Tuesday, May 24, 2016

More cores, more power and still no effective cooling system

I think we rlly have a problem here. Watching the world of technology, there is a clr tendency to equip mobile devices with more and more power. Looking at thespecifiionsoffleshlyunveiledNvidia Tegra 4 (72 custom Nvidia GeForce GPU cores, new quad-core variant of ARM's Cortex-A15 CPU) I can say I'm alrdy pretty amazed. But this enthusiasm might be suppressed very soon!Where is the issue? You might say we've alrdy been there few yrs ago, when multi-cores CPUs were gaining more and more attention from non-professionaldesktops/notebooks users. Marketing did a grt job then. Nobody cared that most of consumers wouldn't be able to use the power of multi-cores. Nobody told them, that powerful CPU in pair with 1 GB of RAM memory and 5.400 RPM hard drive will be a waste of money and power. But it's not the point here.
What matters is the method of ht extraction. Air or water cooling systems are very advanced these days and can be very effective when it comes to PC. So if you rlly want to use 4 cores CPU for MS Word Editing or Internet browsing on your PC, there is nobody stopping you, apart of your own pocket. But what about mobile , tablets or so popular these days ultrabooks? Cooling systems on those devices are rlly bad. And what makes it even worse, there is no revolution coming. At lst not for mobile or tablets.
Most of new ultrabooks (equippedwith powerful CPUs and dedied GPU) suffers from so called "throttling", caused by too much ht erated by the CPU and GPU when under hvy load together. Extra thin constructions are not effective when it comes to cooling, because the size of cooling sand fans needs to be reduced to minimum. Of course there is some room for improvements. For example, in new MacBook Pro you can find two fans and quitesmart arrangement of cooling pipes. Notebooks/ultrabooks designers surely have more options and more space than mobile designers. So I believe this might get better in time.
What's thesituationwhen it comes to mobile ? As I mentioned before, I think it's rlly bad. First of all, you can't put any fan inside your phone. The space inside is so limited, so forget aboutadvancedsystem of micro cooling pipes. So what is the current solution? For example, id of 5th companion corepresentedby Nvidia in Tegra 3. When device is in idle state, 5th core is taking care of low level tasks, running at very low frequency. Yes, this is quite smart. Tegra 4 will have the same mechanism. Another example - smart governors. When you turn your screen off, you CPU frequency will be limited to let's say 340 MHz. When turning screen on, it will go back to let's say 1,7 GHz. Nice, huh?
So... wait a minute!
It seems that from one hand we are buying super powerful devices, and from the other hand there are plenty of methods to limit this power. People are happy these days when they can use their super phone for more then 16 hours without charging. They do everything to achieve that - they are limiting GPU power, CPU power, turning offcapacitivebuttons lights or changing screen backlight tominimum(and they can barely see what's written on the screen). So take a moment, sit on the chair and count - how many times have you actually used the power of your device? Do you rlly need 4 cores and 2GB of RAM for Gmail, Chrome or Andry Birds? I don't think so. You might say you are playing hvy 3D games. Okay - how long can you play Need For Speed on your device in the bus? I'm pretty sure your device will bedischargedafter less then 1 hour. So, you might say you can always play it at home, with a device connected to the charger. Personally, when sitting home I prefer playing Need For Speed on PC or notebook.
What's the point in having 4 cores CPU, 2GB RAM and 72 custom Nvidia GeForce GPU cores if you can't use it? In idle this will be limited to 1 hidden core running something like 70 MHz. When using the phone for daily tasks (photos, internet, mail, calling) it will use about 20% of the potential power. When playing games it might use the full power for some period of time, then will be down-clocked because of erated ht. Is it comfortable to hold a device in your hand that have atemperatureof 59 °C? I don't think so...Of course there is a matter ofreducingthe size of the chipsets.Newer production processes mn lower power consumption. But this wont help.
So is it a right and good direction, when a companies are making more and more powerful hardware, trying to figure out better and more effective way to limit this power at the same time? It's like putting in and out. And all for the money from customers.
Do you have any questions or want to share some opinion? Plse lve a comment below! Also, if you like this article, plse use media sharing buttons (Twitter, G+, Facebook) down this post!

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