Intel Shows Off Energy Technology
Intel’s new Moorestownplatform aims to reduce idle power use by mobile internet devicesfifty-fold compared to previous platforms. It’s also working on"sleep-state networking" for PCs and laptops and other power-savingadvances.
Informationtechnology uses about 2 percent of the electricity generated in theUnited States. Intel says it wants to bring its share of that power usedown.
From new technology to cut the power use of inactive mobile internetdevices fifty-fold to work aimed at keeping PCs and laptops inlow-power "sleep" mode while still "always on" from a networkstandpoint, "Eco-innovation and energy efficiency continues to be a bigpart of what we do," Justin Rattner, Intel’s chief technology officer,said.
Foremost among those efforts, he said, was Intel’s new "Moorestown"platform for mobile internet devices like laptops and mobile phones.The new platform will be able to cut the power used by idling mobileInternet devices by a factor of 50 compared to its previous platform,known as Menlow, he said.
That would be a boon for battery life for laptops enabled by Atom –and it could be a selling point for a line of handheld Atom-enabledmobile internet devices Intel is working on as well.
Prototypes have already been on display at Taiwan’s Computex IT show, Rattner said. Intel in February announced its intentionto incorporate the Moorestown technology in handheld devices build byLG Electronics, with an eye to bringing devices to market next year.
The idea is to enable hardware to manage power use so that only theprocessors or chipsets needed at the time are getting power, said TickyThakkar, director of platform architecture for Intel’s ultra mobilegroup.
Thakkar compared previous technologies to turning on every light ina house when you come home. Moorestown is more like turning on lightsonly in the rooms you’re using, he said.
Given that many mobile devices spend about 90 percent of their timesitting in pockets or briefcases doing very little, "It’s a much moreselective approach in driving the power down," he said.
Even when in use, Moorestown-enabled devices should use about two tothree times less power than previously, said Greg Allison, Inteltechnology strategist.
"By design, this research was put in place to ensure it would workacross the full range of Intel products," he added. "Over time we’llsee which product groups will choose to incorporate it into what theydo."
For example, Intel’s research into "communication assisted platformpower management" is aimed at reducing power used for heavy workloadslike video or voice-over-internet telephony, said James Tsai, Intelresearch scientist.
He showed off a platform that could yield average 30 percent powerreductions for those data-intensive uses, depending on how heavy theworkloads were.
Another challenge Intel is tackling is keeping PCs and laptops inlow-power "sleep" mode while remaining available for networking. Intelhas developed technology that bridges that gap, allowing sleepingdevices to remain aware of and wake up to networking requests, saidKapil Sood, an Intel research scientist.
Given that PCs use about 150 watts when idling, but only 1 to 2watts when asleep, that’s a lot of potential power savings, he said.
That’s going to become important as the Environmental Protection Agency finalizes its new version of Energy Star regulationsthat seek to measure PCs power use across all their states – fromactive to asleep – and compare average annual usage against benchmarks,Sood said.
Intel is now shipping PCs with the sleep state networkingtechnology, but is working on bringing it to wirelessly enabled laptopsand other devices, he said.
These aren’t the only energy efficiency plays Intel is looking at,by the way. The company is also involved in microprocessors for windturbines, is working with General Electric on TV-based home energymanagement systems, and a host of other "green" projects (see Intel Inside Wind Turbines and Coming Soon: Intel in Smart Grid).
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