Watching the World Burn

https://www.techradar.com/news/amd-and-nvidia-leaks-show-we-…

First, there’s long been rumors that the next-gen Nvidia Lovelace graphics cards are going to be energy hogs, but earlier this week reliable Twitter leaker Kopite7kimi posted some supposed specs for a high-end Nvidia RTX 4000-series card, possibly a Titan-class card, that could have upwards of 800W of power draw.

Now, we’re hearing news from Wccftech(opens in new tab) that the soon-to-be-announced AMD Ryzen 7000-series desktop processors appear to be throwing off any pretense at efficiency as well, with a reported 170W TDP for the top-tier Ryzen 9 chip.

Assuming you paired these two components together and nothing else, you’d have nearly a whole kilowatt of power being sucked up by just the processor and graphics card, meaning that everything else will absolutely push this system over the 1000W line.

Without question, this would likely be the best gaming PC ever built, but is it even worth it at this point?

There are two major issues with performance being the only metric that seems to matter anymore.

First, energy isn’t free; not environmentally, and not economically. As it stands, rising carbon emissions are projected to make large, heavily populated swaths of the planet partially if not entirely uninhabitable at an accelerating pace. Our flagrant misuse of scarce energy resources requires producing more carbon emissions to keep up with our actual needs, and the trade-off simply isn’t worth it.

The consequences are assumed to be far enough in the future for most people to believe that it’s a problem that we can solve tomorrow. That simply isn’t true, as the recent heatwave in Europe and the continuing wildfires in the Western United States make plainly obvious, not to mention one of the worst droughts in recent history in parts of the Global South that gets far less, if any, attention the way middle- and upper-class families fleeing their suburban homes in California do.

If that can’t convince us to be more rational about what we consider “progress” let’s just point out a simple economic reality here: getting to this level of performance is just going to make these products even more expensive, pricing even more people out as families struggle with inflation and rising energy costs.

The current generation of graphics cards is already out of reach for most because they are just too expensive. This trend looks to continue in the future, making essential technology for the modern economy something that only the well-off can afford, whether that means families or affluent gamers buying wildly overpowered showpieces or rich countries that can afford to make research investments in these increasingly expensive technologies while universities in poorer countries increasingly get pushed aside.

All of this is a recipe for widening social divides at a time when everyone is going to be under more pressure than ever from a changing climate for everything from vaccines to drinking water.

I love computers and I am a lifelong PC gamer, so I get it, I really do. But I can also tell you that the performance of the RTX 3090 Ti, as impressive as it is has seriously diminishing returns after a while. At some point, it’s ok to say, “you know, 60 to 70 fps at 1440p is good enough,” because honestly, it is.

2 Likes

Now, we’re hearing news from Wccftech(opens in new tab) that the soon-to-be-announced AMD Ryzen 7000-series desktop processors appear to be throwing off any pretense at efficiency as well, with a reported 170W TDP for the top-tier Ryzen 9 chip.

This is old news, with some game of telephone thrown in. AMD has said that they plan to have a high-power chip at the top of the line so that AMD to Intel gaming comparisons will be at the same power draw. Right now, AMD is expected to announce a full set of chips to ship in late September or October. Raptor Lake is expected to be later and may be later enough that AMD won’t know the power specs when they announce Raphael

It will be interesting to see if AMD has a second 16-core chip with a more modest power draw. (And a lower price.) They will probably do the same for mobile APUs.

1 Like

More than you want to know about US tank main guns. So be warned.
Those people who will buy nVidia’s highest power 4000-series GPU (whatever variation on the 4090 name it has), are those people who have a Nitro Express elephant gun on their dining room wall, but the only shooting they do is with an air rifle at the gun range. I get to talk about them since I have fired an MA-deuce in tanks, from a bipod, and from the shoulder–even if only on a range. :wink: Hey, I was a tanker, so guns were either 90 to 125* mm bores or machine guns. I really liked the M3A grease gun. I considered the M1911A pistol, which fired the same .45 caliber ammo, as a poorly designed boomerang. (Seriously, I was lucky to qualify with the M1911A, but seldom missed with the M3A.)

  • The M48 models had a 90 mm main gun. A few M48s, the M48A5 models, had 105 mm guns. The M60 (all models) also had 105 mm guns, as did the M1. Subsequent M1 models had the 120 mm Rheinmetal smoothbore cannon. This required adding weight to the armor to avoid “turning turtle” if the gun was fired in the wrong direction, especially when in motion. The Army added depleted uranium to the Chobham armor. When they tested it, everybody tiptoed carefully away. Depleted Uranium contains much less U-235 than unrefined Uranium. (It is the leftover from extracting the U-235, so depending on where you live, it gives off less radioactivity than rocks in your backyard.) Why keep mum about the test results? The DU Chobham armor was four or five times as effective as the armor it replaced–and kept the tanks upright. :wink: In the first Gulf War, the Marines had M60 tanks along with landing vehicles. The US Army had 1000 operational M1A1 tanks at the start of hostilities and 1000 still operational when hostilities ended. I talked to several tank crews who said that when they went over the berm into Iraq, they expected to be killed. One tank driver explained it with a later incident. He was driving over berm, and a T72 was 500 yards away, with the gun pointed at them. (“Gunner, HEAT, tank.” “UP” “Identified.” “Fire.” “On the way.” “Target, cease fire.” Did he miss us? How could he miss?" That night when the driver was getting out of the tank, he noticed a black smudge on the lower part of the glacius. It hadn’t even damaged the paint.)

Oh, and most Russian tanks today have 125 mm guns that can also fire rockets from their tubes. They also have autoloaders. I was talking to a Russian tank commander after the wall came down. He was curious. Why didn’t American tanks use autoloaders? The Russians used autoloaders that could fire one round every five seconds. I’m thinking three seconds to fire; two seconds gets me three kilometers with a sabot round, two plus kilometers with HEAT. I politely said I didn’t really know. (In fact, I probably would have had a second round on its way downrange before he got off his first round.)

I know this is getting way off topic, but it probably has a lot of relevance for what is currently happening in Ukraine. The scoring for Table VIII Tank Qualification allowed 15 seconds for the first round, and another 10 seconds for the second round. Of course, you had to hit the target as well to get credit. I noticed that putting crews together for qualification, done with 7.62 coaxial MG rounds not main gun rounds, the most important criteria was finding four people who worked together well, then sort them into the proper slots. Now work on accuracy. Crews would often miss the first and second round timings at this stage. It was usually the gunner who was slow–and responsible for any misses. Four weeks later, when it was time to qualify, those gunners were close to 100% accurate, and the best crews could get both rounds off within six or seven seconds. The crew had become a team, just like a basketball, hockey, or football team. Once a play started, each player knew his part. Once the tank commander said, “Gunner…” everything just flowed.

3 Likes

The story I heard was that the armor did it’s job, but the round definitely left a mark. The T72 round penetrated the armor and exposed a significant amount of the functional structure underneath in the strike. The tank, while operational and in no way functionally impaired, was moved to the rear to prevent spying eyes of those who would seek to understand more about how the armor was designed.

Interesting, none the less.

The story I heard was that the armor did it’s job, but the round definitely left a mark. The T72 round penetrated the armor and exposed a significant amount of the functional structure underneath in the strike. The tank, while operational and in no way functionally impaired, was moved to the rear to prevent spying eyes of those who would seek to understand more about how the armor was designed.

Shrug. Could have been two different similar stories. Or, more likely, there was a scuff mark where part of the sabot struck, and lower down a pit where the point stuck and dug in. That would indicate that the round struck at a small angle and could have penetrated better if more perpendicular. (Hmm. Wouldn’t that have been a 125 mm smoothbore? How do the sabots work on those.)