The New Sleep States: S0ix

A bunch of PC makers got together and defined the various operating modes that ACPI PCs can be in. If everyone plays by the same rules there are no surprises, which is good for the entire ecosystem.

System level power states are denoted S0 - S5. Higher S-numbers indicate deeper levels of sleep. The table below helps define the states:

ACPI Sleeping State Definitions
Sleeping State Description
S0 Awake
S1 Low wake latency sleeping state. No system context is lost, hardware maintains all context.
S2 Similar to S1 but CPU and system cache context is lost
S3 All system context is lost except system memory (CPU, cache, chipset context all lost).
S4 Lowest power, longest wake latency supported by ACPI. Hardware platform has powered off all devices, platform context is maintained.
S5 Similar so S4 except OS doesn't save any context, requires complete boot upon wake.

S0 is an operational system, while S1/S2 are various levels of idle that are transparent to the end user. S3 is otherwise known as Suspend to RAM (STR), while S4 is commonly known as hibernate or Suspend to Disk (this one is less frequently abbreviated for some reason...).

These six sleeping states have served the PC well over the years. The addition of S3 gave us fast resume from sleep, something that's often exploited when you're on the go and need to quickly transition between using your notebook and carrying it around. The ultra mobile revolution however gave us a new requirement: the ability to transact data while in an otherwise deep sleep state.

Your smartphone and tablet both fetch emails, grab Twitter updates, receive messages and calls while in their sleep state. The prevalence of always-on wireless connectivity in these devices makes all of this easy, but the PC/smartphone/tablet convergence guarantees that if the PC doesn't adopt similar functionality it won't survive in the new world.

The solution is connected standby or active idle, a feature supported both by Haswell and Clovertrail as well as all of the currently shipping ARM based smartphones and tablets. Today, transitioning into S3 sleep is initiated by closing the lid on your notebook or telling the OS to go to sleep. In Haswell (and Clovertrail), Intel introduced a new S0ix active idle state (there are multiple active idle states, e.g. S0i1, S0i3). These states promise to deliver the same power consumption as S3 sleep, but with a quick enough wake up time to get back into full S0 should you need to do something with your device.

If these states sound familiar it's because Intel first told us about them with Moorestown:

In Moorestown it takes 1ms to get out of S0i1 and only 3ms to get out of S0i3. I would expect Haswell's wakeup latencies to be similar. From the standpoint of a traditional CPU design, even 1ms is an eternity, but if you think about it from the end user perspective a 1 - 3ms wakeup delay is hardly noticeable especially when access latency is dominated by so many other factors in the chain (e.g. the network).

What specifically happens in these active idle power states? In the past Intel focused on driving power down for all of the silicon it owned: the CPU, graphics core, chipset and even WiFi. In order to make active idle a reality, Intel's reach had to extend beyond the components it makes.

With Haswell U/ULT parts, Intel will actually go in and specify recommended components for the rest of the platform. I'm talking about everything from voltage regulators to random microcontrollers on the motherboard. Even more than actual component "suggestions", Intel will also list recommended firmwares for these components. Intel gave one example where an embedded controller on a motherboard was using 30 - 50mW of power. Through some simple firmware changes Intel was able to drop this particular controller's power consumption down to 5mW. It's not rocket science, but this is Intel's way of doing some of the work that its OEM partners should have been doing for the past decade. Apple has done some of this on its own (which is why OS X based notebooks still enjoy tangibly longer idle battery life than their Windows counterparts), but Intel will be offering this to many of its key OEM partners and in a significant way.

Intel's focus on everything else in the system extends beyond power consumption - it also needs to understand the latency tolerance of everything else in the system. The shift to active idle states is a new way of thinking. In the early days of client computing there was a real focus on allowing all off-CPU controllers to work autonomously. The result of years of evolution along those lines resulted in platforms where any and everything could transact data whenever it wanted to.

By knowing how latency tolerant all of the controllers and components in the system are, hardware and OS platform power management can begin to align traffic better. Rather than everyone transacting data whenever it's ready, all of the components in the system can begin to coalesce their transfers so that the system wakes up for a short period of time to do work then quickly return to sleep. The result is a system that's more frequently asleep with bursts of lots of activity rather than frequently kept awake by small transactions. The diagram below helps illustrate the potential power savings:

Windows 8 is pretty much a requirement to get the full benefits, although with the right drivers in place you'll see some improvement on Windows 7 as well. As most of these platform level power enhancements are targeted at 3rd generation Ultrabooks/tablets it's highly unlikely you'll see Windows 7 ship on any of them.

All of these platform level power optimizations really focus on components on the motherboard and shaving mWs here and there. There's still one major consumer of power budget that needs addressing as well: the display.

For years Intel has been talking about Panel Self Refresh (PSR) being the holy grail of improving notebook battery life. The concept is simple: even when what's on your display isn't changing (staring at text, looking at your desktop, etc...) the CPU and GPU still have to wake up to refresh the panel 60 times a second. The refresh process isn't incredibly power hungry but it's more wasteful than it needs to be given that no useful work is actually being done.

One solution is PSR. By including a little bit of DRAM on the panel itself, the display could store a copy of the frame buffer. In the event that nothing was changing on the screen, you could put the entire platform to sleep and refresh the panel by looping the same frame data stored in the panel's DRAM. The power savings would be tremendous as it'd allow your entire notebook/tablet/whatever to enter a virtual off state. You could get even more creative and start doing selective PSR where only parts of the display are updated and the rest remain in self-refresh mode (e.g. following a cursor, animating a live tile, etc...).

Display makers have been resistant to PSR because of the fact that they now have to increase their bill of materials cost by adding DRAM to the panel. The race to the bottom that we've seen in the LCD space made it unlikely that any of the panel vendors would be jumping at the opportunity to make their products more expensive. Intel believes that this time things will be different. Half of the Haswell ULT panel vendors will be enabled with Panel Self Refresh over eDP. That doesn't mean that we'll see PSR used in those machines, but it's hopefully a good indication.

Similar to what we've seen from Intel in the smartphone and tablet space, you can expect to see reference platforms built around Haswell to show OEMs exactly what they need to put down on a motherboard to deliver the sort of idle power consumption necessary to compete in the new world. It's not clear to me how Intel will enforce these guidelines, although it has a number of tools at its disposal - logo certification being the most obvious.

Platform Retargeting & Platform Power Other Power Savings & The Fourth Haswell
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  • Astarael - Monday, October 15, 2012 - link

    Then get out of the comments section. Reply
  • Old_Fogie_Late_Bloomer - Tuesday, October 09, 2012 - link

    I finally made it through this article...hell, I took a course in orgnization and architecture earlier this year and I didn't come close to understanding everything written here.

    Still, it was a great read. Thanks for going to the trouble, Anand. :-)
    Reply
  • IKeelU - Friday, October 05, 2012 - link

    What's great is that Anand's been doing this for 15 years, has hired new editors along the way, and the quality hasn't wavered. I'm glad they haven't polluted their front page with shallow tech blogging like other sites I once enjoyed.

    I can't imagine this hobby without this site. I got into PC building just as it came online and have depended on it ever since.
    Reply
  • TheJian - Monday, October 08, 2012 - link

    I disagree. Ryan Smith's 660TI article had some ridiculous conclusions and went on and on about a bandwidth issue that isn't an issue at 1920x1200. As evidenced by the fact that in their own tests it beat the 7950B in 6 games by OVER 20% but lost in one game by less than 10 at 1920x1200. Read the comments section where I reduced his arguments to rubble. He went on about a dumb Korean monitor you'd have to EBAY to get (or amazon from a guy with ONE review, no phone, no faq page, no domain, and a gmail account for help...LOL), and runs in 2560x1440. If his conclusions were based on 1920x1200 like he said (which he repeated to me in the comments yet touts some "enthusiast 2560x1440" korean monitor as an excuse for his conclusions), he would have been forced to say the truth which was as his benchmarks showed and hardocp stated. It wipes the floor with the 7950B, just as the 680 does with the 7970ghz (yea, even in MSAA 8x) where they also proved only 1 in 4 games was even above 30fps...@2560x1600 with high AA which is why its pointless to draw conclusions based on 2560x1600 as Ryan did. Heck 2 of the 4 games at hardocp's high AA article didn't even reach above 20fps (15 & 17, and if bandwidth is an issue how come the 660TI won anyway?...LOL)

    Ryan was reduced to being a fool when I was done with him, and then Jarred W. came in and insinuated I was a Ahole & uninformed...ROFL. I used all of his own data from the 660TI & 7970B & 7970ghz edition articles (all by Ryan!) to point out how ridiculous his conclusions were. When a card loses 6 out of 7 games, you leave out Starcraft 2 (which you used for 2 previous articles 1 & 2 months before, then again IMMEDIATELY after) which would have shown it beating even the 7970ghz edition (as all the nv cards beat it in that game, hence he left it out), you claim some Korean Ebay'd monitor as a reason for your asinine conclusions (clear bias to me), in the 6 games it loses by an avg of 20% or more at the ONLY res 68 24in monitors on newegg use (or below, most 1920x1080, not even 1920x1200, only <2% in steampowered.com hardware survey have above 1920x1200 and most with dual cards in that case), you've clearly WAVERED in your QUALITY since Anand took up mac's/phones.

    I'm all for trying to save AMD (quit lowering your prices idiots, maybe you'll make some money), but stooping to dumb conclusions when all of your own evidence points in the exact opposite direction is really shady. Worse it was BOTH editors, as Ryan gave up (the evidence was voluminous, he wisely ran and hid) Jarred stepped in to personally attack me instead of the data...ROFLMAO. You know you've lost when you say nothing about my numbers at all, and resort to personal attacks. Ryan nor Jarred are dumb. They should have just admitted the article was full of bias or just changed the conclusion and moved on. With all the evidence I pointed out I wouldn't have wanted it to be in print any longer. It's embarrassing if you read the comments section after the article. You go back and realize what they did and wonder what the heck Ryan was thinking. He said that same crap in his next article. Either he loves AMD, gets money/hardware or something or maybe he just isn't as smart as I thought :)

    Anand's last hardware article on haswell said it would be a "MONSTER" but it's graphics won't catch AMD's integrated gpu and we only get 5-15% on the cpu side for a TOCK release. 2x gpu doesn't mean much with it being 9 months away and won't even catch AMD if they sit still. OUCH. So basically much ado about nothing on the desktop side, with a hope they can do something with it in mobile below 10w (only a tablet even then). I was pondering waiting for the "MONSTER" but now I know I'll just buy an Ivy at black friday...ROFL. What monster? In this article he says Broadwell is now the "monster"...heh. Bah...At least I got to read this before black friday. I would have been ticked had I read this after it hoping for the desktop monster. Since AMD now sucks on the cpu side we get speed bin bumps for microarchitecure TOCK's instead of 25-40% like the old days. I pray AMD stops the price war with NV and starts taking profits soon.

    If it wasn't for their advantage on the integrated gpu, they'd be bankrupt already and they will be there by xmas 2014 at the current burn of 650mil/year losses (they only have 1.5Bil in the bank and billions in debt compared to 3.5B cash for NV and no debt, never mind giving up the race to Intel who dwarfs NV by 10x on all fronts). AMD's only choice will be to further reduce their stock value by dilution of shares (AGAIN!) which will finally put them out to pasture. Hopefully someone will pick up their IP, put a few billion in it and compete again with Intel (samsung, ibm, NV if amd stock drops to $1 by then, even they could do it). Otherwise, my next card/cpu upgrade after black friday will cost $1000 each as NV/INTC suck us all dry. There stock is already WAY down in credit rating (B+ last I checked, FAR from NV AAA), and they are listed as 50% chance of bankruptcy vs. all their competitors at 1% chance (intc, qcom, nvda, samsung etc). The idea they'll take over mobile is far fetched at best. I see nowhere but down for their share price. That sucks. I hate apple, but at this point I wouldn't even mind if they picked them up and ran with AMD's cpu mantle. We might start getting ivy 3770's (or the next king) at prices less than $329 then! The first sale I've seen was $309 in my email from newegg this weekend and that sucks in 7 months. No speed upgrades, no price drops, just the same thing for 7 months with no pressure from a competitive-less AMD. Their gpu sucks compared to 660ti (hotter, noisy, less perf), so no black friday discount. You either go AMD for worse but savings or pay through the nose for NV. Same with Intel and the cpu. In that respect I guess I get Ryan trying to save them...ROFL. But prolonging the inevitable isn't helping, I'd rather have them go belly up now and someone buy the cpu and run with it before it's so far behind Intel they can't fix it no matter who buys the IP. I digress...
    Reply
  • Spunjji - Thursday, October 18, 2012 - link

    God that was painful to even attempt to read. :/ Comparing AMD vs. nVidia to AMD vs. Intel is foolish in the extreme (there's a rather significant difference in the cost/performance balance, where AMD and nVidia are actually competitors) so I feel justified in not reading most of that screed. Reply
  • ananduser - Friday, October 05, 2012 - link

    Yes...Anand's quite the loss for the PC crowd. He's reviewing macs nowadays. Reply
  • A5 - Friday, October 05, 2012 - link

    If you owned a site and could delegate reviews you don't find interesting (oooh boy, another 15-pound overpriced gaming laptop!), wouldn't you do the same thing? Reply
  • Kepe - Friday, October 05, 2012 - link

    Mmh, I've also noticed how Anand seems to have become quite an Apple fan. Don't get me wrong, I love his reviews, and Anandtech as a whole. But the fact that Anand always keeps talking about Apple is an eyesore to me. Particularly annoying in this article was how he mentioned "iPad form factor" as if it was the only tablet out there. Why not say "tablet form factor" instead? Would have been a lot more neutral. Also it seemed to confuse someone in to thinking Apple might be putting Haswell in to a new iPad. Reply
  • meloz - Friday, October 05, 2012 - link

    Agreed. The Apple devotion has gone too far and the editorial balanced has been lost. The podcasts -in particular- are basically an advertising campaign for Apple and a thinly disguised excuse for Anand & Friends to praise everything Apple. So I do not listen to them.

    The articles though -like this one about Haswell- are still worth reading. You still get as much gratuitous Apple references as Anand can throw in but there is also plenty of substance for everyone else.
    Reply
  • ravisurdhar - Friday, October 05, 2012 - link

    It's not "devotion", it's simply an accurate description of the market. How many iPads are out there? 100 million. One tenth of a BILLION. One for every 70 people on the planet. Well over half of Fortune 500 companies use them. Hospitals use them. Pilots use them. Name one other tablet that comes close to that sort of market penetration. When Apple decides to make their own silicon for their devices, it's a big, big deal.

    For the record, I don't have one. I just understand the significance of the 800 pound gorilla.
    Reply

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