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Intel's Solar-Powered CPU

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Snips 21st September 2011, 08:26 Quote
Such a low power draw and Solar powered is surely a good thing to carry on the developement process. Can't really think of any downside here at all.
rinseout 21st September 2011, 09:02 Quote
I don't tend to use my desktop outdoors very much, nor for that matter in a sunlit room.
But if I did, this would be good for me.
slothy89 21st September 2011, 09:03 Quote
Presumably the same could be achieved from mains power? Using an appropriate PSU of course.
My guess is the reason for the solar power is it was quicker to hook up than make a custom PSU AND custom wiring
Tattysnuc 21st September 2011, 09:05 Quote
Thanks for clearing up exactly what was being demonstrated. It's somewhat less impressive when you realise it's ONLY the CPU that's being powered by the solar panel. It's still quite a cool concept, and it really does start to show that performance can be achieved by parallel processing, as opposed to high MHZ.....

Now, if only multi-threading was blindly available - it was controlled or at least able to be controlled at a hardware level, rather than having to write code units to specifically take advantage of multicore technology, then I'd be seriously impressed...
benji2412 21st September 2011, 09:43 Quote
Probably worth asking if you've any details on the solar cell, although I'm guessing intel won't say anything about that. I'd be more impressed with this chip if that wasn't a tandem cell and perhaps an amorphous silicon cell.
Claave 21st September 2011, 10:48 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by benji2412
Probably worth asking if you've any details on the solar cell, although I'm guessing intel won't say anything about that.

Yep!
tonyd223 21st September 2011, 11:05 Quote
Instant computing - never turn the machine off, but don't pay a penalty on standby power...
Paradigm Shifter 21st September 2011, 11:19 Quote
Someone needs to go back and do basic Maths again! ;)

10mW = 1/100th of a Watt.

Given that in your own words, "Ultra-low voltage CPUs currently consume 15W or more" that would be 1500 times as much power - you're out by a factor of 10. Or, 15W = 15000mW. 15000/10 = 1500.
Alexg 21st September 2011, 11:27 Quote
The reason for using solar is that it gives a good demo - its more interesting visually than using a special power supply. Solar powered PCs are not the future (for obvious reasons) but low power ones are.
Claave 21st September 2011, 12:03 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paradigm Shifter
Someone needs to go back and do basic Maths again! ;)

10mW = 1/100th of a Watt.

Given that in your own words, "Ultra-low voltage CPUs currently consume 15W or more" that would be 1500 times as much power - you're out by a factor of 10. Or, 15W = 15000mW. 15000/10 = 1500.

:o changed, thanks.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexg
The reason for using solar is that it gives a good demo - its more interesting visually than using a special power supply. Solar powered PCs are not the future (for obvious reasons) but low power ones are.

I don't think that's in doubt - the demo was a clear and interesting way to show how low-power Claremont is - the question is to what purpose? Is Claremont a single-core low-power system based around Socket 7, a demonstration of a new kind of SpeedStep based on Near-Threshold Voltage, an illustration that many-core (32+) CPUs are viable within modern TDPs or all of these, or something else?
lp rob1 21st September 2011, 12:55 Quote
The main problem with NTV is that the transistors change state too slowly, and other transistor mis-interpret the signal. Currently we simply increase the voltage so it gets there quicker, but if Intel develops faster switching transistors then NTV could become mainstream quickly.
mclean007 21st September 2011, 13:40 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Claave
the demo was a clear and interesting way to show how low-power Claremont is - the question is to what purpose? Is Claremont a single-core low-power system based around Socket 7, a demonstration of a new kind of SpeedStep based on Near-Threshold Voltage, an illustration that many-core (32+) CPUs are viable within modern TDPs or all of these, or something else?
It's a tech demo. If Intel can overcome the problems with near threshold voltage (and this demo shows they can) then it could be rolled out to CPUs throughout the range - everything from Atom to the top of the line Xeons could benefit from tech that allows the power to drop by a factor of 1,000 when idling. It could be licensed to the GPU fabs as well - who wouldn't want a GPU capable of next generation gaming performance but which draws milliwatts when in Windows?
Claave 21st September 2011, 14:03 Quote
^but if it's just a demo, why the codename? Does that not suggest this is a product?
damien c 21st September 2011, 14:21 Quote
This would be great if it were not for the lack of sunshine in the UK most of the times during winter etc unless I am missing the point of what solar power is, which currently I think is sunlight on to a cell, which charges a battery or powers a device and when said sunlight goes then the battery stop's charging or the device stop's working.

It would be good to see a cpu and gpu that would consume less than 100w of juice as then I might not spend as much on electric each year :(
JerryW 21st September 2011, 18:14 Quote
Bit of a dog's breakfast, this article, wasn't it? Having failed to ask the right questions (or at least, get the right answers) you are reduced to speculation about what the code name might mean etc. You admit to being confused, and not without reason! It is an interesting area but with no flesh on the bones means nothing really
CampGareth 21st September 2011, 18:39 Quote
Just the other day I was thinking to myself "I want to leave my laptop on so I don't miss instant messages and so on but it's got very little airflow and I'm worried about it. I wish there were a way to drop the multiplier to 1 or less, drop vcore etc. so it's still on and running but with practically no heat output"

Is there anything stopping us doing this with current systems?
brave758 21st September 2011, 19:01 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Claave
^but if it's just a demo, why the codename? Does that not suggest this is a product?

Lol we all know that CEO's love to geive their pet projects names makes them feel more "special"
Farfalho 21st September 2011, 23:40 Quote
I can't believe I'm going to say this but Intel might be on something here, something really great and might take the lead in every market and data servers will be the ones benefiting the most of it. That kind of SpeedStep is rather more pleasing on the eye and tech specs than the ridiculous of today.

Let's see if it doesn't turn out another Larabee =X
ZseLotH 22nd September 2011, 17:01 Quote
This is great if ever made to commercial produt. Should come handy where it's hard to get electricity.
But requirements for this to be very useful is (I think) that it should run win7 with solar panel(during a cloudy day) no bigger than palm of a human hand, which indeed would be a great feat indeed.
Lockon Stratos 22nd September 2011, 17:35 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by rinseout
I don't tend to use my desktop outdoors very much, nor for that matter in a sunlit room.
But if I did, this would be good for me.

IMO, its more to do with stuff like ultra portable netbooks/laptops and possibly the server/rackmount industry rather then commerical desktop PCs

Imagine if these solar powered CPUs were the new Intel Atom Processor??? No one would be able to compete with them on battery life.
slothy89 23rd September 2011, 05:08 Quote
The point of this demo was not to demonstrate solar powered PC's!!!

ONLY the CPU is solar powered. The rest of the system is powered conventionally with a power supply.

This is showing that Near Threshold Voltage techniques can be used to reduce power consumption/heat thus allowing higher core counts (32+) as was mentioned. In practice the power would come from the wall just like a normalp PC...
czars1 25th September 2011, 00:43 Quote
I think that many of you seem to be missing a very important point, the potential for ultra cheap computing, consider cumputing with near persintent/ permanent ram. If we could lower the power requirement of the system it might be possible to just use the equivalent of a 9v batterry to power a laptop, HTPC or even a home server.
I'm seing some potential and it could get very exciting. Mind you, without something like(very serious and imaginative) speed step tech, i don't see this making its way into everyday desktop let alone a gaming rig.
SolidShot 28th September 2011, 03:55 Quote
Yeah, but can it play crisis?
Broton 1st December 2011, 15:04 Quote
The fact that this thing is based on a S7 Pentium suggests to me that what's happened here is one of the Intel engineers decided to see how low he could get the power of a machine as a pet project, and when he was done someone higher up the food chain realised the potential.

Otherwise why not use Atom as a starting point?

I would love to see this CPU with, say, 32MB ram and 64MB NVRam integrated into it along with the NB & SB, and made as cheaply as possible, for inclusion in a linux based *SUPER* cheap PC for African/Asian schools.
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