Marvell chip puts more power into your PC

Marvell, among others, wants to cut that heat coming off your power supply and put the energy to good use.

Marvell has released chips for PC and notebook power bricks that can will substantially cut down the amount of electricity required to run these machines.

The chips, a type of power factor correction (PFC) controller based around a digital signal processor, effectively determine the amount of power an application will need and optimize accordingly. The chips also try to keep peak current at the lowest level.

The chips, which will be included in power supplies, are made to comply with new Energy Star requirements that require that 80 percent or more of the power pumped into PCs actually gets used by the computer. Right now, inefficient computers can lose around half of the power through heat or in the AC to DC conversion process. Pick up that power supply connected to your notebook. Feel the burn! These chips will reduce it.

Optimizing power cuts down on power consumption and, of course, global warming-causing greenhouse gasses. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that there are more than 10 billion AC-DC power supplies attached to computers out there. More efficient power supplies could save nearly $3 billion in electric bills annually.

Other companies out there working to revamp the oft-overlooked power supply include iWatt, which has received money from Vantage Point Venture Partners.

Marvell has chips out now but will crank into volume in the first quarter of 2008. That means the chips will likely be seen in PCs coming out for the fall of 2008.

About the author

    Michael Kanellos is editor at large at CNET News.com, where he covers hardware, research and development, start-ups and the tech industry overseas.

     

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