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Energy Efficiency

Intel's New Green Processor Offers $2 Billion In Energy Savings

Intel’s new microprocessor was designed with the environment in mind. The company says the chip is not only rocket fast but is also extremely energy efficient. The chip—code named Nehalem—follows the Intel Core II and IV series processors.

[social_buttons] “Going into this project … we insisted on energy efficiency … and power,” said Steve Gunther, an engineer for Intel. Adding more processing speed to a chip often requires pulling a lot more energy. Meeting this challenge was not an easy one, he notes.

Nehalem engineers had to tweak both the chip’s clock cycle and its operating voltage, both of which typically eat up a lot of energy. The biggest energy cut came from reducing usage on an idle machine; a lot of the chip’s life-cycle is spent idle. So that makes sense, if you’re not in the room…turn off the lights.

There’s a catch, though. The chip still needs to be “active” enough to receive instructions. Historically, chips remained fully powered during the idle stage in order to catch any instructions thrown their way—not anymore.

Intel estimates that switching to Nehalem processors could save $2 billion dollars in energy costs and up to 20 terawatt hours. The company also suggests that 2 percent of all carbon dioxide emissions globally are from computers. Maybe it’s time to upgrade?

Image source: Intel

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Written By

is a web developer, part-time blogger, and a full-time environmentalist. His crusade for all things eco started twenty years ago when he ditched his meat-and-potatoes upbringing for something more vegetarian-shaped. His passions include cooking, green tech, eco politics, and smart green design. And while he doesn't own a car anymore, he loves to write about those too. Jerry studied at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, CA. During his time there he was a DJ at the campus station KCPR and he also wrote for the campus paper. Jerry currently resides in San Francisco, CA with his cat Lola. You can stalk him on Twitter @jerryjamesstone.


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