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Your Gizmos Are Getting Greener


Computer hardware isn’t just getting more powerful; it’s getting more efficient. Intel gives us the latest example of this with their new Haswell chip, which will boost processing power while significantly improving battery life. The BBC reports:

The firm says the new design of the family’s CPU cores is capable of delivering a 15% boost in performance, a 50% improvement in active-use battery life, and up to three times the amount of standby battery life when compared to the performance of [the previous generation].

These advances were made by redesigning the architecture of the chip rather than changing the physical materials that make it up. Intel is claiming that the battery life boosts are the biggest in its history.

These kinds of advances could have a major impact on energy consumption. From 2007 to 2011, the US actually reduced its overall electricity consumption by 1 percent. This was driven in part by efficiency gains in the commercial and industrial sectors, which consumed 1.2 percent and 5.3 percent less electricity respectively. The residential sector actually consumed 2.3 percent more electricity at the end of that five year span, in large part driven by the ever-expanding market for consumer electronics. Increases in battery life will help bring residential electricity use down, giving consumers more bang for their buck. That’s good for both the economy and the environment.

At some point, some greens are going to figure out that the world is getting better, even for them. The new information economy is getting more power efficient all the time.

[CPU chips image courtesy of Shutterstock]

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  • ljgude

    Good point and judging from the lack of comments the kind of advance that gets taken too much for granted. It is the sort of change that takes place in plain sight that radically effects the future but escapes Mathusians of all colors – not just the green ones. The mistake they always make is to project their trend lines into the future with no regard for ‘known unknowns’, much less the disruptive ‘unknown unknowns’.

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