Power dissipation limits have emerged as a major constraint in the design of microprocessors. At the low end of the performance spectrum, namely in the world of handheld and portable devices or systems, power has always dominated over performance (execution time) as the primary design issue. Battery life and system cost constraints drive the design team to consider power over performance in such a scenario. Increasingly, however, power is also a key design issue in the workstation and server markets (see Gowan et al.)1 In this high-end arena the increasing microarchitectural complexities, clock frequencies, and die sizes push the chiplevel—and hence the system-level—power consumption to such levels that traditionally air-cooled multiprocessor server boxes may soon need budgets for liquid-cooling or refrigeration hardware. This need is likely to cause a break point—with a step upward—in the ever-decreasing price-performance ratio curve. As such, a design team that considers power consumption and dissipation limits early in the design cycle and can thereby adopt an inherently lower power microarchitectural line will have a definite edge over competing teams. Thus far, most of the work done in the area of high-level power estimation has been focused at the register-transfer-level (RTL) description in the processor design flow. Only recently have we seen a surge of interest in estimating power at the microarchitecture definition stage, and specific work on power-efficient microarchitecture design has been reported.2-8 Here, we describe the approach of using energy-enabled performance simulators in early design. We examine some of the emerging paradigms in processor design and comment on their inherent power-performance characteristics.