Is GHz per Watt the new measure?

We have reached a plateau when it comes to speed limits for CPUs. We may not see anything higher than 4 GHz in the near future.  This doesn’t mean that the computer can’t be better or faster. Multicore processors are fairly common today, allowing more than one section of code to run simultaneously. Computers are also dropping their power requirements, and let’s face it, we all want to be green, especially if it means a small electricity bill and keeping some green in our pocket.

Chip manufacturers are now touting about their CPU’s power consumption. Laptops are where this is the major selling point. Less electricity used means a longer battery life. Also, if it can do the same amount of data processing, you can have the same level of productivity for a longer amount of time. Wouldn’t we all want a laptop that can play 4 flash movies and not stutter a single one?

The desktop market hasn’t seen anything to the point of GHz/Watt. That’s because the folks in marketing think no one really cares how much electricity that computer’s going to use, unless you’re a computer dork like me running around the house with your brand new kill-a-watt.  I found an article on Wikipedia, they’ve listed pretty much every known CPU, their power requirements, speed and MHz/Watt or GHz/Watt.

Sure, there’s more to that computer than a CPU. There’s RAM, a hard drive, monitor, keyboard, mouse, USB ports and devices, network connections, fans, and other chips to support everything from video to audio to that fancy SATA II interface blu-ray burner you just had installed. Where are the power requirements, in Watts, for all these devices? Can it be found? Is it even available?

If the data can be found, could a normal high school graduate understand it? Would they even care? I’m betting most people won’t.