Intel R&D Day Showcases Low Power, People Tech

By Natali Del Conte  |  Posted 2006-06-08
A low-power display technology spearheaded an R&D demonstration by chip giant Intel, which is facing increased pressure to come up with new innovations to outpace its rivals, including Advanced Micro Devices.

On June 7, Intel sponsored Intel Research Day, a demonstration event at the companys Silicon Valley headquarters. The small gathering showed off projects from Intel researchers, which may or may not evolve into commercial products.

One of the fiercest battles in the war between the two microprocessor companies revolves around who can make the most energy-efficient systems.

"Everywhere you look, were talking about energy efficiency," said Justin Rattner, Intels chief technology officer. "Were looking at comparing CPU-only power versus total platform power. The average power consumed by the processor is going under 1 watt, but if you look at the rest of the power, were still just under 15 watts. The good news is there is a lot of opportunity to get the power out, but the bad news is theres a lot of power there. Were attacking that vigorously."

At an analyst event last week, AMD executive Marty Seyer made it clear that his company does not intend to let Intel take the lead in the energy conservation race. "We intend to retain this leadership," he said.

But Intel is stepping up to let it be known that it is ready to play. One of the technologies showcased on June 7 is called the Self Refresh Display, which limits power used when machines go idle for even a few seconds. Typically, when users read or give presentations and no interaction is happening with the computer, the processor still communicates with the display. With Self Refresh Display, a technology that is still in research phase, the processor is removed from the equation during idle times so that the screen regenerates itself.

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