Will technology ever catch up?

PC: AMD claims their CPUs will consume less power than Intel’s

Posted by cascadehush on December 7, 2006

AMD: New Chips Consume Half the Power of Core 2 Duo:

AMD’s argument goes like this: Modern desktop and notebook processors constantly scale up and down between full speed and an idle state, which AMD has branded “Cool ‘n’ Quiet”. At a given time, pushed to full load by an application, AMD’s chips run hotter and consume more power. But across a typical computing day—where a user might check his email or surf the Web—the processor idles more often then not. At idle, AMD’s 90nm Athlon 64 X2 consumes 7.5 watts. Its latest 65nm chips idle at 3.8 watts. By comparison, the 65nm Core 2 Duo idles at 14.3 watts.

So AMD have finally announced their move to 65nm chips. What is less inevitable is this spin they have managed to put on the new line of chips.

No doubt it’s a clever argument. I can attest to the benefits of ‘Cool n Quiet’. I can also tell you that whilst the feature is promoted on CPU boxes and the AMD website the instructions on how to enable the feature are obscure. It is not something that is enabled by default when you build and Sempron or Athlon based system.

The reality is that that even though it’s a nice technology, it’s not going to shift momentum away from the Core 2 Duo chips. Those people clever enough to understand AMDs argument will also know that Intel has a marked performance edge.

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