The CPU acts as the brain of the computer, which requires a certain amount of power or CPU wattage to run computer instructions. CPU wattage can differ across various types of CPUs; some may be high or low, depending on its clock cycle or processing speed. In addition, the CPU is the hottest part of the computer that needs a specific cooling mechanism to operate properly. Typically, manufacturers use the TDP values such as 35W or 65W CPU wattage to indicate which cooling mechanism to use on a computer. Therefore, understanding CPU wattages will help determine the right balance of processing power and cooling solution for your specific application.
What Is CPU Wattage?
The operating frequency or processing power typically determines the amount of watts the CPU will use. In other words, the higher the CPU wattage, the more powerful the CPU is. This also means more heat will be generated by the CPU. Therefore, CPU wattage is a good representation of how hot the CPU can get when performing tasks. For that reason, to keep the computer from overheating or thermal throttling, CPU wattage can help indicate the right type of cooling mechanism to use.
Is a Higher CPU Watt Better?
High CPU wattage can result in faster operating speed, thus more powerful performance. However, higher wattage means that the CPU will consume more energy and generate more excess heat that will require extensive cooling for the CPU. If the power and cooling do not balance each other, the CPU might lead to overheating or thermal throttling. To prevent this from happening, a CPU with higher CPU wattage will need stronger coolers or more fans to maintain that the computer operates within safe temperatures. As more powerful CPUs use higher wattage, it also means higher costs and total power consumption due to the higher cooling demand. As a result, industries that depend on reliable and power efficient systems prefer industrial fanless computers with balanced CPU wattage to lower costs and improve reliability.
What Causes a High CPU Wattage
Clock rate indicates the CPU processing speed. The clock rate calculates the number of cycles a CPU executes per second in GHz (Gigahertz). For example, a CPU with a clock rate of 3GHz executes 3 billion cycles per second. Therefore, a CPU processor with a higher clock rate tends to consume more power to operate, resulting in higher CPU wattage.
Hyper-threading technology enables multiple threads to run on each core, which means more calculations can be done in parallel. In addition, hyper-threading allows a single core to operate like two logical cores and execute two contexts at once. As a result, hyper-threading enables the CPU to process more calculations faster, increasing the CPU wattage or processing power to run more tasks. Hyper-threading is crucial in multitasking operations such as robot automation, smart city, and artificial intelligence.
Solutions to High CPU Wattage
High clock rate and hyper-threading may cause the CPU to overheat and be detrimental to the computer system. Hence, when the CPU reaches a certain temperature or known as the Thermal Junction Maximum (TJMax), the CPU will perform thermal throttling to reduce the clock speed to lower the CPU heat to its safe temperature. However, thermal throttling usually causes a sudden drop in CPU performance due to reducing clock rate or processing rate. Thankfully, thermal throttling can be avoided by fitting the CPU wattage with the proper cooling mechanism.
CPU Thermal Cooling Mechanism
The cooling mechanism is designed to dissipate the heat generated by the CPUs to maintain optimum temperature and prevent further damage from overheating. Excess heat in the computer may cause thermal throttling or even irreversible damage to the computer. Therefore, the cooling mechanisms are essential for the CPU (the hottest part of the computer) to stay cool. There are two types of cooling mechanisms, passive cooling, and active cooling. Passive cooling is a fanless system that uses heatsinks and heat pipes to cool down the CPU. The other type is the active cooling system where it utilizes a thermoelectric fan (TEC) to blow the heat away from the heat-generating components.
CPU Wattage – In Terms of TDP
TDP or Thermal Design Power refers to the amount of power consumed by the CPU under the maximum theoretical load. In other words, TDP indicates the maximum heat generated by the CPU that a cooling system is expected to dissipate to prevent CPU overheating. TDP is often used as a primary indicator of CPU wattage or power expressed in watts. In addition, a CPU's TDP is essential for industrial systems to inform whether the computers can implement a fanless design and withstand extreme temperatures under different industrial deployments. The higher the TDP is, the stronger the cooling mechanism needed to dissipate the heat efficiently. As a result, TDP or the CPU wattage value plays a crucial role in identifying the balance between industrial computers' power and cooling design.
35W TDP CPU
35W TDP CPU wattage means that the CPU is expected to output 35W worth of heat when in use. Therefore, the cooling mechanism needs to dissipate 35W of heat generated in order for the computer to operate within a safe temperature. In industrial applications, 35W TDP offers the computers several advantages, such as:
Fanless Design or Passive Cooling
A CPU with 35watt TDP allows an industrial computer to utilize a passive cooling mechanism otherwise known as a fanless system. Passive cooling is a method of achieving thermal dissipation without any fans. In addition, they utilize heatsinks and heat pipes that are made up of heat conductive materials like aluminum and copper. These heatsinks are built on the top of the chassis in the shape of fins or ribs to effectively dissipate the heat out of the computer. As a result, this fanless system allows silent operation, enhanced heat conductivity, less downtime, and longer service life.
Most industrial environments require computers to run 24/7 without failure. Hence, it is paramount for the computer to run reliably and optimally throughout its operations. 35W CPU wattage allows the computer to run fanless, reducing moving parts susceptible to shock and vibrations while eliminating downtime due to failed fan or debris clog up.
35W has a sufficient clock rate or processing rate that requires less power when compared to higher CPU wattage TDP. Therefore, manufacturers will likely choose 35W TDP to run on their industrial computers since they need a balanced CPU wattage to run the line every day without fail. As a result, manufacturers can reduce costs by reducing power consumption and increasing system reliability.
Extreme Operating Temperature
Less heat generated in 35W TDP allows the computer to operate in higher operating temperatures. Since the CPU releases less heat, it can withstand higher external operating temperature before reaching its Thermal Junction Maximum (TJMax). As a result, our 35W TDP CPU can maintain its fanless design while withstanding wide temperature environments ranging from -25°C to 70°C amid extreme industrial deployments.
65W TDP CPU
65W CPUs are expected to output 65W worth of heat when in use. Therefore, the fanless design needs to be more robust to dissipate heat and prevent further overheating damage efficiently. The 65W CPUs have some differences when compared to 35W CPU, such as:
The more powerful the CPU, the harder it is for the fanless system to dissipate the heat. As a result, the fanless architecture utilizes more and and even larger heatsinks and heat pipes to ensure the heat generation processors stay cool. 65W CPUs are commonly used for more complex industrial applications that demand more computing power. Typically, 65W CPUs are the optimal balance of powerful computing that still can maintain a robust fanless design. Therefore, CPUs with a wattage higher than 65W of TDP can no longer be fanless and require a thermoelectric cooler (TEC) to keep the temperature within the safe range. The active spinning and moving fan cause the computer component to vibrate and loosen. In addition, it requires ventilation for smooth airflow, which carries in cool air and potential debris or dust that might be detrimental to electrical components. As a result, 65W TDP CPUs are the right choice for power systems that need the benefits of a fanless design.
More power, higher cost. The 65W TDP CPUs cost more but have faster clock or processing rates. Not only are 65W CPUs are more expensive than the 35W CPUs, but they also use more power, leading to higher energy consumption costs. However, some industrial applications require more powerful computing to run complex tasks. Therefore, it is crucial to understand what computing power your application needs.
Wide Operating temperature
Industrial grade computers with 65W CPUs still have a wide operating temperature range. However, compared to the 35W CPUs, the 65W CPU computer operating temperature ranges from -25°C to 60°C, 10°C lower than the 35W CPUs. Hence, 65W CPU systems have more computing power than the lower CPU wattage but slightly narrower heat resistance.
Industrial Computer With 35W and 65W CPU Wattage | VCO-6000-CFL Series
The RCO-6000-CFL is a series of industrial computers with powerful computing power to handle heavy industrial workloads in challenging industrial environments. This Premio computer series is built with the powerful 7th Gen intel Coffee Lake Processor with rich I/O ports and TPM 2.0 supported. Most importantly, RCO-6000-CFL offers two options of CPU wattage, and they have slightly different computing temperatures, such as:
- CPU Wattage Options of 35W or 65W
- 35W Operating Temperature: -25 °C to 70 °C
- 65W Operating Temperature: -25 °C to 60 °C
- LGA 1151 socket for 8th/9th Gen. Intel® Core™ i7/i5/i3 Processor
- 1x Universal I/O Bracket (LAN, PoE, M12, 10GbE, USB, 5G)
- 2x Full-size Mini PCIe, 2x SIM Socket
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Is 65W TDP good?
65W TDP processors offer powerful compute capabilities but also generate more heat on the computer. Therefore, 65W TDP consumes more power and requires a more robust cooling mechanism than the lower TDP CPUs.
What is a good CPU wattage for industrial applications?
The best CPU wattage for industrial applications is 35W to 65W TDP CPUs. This is because industries prioritize the balance between reliability and compute power. 35W and 65W CPU wattage can also implement fanless architecture designs, which exponentially improves the system's durability for rugged deployments.
How important is TDP?
TDP indicates the maximum heat a computer chip will need to dissipate. More watts mean higher temperature, while fewer watts mean lower temperature. According to the CPU wattage and heat generated by the computer, the TDP value is used to determine which cooling mechanism to use.
Is it safe to increase TDP?
Increasing TDP to obtain a faster processing speed is fine. But this also means that more heat will be generated and can be detrimental to the computer. Therefore, stronger coolers are needed to dissipate excess heat and maintain the CPU within a safe temperature. Hence, it is fine to upgrade TDP, but anticipate the upgrading the system’s cooling mechanism along with increased power consumption costs.