Intel wants more power efficient chips

Posted by Trent Nouveau



Intel says it remains on track to reduce the energy consumption of its flagship processor lineup by a whopping 41%. 



As Shara Tibken of the Wall Street Journal points out, Intel's power reduction roadmap is being touted as demand slows noticeably for conventional laptops, with Santa Clara's Ultrabooks thus far failing to gain significant traction.

"[Yes], Intel supplies processors for more than 80% of the world's computers but long has struggled to move its technology into smartphones and tablets. Those products are typically powered by chip designs licensed by ARM, in large part because of their lower power consumption," Tibken explained.



"The chip maker, while targeting those products with a low-end line called Atom, also is improving its mainstream PC chips to help blur the lines between the categories."



In an effort to bolster its Ultrabook lineup, Santa Clara plans to showcase a number of new devices at its upcoming developers conference in San Francisco, including Ultrabook "convertibles," along with systems featuring  gesture, voice and facial recognition.



In addition, Intel says the fourth iteration of its Core processor - aka Haswell - will boast improved performance, more sophisticated graphics and improved security capabilities.

 As noted above, the biggest change is related to power consumption, with the new processor expected to sip 10 watts versus 17 watts for comparable existing chips.

"Basically it means we can make devices even thinner, even lighter and with an even higher battery life while still giving a full PC experience," Intel exec Kirk Skaugen told the WSJ.

 "Once and for all, you will feel comfortable walking out of your house and not carrying your power brick."


However, Patrick Moorhead, an analyst with Moor Insights & Strategy, said Intel needs to get power consumption down to approximately four watts for tablets without active cooling fans. 

Nevertheless, Haswell-powered devices will likely boast less-obtrusive fans as well as a thinner form factor compared to current Ultrabooks.

"It's going to be a killer part for convertibles and a killer part for notebooks," Moorhead added.