All Power to the Processor

Henry Norr writes a very detailed column about power consumption in computers and coming improvements that Intel and Microsoft are shepherding through. It sounds a little familiar, as the sleep mode that's planned is very much like Apple's standard sleep mode (which Norr talks about late in the column). It's a welcome and cool development.

Disturbing bit of info in this article: Apple's iMacs chew up about 35 watts in sleep mode! I'll start shutting my machine down for the 16 hours a day it's not in active use at home (savings at 10 cents per kwH = about $20 per year). I'd switched from a 19-inch Sony (17-inch visible area) to a true 17-inch Apple Studio Display a couple months ago and, in the process, reduced my monitor's usage from nearly 150W and 35W in standby to about 40W and 5W in standby (savings in both modes together, about $40 per year).

It just struck me how buying energy-efficient equipment is a way to invest in the energy futures market: if electricity actually starts costing what it requires in environmental management to make up for usage, that $40 per year could be become several hundred. That was part of the thinking behind why I bought it - but it's also wicked beautiful and sharp and bright.

I've read some other accounts that describe how server farms are becoming more efficient per unit, as manufacturers have finally gotten into the swing of making server systems (like what are called blades that slide into a case, as one example) that don't consume as much power as a consumer PC.

Ultimately, the predictions made last year for power consumption by the Internet fall short because they relied on predictions by Exodus, Level 3, and others, the business model for which has collapsed along with dotcom demise.

Enjoy this blast from the past courtesy of The Seattle Times from an article on all the new Internet server farms and colocation facilities being built in 2000: It is estimated that projects already in the works will add at least 200 megawatts to City Light's power load, which hovers around 1,200 megawatts. One of the new Internet operations - City Light won't reveal which one - will consume 105 megawatts by 2002. I would love to see the revised numbers: 10 MW?

According to my fellow techies in Seattle, cages are empty at all the "colo" facilities in the area. Some of the facilities were smart and always had closed doors on the cages, so you couldn't see in. Others, with open mesh or similar arrangements can't hide the emptiness from their remaining customers. That simple black door might make a big difference in what you can charge for colo with a straight face.