The eternal TDP question

Thermal Design Power AKA TDP is a never-ending source of speculation and confusion. Expressed in watts, TDP is often erroneously confused with power consumption, when it's a cooling tool. Dr. Ian Cutress of AnandTech sat down with Intel's Guy Therien for some much-needed clarification.

"TDP is an average power dissipation at a maximum junction temperature operating condition limit, specified in Intel’s engineering datasheet for that processor, for which the processor is validated during manufacturing and when executing an associated Intel-specified high complexity workload at that frequency. What that means is when we quote a base frequency, we think about a worst case environment and a real world high-complexity workload that a user would put on the platform – when the part is run at a certain temperature, we promise that every part you will get will achieve that base frequency within the TDP power.

So that’s what it is – it allows our customers, our ODM customers, and the manufacturers, to know how much thermal capability and power delivery capability to implement in their systems so that they will get the base frequency, which we may have historically called our ‘marked’ frequency."

Source: AnandTech