The TR Podcast 40: The GPGPU tax, three strikes you're out, and the end of netbooks

Plu: Skype on the iPhone, Intel's latest Xeon processors, Mini-ITX, and more...
— 10:14 PM on April 5, 2009

Date: April 5, 2009
Time: 2:02:10

Hosted by Jordan Drake
Co-Hosts: Scott Wasson, Geoff Gasior, Cyril Kowaliski, Matt Butrovich
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Download: MP3 (83.9MB) | M4A (85.2MB)

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Show notes
Listener mail is back, starting one of our longest episodes ever with an interesting question about the effects of general-purpose usage on a GPU's life span. Our editors also dive into the debate generated by Microsoft's latest "I'm a PC" ad, giving their take on whether Microsoft has hit a home run or a foul ball.

Then, after we lament the expansion of Time Warner Cable's bandwidth quotas to several U.S. cities, Cyril rants about a draconian new copyright bill in France. Other topics in this episode include Geoff's review of a handy little Mini-ITX motherboard, the newest and blazingly fast Xeon 5500 processors from Intel, and a variety of netbook and handheld news.

Send in listener mail, and we'll answer on the podcast. -

Listener mail:

GPGPU and GPU lifespan (0:01:33 - from Dave:

"I have a question to pose for general discussion on the podcast regarding the relationship between GPU computing (like CUDA) and video card life. I ask because I've had several video cards die on me in the past, but not once has one of my CPUs bit the dust (even when heavily overclocked). It seems that video cards can't take as much punishment as CPUs. They use a lot of energy, create a lot of heat, and many cards (especially those from ATI) run hot. In light of that trend, I don't think I'd be comfortable with putting my video card under heavy load for long periods of time to perform GPGPU-assisted tasks like video rendering. On the other hand, I have no reservations about keeping my CPU at 100% load for days on end. What do you guys think? Are my reservations about GPU-death unfounded, or are they really more fragile than CPUs? Discuss!"

Chairs and back pain (0:13:15) - from SSIDBroadcast:

"A few months ago, you (Scott) reported that you had what sounded like some serious health problems related to chronic poor posture. As some of us know, you had purchased an expensive made-to-order desk chair in response to this problem. How has the chair worked for you since? Was it effective in removing your pain? This isn't a backhanded shameless plug for whatever company it was that made your chair, I'm just curious if changing your chair actually fixed your problem (or at least put a dent in it.) I ask because sometimes I get lower back pain from sitting in front of a monitor for too long, and just would like to know if your solution worked."

Tech discussion:

    Microsoft's new message: PCs are cheaper (0:20:05)- Read more - Jason's blog post

    Official Skype software arrives on the iPhone (0:35:09)- Read more

    Time Warner Cable quotas to hit more cities in Texas, NY, NC (0:45:49)- Read more

    Ignorance, legislative stupidity, and the French three-strikes piracy bill (0:53:10)- Read more

    Zotac's GeForce 9300-ITX WiFi motherboard (1:05:34)- Read more

    Super Talent preps super-fast PCIe flash drives (1:18:23)- Read more

    Western Digital acquires solid-state drive firm (1:22:39)- Read more

    Intel's Xeon W5580 processors (1:25:07)- Read more

    Acer could launch Ion system on April 8 (1:33:45)- Read more

    OCZ formally launches DIY netbook (1:39:42)- Read more

    Eee PC 1004DN has built-in optical drive (1:43:22)- Read more

    'Leaked' Mac netbook photo, specs seem oddly plausible (1:50:25)- Read more

That's all, folks! We'll see you on the next episode!
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