They have that technology where cars can shut down cylinders when they don’t need the extra power: You save on gas that way. Now AMD is potentially bringing that same idea to their processors.
Their new quad-core processor will be able to evaluate if it has enough work to do, and it will convert itself into a dual-core processor if it concludes isn’t busy enough. The system is called DICE, short for Dynamic Independent Core Management (I know that the acronym doesn’t exactly work, but I didn’t make it up). The system can slow down each core’s clock frequency before it takes the step of shutting the processor down.
At least, that’s what a leak indicates AMD is planning. Internal company slides revealed that this was in the works, but the slides were dated August 21, 2005. It’s possible that the plans have changed in the last year, but we won’t know until the chips are officially revealed.