Feeds

Intel tires of performance per watt chatter

Get ready to 'spew'

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

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.

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Wanna keep your data for 1,000 YEARS? No? Hard luck, HDS wants you to anyway
Combine Blu-ray and M-DISC and you get this monster
US boffins demo 'twisted radio' mux
OAM takes wireless signals to 32 Gbps
Google+ GOING, GOING ... ? Newbie Gmailers no longer forced into mandatory ID slurp
Mountain View distances itself from lame 'network thingy'
Apple flops out 2FA for iCloud in bid to stop future nude selfie leaks
Millions of 4chan users howl with laughter as Cupertino slams stable door
Students playing with impressive racks? Yes, it's cluster comp time
The most comprehensive coverage the world has ever seen. Ever
Run little spreadsheet, run! IBM's Watson is coming to gobble you up
Big Blue's big super's big appetite for big data in big clouds for big analytics
Seagate's triple-headed Cerberus could SAVE the DISK WORLD
... and possibly bring us even more HAMR time. Yay!
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.