Intel's CTO Justin Rattner says server computers waste a lot of electricity and claims a switch to direct current power supply units could save an additional 14% over existing high-efficiency PSUs.
Rattner even demonstrated a prototype DC PSU and proclaimed that it had an efficiency of greater than 90%.
Rattner explained that traditional power supplies are only 55 to 70% efficient and that up to two-thirds of the power going into a system goes up as waste heat. Intel has been working on more efficient single voltage rail PSUs that are 90% efficient, but Rattner explains that isn't enough.
Google distinguished engineer Luiz Barroso conveniently showed up to explain just how important power costs are to server farms, something Google obviously knows a thing or two about. Barroso said the total power costs for a server eventually outstrips the hardware cost at the three to five year point. Keeping electricity costs down is the main reason large companies like Microsoft and Google are building data centers in the Pacific Northwest where cheap hydroelectric power abounds.