selected models of the “Kaveri” based A-Series. Intel introduced this feature in the U/Y Series of ultra low power “Haswell” mobile and newer mobile “Broadwell” CPUs. The cTDP feature from Intel is controlled by the firmware/EC and is set by the device manufacturer and cannot be changed, AMDs implementation allows the user to set this feature on selected desktop models (Kaveri, Carizzo) when the required option is available in the firmware/BIOS.
Mobile CPUs e.g. AMDs 2016 35W “Bristol Ridge” models have a cTDP range of 25-45W and
Intels 2016 “Skylake” top U-Line models have a base TDP of 28W and a lower cTDP from 23W to 22.5W (low power mode). The device manufacturer can set the value that fits the cooling solution in that device. In this case the setting is locked by the manufacturer and cannot be changed. The advantage is only one CPU for different thermal envelopes, but you have to check what cTDP is set to compare speed and battery life of the same CPU model.

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