Intel continues reduced power consumption drive


Intel continues reduced power consumption drive

Antony Savvas

Intel is working on two new manufacturing and design processes to improve transistor power efficiency and reduce motherboard power consumption.

One of the techniques involves a dedicated voltage supply for both the central processing unit (CPU) and the cache memory, and the other integrates voltage regulators onto transistors to improve efficiency.

The introduction of Intel's 90-nanometer manufacturing technology in 2003, which forced a greater number of transistors closer together, encouraged Intel to look at ways of controlling the increasing power consumption of its processors.

As a result, Intel plans to switch to an entirely new chip-making architecture later this year that minimises power consumption.

The company is now looking at other areas of the platform to cut power consumption.

As part of the plan, Intel is looking to separate the supply voltage sent to its processors, which would involve the CPU having a dedicated supply voltage and the cache memory having its own supply.

Such a system would mean that integrated circuits that regulate the amount of voltage supplied to these components in current systems could be removed, freeing up motherboard space and eliminating sources of excess power consumption.

An additional way to reduce power used by the chipset and the other components on a motherboard, is to build digital voltage regulators straight onto the chip, rather than using analogue components from third parties.

Digital regulators react to changing voltage requirements quicker than analogue components.

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