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Thread: A question for scientific bods

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    A question for scientific bods

    In the 1870s, Joseph William Swan solved the problem of the carbon filaments of electric light bulbs being oxidised by the intense heat of the current passing few them by placing the filament in a vacuum tube. Similarly, across the Atlantic, Henry Woodward and Matthew Evans made advances by displacing the air in the glass tube with nitrogen.

    What strikes me about this story is that, when faced by similar problems of heat in the world of overclocking – rather than neatly sidestepping the issue, we instead opt for costly cooling devices. Why is this?

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    Unlike electric light bulbs, CPU designing and equipments cost thousands (if not millions) times more. It would be cheaper to get better cooling than to design a new CPU.

    Going dual core is already some kind of sidestepping, is it not?
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    Ah, but that's an issue of practicality. Has this simply not been solved because of a lack of financial incentive or is it a physical impossibility?

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    lazy student nvening's Avatar
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    The oxygen was removed to make the fillament burn out slower so the bulb would last, not to cool it.
    (\__/)
    (='.'=)
    (")_(")

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    ^^ beaten too it
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    Have a cookie. They didn't bother to cool their filaments, they found a way around the problem. Why can't this be done for our silicon chips?

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    AFAIK CPUs don't break because they start burning... they just can't work when they get too hot, so the the light bulb scenario cannot be placed alongside the CPU temp scenario.
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    Quote Originally Posted by n3wt
    Ah, but that's an issue of practicality. Has this simply not been solved because of a lack of financial incentive or is it a physical impossibility?
    Physics is also a problem for processors to go that hot. More transistors = more heat. Transistors run faster = produce more heat. Lowering voltage and process are not enough to counteract that two increases.

    Intel or AMD could make some more efficient processors (may be IA64 kind), but what is the point making a processor that no OS or program support.

    It is like if you make a SATA10-30000 harddrive with 100000TB capacity, but no motherboard supports SATA10, nor Windows XP supports 100000TB capacity. No one is going to use it, no one going to buy it. Since no one will buy it your won't make it, or even design it.

    Its not a cheapo bulb you are talking about, and the "improved" bulb can be used in the same socket as the old one, use the same AC power, and even emitting the same white light.

    I doubt anyone want to scrape his system, buy all the new softwares and learn how to use them if they want a faster and cooler system.

    We all know oil is going to run out, but what percentage of people actually switching to renewable energy? what percentage of people bother to buy energy-saving lamps.
    Last edited by arthurleung; 10-04-2005 at 08:15 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kez
    AFAIK CPUs don't break because they start burning... they just can't work when they get too hot, so the the light bulb scenario cannot be placed alongside the CPU temp scenario.
    I realise the problems are more related to resistance and the like. I merely offer the light bulb as a parallel. What they did was make it so that, while light bulbs still produced heat, this heat was no longer a problem. Wheras we waste energy trying to dispel this heat. How could we change things so heat would no longer be a problem for chips?

    arthurleung - your comment, which perhaps runs parallel to the question of how could we solve this - is that it probably could be solved, only there is no financial incentive to do so as it would entail complete redesign of the computer system? Bear in mind that, if such a new technology could be devised, it would stretch beyond CPUs - memory, northbridge, GPU, etc etc could all be replaced.
    Last edited by n3wt; 10-04-2005 at 08:19 PM.

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    Maybe edit physics.c so that silicon doesn't become more resistive as temperature increase?

    One thing that should NOT be used to avoid the problem is power saving options. I'm seeing Intel use SpeedStep on desktop boards and while I welcome it to a degree, it worries me. It's supposed to cut power consumption, not heat output. What happens when you run the CPU at 100% for an hour and your cooling solution can't keep up?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kez
    Maybe edit physics.c so that silicon doesn't become more resistive as temperature increase?
    Or maybe use something other than silicon...?

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    SiC
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    One word: Superconductivity

    The first person to create a superconductor at room temperature will be a multi-trillionaire.

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    Quote Originally Posted by n3wt
    I realise the problems are more related to resistance and the like. I merely offer the light bulb as a parallel. What they did was make it so that, while light bulbs still produced heat, this heat was no longer a problem. Wheras we waste energy trying to dispel this heat. How could we change things so heat would no longer be a problem for chips?
    You could get 40 500Mhz xscale processors and they can process information faster than a P4 4Ghz, but they can't play game (even if they do, games will be slow like h3ll since games are not multi-threaded)

    You could use 100 LEDs to light your room, they produce more light and of coz more energy efficience, but how many people will bother to use LEDs to light rooms. (Technologyly possible, cheap, and most importantly it works), just because you already have a lamp socket and you wouldn't bother to modify your socket so it can take the LED light.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kez
    Maybe edit physics.c so that silicon doesn't become more resistive as temperature increase?

    One thing that should NOT be used to avoid the problem is power saving options. I'm seeing Intel use SpeedStep on desktop boards and while I welcome it to a degree, it worries me. It's supposed to cut power consumption, not heat output. What happens when you run the CPU at 100% for an hour and your cooling solution can't keep up?
    I wonder what will businesses say if Intel sell its Xeon processors with a label like this: "Intel Xeon processors are not designed to run at full load continously, continous usage may cause system failure, blah blah"
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    SiC
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    Quote Originally Posted by arthurleung
    You could get 40 500Mhz xscale processors and they can process information faster than a P4 4Ghz, but they can't play game (even if they do, games will be slow like h3ll since games are not multi-threaded)

    You could use 100 LEDs to light your room, they produce more light and of coz more energy efficience, but how many people will bother to use LEDs to light rooms. (Technologyly possible, cheap, and most importantly it works), just because you already have a lamp socket and you wouldn't bother to modify your socket so it can take the LED light.
    At a local major DIY retailer near you
    http://www.diy.com/diy/jsp/bq/produc...PRODID=6680003

    You can also get LED bulb arrays to fit in regular low voltage spotlight fittings

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    Quote Originally Posted by arthurleung
    I wonder what will businesses say if Intel sell its Xeon processors with a label like this: "Intel Xeon processors are not designed to run at full load continously, continous usage may cause system failure, blah blah"
    Well servers are a little different. They don't need to be fairly quiet and sit in a home office/living room. Fair point though.
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