Am I The Only One?

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I just read a press release/article on the new Tagan 1100 watt PSU, found HERE. A couple of things suddenly began to sink in for me. Well, I should say it’s more like the “Sink” (as in heavy kitchen sink) crashed into my head with the realization of where we are headed.

I don’t like it. You shouldn’t either. And, not to put too fine a point on it, I think it’s stupid and going to be very very bad for us, for the industry and for the world. I’m not talking specifically about this product. I’m not the first to touch on this topic, I won’t be the last, but this is my say, at least how I feel about it today.

Here a Quad, there a Quad, every where a …
Oh wait – they multiplied again

With the new “dual” this and “quad” that, it’s just a matter of time before each of us will need a small personal nuclear power plant running in our garage in order to come up with a way to power our devices without having to stop buying food.

Now I realize that these behemoth power supplies are supposed to have more than enough power to run a Quad-core CPU and a couple of 8800GTX’s, with some to spare for the future. But, do I really want to add $20, $30, $100 on to my electric bill just to pull a couple of extra frames per second, or finish rendering that awesome family-vacation DVD a few seconds, or heck, even a few minutes early?

When is fast enough, fast enough.

I just went from a Athlon XP 2200+ to an Athlon64 X2-4800+. That took my video editing/rendering/burning from about five hours down to less than one. Do I really need it to go to 50 minutes from 55? Does that extra $50 I’m paying in electricity justify that? I suppose if that extra five minutes got me another $200 in sales for my business, it would be worth it, but for home use, I’m not sure it makes sense. Wait, I am sure, and it doesn’t.

100 x 100 – are you flipping nuts?

Where does it end? Fast forward a bit. Does anyone here seriously think that we won’t have 8-core CPUS’s shortly? Or that someone idiot out there won’t put two 8800GTX chips onto one card so that you can quad-core your graphics (ala 7950GX2’s). Oh, and as you probably know that currently-fictitious quad-GPU configuration would likely run you $1500 – 2000, which is triple what most people spend on a system that they deem “fast enough”.

Are you feeling squeezed out of the enthusiast market yet? I am, and I can more than afford this stuff. But it’s not about being able to afford it, it’s about why should I want to.

I can’t wait to starve my family, lower the temp in my house during winter to 50ºF from my already lowered 65ºF, so I can afford at least a little bit of heat (and yes this factor’s in the already ridiculous furnace that is my computer, jettisoning all the heat out the back to keep my office reasonably warm). Jacking up the AC in my house so that on a 70ºF day it doesn’t feel like 100ºF in my home because my computer is on.

Well, no longer will we be leaving the PC on all day. We’ll have to power it up, do what we want and shut it down (Hmm, solid-state/memory hard drives now begin to be appealing with their instant-on-OS possibilities)… while the lights flicker their shouts of denial at being starved for power when the computer is running.

Now, all of this assumes you won’t overclock. If you do overclock, you will likely cause a small brownout in your neighborhood with a 8 x 8 and 4 x 4 configuration, since you’ll be running at least two of these new PSU’s… if not more.

My predictions for the coming 5 years:

  • We will see a 3000 watt PSU go mainstream
  • We will see vastly expanded multi-core technology to the point where each CPU will have at least 4 cores and you will be running several of these on your mobo…..so that means….
  • An enlargement of the mobo. BTX was a non issue, though I did just see that Dell released it’s first AMD chipped PC that was in BTX configuration. BTX will go away and so will ATX. It will be replaced with HTX – standing for HUGE ATX standard, in which you will see the ATX board greatly expanded in size in order to support all of the devices we need/want on our mobo’s….including 100 x 100 core CPUs….ok, that might be an exaggeration, then again, maybe not.

  • We will see many of “us” deciding that the systems that we have today are good enough and fast enough and we will abandon computer hardware as a hobby and turn to more software oriented fun. Perhaps skipping more than one generation of chipset/cpu/gpu/whatever. Perhaps walking (or running or fleeing) away from being a computer hobbyist altogether.

Conclusion – you haven’t figure that out yet?

My conclusion? The definition of “Computer Enthusiast” has changed from what we used to know it as. No longer does it mean most of “us”. It means those with too much money and not enough sense. It means those willing to shell out thousands of dollars every few months on the “fastest”, most “power hungry” components.

I had hope for “us” with the release and soon to be released c2d’s – and from a pure overclockers perspective, getting the kind of overclocks on these chips is outstanding… but is it really what we grew up doing? No.

You used to have to work to overclock – there was bang for the buck in doing so. Not so much today. Why? Cause overclocking ends up costing you more money in power consumption costs that eats away the money you saved on components. Most people that are saying, “just buy ____ and overclock it”, are probably not paying the electric bills in their homes… mom and dad are. Certainly isn’t true for some, I’m making some generalizations here, but from what I can see, they are spot on.

But then, I suppose what I’ve written in that last paragraph is the point. That point, in case you’ve missed it, is at age 37, I’ve grown up and no longer need the fastest. I just need the rig that is “fast enough”. Do I still desire the latest and greatest? Sure. Do I lust after it? No. Am I stupid enough to spend my extra money on this stuff? No.

Long live my X2-4800 and eVGA 7900GT CO, because other than adding a hard drive for more storage space and perhaps figuring out a way to put a 120 mm fan on my stock heat sink, this is “the” system as far out as I can see (translated: no new rig until 2010 or so). That is unless they figure out a way to drastically reduce power requirements while they are upping performance. I’m drawing the line with my Antex TPII 550 watt PSU – NO MORE! In fact I want less!

We shout and scream like hell at anyone that drives an SUV (I don’t care what you drive personally, but the “liberal-greenies” do). Funny, but they don’t shout and scream about going from a 300 – 400 watt PSU to a 1100 watt PSU between generations of computers.

Since I hate people that complain w/o offering a solution, here’s mine:

Stop

Just stop buying. Just stop lusting after new pieces of power-hungry hardware. Just stop. Don’t buy this idiotic 1100 watt PSU. Don’t put together a rig that will eat megawatt after megawatt of electricity. Don’t feel the need to have the latest and greatest the day it comes out so that you over spend for an over-watted power sucker-upper.

Wait, take a deep breath and ask yourself: “Do I need this or does something carnal inside of me want this?” Get something that is fast enough.

Perhaps with sales in the toilet, they will understand what we really want – lower power, fast components. Perhaps they will stop releasing “the new thing” every month and go back to major releases once every year or two. THEN they will have time to actually engineer solutions to the problems we are facing – over-power-hungry components.

‘Cause if you need this junk to make you feel like a man (or a woman), then there is something seriously wrong with you and you better go talk to a professional.

PS: This article at the Inquirer is a good read for “excess”.

Eric R. Drake aka TheDrake

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