Power consumption has become a huge issue the past year. Many businesses, from small 5 man shops to enterprise datacenters with hundreds of servers, are demanding CPUs and hardware that are lighter on the power bill more and more every day. It isn't that we've suddenly spawned thousands of greener companies but there is a very direct cause. In the past five years, the amount of power consumed by servers in the U.S. has doubled. Despite being able to do more work with less, server power consumption in the U.S., including keeping them cool, amounts to 1.2% of the entire power budget bringing them neck and neck with televisions for the first time ever.
It isn't stopping, either. On average, each year sees a 14% hike in power demands, now at around $2.7 billion per year. Not only has this hurt wallets, but it's gotten the government involved. The EPA is looking to create new standards for power efficiency, on top of many others. Will the rise in power consumption continue? It can't continue forever, for sure. AMD and Intel sure seem to be pushing lower power CPUs, yet at the same time we see a steady increase in how much their high-end CPUs require.