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Server Power Consumption Continues To Rise

The November 14, 2005 edition of The Wall Street Journal includes a front-page article by Don Clark entitled “ Power-Hungry Computers Put Data Centers in Bind.” This article details how the newest computer hardware – particularly the servers that run most business programs and Web sites – draw too much electricity and generate too much heat.

As Toomre Capital Markets noted back on October 12, 2005 in the post “AMD and Opteron Keep Gaining on Intel,” the [gs:AMD Opteron] chips are twice as power efficient as the Intel server chips. The AMD Opteron server chips are a key way of reducing heat load in a data center while continuing to serve the multitude of [gs:Monte Carlo simulations] that are part of modern Enterprise Risk Management measurement and monitoring.

The article explains “For years, no one worried much about power consumption. Chip makers relentlessly shrank transistors, creating chips that operate at a higher frequency and consequently draw more electricity. Besides those speed increases, measured in gigahertz, power consumption increased because the tiniest new circuitry tended to leak current when switched off, like a faucet that won't turn off all the way.

No one pushed miniaturization harder than Intel Corp., the world's biggest chip maker. During the 1990s, faster chips helped reduce servers from refrigerator-size to models smaller than a pizza box, which companies can stack by the hundreds in racks in large data centers.

Along the way, power consumption for servers surged, approaching 3,800 watts per square foot this year for the most compact systems from 250 watts per square foot in 1992, according to the American Society of Heating Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers. That's as much as 38 standard light bulbs, or more than half the power required by many homes.”

Should any reader of the information in this post care to discuss further [gs:computer server power consumption], please contact Lars Toomre or Aldon Hynes at Toomre Capital Markets LLC.