This is indeed a beautiful machine. I am tempted to build it something very similar soon, as I also want to switch to Ryzen.
Was he using a Slot1 machine for 20 years?
He got pre-built PCs since then. The Slot1 was the last one he built himself.
I’m fairly sure he was a Mac user in recent times.
The form looks very artistic. But it reminded me of a an odd fact - all these years technology has marched forward so that our lights waste less and less energy as heat, but our computers have marched in the opposite direction.
Uhm, 20 years ago the most common form of computer used by Most People used tens or hundreds of watts, these days it’s below 1W. At that time it was a Windows desktop, these days it’s a smartphone.
Certainly, if you compare the most powerful servers in 1985 with the most powerful servers now, the latter use more electricity. But doing that disregards the appearance of important new classes of devices, such as the rasπ, the smartphone and the USB stick. All are sold in vast numbers and offer one or more of storage, communication and computation. It’s not fair to compare like with like if real people can and do choose to replace like with unlike. Desktop PCs may need 250W still, but people were free to use something else for equivalent activities.
Let me take a common activiity said to be at the forefront of technological advance: Watching people fornicate. Today that’s is most commonly done using a smartphone or tablet, and probably an internet connection. Below 10W in total. A few decades ago that involved 250W of CPU and screen, and some sort of moving part such as a DVD drive, which I suspect needed more than 10W on its own.
Your “fact” is odd because it’s unreal.
I agree with your statements - mobile computing is one area where the survival pressure has been lowering power consumption, for example. But for a period - when I was still running after the most powerful desktop - I noted that power supply wattage kept increasing year by year. At the start CPUs needed only passive heat sinks, then they needed bigger heatsinks, then they needed fans, then some of them needed coolants. Then GPUs came, they were passively cooled, then they needed fans and so on.
If we are talking about powerful desktop workstations, then yes… sort of. The first “but” is that you still get a lot more computing power per watt than before—there’s been a lot of progress in that area in the last decade. This applies to servers too. From my anecdata, replacing 2010 servers with 2020 servers gives you more computing power for less power consumption.
And then small form factor PCs like Intel’s NUC make excellent workstations for everything but graphics. Last but not least , we don’t use CRTs anymore, and they could be as power-hungry as some modern desktop computers.
Perhaps. But I look at our power consumption, and I see that lighting consumes a negligible amount of power now - most of my lights are 10-15W for the same lumens that 100W lamps used to consume. But my desktop consumes more power than my desktop did 20 years ago. It can do a lot more, but does it need to? Is my utility/watt from my desktop more than 20 years ago? I’m not sold
Are you sure about that? How much power does your current desktop consume on average during a day, and how much did the one 20 years ago?
My current desktop consumes very little power on average. Its peak usage is perhaps as higher than the ones I had about 10 and 20 years ago (I don’t have records for peak usage), but it’s average power usage is a different matter, because:
I absolutely agree on your CRT point. However, I’m not including the CRT. Perhaps I should, but I see that as a peripheral. I’m focusing on the computing aspect of it. Everything in the tower: CPU, GPU, Power supply, disks (which are now a savings due to SSD).
Well, in that case: I know that when I replaced my office desktop in 2009 and in 2015, average power usage dropped both times. (I measured my whole office a few other times, but that included screens etc.) The new power supply in 2015 was more powerful than its predecessor, but the actual power usage dropped. Your experience may be different, of course, but I should be careful about assuming that actual power usage increased merely because some maximum or capacity increased.
You didn’t need to buy a powerful desktop. You can buy little passively cooled x86_64 machines that can do a whole slew of jobs. I use one as a NAS and it can do some video transcoding. The SoC is rated at 10W. And you can get even lower powered machines that can run Windows and all the common applications. Look around for “scooter computers”.
There’s a famous business book called “The innovator’s dilemma” that says it’s general: Products are replaced by bigger products as customers ask vendors for a new, bigger model, but then customers largely choose to buy a smaller thing from a new competitor instead of the bigger product the vendor delivered.
The book goes into why. The major reasons mentioned, IIRC, is that the two instances of “customers” in the preceding paragraph don’t refer to the same customers, and that when given a new option (a cheaper, smaller option) people may find new use.
Citation needed. I built my first desktop about 15 years ago and it had a 550W power supply. My current one has a 750W power supply but also is much closer to the high end of the spectrum, since I have more money now and can use the power. That said its actual power draw at idle is more like 100W. Plus, more efficient power supplies are easier to get now.
The growth of laptops and mobile devices, and the slow death of Moore’s Law, has caused a LOT of work to be done in making CPU’s have better power management in general. I’d expect a 2020 CPU to on average be much better at sipping small amounts of power when possible than a 2005 CPU, though I don’t have numbers to support this. But if you look at the 3000-series Ryzen desktop lineup, the TDP is generally 65W, with 95 or 105W for the top end models of each class. If you look at Athlon 64 X2 CPU’s, the TDP is generally 65 or 89W, with the higher-end Phenom going up to 140W. So in terms of CPU specs at least, I’d argue that power usage has at worst stayed the same. (If you want to argue Threadripper’s 280W TDP, I’d compare it to a dual socket Phenom system, since afaik the Threadripper is very much two separate CPU’s in one package.)
So in terms of CPU specs at least, I’d argue that power usage has at worst stayed the same.
So in terms of CPU specs at least, I’d argue that power usage has at worst stayed the same.
Indeed. I think in reality, the power use has dropped drastically. Most people outside gamers and some pro users (for some definition of ‘pro’ such as developers, CAD, etc) have switched to laptops or desktops with laptop-class CPUs. If you walk into many businesses, they will have machines with the slim desktop form factor, with basically the innards of a laptop.
E.g. my MacBook Pro and my Intel NUC use the same CPU, the NUC apparently draws 5.6W idle, 23.2W when playing an HEVC video, and only ~70W under a large load. Thanks to quad core, better vectorization, and especially SSDs, these machines are also much faster than machines 10-20 years ago.
Computers are much more efficient per unit of computation performed than they were 20 years ago.
Does anyone have an even smaller case to recommend? I’m looking for something that could house 2x 3.5” disks, an ITX fanless motherboard with a soldered disk and nothing more. The power supply is external, so I’m looking for something really small. The case I have at the moment is Fractal Design Node 304, but it’s too big.
Also, his setup is amazing, so clean. Love that he’s using a split keyboard. I tried to switch to it several times, but the fact I don’t have a desk at home and could only type on the laptop’s keyboard plays an important role in getting used to the new layout.
I have a Tranquil PC which is flat and wide. It looks like a small hifi amp. It runs a Pentium G630T, 12GB RAM and a 2.5” SATA SSD off a mini itx board. External PSU.
It’s working as a server at the moment but I tried it running as a desktop and it was great.
No fans, but I can still hear electrical noise if I’m close to it in the quiet room where it lives, so I don’t have it sitting on the desk.
Coil whine is so annoying. My desktop is a normal ATX tower with a fan for the CPU and PSU, but the coil whine is far louder than the fans if I’m doing a weirdly specific set of things (like downloading large files, but only when I’m booted into macOS [it’s a Hackintosh as well as a Linux machine]). That’s something I wish I would have known before buying it, but luckily it’s not much of an issue when I’m using Linux.
Is coil whine a noise that you hear with your ears or is it noise that comes out on headphones/speakers?
I might not be using the term correctly, but it’s the noise you hear without headphones coming from the power supply, almost like a spinning rust HDD under high load but higher pitched.
The sound from this little PC isn’t coming from the (external, laptop-type) PSU.
I haven’t heard CPU or RAM make noise before, so I’m guessing it’s something on the motherboard itself. I can’t pinpoint it with my ear but it’s somewhere on there.
I’ve heard you can smother things in hot glue to help reduce it, but I don’t really fancy accidentally ruining my nice little server.
Instead I’m simply planning it to move it through the thin wall beside it into the loft space on the other side and run cables through to it. When the weather warms up and the radiator isn’t making noise, it should then be ‘silent’ in my office.
I use a Coolermaster Elite 110 which is similar to the node 304 but smaller. But you could go smaller still. For 2x 3.5 drives you could try looking at NAS oriented “toaster” form factors. Eg Chenbro ES30068.
You might want to look at the cases by HDPLEX? Never used them, but I bookmarked one of their designs years ago - knew it would come in handy one day!
Sweet build. Made me drool quite a bit. I’d love to go back to configuring my own buildouts again. I love his silent and cool aesthetic. Being a coder, I’d like more cores and RAM for compiling, but other than that this is an awesome box.