Blowing A Fuse . . .

This says it all:

ATI and NVIDIA have been briefing power supply manufacturers in Taiwan recently about what to expect for next year’s R600 and G80 GPUs. Both GPUs will be introduced in late 2006 or early 2007. . . . The new GPUs will range in power consumption from 130W up to 300W per card. . . .
You will see both higher wattage PSUs (1000 – 1200W) as well as secondary units specifically for graphics cards.

There’s two ways to interpret this:

  • These wattages represent the power required on the high-end, with 300W being the figure for some two GPU-headed beast, in which case this isn’t too big a deal, or
  • These really are the power requirements, from low-end to high, for these next-generation chips.

    Update 6/7/06: Received a note from Mr. Shimpi, the numbers represented in the article are for the high-end GPUs, not all GPUs.

    If it’s the latter, all hell is going to break loose, both inside and outside your case.

    If it’s the latter, we have hit PressHOT, GPU Style, and the GPUers have learned nothing from CPUers, and are going to hit the same heat wall.

    This will mean the End of Speed on the video side.

    Let’s assume the worst for a moment and assume 300 watts really is the requirement for a high-end, single video card.

    If you decide to go SLI, that not only means 600 watts of power to run the video cards (and never mind Quad SLI), that also means additional power to cool that 600 watts.

    Just what you need for your quiet home theatre system. Then again, odds are if you try to run a home theatre and your PC at the same time, and you have older electrical wiring, things will get really quiet because you’ve blown a fuse.

    Talk about being all dressed up with no place to go.

    If it’s the latter, it’s not just the speed demons that will affected. How much will it cost Dell or HP to upgrade power supplies to handle more video power, which really means, “How much more will it cost your Joe Sixpack friends?”

    And What If It Gets Political?

    Do you know what would be really, really interesting? Imagine some environmentalists needing some publicity getting a hold of this, then trying to get injunctions to keep these cards from being sold in North America and the EU.

    After all, energy supplies are tight, and people can at least argue that every bit counts.

    Not that they would succeed, but imagine the fight over that! Imagine the reaction of both geeks and geek companies to the notion that they might have to put something ahead of themselves!!

    Yes, I can see it now, the environmentalists blaming the geeks for global warming and pollution and rising gas and oil prices and water levels and fiercer hurricanes and killing the whales and the rain forest and eventually the planet and God knows what else, and the geek companies will look like the oil and cigarette companies, and the geeks will come up with a million explanations which will boil down to saying, “But this is for ME!! This is innovation!!! This is freedom!!!!”

    Well, if the price of gas hits $4 in the U.S., this will go over about as well as spammers screaming freedom.

    And what are they wasting all this energy to do? Violence!! Bet some other groups will pile on that, too.

    Do I really think this will happen? No, but only because I don’t think the environmentalists are astute enough to pick up on it, but what an ideal enemy (or scapedog) for them to pick on: arrogant, self-centered, unconcerned about the world around them.

    PCs chew up a non-negligible chunk of the power consumption wherever they’re common. Boosting the average consumption of a PC significantly would have some measureable impact on overall power consumption, and likely a lot more poltical impact in this energy-edgy era.

    This may well end up being much ado about nothing, but if it’s not, what a set of blunders at the wrong time!


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