Intel Computer Processor Runs On Solar-Power

Brian Hicks

Written By Brian Hicks

Posted September 15, 2011

Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) showed off its newest technology, a solar-powered processor, at the annual developer conference in San Francisco.

Not only was the creation of a solar-powered processor achieved, but the chip can also ran on little more than the power needed to turn on its transistors.

The newly created chip is about the size of a postage stamp, but the chip’s design is based on a Pentium processor that is more than a decade old.

They chose to base the new chip off an old chip design because the engineering challenge was so difficult. The design of the old chip was much simpler than today’s chips.

Justin Rattner, Intel’s chief technology officer, said the experimental processor was 5 times more energy-efficient than today’s processors. But he emphasized that it is nowhere near ready to hit the market.

At the conference Intel demonstrated the computer’s solar-powered CPU through the use of two small overhead reading lamps. However, only the processor was solar powered, the rest of the computer parts used conventional electricity.

The point to all of this research is that it is possible to obtain extreme power savings.

“People these days will kill for another 15 or 20 minutes of battery life, and here you’re saying you can improve battery life by a factor of 5 or 10,” Rattner said in an interview.

That’s all for now,


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