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PowerColor wants to put NPUs on graphics cards to reduce power consumption

At Computex, PowerColor showcased an innovative concept for a consumer Radeon model featuring an AI processor. The company's unique approach involves incorporating a Neural Processing Unit (NPU) into the graphics card, designed to optimise power usage.

Unlike Nvidia's GeForce RTX AI PC program, which focuses on promoting systems with GPUs that outperform integrated NPUs, PowerColor's NPU chip (Edge AI) aims to adjust GPU power output in real time. With the NPU chip, PowerColor's graphics cards from the Hellhound and Red Devil series can potentially achieve up to 22% reduced power consumption while maintaining high performance, as noted by @harukaze5719.

Image credit: Quasar Zone

The NPU offers two modes: Eco and Boost. In Eco mode, the graphics card actively monitors GPU temperature changes and dynamically adjusts fan speeds to lower power usage. On the other hand, Boost mode dynamically modifies GPU power consumption and heat dissipation to ensure maximum performance and stability.

During the PowerColor presentation, real-world testing photos shared by ITMedia (via VideoCardz) revealed a significant reduction in power usage with the NPU enabled (from 338W to 261W). However, this also increased temperatures from 51ºC to 61ºC due to a drop in fan speed (from 1918 RPM to 1037 RPM). Moreover, it also appears to come at the expense of reduced performance, dropping from 118 FPS to 107 FPS.

KitGuru says: Most of this can already be achieved through third-party software, but it's not as automatic as using an NPU. It will be interesting to see if PowerColor does end up bringing this to market and how much more it will cost due to the added NPU. 

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