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.
More power is a good thing when you’re talking desktops, but for notebooks, more power means less battery life – and in this age of Ultrabooks and ultraportables, that just isn’t acceptable to a lot of manufacturers. In yet another step towards making those Ultrabooks ultra long lasting, the SATA-IO organization announced a new feature yesterday: SATA DevSleep. Basically, DevSleep lets PHY and other circuitry drop into an almost completely powerless state – rather than a still power-consuming “Partial” or “Slumber” state – when it isn’t being used.
ARM’s built its business around power-efficient chips that are perfect for mobile applications (like tablets and smartphones), but that pedigree could transfer over to another technical arena as well, one that has traditionally been dominated by Intel and AMD: high-powered computing. In fact, Sumit Gupta, who serves as the senior manager of Nvidia’s Tesla GPU Computing HPC business, says that ARM chips are “inherently much more energy efficient than an x86 CPU” – and that fact makes Nvidia feel that the future of supercomputing lies in ARM.
Intel may have the PC processor market in a virtual stranglehold, but on the mobile front, ARM’s low-powered chips have made the company a contender. The diminutive new Cortex A7 processor announced today is one-fifth the size and uses one-fifth the power of the Cortex A8, but ARM has big things planned for it. Not only does the company have eyes on the sub-$100 phone market, but new technology that ARM calls “big.LITTLE processing” could have the A7 serving as a plucky little Robin to the beefier Cortex A15’s Batman.