Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Potential of Underclocking

This article from Xbitlabs which describes a detail about AMD Socket AM3 mini-ITX platform highlights the importance of underclocking the CPU in certain circumstances.

I didn't realize the benefits of underclocking previously. However, it's now clear that the reduced power consumption and heat obtained from underclocking opens new opportunity for several constrained systems. For example, for mobility applications and industrial application where the need for ultimate number-crunching capabilities are not the top priority.

One of the mobility application could be a mobile robot with constrained supply of energy with number-crunching need above the Intel Atom territory but could be met by an underclocked Athlon II X2.

In industrial application, it could be a process control board with high enough number-crunching needs but required to be in certain thermal envelope which could not be met by Intel Atom.

Another possibility tempting possibility is underclocking Intel Atom to be used in applications where high performance ARM/MIPS chips do not met the required performance characteristics, or certain x86-tuned code would be more suitable than porting the code to ARM/MIPS architecture.

Well, this is another possible solution that system designers could exploit in certain circumstances.
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