Computer, ARM history
The ARM chip was also designed to run at very low power. [Sophie] Wilson explained that this was entirely a cost-saving measure—the team wanted to use a plastic case for the chip instead of a ceramic one, so they set a maximum target of 1 watt of power usage.
But the tools they had for estimating power were primitive. To make sure they didn’t go over the limit and melt the plastic, they were very conservative with every design detail. Because of the simplicity of the design and the low clock rate, the actual power draw ended up at 0.1 watts.
In fact, one of the first test boards the team plugged the ARM into had a broken connection and was not attached to any power at all. It was a big surprise when they found the fault because the CPU had been working the whole time. It had turned on just from electrical leakage coming from the support chips.
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