Part of a Trend
"This is definitely a trend," says Kevin Krewell, editor in chief of the Microprocessor Report. "Intel [Corp.] has signaled that theyre putting power management into the next generation of Itanium," Krewell said, adding that this is "not a new concept." He noted that Intel processors designed for the mobile market have had a similar technology for years. Click here to read more about Intels plans to add power management to Itanium processors.He noted that while it might be possible to measure such latency, it wouldnt be a problem to users of a server because it would affect only the first access attempt and then only by a few milliseconds. "The overall impact on system performance is negligible." Krewell said. "Anybody running data centers with lots of processors that arent all under full demand at the same time" will benefit from this technology, Krewell said, adding that this is a "pretty typical" scenario. Krewell said that while companies with fully committed data centers would benefit the most from this technology, he thinks that nearly any company will choose it, or Intels version of the same thing, if only because it will save money on power and cooling. He also said that such technology would make an even greater difference in blade servers with their even-higher density. Lewis said that, to date, AMD hasnt seen any adverse performance effects from the PowerNow technology. She said tests have shown that processors perform just as well with it enabled, and even running benchmarks flat-out shows a decrease in power consumption of about 3 percent. "We can reduce power usage by as much as 85 percent," Lewis said. She added that the additional capabilities of the Opteron help save money, but dont add to the cost themselves. Opterons equipped with PowerNow cost the same as Opterons did without it, she said. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis on servers, switches and networking protocols for the enterprise and small businesses.
Krewell said that theres the possibility that the time required to ramp up the processor speed when theres an increase in demand could add latency to the server. "There could be some lag if the processor is fairly idle and then theres a surge of traffic," he said.