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But noise pollution isn’t something that’s a problem for servers, after all a sever is likely to be sitting in a large data centre with only other servers around to hear it. Heat and power draw are an issue though, and a very expensive issue at that. Imagine a data centre with 500 servers in it all drawing 35 per cent less power, the cost saving on electricity alone would be incredible, especially when you take cooling into account as well. Woodcrest could well be an environmental as well as financial benefit.

So, it would appear that Intel’s new found obsession with power efficiency as opposed to raw power is about to bear some fruit. There was a time when a significant increase in CPU performance went hand in hand with a significant increase in power draw and heat generation, but thankfully it looks as though those days are finally over.

Whether Intel embarked on the road towards power efficiency out of some kind of environmental responsibility, or whether it was because the ever increasing clock frequencies were starting to reach a limit really doesn’t matter. What does matter is that the chip giant has realised that the technological advancements made in the mobile arena can be applied to all areas of computing.

Intel isn’t the only company to apply mobile technology to other areas. When nVidia launched the GeForce GO 7800 I asked Rob Csongor (General Manager, Notebook GPUs) about its development. He informed me that nVidia had started concentrating on mobile chipsets and developing the desktop chipsets from them. This had allowed the company to produce more powerful GPUs without an increase in power draw. This approach was borne out by the fact that the mobile GO 7800 GTX was almost identical to the desktop part, with only clock speeds separating the two.

For me though, the most intriguing aspect of a high-performance, low power processor is the ability to build a media PC that can handle anything you throw at it while it sits quietly, yes quietly in a corner. And luckily, with Intel’s recent launch of the Viiv platform, it would appear that both Intel and I are singing from the same hymn sheet, so to speak. With Conroe, Intel may well have a processor that really can give you the best of both worlds – enough power to play the latest games and playback all that lovely 1080p high definition video, while keeping power draw low enough to reduce heat and noise to a minimum.

So, is Gelsinger right? Is Conroe the best processor Intel has ever made? Well, since I still haven’t got my paws on one I can’t really say, but one thing’s for sure, I can’t wait to find out.



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