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Thermal and Power Management Technology

Tools and methodologies for power management and thermal system designs


Find pertinent information on system design in relation to power and thermal sciences. Intel specs, design recommendations and how-to guides, plus reference designs are included. Other topics comprise thermal design, power measurement, power management, power supply design, and fanless cooling.

Power Management

Embedded developers understand the profound impact power consumption has on end-user utility bills, device form factor and attainable performance, as well as battery runtime for mobile devices. A very effective way to manage power consumption is to put the system into a lower power state when the system workload decreases. Intel® processors support a number of power states that enable substantial power savings.

How it Works

There are several Intel® power management technologies that embedded developers can employ to strike the right balance between computing performance needs and power consumption. First, there are power states that define different sleep modes as well as different fully functional operating modes. Second, Enhanced Intel SpeedStep® Technology enables optimal performance at the lowest power by allowing the operating system to change the processor supply voltage and frequency. Third, Intel® Turbo Boost Technology delivers additional processor frequency bins, above the base (faster) operating frequency, when conditions warrant; since an embedded system only runs at full throttle when workload demand is high, energy is saved during non-peak times.1

Key Benefits

Providing a path to energy savings, Intel power management technologies give software developers granular control over the system operation. For mobile applications, like handheld medical devices and ruggedized laptops, some power states save considerable power during periods of low activity and can be used to significantly extend battery runtime.

Medical Device Scenario

A medical device manufacturer looking to create a handheld ultrasound device from a cart-based system may need to put a ceiling on power consumption. Using Enhanced Intel SpeedStep® technology, it is possible to limit the maximum power consumption, allowing the manufacturer to reuse a board design in a more thermally constrained form factor. Likewise, application developers can easily prohibit systems from entering high-performance power states in order to satisfy more stringent maximum power consumption requirements.

Print Imaging Scenario

Many print imaging machines are multi-function systems that print, copy, scan, and receive and transmit faxes. These systems are rarely in a continuous state of use, but must remain ready to process jobs as they are received. Application software can cut power consumption when equipment is operating below maximum load by moving to a lower power state or by invoking Enhanced Intel SpeedStep technology.

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Product and Performance Information


1. Intel® Turbo Boost Technology requires a system with Intel Turbo Boost Technology capability. Consult your PC manufacturer. Performance varies depending on hardware, software, and system configuration. For more information, visit www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/architecture-and-technology/turbo-boost/turbo-boost-technology.html.