Power Efficient Computing for the masses…

by dave on August 21, 2007


Two days ago, Robin Harris had a very good article posted on his blog regarding “Benchmarking Energy Efficiency.”  In the course of that article (which I don’t have the time or desire to rehash) only Intel systems were featured.  While this points to the stranglehold that Intel holds on the commodity processor market at large (varying between 75-80% of the generalized CPU market), it completely ignored some of the competitive technology out there (AMD and VIA being two).  This paragraph really has nothing to do with Robin’s observations on the viability of such efficiency, but rather, giving credit where credit is due.

To that end, I’d like to point out that VIA introduced a feature-packed micro-ATX mainboard today called the pc3500.  Coupled with their already-impressive pico-ITX and mini-ITX formats, VIA’s power efficient line continues to grow and grow.  In addition, they’ve taking to “walking the talk” about power efficiency by introducing “Carbon Free Computing.”  They may not control a vast portion of the market like Intel, but they’re definitely committed to the idea of being green.  Kudos to VIA for continuing to promote more environmentally responsible manufacturing technology and integration. Also on the horizon from AMD are a few absolutely fantastic power optimizations (continuing their leadership in dynamic clocking of processor cores) like split power planes for the onboard memory controllers and computation cores, optimized Hypertransport power requirements, and dynamic ganging/unganging link size, width, and speeds to further reduce power draw.  Putting that together with commodity DDR2 and DDR3 memories (versus the power-hogging AMBs on FB-DIMMs) and you’ve got a very compelling argument against Intel’s current lineup.

Even further, in reviewing Sun’s “Project Blackbox” pages (and their current Eco push), I see that a leading systems manufacturer is taking the concept of efficient computing to the core of where we focus our energies: the datacenter.  Scoff if you will, but, who else is doing this?  It’s one thing to talk green, quite another to BE green.

Now, if the other big guys would get more involved in this, maybe, just maybe, we’ll see some changes in our lifetimes.

Anyhow, glad to be your environmental conscious for today.

Cheers,

Dave

EDIT:  As of today (August 23, 2007) VIA has announced the 500mhz Eden ULV processor. It idles at .1 watts and consumes only 1 watt at load. NICE!

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