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Intel Revs Up Chip’s Energy Efficiency

Intel has reportedly developed a chip that can run on near-threshold voltage (NTV) technology to save power without compromising performance.

The company’s Claremont chip, presented recently at the International Solid State Circuits Conference (ISSCC), is an Intel Pentium that has evolved from an 800-nanometer process to a 32-nanometer one, according to HotHardware.com. This enables the device to run on minute amounts of power, idling at 280 millivolts at 3MHz and drawing 737 millivolts of power at 915MHz.

With voltage increases significantly affecting power consumption—NTV refers to the amount of voltage required to switch a transistor on and off—an NTV processor can operate more effectively than a traditional one, which carries a significant voltage variation to prevent a transistor’s inadvertent activation.

Claremont is not Intel’s sole foray into sustainable chip solutions. The company’s first smartphone processor, Medfield, reflected a major step in the effort to minimize power consumption and return to standby mode after completion of computational tasks, according to HotHardware.com.

Intel saved $136 million in 2010 from 11 employee environmental projects, according to Datamation Magazine, citing a PricewaterhouseCoopers report.

The company ranks 18th among U.S. firms in Corporate Knights magazine’s Global 100 rankings of leaders in sustainability.

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