Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Tim S, 25 Jan 2007.
Very true, quite glad it was pointed out that you won't see anything past 60 fps, due to the monitor refresh rate, bugs me when people are like i only get 60 fps i need an upgrade.
I am in no doubt it is a good card, but its easy to get hooked into the trap of thinking you need an upgrade when you don't really. I got SLi 7900gtx, because of the resolutions i would be running games like F.E.A.R at and Oblivion, overkill for some games, but adequate for others.
I understand that a 8800GTX approximates to SLi 7900GTX winning a majority of tests, but 8800GTX in SLi ...
I guess that the point Brett is trying to get across is that we should look at the total cost of ownership (TCO) when buying/building a new system, not just at the performance and/or relative efficiency. I couldn't agree more.
When I received my energy bill at the end of 2005, I got quite a shock. It made me stop and think about the power my system consumes, and not just from a vague environmental point of view. It was costing me REAL money. So I decided to retire my power-hungry beast in favor of a low-power, single-disk system with a passively-cooled GPU. As a bonus, this smaller PC hardly generates any noise. I'm through with my personal space race
think about all of those machines churning away on Folding too... I stopped and my electricity bill was cut in half.
by contrast im just starting mine. but if you guys drop yours I will be allowed, its like me buying your carbon credits! Brilliant column though, it has made me stop and think. Luckily at the moment you do not need 8800GTX's in SLi, I think the GPU's need to follow the CPU's down the road of smaller nm sized cores, more power produced/less power consumed.
I am in an ideal situation im in halls so the power bill is paid as a set amount although i'll be moving into a flat with my machine, and my friends machine and i did the math and calculated it'll cost 33 quid tops (a month) this being the highest cost. to run both machines, on in the morning off at night, with an average 50% system load.
This is a fantastic article and really highlights something that is affecting everyone. Admitidly though people generally have more disposable income these days and as such perhaps aren't worried about the cost.
What I would like to see though is the average cost of running low, medium, and high end rigs for a day to get a real visualisation of what it's really costing. Not to mention the fact that increased power draw will have an environmental impact (but I notice that was not mentioned in the article, perhaps becuase most people switch off and thing its a hippy crusade? ) and in the long term lower power will benifit everyone weather they want to admit it or not.
::edit:: Here's a random thought; Could this way of thinking possibly signal the return of mainframe style computing where you just have one power hungry beast to do all the hard work and something like a thin client to actually utilise for your self? I could see situations where this would be great for families with a couple of children. It would save having multiple expensive rigs.
It could help businesses to help reduce their "carbon footprint" if you wanted to look at it that way.
I know its an old method of doing stuff but would it actually be viable or have a place in todays market?
Sure it's not a sollution to a problem, just an interesting thought really
Maybe I should start a new thread about this, but if LCDs are all running at 60Hz when why do we need 100fps+ in games? And by my calculation a 60hz LCD changes every 16ms so what's the point of 6ms response times?
If this drags the whole thing off topic, sorry
What I've been saying since around day one. I've decided it's just an e-penis thing. A true 16ms panel is unable to ghost since it only displays a frame every 16.67ms.
I can't begin to imagine how much I've saved by having pretty much stopped PC gaming. Several hundred on cards, probably another hundred plus on waterblocks, countless hours, and some insane amount of power. My mom said that our power bill dropped almost in half after I moved out to college, although I think she was exaggerating quite a bit (seeing that I'd converted all of my lights to CF bulbs and had cut out another who-knows-how-much by effectively trading my overpowered desktop for a Macbook Pro).
Still, when I saw the first consumer-rated 1kW PSU, I knew things were getting nuts. I feel a little better in knowing that people always end up with one much higher-rated than they really need, but actual power draws of 500w or so are still completely insane. I mean, seriously, light up five 100w incandescent bulbs next to your computer chair and see if your skin doesn't start melting from the heat!
The 6ms refers to Grey to Gray refresh (<-to give at least some meaning to it) the 16ms is black to white (I think anyway)
As for the energy efficiency, I totally agree, no more of this PPW stuff. I really hope that this generation (GeForce 8) gets a major power reduction as I will be buying a rig for Uni and I don't fancy having huge bills every month.
Great reading. Better energy usage is something I've wanted to have for a long time.
I can't see why the designers of these parts cannot make them much more efficient. Things like switching off parts of a chip that are not being used, downclocking when not being taxed should be fairly easy to include.
Most other thing that we use have gone the 'right' way over the past 20-50 years, so why can't pc's? Cars have more power, while being more economical (still not ideal I know), our homes have become warmer, but are using less energy to heat them. Ovens, kettles, hi-fi equipment all use less energy than years ago, but perform much better.
Great article with a strong message
Valid points. Good column.
Mankind has always advanced by looking at the sky and thinking, "I want to go there..." though. Without that, we'd still be beating each over the head with clubs.
Switching off unused parts of a chip is not that simple, although HP's new nanogrid approach will apparently make it a piece of cake. Some motherboards do come with auto-clock features, too - primarily to OC under load but I imagine if you underclock the processor to begin with you might achieve a similar effect
Good article, which so eloquently puts into words much better what I have been thinking for a long time.
When I started thinking about designing Metaversa 02, I did get frustrated by the increasingly large, hot components coming onto the market. My idea of progress was to work towards something similar to a Mac Mini: compact, cool, powerful, sexy. Instead we get huge tower PCs with massive radiators to keep slab-like SLi cards and China syndrome-capable CPUs in check. Everything else elecronic gets smaller, lighter and more power-efficient with progress, so why not PCs? Personally, I just won't build anything exceeding the size of a midi-tower on principle alone, and I will not touch a 1000W PSU. PCs should not have to be that big or need that much juice. That way does not lie the future which we visualise being full of wearable and integrated smart devices.
I was looking at my Tablet PC yesterday. It is barely larger than its 12" screen, less than an inch thick, weighs 3 pounds and runs happily on its batteries for 8 hours at a stretch. Its (more or less passively cooled) Pentium M 1.5Ghz and integrated graphics will never make a gaming monster, and it is a bit slower compared to my dual Opteron 250, but not irritatingly so. But it is perfectly adequate for most office tasks and even some gaming. It has wireless everything, USB 2.0, Firewire, PCMCIA, SD slot, you name it.
I was thinking that hypothetically, you really do not need to make it much larger to put in a Pentium 6600 dual core and some decent graphics. You can get insanely large 3.5" HDDs now, so you'd only need two at most. It will not need that much more power, or that much more cooling to run such a setup. You could build a very decent, powerful Mini-PC that would give the Xbox 360 a run for its money, around the design principles that builds Tablets or laptops. So why don't we?
If you look at the performance car industry, you don't see people building Hummers --you see them building the Lotus Exige. Light, elegant, compact, powerful. But it has no insanely big engine, no huge radiators --just really good, effective and efficient design and engineering. Lotus has even built an electrical version that does 0-60 in about four seconds. Its engine is the size of a water melon.
Let's face it, a full-size tower with the latest SLi, four HDDs and Extreme Edition CPUs are just the equivalent of 4WD off-road vehicles being driven to the local supermarket. That is not a performance rig. A compact, well-balanced, really efficient computer, the PC equivalent of a Lotus Exige, is a performance rig.
I guess I just dont follow.
Even though I have more computers operating now than ever before, my utility bill is about 1/3 lower than it used to be just a couple years ago. I bought a fancy-pants AC/heater controller that switches from AC to heat itself as the house temp moves through a set range, and turns itself off entirely a half hour before I leave and turns back on a half hour before I typically return home. That was huuuuge. I probably also more than offset all my computers running 24-7 F@H (which isn't a waste considering the 40+ medical research papers published with data gleaned from it) by converting all the bulbs I could (some just dont look good) to more energy efficient ones and then keeping as many off at all times as I could.
The only problem with massive consumption of any sort is that energy costs don't include the environmental cost of using that energy. Other then that, is there any moral or logical reason why someone shouldn't drive an M1A1 Abram's main battle tank to work every morning? If they have such a vehicle, they obviously earn enough income to afford it, and the economic benefit (jobs created) from building it helps everyone else. I think the solution isn't trying to fight the free market and battling consumer consumption. Doing so, in reality, is fighting economic growth, and sadly Europe stands as a clear example of it. The best thing I think a government could do is nail a tax on energy consumed (by level of emissions, making coal more heavily taxed, say, than natural gas) not from a renewable or nuclear source and that way encourage utility companys to slowly but surely fix the problem themselves.
Politicians over here in America don't have the spine to do that though. They'll try to do it indirectly by raising corporate taxes, and hoping the cost per barrel gets back up around $60 (where the free market/venture capitalists was pouring more money in to alternative energy and fuel research than the entire budget of most European governments).
Oh, and final aside: Apollo benefited the overall US economy more than it cost in taxes by a factor of 1.2 to 1.3 last I read.. That spin off tech hasn't just stayed in the US, either. Soviets or not, it justified itself on those grounds alone. On the other hand though, good enough analogy to video cards, because I don't see every facet of human life being impacted by video cards the way some of the spin-off tech from Apollo has, heheh.
Edit: Also worth mentioning along the lines of F@H: ClimatePrediction is probably the largest analysis of Earth's climate ever done and wouldn't be possible without DC. Einstein@Home will single handedly verify or utterly refute one of the fundamental assumptions made by Einstein's general relativity. SIMAP, a now completed project, built some sort of advanced protein database that makes it easier for researchers to.. do..protein stuff.. I agree, some are wastes of computer time (HashClash, RenderFarm, etc), but others allow people, through our charitable donation of idle computer time and energy costs, to conduct research that wouldn't of been possible without massive hard to acquire grants beforehand. That's what it is, too; charitable donation of computer resources. If that is waste or excess, then so is giving to Oxfam, the Red Cross or the sorts.
You make good points, and I don't think we should take the analogy with the space race too literally. However despite the undoubted benefits it has brought us, you have to sort of wonder why it takes wars (hot or cold) and international competition to get the very best out of us in terms of technological progress and achievement.
You can argue that if a person wants to drive a fuel-inefficient Hummer, and can afford to do so, to let him. After all, he is footing the bill. Although you also point out that in terms of environmental impact, we all are footing the bill... Of course energy tax may be a desincentive, and this sure seems to help in Europe where over 50% of the extreme fuel prices we pay is tax. Furthermore, people in the UK need to consider that utility prices have practically doubled over the last few years (that whole invasion of Iraq thing did so work out well, didn't it?) so regardless of your PC, you'd see your bills go up.
But the basic question is: is bigger and more power hungry always better? I don't think so. I see computer progress going in the wrong direction. We visualise a future of slim, transparent devices that are light, wearable, integrateable, and solar-rechargable. We talk about smart paper and wallpaper TV. We talk about head-up displays in our glasses, credit-card shaped PIMs, and earrings that whisper information in our ears, straight from the internet.
The reality however is that our clever and powerful computing increasingly comes in huge hot cases that consume enough electricity to make Dr. Frankenstein feel envious. Regardless of Moore's law and staggering increases in computing power, we are working towards room-sized toasters again. We are going forward to the past.
Perhaps the Japanese need to again show us how it is done, like they did with cars and audio-visual equipment. Smaller, faster, better, more economical.
I don't get it
Let me preface this remark with the following:
I am NOT against movement towards energy-efficient computing. I'm in favor of it, but I think we need to put the whole issue in perspective in light of the bit-tech audience. Read on.
I really don't think that high-performance PCs are the problem when it comes to energy consumption. I only think it's wasteful when high-energy PCs are sitting there running on a secretaries desk as she taps out memos in Word.
As an enthusiast community we need to look at ourselves from the outside and realize JUST HOW SMALL...TINY, in fact, that we are to the larger computing population. I have no problem with our machines drawing more power if we actually are utilizing it for direct benefit. That's not waste. It's only waste if such greater resources are never used to anyone's benefit. And yes, I'm including 'entertainment/gaming' as a benefit. If every performance-minded computing enthusiast switched to mid-range machines right now, today, I don't think anyone could detect the 'blip' in reduced energy consumption.
Look, from an environmental point of view, the simple fact is that the production of the motherboard and other components in a PC is what causes far and away the greatest negative environmental impact, not the power it consumes. Power generation, by comparison, is a much MUCH 'greener' process.
Having put the environmental impact negatives in perspective, I have one more point to make:
Question: Considering manufacturing processes, how much worse environmental impact occurs when manufacturing a 'performance' computer part than a 'moderate performance' part?
Answer: Virtually nil.
I don't get it either
I agree with what careyd said.
Assigning blame to high-performance PC parts for excessive energy consumption, if we look at how much energy is wasted on non-efficient light bulbs or vehicles, is IMO completely ridiculous. Environmentalism is cool, but not just for the sake of it. If you add to that the fact that the vast majority of personal computers run with integrated graphics, it becomes obvious that even if the 9800 GTX requires 5000W to run it in SLI, it won't make the slightest impact on the environment. That's if we look at it from a "green" perspective.
However, from a TCO point of view, I agree that we should consider energy consumption costs when we buy a CPU/GPU. But then again, you can build the most power-hungry beast of a PC possible, swap some light-bulbs with more energy efficient ones, and find your energy costs increasing only slightly, if at all. State of the art GPUs are somewhat excessive in their energy requirements, but not if you consider the huge number of transistors that they are made of. I really don't think that there is any similarity with the sorry NetBurst architecture. The only problem as far as I am concerned is the heat output, but it still can be fixed with a good cooler or WC. Buying the latest and greatest hasn't ever been for the faint of heart, anyway. (OK, don't take that very seriously).
Do you guys honestly know how my trusty Radeon9800pro still compares to the newer cards these days, it's a joke isn't it
What is the Radeon9800pro equivalent to on nVidia's side a Geforce6600? (random guess)
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