James Hamilton: Very Lower Power Servers Progress
There is a growing gap between memory bandwidth and CPU power and this growing gap makes low power servers both more practical and more efficient than current designs. Per-socket processor performance continues to increase much more rapidly than memory bandwidth and this trend applies across the application spectrum from mobile devices, through client, to servers. Essentially we are getting more compute than we have memory bandwidth to feed.
We can attempt to address this problem two ways: 1) more memory bandwidth and 2) less fast processors. The former solution will be used and Intel Nehalem is a good example of this but costs increase non-linearly so the effectiveness of this technique will be bounded. The second technique has great promise to reduce both cost and power consumption.