Has anyone considered AMP where the processors have different clock speeds? My laptop has multi-processors which is great for rendering graphics and other processes. But how fast does a processor have to run for word processing when what I'm really doing is typing. Better to have a processor runnig very slowly (I don't type that fast.) and not executing a lot of wait instructions. Slower clocks require less power, longer battery life, etc. as you point out. Isn't having a fast processor asleep and a very slow processor running without a lot of wait cycles preferable to having several very fast processors running a huge number of no-op instruction waiting for me to type the next letter.
That's exactly the idea behind ARM's new big.LITTLE architecture.
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For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.