Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Low power age dawns for I/O

Everybody knows that we are in a new age where power consumption issues are numero uno in design, driven mainly by the fact new semiconductor process technologies are not scaling down nearly as much as in the past. That means the Intel-driven go-go years of cranking up the data rates are over and the new mantra is power efficiency.

There's even the global angle. What President Bush calls our "addiction to oil" and what Al Gore now calls the "climate crisis" are driving a new clean tech movement.

So, two news nuggets on this trend line:

First, as promised last Friday, the details about the Lawrence Berkeley Lab's ambitious and multi-pronged power consumption initiative are out. OK, this is probably the most ambitious group of ten researchers I ever ran into, so keep expectations low.

They aspire to set new power standards for large switches and home gateways. They even hope to straighten out problems in the living room so that a Sony TV can shut down Panasonic DVD player when that makes sense. If they get it right, consumers may even see on, off and sleep buttons on their remotes someday. That will require all sorts of infrared and home networking standards to get more power aware in a standard way. I/O meets low power.

I/O meets low power in another big way on Monday when the wraps come of the Rambus paper at ISSCC that I tipped in an earlier blog. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, if you've got some hot tips about what's coming down at ISSCC I am all ears. Sing to me here or at rbmerrit@cmp.com

1 comment:

palani said...

Rambus with its 2.2mW/Gbps serial link is cool stuff. The serial domain bandwidth requirements are driven by more consumer apps this gen compared to datacom a decade back. So low power (battery powered apps) is certainly the key.

I am not attending ISSSC, if you do I am interested in knowing more about the paper about 20Gbps CDR links from students of NTU. It claims a PLL relock time of less than a bit which could have huge commercial implications.