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Japanese consortium to develop solar powered CPU

Japanese consortium to develop solar powered CPU

Intel could have cause to worry if a consortium of Japanese companies make good on their plans to develop a new low-power CPU.

Intel and AMD could be in for a challenge from a surprising source: a new CPU being developed by a consortium of seven Japanese companies.

According to an article over on Forbes, the consortium - which consists of household names including Toshiba, Fujitsu, Canon, Panasonic, and Hitachi along with NEC and the lesser-known Renesas - aims to produce a new CPU which will consume around 70 percent less power than existing solutions without sacrificing performance.

The project, funded by the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry isn't just looking for a way to power the portable devices of the future: the move to develop a local chip that lessens the country's dependence on foreign technology.

The entire scheme has been kick-started with a bankroll of between 3 and 4 billion Japanese Yen - or around £19.6-26.2 million - which seems like a very small amount to develop a radically new type of chip which will really get Intel worried. That said, the funding represents initial capital, and is likely to increase as the project moves beyond the planning stage.

Perhaps most interestingly, the project appears to be aiming to create processors which draw such a small amount of power they could feasibly be powered by solar panels - meaning mobile devices which potentially will never need connecting to the mains. That said, the group itself has not yet clarified quite which market the new CPU technology would be aimed at - high-performance desktop devices or low-power portable devices.

Do you think the processor market could use a shakeup, or is the consortium merely trying to come up with a local version of the popular ARM-based low-power processors currently beloved of portable device manufacturers? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

11 Comments

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Awoken 7th September 2009, 11:29 Quote
A really interesting bit of tech should it ever get momentum and a more solid funding base. I love my smartphone and the idea of a thin netbook or smartphone running off a small solar array on my desk/cafe table is rather attractive.
[USRF]Obiwan 7th September 2009, 12:21 Quote
Sounds like Manga to me, but I like it :D
TSR2 7th September 2009, 16:39 Quote
I've got a computer that runs off solar: A programmable calculator. Unfortunately, if its too different and doesn't get good sales it might never get software written for it which will rather limit its market to that which the consortium can write software for.
ZERO <ibis> 7th September 2009, 19:14 Quote
It is not really going to matter unless they have an x86 license...
Timmy_the_tortoise 7th September 2009, 20:02 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZERO <ibis>
It is not really going to matter unless they have an x86 license...

What if it was ARM based? It wouldn't matter to Intel or AMD.. but it'd matter to plenty of other companies.
HourBeforeDawn 7th September 2009, 20:16 Quote
It would be nice to see and well overall I wish more companies would start focusing on lowering power consumption but maintaing performance eg the graphics card market >< I dnt want to run 1200+ watt power supplies for my gaming rigs lol.
Red 5 7th September 2009, 21:51 Quote
So now every case will have a window in it?
HourBeforeDawn 8th September 2009, 01:39 Quote
well I think its more a long the lines that its so low powered it could run off a single solar cell not that it will be built on the cpu itself, I could be wrong but thats what Im getting from it
xprodancer 8th September 2009, 02:41 Quote
well we will all have to wait and see what come out the other side and if its worth getting if its for the desktop pc's!!!! over-clockable???? would it burn it out if you was to up the voltage on it???? considering that it might even not be for desktops what other use would there be other than netbooks???? low power, great performance, there is somin not realy right on that! would realy like more info on this one! bit-tech we need another review in time to come!!!
Elton 8th September 2009, 04:45 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Red 5
So now every case will have a window in it?

Wouldn't help, some of us(not me specifically) are basement junkies.
cheeriokilla 9th September 2009, 05:51 Quote
sun and computers don't mix... imagine sitting in the sun with your computer playing some L4D with that bright sun reflected in your screen, yum yum...
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