Intel's Solar Chipset Can Run Forever

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The fact that portable electronics are getting to the point where battery life is simply not a concern is absolutely wonderful. We're not quite there yet, but we're so, so close. Intel is working on a new processor architecture that can run itself using nothing but light: no plugs, no batteries, just solar power.

    Intel's ultrabooks will soon be sporting a new chipset called Haswell. The Haswell CPU will have a 22 nanometer 3D architecture, the upshot of which is that it'll consume twenty times less power than current chips. Yes, that's twenty times less. That picture up there is showing a Haswell CPU humming along, powered exclusively by that itty bitty solar panel. Park the thing under the sun (or a lightbulb) and it'll happily crunch numbers for you until the sun explodes.

    This is just the CPU, mind you, not the motherboard and hard drive and screen and whatnot. But with the addition of a battery (of reasonable size, I assume), Intel promises 24 solid hours per charge, with a whopping 10 days of "connected standby," which includes Internet streaming and other good stuff. Even if you cut those absolute best-case estimates in half (which is how it seems to work), that's still an entire working day's worth of worry-free power.

    So when will this miracle come to pass? The word is that Haswell will be ready to go by 2013, which is just barely over a year away. Not soon enough, but at least we have a whole bunch of time to continue to bemoan how inefficient our current generation of laptops is. Yay!

    -- DVICE