Energy Efficient Athlon 64 3200+

AMD's Athlon 64 3200+ appears to be exactly the kind of smart CPU that power users who also want silence have been wishing for. X-bit Labs' recent article about this new 64-bit processor from AMD reveals a great deal of intelligent thinking to maximize computing power and energy efficiency. AMD's Cool 'n' Quiet Technology has several components:

  • Lower max heat dissipation than comparable Intel processor
  • Switches to the Halt/Stop Grant mode when the HALT command is performed. As a result, the processor temperature gets dramatically lower if it is not loaded 100%.
  • Reduces working frequency and Vcore when the processor is not under heavy load in order to lower the heat dissipation even more.
The last feature has never appeared in desktop CPUs before, though it has been used in mobiles for a while -- under the name "PowerNow!" for AMD and "SpeedStep" for Intel. X-bit Labs found a huge range of speeds and power dissipation for their sample Athlon 64 3200+ system, from 2GHz and 89W down to 800MHz and 35W. (See table on p.4 of the article for full details.) The X-bit Labs article is well worth a careful read.