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Factor Ten Engineering in CPU's
Jeremy Faludi, 24 Oct 05

Coming fairly soon (est. 2007): CPU's that use a tenth the power, for the same or better performance. A new semiconductor firm called P.A. Semi (which is a design-house only, they outsource manufacturing to other fabs) teased the press about it a month ago (see InfoWorld) and finally unveiled it at the Fall Processor Forum going on right now. The chip is based on the PowerPC (pity for Apple they just decided to switch to Intel architecture), and P. A. Semi is led by the same person responsible for the DEC Alpha and the StrongARM processors, so they know what they're doing.

In general, Factor Ten Engineering is extraordinarily hard, and there are few success stories in other industries; P.A. Semi's press release says "We had to start from scratch, rethinking every step" of the architecture, and they are "supported by an ecosystem of partners". But they're probably right when they boast that it will be an invention that changes the rules of the game for chip makers.

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for more factorX goodness, check out the Factor 10 house in Chicago by San Francisco architects EHDD:

Posted by: Regan Martin on 26 Oct 05

Reagan Martin had posted this comment, which seems to have gotten deleted:

re factorX goodness, check out the Factor 10 house in Chicago by San Francisco architects EHDD:


In response, I have to say this is indeed a great house design. But I don't think it actually succeeds in being factor ten. They haven't actually measured the energy or water use of the building (or at least, it isn't published anywhere that I could find online in a quick search), so it's hard to tell, but most projects (even award winners like this) only reduce by 30% to 50%, not 90%.
It is possible, though, and there are a few examples out there, like the ones I linked to.

Posted by: Jeremy Faludi on 26 Oct 05



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