Laptops might appear to be portable computers, but anyone who has owned one will know that they need to be plugged in to a power outlet if they are to be used for an extended period of time. Technology companies are well aware of this shortfall, and new developments indicate laptops in the future should be able to stay on for a lot longer with a lot less energy.
Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) is planning to develop a new PC chip design that is up to 25 times as efficient as those it currently produces. This could potentially increase the battery life of laptops by as much as 50 hours when idle; instead of just eight to ten hours, people would be able to enjoy several days of laptop use on a single charge.
Through a range of transistor restructures, chip size reductions, solid state drives, new memory technologies and other innovative techniques, the company intends to vastly improve the efficiency of both its ARM architecture and x86 chips by 2020. It is going to look at enabling chips to access pooled memory resources, and is collaborating with other firms to develop multi-function chips through Heterogenous System Architecture.
AMD is already a very successful graphics processing units supplier, providing the chips both Microsoft and Sony used in their most recent games consoles. While its chips are regularly seen in laptops and static devices, improvements in their energy efficiency could see the company expand its reach into the mobile computing market, potentially unseating chip giants such as Samsung, Intel and Qualcomm.
Internationally, computers use approximately 1% of all energy consumed internationally, while servers use another 1.5%, AMD said. This shows that not only could improving the efficiency of laptop batteries have great advantages for consumers, but also that it could have substantial benefits for the environment and for energy users across the world.