Intel demos experimental PC chip running on low power

Power is always an important aspect of any electronic device and we have seen more and more products become more energy efficient in the past few years. This week, during the Intel Developer Forum event in San Francisco, the PC processor maker showed off an experimental chip that has a very low power requirement. Wired.com reports that the chip is called the "near-threshold voltage processor" which basically allows it to run even at very low voltage levels.

The demonstration during the IDF conference showed a Linux-based PC running on this new processor, which has the code name Claremont. The chip ran on the power provided by a small solar cell that was the size of a postage stamp. An Intel spokesperson said that the processor could run on organic power sources such as lemon juice. You could even run a PC with such a chip on a potato, much like how elementary school kids discover that hooking up a potato can power up a radio.

While the near-threshold voltage processor may never actually be released as a commercial product, Intel is using its development as a way to help the company create future processors. Intel says that in 10 years we might see PC processors that will have power requirements 10 times less than those in current PCs. A PC with such a chip inside could always be on in some form, allowing for PC applications and processes to continue even when the device is in a super low power state.

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Once again, Intel just doesn't "get it" regarding ARM. So they continue to get their a$$ kicked by the entire mobile industry(mainly Apple & Samsung).

SpyderCanopus said,
This joint Intel / CIA effort is sponsored by Iowa Spy Potatoes', Inc.

We make corn in Iowa... potatoes are from IDAHO!

Well, ARM is currently about 10 times more energy efficient (MIPS per watt) than x86. And this is not because of magic, but because of x86's design drawbacks, backwards compatibility, and usage of microcode, which is like emulation - x86 CPUs are actually RISC CPUs which translate x86 operations to series of RISC operations and only then execute it. I really hope all of this is going to change with the advent of Windows 8 with ARM support.

What you say is very true. I understand Intel's position to try and expand its market share and cement its processor dominance but it would be better for the end user if they didn't try an force the aging and bloated x86 architecture into the mobile space which is currently filled with the much more appropriate ARM architecture. ARM has a lot more potential starting with updating the manufacturing process to be in par with desktop CPU-s (just now Cortext based processors are built using 45nm processes when desktops are transitioning to the 22nm process) which would bring even more efficiency and better battery life.

the_ozyrys said,
Well, ARM is currently about 10 times more energy efficient (MIPS per watt) than x86. And this is not because of magic, but because of x86's design drawbacks, backwards compatibility, and usage of microcode, which is like emulation - x86 CPUs are actually RISC CPUs which translate x86 operations to series of RISC operations and only then execute it. I really hope all of this is going to change with the advent of Windows 8 with ARM support.

The x86 emulation is true, but it's on the fly and a dedicated and very small part of the microprossesor is actually doing that job, x86 is not power hungry because of that, but because of the inherent power of such architecture. ARM still far away in power compared to an x86 processor and to any other architecture, that´s why they are not used for power computing, there are instead other RISC processors that do that job, like the Power PC ones.

I'm seeing the downfall of the x86 architecture not because they are not powerful enough, but instead because the people complete ignores the true difference between the two architectures, since as long they use office and surf the internet everything is alright. I don't feel sorry for Intel but AMD has no fault... I wonder if they create an hybrid or something to cope up with this.

the_ozyrys said,
Well, ARM is currently about 10 times more energy efficient (MIPS per watt) than x86. And this is not because of magic, but because of x86's design drawbacks, backwards compatibility, and usage of microcode, which is like emulation - x86 CPUs are actually RISC CPUs which translate x86 operations to series of RISC operations and only then execute it. I really hope all of this is going to change with the advent of Windows 8 with ARM support.

The common x86 commands are executed directly by the modern x86 cores, the less used commands get broken down into a series of more atomic commands. But that's not really important. The death of x86 architecture is greatly exaggerated. The chattering press has been insisting that tablets are taking over from PCs, but the numbers have not backed that up. In fact, tablet uptake hasn't even been that great. Only Apple is selling them successfully, nobody else seems to be able make a profit on them, so it seems this is just an Apple-only trend. I don't see much of a demand for mainstream tablets until Windows 8 comes out, and I don't expect that the ARM-based Windows 8 will work that well, but the x86-based Windows 8 tablets will kick ass. ARM based architecture has enjoyed a fairy-tale success story mainly because they are being used on small devices like smartphones which don't require a lot of performance. But once you start getting bigger devices like tablets, then you want to do some real work with them, and ARM architecture won't cut it.