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Latest Round Of Optimizations Wrap Up For Old ATI R300 To R500 GPUs On Linux

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  • Latest Round Of Optimizations Wrap Up For Old ATI R300 To R500 GPUs On Linux

    Phoronix: Latest Round Of Optimizations Wrap Up For Old ATI R300 To R500 GPUs On Linux

    Last week I wrote about Mesa's R300 Gallium3D driver seeing new optimizations for R300~R500 class GPUs from the ATI days, thanks to the open-source community. Another merge request is now open that finishes up the latest optimization spree for these old pre-AMD GPUs on Linux...

    https://www.phoronix.com/news/R300-W...Up-August-2022

  • #2
    Even if newer cards are more power-efficient, they're still more power-hungry. The top of the line R300 card, the Radeon 9800 Pro, used a whopping 47W.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by ET3D View Post
      Even if newer cards are more power-efficient, they're still more power-hungry. The top of the line R300 card, the Radeon 9800 Pro, used a whopping 47W.
      That's an excellent point, and it applies to many/most PC components. Modern 7nm CPU's are a lot more power efficient than say a 32nm CPU from a decade ago. But the newest CPU's also can draw 250+ watts on boost, whereas the 32nm chip from 2012 would never exceed it's TDP e.g. 65w or 95w.

      So you're definitely consuming more electricity on the modern stuff. You're getting a lot more performance... but you're consuming a lot more power too.

      IME the modern stuff can really run super cool and quiet *if* you disable turbo boost, and also disable SMT.

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      • #4
        Hm, what is more interesting to me than the peak power usage is the idle usage. A lot of the time is going to be spent idle or mostly idle: browsing, reading/writing code, emails... At least for me.

        And then there is the time spent suspended or off, that better be really low power usage. I found that with Wake On Lan on my desktop uses a constant 5 W when powered down, down to 4 W with WoL off. Surprisingly much! And I do use WoL to turn it on remotely by remoting in to my Pi first.

        Only a small portion of the time is spent running "all out": compiling, gaming (though most games are not 100% all the time, and usually not both CPU and GPU bound at the same time) or training ML models. And none of these tend to perfectly use 100% cpu and gpu, on or the other will be the bottleneck.

        So, what is the idle power usage of these old components? Is it worse than modern?

        My modern desktop (Ryzen 5600X, 2 SATA SSDs, 1 nvme gen4 SSD, 1 spinning rust drive, gtx 1070, 32 GB ram) idles at about 50W (40W before I installed the nvme gen4 drive, that one was power hungry!). My laptops far less of course.
        ​​​​​​
        Last edited by Vorpal; 30 August 2022, 05:41 AM.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by ET3D View Post
          Even if newer cards are more power-efficient, they're still more power-hungry. The top of the line R300 card, the Radeon 9800 Pro, used a whopping 47W.
          Wow, for similar wattage in new cards, it will be the low tier Radeon RX 6400 (53W)

          But while a R300 card may consume less electricity when in maximum use (5 watts difference hmmm), for non-accelerated display purpose, the modern RX 6400 may still win by auto-downclocking or something like that. The Radeon 9800 Pro can only draw with OpenGL 2.0 or below. It can't even play today's Minecraft.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by billyswong View Post
            The Radeon 9800 Pro can only draw with OpenGL 2.0 or below. It can't even play today's Minecraft.
            Yes. The 128MB of RAM would be a severe limitation. Even when Minecraft supported OpenGL 2.0, the minimum mentioned was 256MB.

            Obviously anyone wanting to run any modern 3D title (i.e., not from the R300's period or earlier) will have trouble. Still, don't see anyone upgrading such an old card if it's still in use. Such people probably already have a much newer PC.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by torsionbar28 View Post
              That's an excellent point, and it applies to many/most PC components. Modern 7nm CPU's are a lot more power efficient than say a 32nm CPU from a decade ago. But the newest CPU's also can draw 250+ watts on boost, whereas the 32nm chip from 2012 would never exceed it's TDP e.g. 65w or 95w.

              So you're definitely consuming more electricity on the modern stuff. You're getting a lot more performance... but you're consuming a lot more power too.

              IME the modern stuff can really run super cool and quiet *if* you disable turbo boost, and also disable SMT.
              Add to it electricity consumed for the manufacturing a new card and sourcing all precious raw materials for its manufacture, and at some point by being more power efficient, one makes the environment actually less sustainable.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by NSLW View Post
                Add to it electricity consumed for the manufacturing a new card and sourcing all precious raw materials for its manufacture, and at some point by being more power efficient, one makes the environment actually less sustainable.
                For consumer electronics, 70% of the lifetime carbon emissions occur during manufacture. Only 30% comes from the usage of the product. So yes, buying new components or devices, you are causing huge environmental harm just in purchasing the product. The fact that it consumes a few less watts than your old device is inconsequential. That doesn't even take into consideration the e-waste problem at disposal time. If you really want to save the earth, keep using your old PC, your old car, your old phone, etc. The greenie-weenies driving brand new Teslas and always buying the latest Macbook are the ones causing the most harm.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by torsionbar28 View Post
                  For consumer electronics, 70% of the lifetime carbon emissions occur during manufacture. Only 30% comes from the usage of the product. So yes, buying new components or devices, you are causing huge environmental harm just in purchasing the product. The fact that it consumes a few less watts than your old device is inconsequential. That doesn't even take into consideration the e-waste problem at disposal time. If you really want to save the earth, keep using your old PC, your old car, your old phone, etc. The greenie-weenies driving brand new Teslas and always buying the latest Macbook are the ones causing the most harm.
                  In some sense, those who buy frequent are "subsidizing" us who buy rarely. And thus we are stuck having to accustom to fashion/product taste of those who buy frequent.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ET3D View Post
                    Even if newer cards are more power-efficient, they're still more power-hungry. The top of the line R300 card, the Radeon 9800 Pro, used a whopping 47W.
                    Jep. I checked the power draw on an old 4870 several months ago after resurrecting it to sit in a server that doesn't have an iGPU - while it's obviously going to draw less power under full load than a 5700XT, it *also* draws significantly less power at idle, which is where both cards spend the vast majority of their time. Newer cards are only "more power efficient" if they're being used to play games or run CUDA 24x7 - and if that was the case, an ancient card like this one wouldn't be able to run half the games anyway.
                    Last edited by arQon; 03 September 2022, 05:37 AM.

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