[Tfug] "Downgrading" ("underclocking?") processors

Bexley Hall bexley401 at yahoo.com
Wed Feb 19 21:38:23 MST 2014

Hi John,

[I guess the oranges can wait a while...]

On 2/19/2014 9:29 PM, John Hubbard wrote:
> On 02/19/2014 12:32 PM, Bexley Hall wrote:
>> On 2/18/2014 9:06 PM, Zack Williams wrote:
>>> On Tue, Feb 18, 2014 at 8:03 PM, Bexley Hall<bexley401 at yahoo.com> wrote:
>>> They also will have varying speeds depending on the
>>> power/heat dissipation Intel, for example, can sell a chip that
>>> supports 7W, 10W and 13W power modes, with the vendor determining
>>> which they want to use:
>> I'm not worrying about "designed from scratch". There, I can look
>> at my power and thermal budgets and "optimize to fit". (though
>> most of my hardware is ARM-based and an order of magnitude less
>> power -- think hundreds of milliwatts. Would you put a 40W PC
>> in a box to generate sounds for your doorbell? :> )
>> Rather, what I am looking at is ways I can guide *others* to selecting
>> suitable COTS kit that *they* can "downgrade" easily.
> Who are these 'others' you envisioning doing this downgrade? If its 'mom
> and pop' I think you overestimate the average 'mom and pop'. (Unless
> they just pay someone else to do it.) The only only people who have a
> good chance of downgrading a CPU are the same kinds of people who will
> be comfortable building their own machines in the first place. I only
> see a few options:
> A) Buy a generic machine off the shelf, figure out what socket/chipset
> it has and find an appropriate downgrade CPU to install. Open the case,
> remove the heat sink, remove the CPU, install new CPU, reinstall heat
> sink, and close up case. (Or pay someone else to do the above.)
> B) Find a machine with the appropriate CPU already installed. This is
> doable, but not going to happen for 'Hey dude, I just got a Dell'.
> C) Build a machine from scratch with the right parts or pay someone else
> to do this.
> Personally I think that C is going to be the best option. If the end
> user can't build a machine themselves I don't think they've got much
> hope for downgrading the machine; A's out. B might work, but I don't
> think that the high efficiency CPUs are particularly common from the big
> manufacturers.

I expect the design to be sold as a "fully assembled" product.
Too many folks have *no* expertise and/or are unconcerned with
the potential savings or "fabrication experience".  These are
the folks who run OSX/Windows/<any_"stock"_FOSS_OS>.

OTOH, I expect there will be folks who *have* experience and
would enjoy tinkering and/or "saving a few bucks" by rolling
their own.  Putting a generic PC in a closet will eventually
cause those folks to realize it's too noisey, it burns too much
power, it crashes from thermal overload, etc.

If the only option is "buy the prebuilt product that has solved
all these problems for you" (at some cost:  in terms of dollars,
form factor, flexibility/hackability, etc.) then I imagine they
would be disappointed.

Would you run Lin*x/*BSD if it *only* ran on a particular piece
of hardware?  Regardless of how flawlessly it did so?  What is
it worth to you to be able to "tweek" your machine to fit *your*
needs and not the needs imagined by the vendor?

On the flip side, what value is a design if it can *only* be
used by folks who can "build a system from scratch"?  Should I
just release sources and whatever sort of build environment
suits *my* needs?  And, expect folks to "figure it out" if they
want to play?

Now, off to the oranges...

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