In a bid to expand its commitment to sustainable energy, Google has announced plans to work on six additional solar power plants within the US. According to TechHive, this is the company's second largest investment on record at a whopping $80 million -- that's a hefty sum.
A team of researchers from prominent institutions around the world claim that they've figured out how to make computer processors smaller, faster and more power efficient than ever before: by letting chips mess up once in a while. No, seriously. By allowing "inexact" chips to make a pre-calculated amount of errors rather than striving for absolute perfection, the researchers claim that drastic power reductions can be made -- and they already have a working prototype.
Companies like Google and Microsoft have wide-ranging interests and are always on the lookout for fresh opportunities. But it’s not uncommon for some of their ventures to come unstuck. Microsoft’s Hohm energy monitoring tool is a case in point. Redmond has decided to bring the curtain down on Hohm.
And the award for the world's most energy efficient supercomputer goes to... Grape-DR, a supercomputer taking residence in the Department of Information Science at the University of Tokyo.
Grape-DR led all others in the Little Green500 List of energy efficient supercomputers in June, putting out 815.43 MFLOPS/W. That was enough to top IBM's second place machine in Germany, which puts out 773.38 MFLOPS/W.
Helping the Grape-DR top the list are 64 Intel Core i7 920 processors, plus an accelerator chip that's able to pump out 200 gigaflops with the same amount of power it takes to run a lightbulb.
For all of its power and efficiency, however, the Grape-DR could use a little TCL in the cable management department, don't you think?
Things just got a whole lot tougher for HDTV makers, or at least those hoping to slap an Energy Star label on the box. That's because the new Energy Star 4.0 standard has officially gone into effect, and passing muster is no easy task.
As part of the new standard, the maximum amount of power an Energy Star TV can consume has dropped by about 40 percent, and any television manufactured on or after May 1, 2010 must meet this requirement in order to qualify for an Energy Star 4.0 logo. Models that are only 3.0 compliant can still qualify for the logo, but they must have been manufactured no later than April 30, 2010.
The newly stringent requirements come as a welcome change to environmentalists. Under the outgoing 3.0 specification, a 50-inch HDTV could consume 318 watts when turned off and still qualify for the Energy Star logo, but under the 4.0 specification, that same set would not be allowed to consume any more than 153 watts to be considered Energy Star compliant.
This means that several TVs will drop from the EPA's online list of compliant televisions, but at the same time, several manufactures are already looking ahead with Energy Star 4.0 compliant models slated for a 2010 release, including ones from Panasonic, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, and Vizio.
Looking further ahead, Energy Star 5.0 will go into effect on May 1, 2012 and reduce power requirements even more. TV sets 50 inches and larger will be able to consume no more than 108 watts when 5.0 goes into effect.
Asus wants you to feel good about yourself so they went and released the Bravo220 "home entertainment PC card." So what's there to feel good about? For one, the card's 21 percent more power efficient than competing models, so you can look Mother Nature in th eye without that twinge of guilt. And secondly, by investing in the Bravo220 you're making a statement to yourself that you're not going to spend every waking moment playing videogames - that isn't what this card was built for.
As you probably surmised, the Bravo220 is built around Nvidia's GT220 architecture. The GPU comes clocked at 525MHz and there's a 1GB frame buffer chugging along at 400MHz (800MHz effective) on a 128-bit bus. It's HDCP compliant, supports resolutions up to 2560x1600, and has DVI-I, D-Sub, and HDMI ports. So before you ask, no, it's not going to run Crysis, not with the eye candy cranked up anyway, but it will fit right in with your home theater setup.
Towards that end, Asus developed a special Bravo Media Center interface they say is intuitive, and it comes with a remote control to boot. The cooling solution is passive, so there's no fan to distract you from those quiet scenes, and Asus says their Splendid Plus technology will reduce noise and artifacts while improving conversion rates.
What Asus didn't say is when it will ship and for how much.
Concerned about your carbon footprint? Spend more time tweeting and less time Googling. Quirky as it may seem, Raffi Krikorian, a developer for Twitter's Platform Team, has crunched some numbers and found that using Twitter is better for the environment than using Google.
According to Krikorian, each tweet sent consumes about 90 joules, or 0.02 grams of CO2. On a larger scale, there are some 50 million tweets sent on any given day, which works out to about a metric ton of CO2.
A single Google search, on the other hand, consumes about 1 kilojoule and emits 0.2 grams of CO2. So what does it all mean? That "we can do better," apparently.
See all of what Krikorian had to say on the matter in this video (NSFW - language) and skip to the 3m15sec mark.
IBM isn't exactly playing with fire, but it is playing with higher temps in its new North Carolina data center. At a glance, it might seem counterproductive to raise temperatures, but IBM is doing so in order to reduce its energy usage.
To make sure things don't get too far out of hand, IBM has equipped its 60,000 square-foot data center with thousands of sensors that dynamically keeps tabs on temps, humidity, air flow, and circuits. And to help with cooling, the company will rely largely on outside air.
"What we tried to do here is have a data center that is more instrumented, interconnected and intelligent than anything we have done before," said Joe Dzaluk, IBM's vice president of infrastructure and resource management at the Global Technology Services division.
Temps could rise as high as 80.6 degrees, which is exactly the latest environmental recommendation by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers, who recently raised the threshold from 77 degrees because of improvements in equipment design.
While it would be nice to have unlimited access to a T1 connection for huge downloads (here's looking at you, World of Warcraft patches), that's just not the case for a majority of users today. We can't all download Linux builds at our work computers. Sometimes, one just has to grin and bear it--"it" being the act of leaving one's computer on overnight for a furious session of non-peak-hour downloading.
Here's the problem: When said download finishes sometime in the wee hours of the night, your computer stays on. That might not be the biggest deal in the world for a single session or two, but suppose you're a mega-downloader. Suppose you're the kind of guy or gal who's always grabbing new files, new updates, new builds of this and that--in short, you're the reason Comcast invented service limitations. Well, it wouldn't be in your best interest to leave your computer on all the time. Computers are noisy. Computers use power. Computers produce heat.
Thus enters this week's Firefox add-on of the week: Auto Shutdown. As the name implies, this quick little addition to your Firefox browser adds some critical functionality to your downloads, be they through Firefox's built-in download manager or the popular add-on DownThemAll.
Google has long been an advocate of saving energy where possible, and now they’re bringing that same policy to their users with the recent introduction of the Google PowerMeter, a gadget that allows you to track your home’s power consumption.
The gadget will track your juice use by pulling information from your power company, just so long as it’s one of their partners. Their partners include: San Diego Gas & Electric (California), TXU Energy (Texas), JEA (Florida), Reliance Energy (India), Wisconsin Public Service Corporation (Wisconsin), White River Valley Electric Cooperative (Missouri), Toronto Hydro–Electric System Limited (Canada), and Glasgow EPB (Kentucky).
Currently the feature will only be handed out a small group of customers with each utility company, but this is purely for testing. They plan on making it more available once this process is taken care of.
If you’re interested in finding out more, be sure to check out the PowerMeter home page here.