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By John G. Spooner  |  Posted 2005-08-23 Print this article Print

More power-efficient chips can offer other benefits as well. Intel estimates that a drop in power consumption could cut the bill to power computers. Otellini said, based on a 30-watt drop in average power management, the new computers could cost $1 billion less to power per year, per 100 million units. Gartner has forecast that the PC market will total over 200 million units in 2005. Meanwhile, continuing its previous course, Intel could possibly have gone in the other direction, driving up the costs of electricity for businesses.
"Multicore CPUs have real promise of changing performance per watt, because you can add cores, without adding much power consumption," said Urs Holzle, a Google fellow, who joined Otellini on stage for a time during the keynote.
Instead, dual-core chips are capable of doing more work for the same amount of electricity. Intel will continue to cut down on power in 2006 and beyond. Its working on an effort to build even lower-power chips, which will help standard PC processors fit into smaller forms, such as palmtop machines that run full versions of Microsoft Corp.s Windows operating system. Those products will start to come out in 2006 as well. Even lower-power chips, including a version of Intels notebook chips that consumes 1 watt or less and allows for even smaller computing machines, will come out later in this decade, Otellini said. Intel didnt always look so closely at power. The Santa Clara, Calif., chip maker in 2000 introduced the speed-fueled Pentium 4 chip, a single-core chip that runs at high clock speeds. Speedier processors, however, generally consume more power, and some Pentium 4s have a TDP—an Intel term that refers to how much heat a chip has to dissipate—that averages 100 watts or more, requiring a fair amount of cooling. But Otellini said the company began shifting its focus toward performance per watt about four years ago. It got the effort rolling with its Pentium M, which made its debut in 2003, and then shifted its focus to multicore processors, which came out earlier this year. It will focus most of its efforts, going forward, on multicores and power efficiency. It will offer six new dual-core processors in 2006 and is working on 10 more quad-core or higher multicore chips for later in the decade, Otellini said. Otellini also demonstrated a WiMax wireless link to India and discussed the companys Digital Home PC platform for 2006 in his keynote. Editors Note: This story was updated to clarify the power usage of the new processors. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news in desktop and notebook computing.

John G. Spooner John G. Spooner, a senior writer for eWeek, chronicles the PC industry, in addition to covering semiconductors and, on occasion, automotive technology. Prior to joining eWeek in 2005, Mr. Spooner spent more than four years as a staff writer for CNET, where he covered computer hardware. He has also worked as a staff writer for ZDNET News.

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