Kitty Curls Up to Save Energy

ESPN shows off its green data center, and AMD cuts prices on older processors.

Determined to get in sync with the green movement, the eco-friendly feline was going to devote a weekend to learning what he can do to reduce his carbon paw print. He started out by renting three essential consciousness-raising videos—"An Inconvenient Truth," "Who Killed the Electric Car?" and Wes Cravens "Swamp Thing."

Alas, the videos were quickly forgotten as the superfan Furball ended up propped up on throw pillows watching college football, Major League Baseball playoffs and pro football concurrently in multiple windows on his 42-inch flat-panel plasma screen.

The couch potato Katt reduced his weekend energy output, but his home entertainment center didnt. "Theres got to be an Energy Star logo somewhere on the electronics," muttered the mouser.

But come Monday, the Kitty was back to his usual hyper­kinetic pace as he visited ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Conn., to see how ESPN keeps a lid on energy consumption. The 24-hour cable sports network keeps high-tech vendors in Silicon Valley scrambling to create more energy-efficient data center systems.

Chuck Pagano, ESPN executive vice president and chief technology officer, said the IT team tries to balance the need to stay up and running with the need to conserve power.

"The whole facility is on an uninterruptible power supply, which helps out power factor correction. We go to the nth degree to make sure we have more robust systems," Pagano told the Katt.

To reduce power consumption, ESPN employs multistage heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems so "when were not using or creating heat, we stage back," Pagano said.

A Silicon Valley tipster told Spencer AMD is cutting prices on its older desktop processors and rolling out new energy-efficient Athlon and Sempron processors to clear the decks for the likely release of new high-end desktop processors perhaps as soon as November.

Although its "Barcelona" server processor was delayed until September, AMD wants to make sure that the quad-core Phenom desktop chip is available for gamers and high-end business clients. It would also have a product in the market to compete with Intels Penryn, due for release Nov. 12.

The Katt then pricked up his ears when he heard Applied Methodologies and its research division AMILabs claim they are developing servers that not only meet green energy consumption standards but can generate power as well.

AMILabs was vague on details, but apparently this outfit is developing prototype servers that scavenge heat thrown off by the hardware to generate electricity. According to the company, the servers have the potential to turn data centers into power cogeneration plants on the side.

"Thats one way to turn a cost center into a profit center," mused the Tabby. AMILabs also claims to be developing router and switching equipment with the same power generation features. "It sounds like a real breakthrough, but so did cold fusion," laughed the Lynx.


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Spencer F. Katt

Spencer F. Katt

Spencer F. Katt, the Whiskered Wonder, has been the mascot and tipster extraordinaire for eWEEK and its predecessor print publication PC Week since 1984. The Gadabout Gatto makes the rounds of...