Feeds

Intel tires of performance per watt chatter

Get ready to 'spew'

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Intel has not yet reached the point where it can talk about server and desktop chip performance per watt metrics with a straight face, but the vendor has already tired of the concept. In the next three to five years, Intel plans to push the industry toward a new, more nebulous metric.

"Performance per watt is very misleading," Intel fellow Raj Yavatkar told The Register. "Rather than focusing on performance per watt let's look at satisfaction per watt."

Apparently, Satisfaction Per Watt (SPW – pronounced spew, we believe) leads to focusing on complete system performance rather than just chip performance. Intel has zeroed in on a number of tweaks that it can make to PCs and servers to improve power consumption, noise and other features. Customers care more about Satisfaction Per Watt than just performance per watt and will demand that companies take care of a broad set of needs, Yavatkar said, speaking here during the Intel Labs press day.

On the server and desktop front, Intel fell woefully behind AMD and even RISC competitors on the performance per watt scale. Intel was still talking about chips that would run hotter than the surface of the sun, when rivals started pushing low-power chips two years ago. Intel has just begun the process of rolling out new chips built with its "Core" architecture that finally address the performance per watt issue by lowering overall power consumption while still cranking through code at a solid clip.

CTO Justin Rattner denied the notion that Intel had to scramble to catch-up with competitors.

"There is some sense that this has been a recent effort," he said. "(Our) work has been going on for a long time."

That said, Intel has suffered in the marketplace by not being performance per watt competitive, especially with servers.

When asked if Intel seriously plans to replace performance per watt benchmarks with the new satisfaction per watt metric, Yavatkar said, "Absolutely."

Intel has a crack team of ethnographers working on measuring satisfaction characteristics and plans to push satisfaction per watt hard in three to five years, Yavatkar said.

While the whole concept seems vague to us, Yavatkar did point to a couple of concrete satisfaction efforts. Intel, for example, has been exploring the process of tying memory to LCD controllers in displays in the hopes of caching static display images. This would save battery life when a presenter went through a Power Point deck by stopping a notebook from refreshing the display unless the slide changed.

Intel is also looking into designing new struts for fans that would reduce noise consumption in desktops and servers.

By tweaking chips, chipsets and other components, Intel thinks it can get a satisfaction edge over pure play chips companies such as AMD.

Will consumers embrace satisfaction per watt? We have our doubts. The old GHz measure and performance pet watt scale seem easier to digest and easier to benchmark.

Leave it to Intel to change the game. ®

Bootnote

Perhaps to Intel's dismay, a smaller outfit has already coined the "satisfaction per watt" concept. Interested parties can travel over to page two of this PDF. Thanks, Matt.

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
It's Big, it's Blue... it's simply FABLESS! IBM's chip-free future
Or why the reversal of globalisation ain't gonna 'appen
'Hmm, why CAN'T I run a water pipe through that rack of media servers?'
Leaving Las Vegas for Armenia kludging and Dubai dune bashing
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
CAGE MATCH: Microsoft, Dell open co-located bit barns in Oz
Whole new species of XaaS spawning in the antipodes
Microsoft and Dell’s cloud in a box: Instant Azure for the data centre
A less painful way to run Microsoft’s private cloud
AWS pulls desktop-as-a-service from the PC
Support for PCoIP protocol means zero clients can run cloudy desktops
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.