Twin Furnaces, Please

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The Inquirer reports that the next-generation video cards from ATI and nVidia are going to require two pretty-much dedicated supplemental power rails to work.

As one of those articles put it, “So, what does this mean to the average person? Power supply upgrade time.”

Well, before you run out and buy one of these things, you might want to consider that the supplemental power requirements for a PCI Express video card are likely to be somewhat different than for an AGP card. AGP delivers a mazimum 25 watts to the video card, while PCI Express delivers 60.

Odds are, you’re going to end up needing a new power supply, anyway, but there’s no point to ending up buying two of them. Should you need to upgrade, you’d want a power supply that could handle both situations.

The Bigger Issue

Any next-generation cutting-edge system is looking a twin-furnace setup. Both CPU and GPU heat are becoming cooling problems.

You may say, “What are you talking about, Ed? We certainly have the technology to handle a measly 200 watts or so of heat.”

Yes, we do, but there are problems and then there are problems.

This isn’t a problem that can’t be solved; this is a problem that often won’t be solved.

Do I speak in riddles? Let me explain.

There are overclockers who are willing to do whatever it takes. For them, this is no problem at all.

There are more, many more, overclockers who are willing to take whatever a minimal amount of exercise and expense will give them, and no more.

For them, this is a very big problem. If the effort becomes too great, or the reward insufficient, they’ll find themselves something else to do.

The hardcore may say “Good riddance,” but overclocking is like a fruit. It’s mostly softcore. Strip that away, and all you have left are the pits.

And in the long-run, that’s not even good for the pits. The fewer we are, the less likely manufacturers will cater to us, and when they do, the more it is likely to cost.

It’s not the event per se that’s troubling; this is not the trapdoor to Hell.

Rather, it’s the trend. Neither CPU nor GPU makers can effectively make their furnaces hotter and hotter and effectively say, “It’s not our problem,” because eventually, people will inform them that it is their problem by not buying their products.

Over the next few years, the softcore overclockers are going to be like the canary in the mine. If they keel over and die at some point because the requirement have become too onerous, rest assured that the Joe Sixpacks will do the same a product generation or so down the road.

Ed

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