AnandTech takes a deep look into dynamic power management, what it means and how it is managed with current generation CPUs and systems.  Processing power per watt has been a phrase used for a long time in the server room, where it can be hard to hear over the roar of fans and platter based drives.  It is now a common topic of conversation among all computer enthusiasts and many motherboards and CPUs are sold with features that enable dynamic performance, which in turn allows the power drain to change as the load changes. 

The ACPI states that have been used previously allowed the BIOS to put the system into a variety of low power states.  Now, both AMD and Intel have their own proprietary power management tools directly on the CPU allowing for new power saving tools in addition to the familiar ACPI states. AnandTech takes all of this information with them as they try to develop a benchmark to measure power management.

“Performance per Watt rules the datacenter, right? Wrong. Yes, you would easily be lead astray after the endless “Green ICT” conferences, the many power limited datacenters, and the flood of new technologies that all have the “Performance/Watt” stamp. But if performance per Watt is all that counts, we would be all be running atom and ARM based servers. Some people do promote Atom based servers, but outside niche markets we don’t think it will be a huge success. Why not? Think about it: what is the ultimate goal of a datacenter? The answer is of course the same as for the enterprise as a whole: serve as many (internal or external) customers as possible with the lowest response time at the lowest cost.”

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