CPU Heat Comparison: How Hot is Prescott?by Derek Wilson on April 16, 2004 4:32 AM EST
- Posted in
IntroductionThere are plenty of issues with current methods of comparing temperature data between processors, and we have been hard at work trying to come up with something that gives us better and more comparable results than the temperature data reported by different processors' thermal diodes. In considering different approaches, we have run into the same problem over and over: how do we measure the total heat output of the processor in any nearly accurate way.
The problem with thermal diodes is that between different architectures, there isn't really a way to compare what is being reported. The diodes only measure the temperature at a specific location, and the number we can pull out of a processor isn't necessarily representative of the average temperature of its surface.
Measuring the temperature increase of the system itself has issues as well. Different components in a computer heat up as well, and there's no way to really isolate the contribution of the processor itself to this process. The only number that can truly be compared between processors is the total energy output by the surface of the chip (or heat spreader).
The heat transfer from the CPU to the outside world would be a wonderful number to have, but there is the unfortunate necessity of a heatsink and fan for modern processors to run without cooking themselves. There isn't really a way for us to get to the surface of a chip in order to measure anything. So how are we supposed to measure how hot something is getting when we are required to be cooling it at the same time?
Well, there isn't any easy way we can think of, but just because something is impossible doesn't mean the AnandTech staff can't get it done.