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Intel announces energy-efficient quad-core processors that consume 50-watts of power

Intel today released two new energy-efficient quad-core Xeon processors for multi-processor servers. The new Intel Xeon L5320 and L5310 operate at 1.86 GHz and 1.60 GHz respectively. Energy-efficient Xeon models consume 50-watts of power, which translates to 12.5-watts of power per core. Intel’s regular quad-core Xeon 5300-series consume 120-watts of power.

Energy-efficient Intel Xeon L5320 and L5310 processors are nearly identical to their higher-clocked counter parts. The energy-efficient models have 8MB of total L2 cache, 4MB of shared L2 per pair of cores, as with other Xeon 5300-series models. Front-side bus of the Xeon L5320 and L5310 are clocked at 1066 MHz, similar to the normal Xeon E5320 and E5310.

Pricing for the energy-efficient Intel Xeon L5320 and L5310 is $519 and $455 in quantities of 1,000, respectively. Intel Xeon L5320 and L5310 processors are drop-in compatible with Intel’s Bensley server platform.

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By Hoser McMoose on 3/13/2007 9:43:59 AM , Rating: 2
There's as much reason to suspect that it might be WORSE for overclocking, not better.

There are two tricks to lowering power consumption. The first and most important is to reduce the voltage. By running at a lower clock speed and lower voltage the same chip will consume less power. Since power tends to go up with the square of voltage, this factor is more important.

However beyond that there are some tweaks made at the manufacturing level. Making processors is a tricky business and there are a number of adjustments that can be made in the system. Some of these adjustments can improve maximum clock speed, yields, or power consumption.

Intel (and AMD, IBM, etc.) will tweak these various parts of their manufacturing process to optimize production for various parts. One run of wafers might get tweaked for maximum clock speed and sold as high-end desktop chips. Another run might get tweaked for maximum yields to be sold as mainstream or value processors. A third run might get optimized for minimum power consumption to be sold as mobile chips and these low-power server chips.

Then, after all is said and done, it comes down to a measure of tolerances. Intel has followed AMD's lead and just specified a few "thermal design powers" for all their processors, with that number now simply being a maximum that will not be exceeded for any processors in that range. Of course, individual chips will vary. So, for example (numbers pulled purely out of my ass), out of 100 Core 2 Duo/Quad/Xeon dies at 2.6GHz, Intel might have 5 that consume between 60 and 65W of power, 20 consuming between 50 and 60W, 50 consuming between 40 and 50W, 20 that consume between 30 and 40W and the last 5 consuming less then 30W. Now Intel could sell ALL of these chips as Core 2 Duo chips with a 65W maximum, or they could split off the best 25% or so and sell those at a premium and rated with a 40W TDP, while selling the remainder as "standard" chips. Market condition play a big role in deciding whether this is practical/economical to do or not.

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