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do old processors use less power? Answered

for example... what CPU uses more electricity when running full bore A. a 486 processor B. an intel Pentium processor C. an intel Atom processor?

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AndyGadget (author)2009-06-22

Taking the other comments into consideration, the fabrication process also makes a big difference and a processor series will take more and more power as the clock speeds increase. Then a new process is developed and power drops off again. The Pentium 4 Prescott core needed a Whopping Great Fan running even when it was idle, and when it was loaded the machines nearly took off. Then came the Core Duo which runs as cool as a penguins bum.

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frollard (author)2009-06-21

Back in the day there were billions less transistors, but the ones that were there had to work way harder to get the relatively low output. A more meaningful stat is 'watts per floating point operation' Lemonie really pounded it out there for you.

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lemonie (author)frollard2009-06-22

Yes the watts per FLOP better takes into account what ZEROGX says, and is more meaningful. I think it was a 486 that hit the 1m transistor mark?

L

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frollard (author)lemonie2009-06-22

ignore my deleted comment- I are fooled by morning blindness.

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lemonie (author)2009-06-21

Yes, they have fewer transistors and lower clock-speeds, i.e. they don't work as hard. I find:
A: 1989 486, less than the Pentium (B) But the ultra low power 486 - possibly less than the Atom?
B: 1992 Original Intel Pentium processor, 100Mhz ~10w. It goes up from there with later models.
C: 2008? Intel Atom Z ~1-2.5w

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are the stats for the atom when its running full bore or when its idle?

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user

I got them off that website (Intel), but that is a specifically low-power CPU. L

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user

then that probably the atoms idle wattage(they're deceptive about that stuff)

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user

There was a time when CPUs didn't have heat-sinks. I think it was around the 486 DX2 when they came in. But I believe the Atom series is designed to be low power and probably is. It's not in the same sequence as 486 to Pentium though, where power consumption has gone up steadily. These things are being restricted by the amount of heat they put out, hence a lot of overclocking is about cooling. L

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gmxx (author)2009-06-20

atom will use the least, then the pentium, then the 486. power managment gets better and better

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