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 Post subject: 2008 and the silent PC community.
PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2008 4:45 am 
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What happened in 2008 for us? And by "happen" I mean what products came out. This is my view:

- We now have the 7x00 and 8x00 series of Intel processors, which are great low power processors.
- AMD launched the 400e, 4450e, 4850e and 5050e series low-power CPUs.

- IGP solutions became even more popular, likely because they are now very functional. AMD launched the now very popular 780G chipset.
- And finally, we have decent IGP for Intel platforms (Geforce 9300/9400 and G45).

- SSD are now approaching affordable prices. I myself picked up a 32 GB Mtron for $200.
- Harddrive makers finally realised that there is a market for low-power/quiet harddrives. (WD GreenPower harddrives and the likes).

- GPU makers are now engineering their VGA cards for low power at idle. HybridPower doesn't work well at the moment for some reason.
- Small, low power portable PC's are now very popular. Many of these carry SSDs and are decently quiet.
- Dell and others are starting to ship small, low-powered desktop PC.


Here is to 2009 to bring even more goodies to us! :wink:

Feel free to discuss, comment or post your random ramblings.
Strid :D

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 Post subject: Re: 2008 and the silent PC community.
PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2008 7:48 am 
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Strid wrote:
- Small, low power portable PC's are now very popular. Many of these carry SSDs and are decently quiet.
- Dell and others are starting to ship small, low-powered desktop PC.

Most of these are in the nettops and netbooks categories.

I'd add the entry of Intel into the low power CPU and mini-ITX arenas -- the company's successful marketing of the Atom processor basically turbocharged both the mini-ITX and netbook/top market. Hopefully, Intel's success has expanded the market so that VIA can continue with its development and offer new/improved small low power processors & boards -- an arena they almost had to themselves before this year. Also looking forward to AMD entries here.

Also in 2008, further improvements in PSU efficiency -- market emergence of Silver category 80 Plus PSUs, and a few Golds as well.

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 Post subject: Re: 2008 and the silent PC community.
PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2008 9:50 am 
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MikeC wrote:
Hopefully, Intel's success has expanded the market so that VIA can continue with its development and offer new/improved small low power processors & boards -- an arena they almost had to themselves before this year. Also looking forward to AMD entries here.

Do you know of any very-low-power solutions available from AMD (except for the semi-failed Geode)? I haven't heard of anything specifically, but I think AMD has their hands full just trying to keep up with Intel's leaps and bounds over the past year and a half (45nm Penryn and now Nehalem).


I'd add another point to the original list - any 45nm CPU from Intel. As a semi-research assignment in a course earlier this year, we investigated the effects of using Hf in transistors compared to traditional SiO2. It's safe to say that even in our highly simplified models, the results are not smoke and mirrors. When I upgraded my workstation from a Q6700 to a Q9550, the difference in performance was noticable in some areas, and overall the system drew less power!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2008 10:54 am 
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-Both AMD and Intel platforms going mini-ITX
-Direct Touch heatpipes


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 Post subject: Re: 2008 and the silent PC community.
PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2008 2:55 pm 
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Nick Geraedts wrote:
Do you know of any very-low-power solutions available from AMD (except for the semi-failed Geode)?

They have a factory undervolted single core Sempron that has a similar power envelope to Via Nano and outperforms both the Nano and most of the Atoms. Unfortunately, it is OEM only and far more expensive than Atom (and may already be classified as a failed product for that reason). You can make your own by using a 65nm Sempron and a MB with good undervolting support, anyway.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2008 9:25 pm 
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Only things i liked were the progression of SSD's and mass storage 5400rpm drives.

We got a lower cost, better performing competitor for thermalright and scythe heatsinks from xigmatek.

Everything else is rather uneventfull imo.

Not really any new/better cases.
No new/better video cards, unless you like ATI and medeocre graphics with low idle power usage.
No new/better fans.
While seasonic/corsair got a little competition, its still basically the best PSU's available.

nothing else really effects silence. so really a pretty slow year. hopefully 2009 picks it up a bit but i doubt it by the looks of this global recession were in.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2008 10:21 pm 
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Aris wrote:
nothing else really effects silence. so really a pretty slow year. hopefully 2009 picks it up a bit but i doubt it by the looks of this global recession were in.

That's a narrow view, imo. The accelerating trend to lower power PCs and components is huge and it will impact more PC users for noise reduction more than anything SPCR or its supporters have managed to achieve in nearly 7 years.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2008 11:10 pm 
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MikeC wrote:
Aris wrote:
nothing else really effects silence. so really a pretty slow year. hopefully 2009 picks it up a bit but i doubt it by the looks of this global recession were in.

That's a narrow view, imo. The accelerating trend to lower power PCs and components is huge and it will impact more PC users for noise reduction more than anything SPCR or its supporters have managed to achieve in nearly 7 years.


From what i've seen VGA solutions still have yet to hit a power usage wall like intel did with their P4's. Nvidia's latest cards suck in the low power consumption department. They still dont have a suitible upgrade to the performance/watt king of the 8800gt. The 9800gt is just a repackaged 8800gt, and the GTX line is a power hog. ATI hasnt done much better. Sure there are budget cards that use less power and are more capable than before, but this is merely a natural progression of technology, not really an accelerating trend.

CPU power usage had declined, but seems to be going back up again with Intel. AMD has had good traction on this front, but that had more to do with intel kicking their ass at the enthusiests level and the corperate execs deciding to market their products more to lower performance, and thus lower power usage, customers. Seems more like what happened to Motorola when apple dropped them than an accelerating trend.

There are small glimmerings of hope here and there, but overall i think the trend is still moving towards more power. It may have slowed down a bit, or plataued, but i dont really see the big picture trending towards lower power usage yet.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2008 11:24 pm 
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Aris wrote:
There are small glimmerings of hope here and there, but overall i think the trend is still moving towards more power. It may have slowed down a bit, or plataued, but i dont really see the big picture trending towards lower power usage yet.

The PC industry can't be summed up by pointing to a single trend. It's way too big and complex. There are many divergent trends that coexist, i7 and 8-cores represent one extreme, while nettops/books represent another. I doub't the latter are going away, they remain one of the healthiest parts of the PC economy today.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2008 11:38 pm 
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MikeC wrote:
Aris wrote:
There are small glimmerings of hope here and there, but overall i think the trend is still moving towards more power. It may have slowed down a bit, or plataued, but i dont really see the big picture trending towards lower power usage yet.

The PC industry can't be summed up by pointing to a single trend. It's way too big and complex. There are many divergent trends that coexist, i7 and 8-cores represent one extreme, while nettops/books represent another. I doub't the latter are going away, they remain one of the healthiest parts of the PC economy today.


Low power nettops/books have always been around, they just werent popular because they couldnt do hardly anything. I can remember low power small pc's like these over 10 years ago.

So while technology has progressed, so has the low end of things. Which has ultimately allowed them to reach a point where they are powerful enough to actually do something worthwhile. Again not a trend, just a natural progression of technology.

If you dont use a dedicated video card, then yea your overall power requirements have probably gone down over the last few years. But for the rest of us, what little power conservation CPU's have given us over the last year, VGA cards have more than made up for. Keeping the overall power usage the same if not higher than it was before.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Dec 13, 2008 2:33 pm 
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Aris wrote:
Low power nettops/books have always been around, they just werent popular because they couldnt do hardly anything. I can remember low power small pc's like these over 10 years ago.

Yes, but the mini-notebooks prior to the Atom-based models we see today were never afforable for the common Joe. My father travelled a lot for work, and purchased a 10" Sony laptop that he could use during his business trips. Final cost 4 years ago - $2500. My EEE 1000HA today - $500. There's been a considerable leap forward in the development of small, low power systems (not just notebooks either) with the recent economic crisis, as well as the whole "green" movement of the past few years. I know several departments at UBC are starting to look at low power "dumb terminals" for people to use for office workstations instead of individual computers. Part of this is for the simplicity on the IT side of things, but there has been mention of the power issue as well.

The mention of the high power video cards is one thing, but as Mike pointed out, it's not the only trend. That being said, I think the 4670 is a shining example of how a moderately capable video card (from a gaming point-of-view) can draw very little power when not in use. Onboard solutions are becoming powerful enough to run modern operating systems (Compiz, Vista, OSX, etc) with ease while sipping less power than the generation of onboard graphics that they replaced (or discrete solutions of yesterday).

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Dec 13, 2008 2:51 pm 
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Quote:
If you dont use a dedicated video card, then yea your overall power requirements have probably gone down over the last few years. But for the rest of us, what little power conservation CPU's have given us over the last year, VGA cards have more than made up for.


Quote:
Onboard solutions are becoming powerful enough to run modern operating systems (Compiz, Vista, OSX, etc) with ease while sipping less power than the generation of onboard graphics that they replaced (or discrete solutions of yesterday).


it's also worth bearing in mind that something like 80% plus of all computers (lap/nettops + desktops) shipped in any given year use integrated, not discrete, graphics. so while the power trend for discrete VGA cards has been increasing, it is still a very small part of the overall market.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Dec 13, 2008 3:57 pm 
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During 2008 I replaced my CPU, GPU and main disk.

My new CPU runs at a faster clock and a considerably lower voltage; a two-fer. Slower fans and about 30% faster.

My new GPU runs almost twice as fast, is undervolted and overclocked, and consumes about 30% less power. Another two-fer.

My new SSD C drive is 8x faster, and uses 1/20th the power. Way more than a two-fer. And it's completely silent.

So I guess if you need to be an obnoxious cynic, 2008 was indeed a complete bust for SPCR and its members.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Dec 13, 2008 4:50 pm 
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Buzzing monitors :(


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Dec 13, 2008 5:08 pm 
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Melluk wrote:
Buzzing monitors :(


Well that's fair. But even though the buzz of my LCD monitor is now pretty much the only thing I hear when I'm not using the DVD drive, it's still quieter than the CRT it replaced. And well below ambient almost all hours of the day...

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Dec 13, 2008 9:59 pm 
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Nick Geraedts wrote:
I know several departments at UBC are starting to look at low power "dumb terminals" for people to use for office workstations instead of individual computers.

You mean like they had, probably, as recently as 15 years ago (certainly no more than 20)? When I was in college in the mid-nineties VT terminals and VMS-running mini-computers were still going strong. Poor Scott McNealy -- hit his prime exactly at exactly the low point of the client-server cycle.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2008 3:13 pm 
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