Despite taking some major financial knocks in recent months, Intel is pushing ahead with its investments in solar technology. Intel: 'Carry on my wayward Sun' Chipzilla is now testing the potential of using solar energy to help power data centers, unveiling a new experimental photovoltaic installation this weekend in New …
A Step in a right direction
Kudos to Intel for harnessing solar energy.
But no grand prize. The real savings in datacenters will come when Intel acknowledges that processors developed for the desktop waste substantial power in speculative hardware, overdesign, and "engineering past the point of diminishing returns."
Fundamentally, the modern out-of-order desktop microprocessor is designed to squeeze the last tiny bit of performance out of each nanoacre of silicon, power and energy be damned. Harnessing solar energy at 1kW per square meter of array (at best) vs. machine room densities of 10kW or greater per square meter of floor space suggests some very large arrays for each of those containerized server rooms.
The best green power solution is not to waste the power in the first place.
Even Intel understands the inevitable.
Sun Microsystems is the future!
Intel using Sun???
so will Sun be using Intel power now?...!!
Mine's the sun burned one...
They're just the people to do it too.
Being that they own quite a bit of silicon fab plant. All this thin film stuff is just up their alley.
10 kilowatts of electricity = 5 hair driers = green wash
Why do people even go down this road? It's meaningless trivial crap.
@AC - 10kW = 10 x 1,000W ~= 10 servers with dual 500W power supplies = a pretty good small-medium business setup. Just because you use hideously inefficient tools to burn your hair doesn't mean this technology is trivial.
@Reg - Does the caption mean you think Intel has passed the point of know return? Any word on how they handle particulate matter from the desert blown across the installation by atmospheric forces? Perhaps they should move the installation to a state northeast of New Mexico...
200000$? Are they joking?
That is a joke. 200K for Intel? Newsitem? 200M would have been a different story, but 200M means real commitment instead of mucking around with greenwash.
Photovoltaic is not the solution
Using photovoltaic panels is not the solution.
In this case you need free refrigeration in the summertime, so the best bet is to use THERMAL panels ( the same type used to heat water ) and use that heat to drive an absorption chiller.
The more sun that is, the more power you have for your chiller, and at a far better efficiency than photovoltaic electricity.
Of course, you can always use a double layer approach, putting the silicon photovoltaic panels in top of the thermal ones, so you get the high power photons to drive the electricity and the lower frequency ones to het the water / pipe fluid.
Considering one Sun Blade rack is about 5KW (+ approx 2.5KW Cooling), then this is just a token gesture from Intel. Solar or wind can only really work, when we have a very good way of storing generated electrical energy.
Green datacentres are really a myth. The computers we buy are getting more power efficient, but also generally smaller. So we pack in lots of smaller systems in with no resultant reduction of power consumption.
Why the desert
I would have thought they could save a shit load of power (and money) by not building their data-centres in the middle of deserts where they require massive amounts of cooling. Move them to a more temperate climate and then harvest the waste-heat from the hardware using a heat-exchanger to augment the power supply.
Re: the desert.
Another obvious desert issue is that it must be a right, royal pain having to cycle to work in 40+ degree heat 'cos some arsehat's filled the car park with photovoltaics.
You'll get you money back in 20 or so years. Just when it's time to replace them all.
Alternatley, stick the money in the bank and be much better off.
Call me when "free" energy costs less than "expensive" energy.
where to spend..
Intel. Please spend your green investment dollars on R&D to reduce the power consumption of your desktop chipsets.
That's where the real savings are to be made.
loads of geothermal, cooling not too much of an issue and photovoltaics could have all that ice to reflect light onto them ...
as for Sun-powered data centres, don't tell Mr Bryant