Intel aims to tackle power problem at the mobo as well

By Justin Mann on February 6, 2006, 7:40 PM
Working towards their promise of 5W and below when it comes to power consumption, Intel is working in two areas to help reduce the amount of power a PC consumes. In one area, they are fighting the growing consumption of power in the motherboard, which in Intel's case includes the MMC (Northbridge), a particularly greedy device as RAM gets faster. Another area is combatting current leakage, something that plagues all CPUs as the transistors on them become smaller and smaller. Depending on the scenario, up to half and beyond of a Pentium's power consumption is current leakage, and thus wasted.

"We thought at the time we could approach 200 watts," Rattner said. However, the PC industry balked at the cooling requirements that would have been needed to prevent 200-watt processors from melting systems, he said. And the 90-nanometer technology was more prone to electrical-current leakage than previous manufacturing technologies, making 90-nanometer chips hot even when they weren't running at full power.
Growing concerns over global electricity useage has with no doubt impacted this research somewhat, as we see almost all industries now placing huge focuses on power reduction. Intel says their new low-power design for CPUs is finished, and they will be utilizing it in the near future. Now their focus is on the motherboard.

User Comments: 7

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gamingmage said:
Wow, I wonder if this leakage effects performance as well as heat output. Intel should get to work, I mean I just built a new system and moved from a 230 watt psu to a 460 watt, that is double the power! Trust me the electricity bill isn't a pretty sight to behold. I wonder what is the near future and if the cut down on power usage will at all effect performance or even price. Maybe Intel will release low-power versions of all its current processors or at least the best selling ones. Either way this problem is one that needs to be solved.
otmakus said:
Computer is now the most electric greedy device in my house. Air con takes more juice, but it's online for only a few hours a day, whereas my computer is online 24/7. That's one of the reasons I don't want to upgrade my computer.
need_a_dell said:
This will undoubtedly be a great victory for all those who have suffered the pain of having to upgrade their PSU for lack of power. Sounds like Intel is on the road towards something great.
PUTALE said:
VERY nice. I really like that intel is working on reducing the power consumption. If it can be achieved, we may have a graet long lasting laptop and reduce our electric bills.
dr_roman said:
I think Intel is fighting a battle on all possible fronts, but it is still far from winning. It's trying to get some kind of upper hand on AMD by making promises about future endevours. Fact is, AMD still requires less power, generates less heat, has better price / performance ratio & is easier to upgrade (less variations in sockets). So good luck Intel, you'll need it. We can just sit back & enjoy the final outcome, which will come at great expence to Intel, but god knows they can afford it...
sngx1275 said:
Anyone at Intel or AMD should have seen this comming years ago. People at ATi and nVidia should have seen this comming too, hopefully they get on it now rather than screwing around and making graphics cards that are going to suck up 300 Watts or more.I'd like to see some sort of unofficial limit that the gaming PC manufacturers like FalconNW and Alienware and some others I forget, of like 500W to hold a beast of a processor and graphics card. I'm sure Intel, AMD, ATi, and nVidia can do it, its just right now they don't have any real incentive to dump millions and millions into research for this, because the current trend of just upping the power requirements is working for them.A few months ago in Computer Shopper I saw a 1 Kilowatt power supply, thats insane. Unless you are running a full tower system with 10 or more 15000rpm SCSI hard drives and some top of the line dual or quad processor motherboard with SLI graphics you shouldn't need that kind of power.
Vaulden said:
Nice... this was brought up before with video cards. If Intel is working on lowering their power usage, maybe video cards will be next. I can only afford so much on my utilities bill, so the sooner they begin looking at this issue the sooner they will come up with solutions.
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