General discussion


Performance is cool: Exploring processors and energy efficiency

By georgeou ·
Tags: Off Topic
Bring on your questions and opinions! This special week-long conversation</a> (October 16-20, 2006) will include <a href="">Dr. Dileep Bhandarkar</a> of Intel's Digital Enterprise Group. Jump in and ask him anything you want to know about processor architecture, silicon heat issues, competing platform technologies, and energy efficiency. Need to get your creative juices flowing? Read up on the <a href=""> issues surrounding this discussion.</a> This is a unique opportunity to ask an industry leading expert on CPU architecture about issues on energy efficiency and performance.

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Better programming practices

One thing that I think would be great to learn about is programming practices that increase scalability so that less hardware is needed, as well as causing less power draw by the CPU and other components. Particularly for Web/application farms, the languages used (PHP, Java, .Net) tend to be a bit slower and give the programmer less control over resource usage than traditional languages (particularly C/C++).

What can programmers do to reduce hardware, energy, and cooling costs while not significantly increasing development cycles?


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Couple ways

by georgeou In reply to Better programming practi ...

Virtualization is a nice place to start.

Terminal services or Citrix is another place. If developers can make their code only require one instance of common binaries in terminal services, that would make Terminal services far more scalable.

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Energy Efficient Microprocessors at Intel

by dileep.bhandarkar In reply to Performance is cool: Expl ...

Intel has made major strides in energy efficiency in its Intel? Core? microarchitecture. The end result shows up in significant increase in performance while reducing power appreciably at the same time.

The new Intel? Xeon? 5100 processor delivers 80% higher server performance at 35% lower power than the previous generation dual core Intel Xeon? 2.8GHz 2x2MB processor. On the desktop, the Intel? Core 2 Duo? processor delivers 40% higher performance at 40% lower power compared to the Pentium? D 950 processor. In notebooks, the Intel? Core 2 Duo? processor delivers 20% higher performance at the same battery life compared to the Intel? Core Duo? T2600 processor. These performance and power metrics are based on SPECint*_rate_base2000 and thermal design power. Other workloads might deliver different results.

Details of the architectural innovations in the Intel? Core? microarchitecture can be found at

Delivering more performance to support the ever-growing usage demands while maintaining energy efficiency is no easy task. Last week, I addressed how Intel was addressing this challenge in my keynote at the Fall Processor Forum in San Jose. You can reference my keynote slides and supporting information regarding energy efficient performance at

I will happy to answer your questions about some of the techniques that Intel used to reduce power in a later posting!

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When will we get a PC CPU without a cooling fan?

by Bill Detwiler Editor In reply to Performance is cool: Expl ...

I'm ready for a PC CPU that doesn't require a cooling fan. How many years are we from a "fanless" CPU?

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Intel has the ULV line like the Core Solo

by georgeou In reply to When will we get a PC CPU ...

You can get the Core Solo processor that designed for 5 watt TDP. You can probably get away with heatsink only if the case is well ventilated. Heck, a well designed case would even allow a 100 watt processor to use a heatsink only.

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Intel? Core? Solo Processor

by dileep.bhandarkar In reply to Intel has the ULV line li ...

It runs at up to 1.20 GHz with a 533 MHz front side bus and has a TDP power of 5.5W.

You can find more details at

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Cool PCs

by dileep.bhandarkar In reply to When will we get a PC CPU ...

Intel Corporation is challenging PC designers and manufacturers to think sexy, stylish and small as they design the next generation of home PCs optimized for multimedia entertainment and powered by Intel? Core?2 Duo processors.

The Intel Core Processor Challenge is open to PC designers and manufacturers worldwide. Intel will award the grand prize winner with up to $300,000 to help enable the mass production of the winning system and $400,000 for co-marketing activities with Intel around the winning system. The first-place winner will receive up to $300,000 to help enable the mass production of their winning system.

See details at

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Home theatre PC, Laptops, or Desktops

The fan is a necessary evil, but boy would I like to get rid of it!

HTPC's are the biggest pain point, IMHO. The noise issue is huge when you're trying to get the PC into the living room. Heat is really secondary to noise though.

But I really would prefer cooler machines in corporate desktops and laptops. I think we all know uncomfortable feeling of using a laptop in your actual lap for too long.

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There are ways of doing it but it's expensive

by georgeou In reply to Home theatre PC, Laptops, ...

Totally fanless systems are not practical, but there are superior designs that use fewer and slower moving fans that make no noise. BTX chasses have superior air flow for example and make very little noise. Even my large desktop computer makes very little noise because I bought a silent CPU FAN and power supply. They even have silent GPU fans.

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Dell 400SC is really quiet (and cheap)

by sMoRTy71 In reply to There are ways of doing i ...

Although it was meant to be a low-cost, small business server, the Dell 400SC runs very quiet. The front of the case has a series of holes (about large enough to stick the tip of your finger in) that allow air to be pulled through from the single fan on the CPU.

I was very skeptical that I would get adequate cooling with a quiet single fan design; however, I ran Motherboard Monitor on it for a few days and found that it stayed in the acceptable range.

Because these machines are so quiet, I have two of them that I have converted to media PCs running MCE2005. They are so quiet that I often have to check the power lights to make sure that they are still running.

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