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 Post subject: News for 2011-01-21
PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 8:15 am 
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News for 2011-01-21

* TechPowerUp reviews MSI HD 6850 Cyclone Power Edition (with dual mode BIOS performance/quiet)
* Western Digital Hybrid Hard Drive in the Works?
* The Quest Of Finding Linux Compatible Hardware - Phoronix.com gives an introduction to OpenBenchmarking.org
* NEC makes a mirror that checks for fever with an IR sensor

http://www.silentpcreview.com/news-2011-01-21.htm

Did I mention that dual BIOS on HD 6xxx cards will be a huge boon for SPCR types? In this case they made Performance/Quiet but what if say PowerColor makes a Go Green edition with Quiet/Very Quiet? What if they do for video cards what was done with the Seasonic X power supplies and have a semi fanless video card?

Imagine a huge HS on your video card with a slow fan or two. Imagine a fan profile that only starts the fans when the GPU hits 70c. Totally silent at idle but when you start gaming the fans come on.

I don't know how far they'll take this concept but dual BIOS on HD 6xxx cards already has me thinking how nice it could be.

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Last edited by dhanson865 on Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:34 am, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: News for 2011-01-21
PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 10:09 am 
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Excellent - tomorrow's news today! :D

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 Post subject: Re: News for 2011-01-21
PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 10:47 am 
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Indeed. :D

We decided that putting news on the front page daily would make the solid SPCR articles scroll down and be less noticeable.

I'll probably cut down to submitting news 3-4 times a week until/unless the site gets restructured to have a news pane or another column so the articles and news can be separated.

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 Post subject: Re: News for 2011-01-21
PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 9:41 am 
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Quote:
Western Digital Hybrid Hard Drive in the Works?

If so I bet it will have a lot more flash than the Seagate hybrid :) What's going to happen to Seagate I wonder? They've lost a ton of market share, don't have flash/SSD products... wait they do have SSD?? - http://www.seagate.com/www/en-us/produc ... dd/pulsar/
Ah, reading elsewhere it sounds like they are just for high end enterprise or something. I must have missed that.

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 Post subject: Re: News for 2011-01-21
PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:37 am 
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MikeK wrote:
What's going to happen to Seagate I wonder? They've lost a ton of market share


"WD said Wednesday that it shipped 52.2 million disk drives, versus 48.9 million for Seagate." Is that a big shift from market share of old?

"WD topped analyst estimates for unit sales, although Seagate underperformed"

"Calendar 2010 was a year of tremendous opportunity for the hard drive industry with 651 million drives shipped"

Quote:
"However, it was also a year of significant missed opportunity as the industry's supply/demand dynamic deteriorated as the year progressed, resulting in sharply declining ASPs, with the final quarter demonstrating a year-over-year decline in industry revenue of 7 percent on a unit increase of 4 percent, and an even sharper decline in profitability," Coyne added.

Seagate also took a negative view, explaining in executive commentary that the quarter represented a "less than normal seasonal increase in demand for hard disk drives", and that margins had been hurt by intense price competition


Quote:
WD chief operating officer Timothy Leyden implied that hard-drive prices should continue to decline in the near term.

"While inventories in the HDD supply chain exiting the quarter were well controlled in each segment, we still believe that despite a reduction of approximately 2 million to 3 million HDDs in the PC supply chain, there is still an inventory excess of some 6 million to 8 million HDD units in the PC manufacturers' pipeline, and this will place additional downward pressure on the HDD TAM in the March quarter," he said.

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 Post subject: Re: News for 2011-01-21
PostPosted: Sat Jan 22, 2011 11:50 am 
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I'm not sure I see the benefit of dual BIOS cards. When not gaming performance of even the lowest end cards is more an adequate for desktop, 1080p video and even CAD and most 3DS work. Therefore there is no advantage to a powerful card like the 6850 running at anything other than the lowest possible clocks and power consumption at all times except when gaming. Maybe there are a small number of people who want to game without the fan being too loud but you can already do that and get a significant overclock with an inexpensive third party cooler.

Can someone explain exactly what advantage there is to the dual BIOS cards?

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 Post subject: Re: News for 2011-01-21
PostPosted: Sat Jan 22, 2011 2:56 pm 
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For the card I linked to the clock rates and voltages are the same for both bios versions but the Quiet bios has a lower flatter fan curve to keep noise down at idle and during gaming.

The Performance BIOS has faster fan speeds at idle and during gaming for those gamers that live in hot environments or are running 2x, 3x, and ever 4x video card setups (Crossfire, Trifire, quadfire as they like to call it).

The advantage is for the casual consumers and the manufacturer because The chain:

Manufacturer
Distributor
Wholesaler
Reseller/VAR
Retailer/Online retailer aka E-tailer

in all its complicatedness can stock one less product and still sell two two products worth of customers who can then just flip a simple switch to choose which way they want the product to perform. No need to stock two products, no need to learn how to use RBE.

This can keep costs down by way of distribution/stock efficiencies but also RMA issues/processes and even RMA prevention if the user can just flip the switch to get a card working again.

It also is a big plus in overclocker versions where a ODM can say we'll provide you with a card with two BIOSes

BIOS 1 = unlocked shaders and higher clocks
BIOS 2 = stock shaders and stock clocks

You can confirm stability with the stock BIOS and experiment with settings on the overclocking BIOS.

Or another scenario

Say the card has two identical BIOSes and you are a user that wants to try RBE to aggressively undervolt and slow the fan down.

BIOS 1= stock bios settings in case you make the card unusable on BIOS 2
BIOS 2= RBE version that you can edit aggressively.

Sure you can download BIOS images from the internet but isn't it nice to have a flick of the switch option to get you out of a jam in a hurry if you don't have time to fix your failed experiments? Just read a thread like http://www.techpowerup.com/forums/showt ... ?p=2129817 to see people not on top of using RBE properly.

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 Post subject: Re: News for 2011-01-21
PostPosted: Sat Jan 22, 2011 3:45 pm 
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Try googling "loudest exhaust" and read some of the motrocyle and car boards. Maybe one of those types would want their video card to sound like a leaf blower so we get

BIOS1 = high fan speed just to make you feel like you got your moneys worth on a $400 video card
BIOS2 = low fan speed for normal people.

Maybe if you watch this video it'll make more sense
http://www.ted.com/talks/malcolm_gladwe ... sauce.html

It's 17 minutes and well worth a listen to if you think there is only one true way to make a best product.

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 Post subject: Re: News for 2011-01-21
PostPosted: Sun Jan 23, 2011 6:24 am 
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It still seems pointless to me. Why not just control fan speed based on temperature, that way it can be silent at idle in most systems but run a bit quicker in really hot ones.

I think it is more of a marketing tactic. By having a little switch that changes between quiet and performance people think it is somehow better. Similar to the way Gigabyte boards have dual-BIOSs. Actually there is a bit more point to the Gigabyte boards but BIOS image corruption is so rare it isn't really worth considering when buying a mobo unless you are the kind of guy who changes his BIOS daily.

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 Post subject: Re: News for 2011-01-21
PostPosted: Sun Jan 23, 2011 7:30 am 
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MoJo wrote:
It still seems pointless to me. Why not just control fan speed based on temperature, that way it can be silent at idle in most systems but run a bit quicker in really hot ones.


They are controlling the fan speed based on temperature. It's just one BIOS makes a different decision on how cool or hot to allow the card to get than the other.

Just as you may decide to run a hard drive without a front case fan to cool it and I may decide to put that 92mm or 120mm front case fan in to cool off the hard drive.

Just as one person might use a heatsink on their CPU with no fan and put up with higher temps for less noise and another might put the 120mm fan on the heatsink to keep the CPU cool at the cost of minor noise increase.

Now you can say the dual BIOS thing seems like a gimmick to you but in the case where one BIOS is quiet and the other is performance it's no different than all the other choices we make when building a PC with regards to quiet/silent components. And I'm of the mindset that if this choice wasn't available the card would be sold with the performance bios not the quiet one.

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 Post subject: Re: News for 2011-01-21
PostPosted: Sun Jan 23, 2011 1:25 pm 
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dhanson865 wrote:
They are controlling the fan speed based on temperature. It's just one BIOS makes a different decision on how cool or hot to allow the card to get than the other.

Just as you may decide to run a hard drive without a front case fan to cool it and I may decide to put that 92mm or 120mm front case fan in to cool off the hard drive.

Just as one person might use a heatsink on their CPU with no fan and put up with higher temps for less noise and another might put the 120mm fan on the heatsink to keep the CPU cool at the cost of minor noise increase.

Now you can say the dual BIOS thing seems like a gimmick to you but in the case where one BIOS is quiet and the other is performance it's no different than all the other choices we make when building a PC with regards to quiet/silent components. And I'm of the mindset that if this choice wasn't available the card would be sold with the performance bios not the quiet one.


All of that sounds pointless. Heat does not have much effect on the lifespan of solid state components, and in fact dust in the heatsink is in my experience far more of a problem. Most users never take the side off their PC to clean it. Anyway, the point is that as long as the component operates within spec and does not exhibit faults from overheating there is no reason to run the fan faster. In fact doing so will only suck in more dust.

HDDs are a bit different because they are mechanical.

Can you explain why running a card 5C or 10C cooler when that has absolutely no effect on performance or lifespan. It doesn't affect other components by any significant amount either. This is a pure marketing gimmik playing on the fact that some people like to have their temps below some randomly decided level they feel comfortable with.

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 Post subject: Re: News for 2011-01-21
PostPosted: Sun Jan 23, 2011 4:14 pm 
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MoJo wrote:
Heat does not have much effect on the lifespan of solid state components


I think some might disagree, including MikeC:
viewtopic.php?f=8&t=61318

He has been doing this for a while... more than most of the rest of us here. His experience has been that heat does degrade electronics and does cause early failures of electronic components.

If you are talking about components such as capacitors, this should be obvious if you think about it. But it is actually true for silicon chips. Now this might not have been so for silicon chips 20 years ago. But today... modern chips and their connections actually wear out. And they wear out more quickly with higher voltages and with higher temps.

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 Post subject: Re: News for 2011-01-21
PostPosted: Sun Jan 23, 2011 8:08 pm 
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Heat does affect performance if you consider power draw a factor of performance.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermal_conductivity

It's more commonly known as components using more power in a hot environment. See any number of reviews for comparisons on power draw at different fan speeds such as http://www.silentpcreview.com/article1131-page5.html were it's plain to see that when the fan speed is lowered GPU temp and VRM temp rise and total system power consumption rises as well.

And since every bit of that heat will affect other components in the case if the video card consumes an extra 18W because you ran the fan slower then you have to deal with 18W worth of wast heat with your case fans. Maybe they are running fast enough to deal with that waste heat or maybe there is a PSU sitting above the GPU that will spin up it's fan and get noisier.

And yes it can affect lifespan. There are components that are relatively immune to small or even moderate increases in temperature but not everything is that way and no part is invulnerable.

And technically dust in a heatsink IS a heat issue. The dust acts as insulation trapping heat that was generated by the GPU and VRMs.

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 Post subject: Re: News for 2011-01-21
PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 10:39 am 
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You are both looking at extremes. Ces, in the case of a passively cooled CPU it is obviously going to run an awful lot hotter. What we are talking about is the difference between a 5V fan and a 7V fan at most. The 6xx0 cards run very cool at idle anyway so I bet the difference is no more than a 5C between modes. Even if it was 15C it would probably make no difference to the lifespan of the card.

dhanson865, in the SPCR article you linked to there is an 18W difference for a 45C difference in temperature. 18W is not that massive and the difference between performance and silent modes is less than 45C. Again, in a real system with a, what, 5C difference at idle it isn't an issue.

If your system can't cope with the card under maximum load so you need to down-clock it then you bought the wrong card. Just get the next model down as you will be wasting your money on a card that is 10% faster on paper but about the same in practice because you can't get max clock speed.

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 Post subject: Re: News for 2011-01-21
PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 12:48 pm 
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To me it looks like you are looking at an extreme. You seem to be saying you can't think of a scenario where person 1 would justifiably want fan profile A where person 2 would justifiably want fan profile B.

Then you challenge others to come up with a dual scenarios that will please your world view.

Silly me, I'm happy to have options. I'm willing to let you say I'm silly for being that way.

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