Originally Posted by GingerJohn
Not sure I agree with this.
Power consumption and heat produced (per core) have been trending downwards since the pentium 4. As the power consumption, heat, and size have dropped they have increased the number of cores included in one processor to continue to move forwards performance wise. This has created the appearance that power consumption/heat are still on the rise when we are talking about fast processors. Like you say performance per watt has gone up, but processor power consumption has stayed in a similar range.
As the processor architecture shrinks so does the amount of current the die can handle, and the amount of heat the die can tolerate also goes down. This will necessitate an eventual tipping point where things continue to get smaller and more power efficient, but speed will not increase significantly.(per core) Of course I am sure they will continue to add more cores to reach the maximum reasonable TDP that most coolers can dissipate(like they have been) until there are processors that simply have more cores than any home PC can reasonably be expected to utilize. It is at this point that heat/power consumption per CPU will experience a steep decline because the demand for the absolute maximum number of cores that can fit on a single chip will be almost
This might sound like some fantasy far off in the future, but how many people really utilize the full eight cores of the Zambezi models? How many home users will opt in for the 16 core model? I know a ton of you would make a mess in your pants if offered a 16 core processor but I am thinking about the average users who buy enough processors worldwide to drive the price down. How many applications are going to benefit from so much threading? Every other part of the PC will become a limiting factor before you will need to worry about getting the most cores on one CPU, and in fact it is already to that point with the majority of gamers buying an i5 2500k simply because it's not necessary to have six or eight cores in order to achieve spectacular results.