Intel turns heads with solar-powered CPU

13 Sep 2011

Intel has demonstrated a CPU powered entirely by light

Intel CEO Paul Otellini caused a hubbub during his IDF opening keynote speech by demonstrating a solar-powered CPU that drew enough processing power to run Windows from a small pair of overhead lamps.

Otellini was at pains to make clear that this was not a planned product, but merely a demonstration of the company's work on reducing power consumption.

“It’s a lab experiment today,” he explained. “In many ways it’s a challenge for us to figure out how we would productise it. And here we’re running the processor on solar; if you want to run the whole system you have to do a little bit more work.”

“But it shows our direction. A Pentium-class processor running on solar, that was unheard of even six months ago.”

Otellini told IDF delegates that such research projects reflected the company’s “long-standing obsession with power reduction”, leading to commercial developments such as its forthcoming Haswell CPUs. Certainly it was a graphic illustration of the company's progress, and one which had photographers jostling for a peek.

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