Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Yonah is a power hog?

CNET News has published an article about the power output of Intel's next generation dual-core Yonah chips. It suggests that early predictions of Yonah power utilization as implied by Intel's Thermal Design Power (TDP) values (see diagram) may be somewhat optimistic:
The "T" class of Yonah chips, which are expected to be fitted in most business notebooks, will come with a maximum power consumption of between 25 and 49 watts. Right now, single-core Pentium Ms top out at 27 watts.
If true, that's not entirely unexpected given that these chips have two complete and independent cores, but it is still disappointing. Historically, Apple has preferred CPUs with a max power utilization under 30 Watts. However, the specifications published by CNET indicate that dual-core 2+ GHz Yonah chips are far above that 30 Watt barrier.

It does make one wonder how Apple will deal with this issue. Will Apple will choose to use Intel's fastest and hottest Yonah chips in some PowerBook models, or will Apple choose to use only slower and/or low voltage (LV) chips to save power?

[Update 2005-10-13]

The DigiTimes echoes CNET's article, but goes on to suggest that these numbers are actual TDP values, and not absolute maximum power utilization values. (TDP is a better representation of what would be expected as an effective maximum with real-world software, but it is lower than the absolute maximum power utilization possible, with say a power virus.)


dave said...

Kinda makes you wonder if the whole switch to Intel will end up being a good idea. I'm sure that Intel can put down a great roadmap on paper, but what happens when those expectations aren't met (like IBM with the 3.0 GHz G5s)? Intel doesn't exactly have the best track record when it comes to power consumption. They've only done well recently with the Pentium M, but the Pentium 4 platform was a total failure when it comes to low-power chips.

What if this time next year IBM has some really cool, low-power G5 chips? Or Freescale (shutter) has some low-power, dual-core G4s? But Intel is struggling with the power consumption of Yonah. The big switch may not look so good then.

I guess Apple will keep their options open. Just like they've been doing with the secret Intel Mac OS X over the years.

jherber said...

a very cool running single core yonah will be an option for those who don't need 2 cpus to browse the web. for those of us who run ai and physics intensive games or run scientific applications, there will be no faster mobile platform in 2006. yonah also has improvements to floating point performance for improved media performance. apple realized intel intel is the leader in low-power and dual core mobile technology. the trend is mobile computing. intel has also invested heavily in home computing technologies. i think apple will align with intel on this front as well.

Anonymous said...

Maybe not...

So it looks like some future high-end laptop parts will go up to 49 W and that the desktop parts (Zooom) will be 50W and above.

Besides that chart clearly says 2.16 GHz at 31W, which fits in with all the other comments made about the chip that I've read

dave said...

to jherber

All of that is easy to say now when the product doesn't even exist yet. We'll see what happens next year.

Hopefully it will turn out to be as good as Intel is promising, but as I said before, Intel's track record isn't stellar. I'll wait to see how the silicon performs before I go claiming that there is "no faster mobile platform."

The fact is that we don't know what will be out there next year to compete with this and we won't know until next year.