The TR Podcast 5: CPU-GPU balance considered

Date: April 19, 2008

Time: 1:24:16

Hosted by Jordan Drake

Co-Hosts: Scott Wasson, Cyril Kowaliski, Geoff Gasior
Guests: Pat Moorhead

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Show Notes

For too long, pre-built PC configurations have been CPU-heavy, with too little emphasis on things like GPU power and adequate amounts of memory. Recently, Nvidia has taken aim at this problem, pushing the concept of PC balance. As a supplier of both CPUs and GPUs, AMD has its own take on this issue. We talked with AMD VP Pat Moorhead about striking the right balance and the future of the PC market. What he said may surprise you. After the interview, our editors held a short roundtable discussion about who’s right, who’s wrong, and why.
Send in listener mail and we’ll answer on the podcast. –

Tech Topic: The future of the desktop

    Pat Moorhead: The balance of the CPU and GPU (0:03:32)

    Pat Moorhead: Is the PC becoming commoditized? (0:15:42)

    Pat Moorhead: Do low end PC’s hurt innovation on the high end? (0:20:08)

    Pat Moorhead: Where is the APU going – why is Fusion starting on the low end? (0:29:30)

    Pat Moorhead: What kind of tech toys does an AMD VP get to play with? (0:39:39)

    Editor discussion: Nvidia’s analyst conference (0:44:26)- Read more

    Editor discussion: Does Intel really lead the world in graphics? (1:01:55)

    Editor discussion: Does Nvidia have a new chip coming? (1:06:18)

    Editor discussion: The war inside the computer (1:09:06)

    Editor discussion: What’s coming up on the website this week? (1:20:09)

That’s all, folks! Check back on May 3 for the next TR podcast.

Comments closed
    • flip-mode
    • 11 years ago

    Thoughts on “double attached” graphics:

    1.) It’s easier to pass an old mobo on to a family member and keep your shinny graphics card. That’s a big plus in my mind as it is a real downer to have to consider going out and spending cash on some low end PCIe card in order to /[

    • DrDillyBar
    • 11 years ago

    Over the years, I’ve built many biases. That’s fairly obvious to me all things considered. Perhaps a bit of history would quantify why:

    1) I supported ATI for basically patriotic reasons year on year…. From the days of the PCI 3D Rage cards, through the Rage 128, Radeon 7000, Radeon 9500, X1900XL and my current HD 3870. Since ATI was bought by AMD (forming DAAMIT) I’ve grown concerned that they would loose the “all in wonder” capabilities that made them such strong multimedia processors in the past. With all that talk of Fusion, I really thought they might forgo descrete GPU’s eventually, but I was pleased that this podcast (TM Apple; what a stupid word) specifically addressed that concern of mine. While others may question my foregoing nVidia, know that I owned a GeForce 256DDR and a 7800GS AGP. Both were fast cards for gaming, no question, but that infamous “inferior complex” occured both times; washed out colours and inferior Multimonitor support added up to a feeling of Loss, and with the next generation I always returned to an ATI product. Totally subjective of course.

    2) Intel. My days of buying AMD CPU’s ended after I owned a 486 DX4 100; a K6(2)-350MHz, a Duron 900; the later two having fried on me taking the mobo with them when I mildly OC’d the FSB on them. Intel CPU’s have given me Far better historical service. While it starts with an IBM PC @ 2MHz, it moved through the P233 Win98 days, Dual Celeron 400a’s (not 300a but OC’d to 95FSB giving me 570MHz) with Win2k to the Dual PIII-S 1.266’s & P4C 3.0GHz & C2D 6300 on WinXP, to my current E6420 / Vista machine. Sure AMD ruled gaming preformance through the Pentium 4 days, but you’ll see it mattered little to me; though the Athlon MP was a serious option at one point. Hammer development was a joke due to length. Anything that is labled Athlon X# to me is just a Hammer, and it’s ancient.

    Now they (intel) are working on a GPU of sorts, using x86 mini-thing-a-ma-jig’s in multitude. I have high hopes in this area. Having witnessed an nVidia marketing manager type give a powerpoint presentation to the masses at a gaming convention, all I have to say after that experience is they are all a bunch of nVid10ts selling buzzwords to the AMD gaming “FPS is all that matters in the end” customer base. Not my bag baby, tell an id10t who cares. (honestly, hostility. the marketing bull___t that spewed forth was almost impressive).

    Here also seems the best place to mention physics. nVidia’s been sleeping on Ageia, and will likely use CUDA to impliment it, which is a waste of a good IP in my books. Intel, on the otherhand, will hopefully be using their HavokFX IP. While Ageia was superior in my books, HavokFX seems in a better strategic position.

    3) double-attached; As an enthuesist, I’ve never bought a mobo with built in graphics, since I would always buy a descrete card. While I acknowledge that the OEM market works like this, I would consider it a waste of resources. For both AGP and PCIe systems, I’ve always obtained a crappy POS AGP/PCIe card to act as a placeholder in my systems, rather then rely on built in graphics provided by the chipset manufactorer. Save work computers. I’ve used two or three of them that had integrated intel and not discrete video.

    All in all a fantastic episode. I enjoyed it thoroughly.

    (Edit: typo’s galore)

    Additionally, since it may matter: Intel chipsets generally, else VIA throughout time….

    • Thanato
    • 12 years ago

    I’d really like to see future PC’s allowing more than one user on one system. It was scary to hear Mr.Moorhed mentioning he had 11 pc running at his home for his family, it’s seems impractical. Personally I feel that PCs with multi cores and multi GPU you could have multi users on one computer. That would be a awesome way to get more out of a home PC; no waiting for someone to get off the computer to use net with multi monitors and keyboards available, remote media centers working off one machine, maybe even multi user gaming, CPU and GPU allocation for different users using one PC. Save money on not having a PCs in every room, save even more on not having to upgrade every computer in every room. Reading about things like Display Port adapters seems to make this concept make even more sense.

    • Pax-UX
    • 12 years ago

    From a gaming perspective the only thing that PCs do really well at the moment that consoles lack is the MMO type games, ala World of Warcraft. The Keyboard is still the missing link on the console. It would be interesting to see what happens with the first console game that goes MMO with no offline game play. Would that kill a large number of PC gamers?

    I know how Cyril feels, not the most interest Podcast done to date. Just because you don’t like the idea of discreet computing doesn’t mean it won’t happen. Software has a bigger say in the future of computers then the hardware. But then again this is a hardware site so I can’t really complain about that myopic viewpoint. Sometimes you just don’t need a bigger hammer.

      • Pax-UX
      • 12 years ago

      One other thing, if you look at the way Apple utilizes their access to hardware, software, style and marketing to take advantage of being able to offer a complete package that’s in demand. I would say Apple will have more say on things to come then any other single company as they can move on all fronts in a coordinate fashion; while others can only push in certain areas. They currently pwn music distribution, NBC looks like they could be going back to them again; once they get video and access to consoles they’ll be unstoppable.

    • flip-mode
    • 12 years ago

    I caved and listened to most of it.

    I don’t see web3.0 or flash demanding a top end computer. Older computers do Google Earth fine. I do see the need to Eee PCs to be more powerful though and a need to them to have higher screen resolutions (which is something that is on the way already).

    I think Scott is right to say AMD needs to keep Nvidia as a close ally, but what would be even better would be for AMD to release an ATI Radeon that beat anything Nvidia had and for them to fix the south bridge. Jeez, at least fix the south bridge you lamers. I suppose that’s still a possibility but the the odds keep looking worse.

    Scott was more upbeat about Nvidia than I am. Their record is not so perfect: broken video decode on the 6800, poorer image quality on the 6xxx/7xxx series, then no HD video acceleration on the 8800, and finally the relatively poor history of their Vista drivers. Yes, they undeniably own the performance crown with the 8xxx series, but as far as I can tell that is the only way they’ve decisively led ATI. Nvidia’s chipsets have had a good run too with the exception of power consumption being to high and also the fact that they discontinue product support too soon.

    • henfactor
    • 12 years ago

    Man, if nvidia really does have some new kick butt lineup coming out, well thats pretty exciting, seeing as all there current offerings are just higher clocked versions of the G92.

    This summer is going to be a great one in terms of new technology!

    And, as usual great cast, looking forward to the new articles this week.


    • srg86
    • 12 years ago

    I have to say that not all enthusiasts play games. I don’t play games and I mainly want a grpahics card for hardware assisted video playback rather than fast 3D.

    I do like to have a fast multi-core CPU and a decent amount of RAM rather than a fast GPU.

    For me, GPUs will never be more important than CPUs.

      • Prototyped
      • 12 years ago

      I’m right with you. I am decidedly /[

      • indeego
      • 12 years ago

      Same boat. GPU’s bore me to tears, I’m only playing 2-5 games a year now. In fact last week I downgraded to a 9600GT passive ECS because I/O and quietness have become far more important features for meg{<.<}g

      • flip-mode
      • 12 years ago

      Hear hear. Or is it here here?

    • Prototyped
    • 12 years ago

    Um, Cyril, /[

    • ssidbroadcast
    • 12 years ago

    One thing I’d like to request is some, um, different bumpers. I don’t want to sound too harsh, but I think the twangy guitar music is sortof tacky, and feels like the year 1992.

    I know there might be some sort of legal issues with using *actual* songs like the way /[

    • danny e.
    • 12 years ago

    i cant wait for us to move further up the “reality curve”.

    • flip-mode
    • 12 years ago

    I would love a transcript. I’m not really into the Podcast thing but I’d love to have access to a transcript. Is it possible to run an mp3 through a speech-to-text program?

    Besides, I’m strangely aroused by Scott’s voice, which is disturbing to me. /sarcasm.

      • ssidbroadcast
      • 12 years ago

      Actually yeah Scott’s my fav to listen to. You don’t have to hide it.

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