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Power Hardware

Researchers Design Microchip Ten Times More Efficient 113

WirePosted writes to mention that a new highly efficient microchip has been announced by researchers from MIT and Texas Instruments. The new chip touts up to 10 times more energy efficiency than current generation chips. "One key to the new chip design, Chandrakasan says, was to build a high-efficiency DC-to-DC converter--which reduces the voltage to the lower level--right on the same chip, reducing the number of separate components. The redesigned memory and logic, along with the DC-to-DC converter, are all integrated to realize a complete system-on-a-chip solution."
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Researchers Design Microchip Ten Times More Efficient

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  • by Naughty Bob ( 1004174 ) on Monday March 17, 2008 @03:17PM (#22776304)
    The article doesn't say whether these chips are cheaper to make than the current technology. That will be the deciding factor regarding how soon these make their way into our portable devices.
  • by Shikaku ( 1129753 ) on Monday March 17, 2008 @03:25PM (#22776410)
    The processors, chances are, are not very useful for things that require more processor horsepower. The article mentions use in things that could be powered by minuscule power input (i.e, body heat). I think it was invented for that purpose, that the power bill will be minuscule at worst, nonexistent at best for these things. Therefore, use in portable devices for now are not so much, except maybe a simple PDA that requires no batteries, only heat.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 17, 2008 @03:31PM (#22776466)
    It seems like all of American know-how goes into designing things like this, then companies move the jobs overseas. Now, if they moved it to countries that are friendly to here, I would not care. But where do they send it to? China. Not even Taiwan anymore. Plain ole china. And yet, China is on a real spending jag to build their military up. The amazing part is that many of the CEOs at these companies are the same ones gripping about American's losing their edge, while they send the high-end jobs elsewhere.
  • by Firehed ( 942385 ) on Monday March 17, 2008 @03:34PM (#22776494) Homepage
    So as usual, something ten times better than we have now is going to be available in five years. Since these breakthroughs happen all the time, we continue our remarkably linear trend by continually filling in the gaps.
  • by Bob-taro ( 996889 ) on Monday March 17, 2008 @03:49PM (#22776624)

    It seems like all of American know-how goes into designing things like this, then companies move the jobs overseas ...

    The researchers are: "graduate students Yogesh Ramadass, Naveen Verma, and Joyce Kwong, along with Professor Anantha Chandrakasan". While they may very well all be U.S. citizens, it makes me want to ask for a precise definition of "American know-how".

  • by PPH ( 736903 ) on Monday March 17, 2008 @03:52PM (#22776654)

    That depends on youe definition of 'the mainstream market'. This technology may never appear in desktop/laptop PCs, but become popular in handheld devices where power consumption is a major issue. There is a limited amount of power saving economically feasible in PCs as long as the displays and other peripherals continue to be major power hogs.

    Another interesting market might be in server farms. But I wouldn't count on this driving the market. CPU architectures specific to servers haven't sold well, so this isn't an economically viable niche.

    Microcontrollers are a large enough market segment to justify the R&D. I forget where I read this, but if you take the total percentage of the uP and uCs installed in PCs and round it to the nearest whole percent, that number is zero.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 17, 2008 @04:00PM (#22776738)
    Ugh. Transmeta. Two t's, not three. Sony and Intel are licensees of Transmeta's technology (the latter being the terms of a legal settlement, but no doubt Intel makes use of it). They were always a flop as a chipmaker, but seem to be doing all right as a smaller fabless concern.
  • The know how to get them all into one institution doing work for one of our companies at one of our schools has to count for something.

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