AMD Touts Energy-Efficient PC Processors

The company says more energy-efficient PCs will enable smaller form factors, improve power consumption, and also reduce the level of heat and noise generated by some PCs in homes and offices.

Darrell Dunn, Contributor

May 15, 2006

3 Min Read

Advanced Micro Devices is taking its assault on energy efficiency--which it has used to significantly grow its position in the server market--to the desktop. The company has released lower-power PC processors it says can improve performance-per-watt by 37% to 154%.

Energy costs and related cooling issues on the desktop haven't yet begun to give IT executives the headaches and power bills they're seeing in the data center. However, AMD believes more energy-efficient PCs will be able to help rejuvenate the PC market by enabling smaller form factor designs and, in some implementations, also improve the environmental impact of heat and noise in offices and homes.

"Smaller form factors and more energy-efficient desktops are the next wave," says Teresa de Onis, desktop brand manager for AMD. "These new processors will enable the design of more esthetic systems, as well as providing some dramatic improvements in power consumption."

The new Athlon 64 X2 (dual core), Athlon 64 (single core), and Sempron processors from AMD are rated at 65 watts or 35 watts power dissipation, which reduces the power of the processors from 89 watts or 125 watts in existing processors. Compared to equivalent 89-watt processors, a 65-watt processor will have 37% better performance-per-watt, and a 35-watt processor will have 154% better performance-per-watt, de Onis says.

AMD has been pounding the drums for energy efficiency hard the past few months. It has led the way for the creation of The Green Grid, a consortium working loosely with the Environmental Protection Agency to improve power efficiency in data centers. And last week, AMD tweaked rival Intel by placing computerized billboards in New York and San Francisco that keep a running tally on what AMD claims is the more than a billion dollars wasted by businesses using Intel-based servers.

Intel last week also announced a new processor brand called Core Duo 2, which the company says will provide a 40% performance increase over existing Pentium processors while reducing power demands by 40%. The Core 2 Duo for laptop PCs will provide a 20% performance boost over the existing Core Duo while maintaining the same power level, according to Intel.

Although the demand for more energy-efficient PC processors hasn't been as great as that associated with server processors, de Onis says there's a number of benefits associated with the use of more efficient PC processors.

In offices without air conditioning, which can be found in many places in Europe and in emerging countries, the ability to reduce heat from a room full of PCs can significantly impact temperatures, she says. More importantly, the more efficient processors will enable more compact PC designs that take up less room on a desk or in an office, as well as operate more quietly for use in home entertainment systems.

The processors will also take advantage of AMD's Cool 'n' Quiet technology, which allows a computer to decrease and increase performance heat levels depending on usage demand, as well as regulate fan speeds.

The new processors range in clock speed from 2.4 GHz to 2.0 GHz and will be available this month. De Onis says new "small form factor" PCs using the processors should be available later this year from equipment providers.

AMD is offering both 65- and 35-watt versions of the Athlon 64 X2 and Sempron processors and a 35-watt version of the Athlon 64.

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