"This is not about performance-per-watt, it's about capability-per-watt," said Will Swope, director for digital enterprise brand management at Intel.
Features such as remote management and continuous virus scanning increase overall power consumption, and energy efficient chips are as much about performing tasks in an efficient way as about tackling performance-per-watt.
Intel announced last year that it will adopt the low-power elements of its Banias micro-architecture across its entire processor line, rather than just mobile systems.
But the micro-architecture is only one aspect of designing more power efficient chips, according to Swope.
In addition to better transistors, processors can handle tasks more intelligently by automating repetitive tasks or by offloading tasks such as virtual private networks.
Software developers can also help conserve power, for instance by minimising the number of times that applications have to fetch data from a network.
The debate about power consumption, furthermore, has largely focused on server processors where power savings result in direct savings on utility bills. It is less of a consideration in the desktop market.
Customers have not been inclined to pay extra for power efficiency, especially in the consumer segment, but Intel argues that this should not stop the industry from pushing power savings in this area.
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