Monday, October 24, 2005

Why isn't DOE imposing power consumption limits on CPUs?

We are having a global energy crisis. Energy as a strategic resource is getting more precious than ever.

A week ago, Department of Energy issued an order that says appliance makers must reduce use of energy. The new DOE regulation is imposed on appliacnes such as ceilng fans.

How much power does a ceiling fan need? The page has a lot of information. At the bottom, it gave total power of a ceiling fan +a light, it's only 104 watts, much less than the power usage of a single Paxville or P4. The P4 and Xeon uses 150 watts, this is for the CPU alone. There are 50 million p4 and xeons sold in US each year. The Xeons run 24x7x365, and the P4s run 10+ hours a day.

I also found this link which listed the power and energy consumption of various appliances. It gives a 240 watt power consumption figure for computers:

If you look at the energy figure, a computer uses 10 times more energy than a 1500 watt microwave oven --as Microwaves are not running all the time. Jonathan demoed an application that computes the power needs and energy cost for rack servers during Sun's Galaxy launch, and said to release the program open source. It is a very interesting idea. The program can be extended to all sorts of equipment and make people more aware of the cost of energy.

AMD and SUN should lobby DOE or congress to impose power cap on CPU wattage or impose taxes on CPUs that uses more than 120 watts, such as the 150 watt Paxville processor and the 151 watt Pentium 4 processor. AMD and SUN should increase awareness of the heat problem of INTEL P4, Xeon, Itanium and IBM Power5 CPUs. The INTEL CPUs uses far more power than ceiling fans and DELL's 1500 watt PowerEdge 6850 servers is 2 big microwave ovens running all day long all year, such energy wasting products harm the national interest.

There are better alternatives that are more power efficient and almost 100% faster.


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