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Will EU Regulations Effectively Ban High-End Video Cards?

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 years ago | from the more-power-for-more-power dept.

EU 303

New submitter arun84h writes "An update to an energy law, which will apply in the European Union, has the power to limit sale of discrete components deemed 'energy inefficient.' GPU maker AMD is worried this will affect future technology as it becomes available, as well as some current offerings. From TFA: 'According to data NordicHardware has seen from a high level employee at AMD, current graphics cards are unable to meet with these requirements. This includes "GPUs like Cape Verde and Tahiti", that is used in the HD 7700 and HD 7900 series, and can't meet with the new guidelines, the same goes for the older "Caicos" that is used in the HD 6500/6600 and HD 7500/7600 series. Also "Oland" is mentioned, which is a future performance circuit from AMD, that according to rumors will be used in the future HD 8800 series. What worries AMD the most is how this will affect future graphics cards since the changes in Lot 3 will go into effect soon. The changes will of course affect Nvidia as much as it will AMD.' Is this the beginning of the end for high-end GPU sales in the EU?" The report in question. Each performance category of hardware has a power draw ceiling; in this case, regulators are increasing the minimum bus bandwidth for the highest performance category, bumping all hardware on the market into the next lowest. Unfortunately, no current hardware or planned hardware on the high end will come under the power draw ceiling for that category.

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Just ship with a low-draw driver (5, Interesting)

FireballX301 (766274) | about 2 years ago | (#41666855)

Have the driver that ships with the card be designed to stay under the draw cap so the card is still in regulation, and the manufacturer can just offer the normal drivers on the site for people to download.

Naturally anyone who cares will install the real driver, so the law-breaking is on the part of the consumer, not AMD or Nvidia. Seems like a simple workaround as long as you can say 'it's the consumer breaking the law, not us'

Re:Just ship with a low-draw driver (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41666869)

Or just let the consumer buy online from a non-EU retailer.

Low-draw cards should be simple enough to make for average users and office computers, gamers will just need to order their cards from outside the EU.

Re:Just ship with a low-draw driver (5, Informative)

ebbe11 (121118) | about 2 years ago | (#41666931)

Or just let the consumer buy online from a non-EU retailer.

When buying from sources outside the EU and when the price is above a certain limit (which the price for any high-end graphics card exceeds), one usually has to pay customs and for the handling by the customs authorities. In the cases that I have encountered, this added about $50 to the original price.

Re:Just ship with a low-draw driver (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41666957)

Eh? What 3rd world country is that?

I've bought stuff from all over the world and never had to pay anything to 'customs'. Stuff gets inspected. it gets stamped. and i get it a week later.

Re:Just ship with a low-draw driver (3, Informative)

Angostura (703910) | about 2 years ago | (#41667031)

Well, the UK for one.

Re:Just ship with a low-draw driver (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41667043)

Sweden loves to add fees and VAT to stuff bought outside the EU

Re:Just ship with a low-draw driver (2)

TheTurtlesMoves (1442727) | about 2 years ago | (#41667057)

Tax and tariffs are not a 3rd world thing.

Re:Just ship with a low-draw driver (3, Insightful)

Alkonaut (604183) | about 2 years ago | (#41667089)

Probably more common in developed countries where VAT and customs would actually amount to something. UK and Sweden have been mentioned already. Ordering something from the US to sweden usually means the price will be about equal to swedish street prices (Add 25% VAT and a bit of customs as well as freight cost).

Re:Just ship with a low-draw driver (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41667019)

Since no graphics cards are manufactured in the EU, you end up paying the same customs duties indirectly even if you buy the card from an EU-based retailer. That is unless the retailer got the card through a black market smuggling operation, which is quite unlikely.

Re:Just ship with a low-draw driver (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41667155)

Except that you pay it also for the retailers markup

Re:Just ship with a low-draw driver (1)

Kelerei (2619511) | about 2 years ago | (#41667159)

... gamers will just need to order their cards from outside the EU.

This assumes that customs won't seize graphics cards in violation of the new regulations. Of course, none of us knows whether or not this may happen, but it's a scenario worth keeping in mind.

Re:Just ship with a low-draw driver (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41666873)

Thats exactly what kim dotcom thought....if the investigation hadnt been handled incompetently we know where he'd be. Just pointing that out.

Also EU burdens of proof are far less strict..

Re:Just ship with a low-draw driver (1)

jhoegl (638955) | about 2 years ago | (#41666879)

Until the cat and mouse game of regulation requires the manufacturer to allow download of drivers based on IP.
That being said, what is the thinking behind these qualifications? Surely there are larger power draw concerns on the grid, such as AC, refrigerators, etc.

Re:Just ship with a low-draw driver (1)

war4peace (1628283) | about 2 years ago | (#41666891)

Hey, this opens up BUSINESS opportunities for me, as I have bigass proxy access through UK, US, AU, JP, etc. Shortly put, all regions are covered. I could download the driver from anywhere and life like a fat rat off re-selling the driver to EU. Heh heh.

Re:Just ship with a low-draw driver (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41666991)

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Re:Just ship with a low-draw driver (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41667263)

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Re:Just ship with a low-draw driver (1)

jonbryce (703250) | about 2 years ago | (#41666953)

Those sorts of things are also subject to energy efficiency regulations.

Re:Just ship with a low-draw driver (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41666971)

Bureaucrats have to earn their keep. I find it strange that they attack the memory bandwidth (can't be above 320 GB/s). Why would they do that? Are they assuming that high bandwidth means that the energy usage will be excessive? Even if that is the case today, a graphics card 5 years from now will be far more efficient for the same bandwidth.

Re:Just ship with a low-draw driver (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 years ago | (#41667133)

Yes there are. your fridge and all the things you have plugged in and on all the time takes up about 50% of your daily electrical use.

Plus why cant AMD and NVIDIA just do what they do in the Macbook pros? low end crap chipset for normal use, then switch on the high power chipset when you actually need it?

In fact didn't Nvidia invent that tech for Apple?

Re:Just ship with a low-draw driver (1)

oakgrove (845019) | about 2 years ago | (#41667293)

Plus why cant AMD and NVIDIA just do what they do in the Macbook pros?

Sure but knowing the way bureaucracy works, they'd just get dinged anyway on the higher end part. Not only that but how much would that capability add to the cost of the typical discrete card? I'll bet the driver development, additional silicon, and added complexity comes at a fair price.

The market only bears so much especially when you are talking about bloating high end GPUs with components that have nothing to do with the singular purpose of the almighty frame rate. I guess those are the headaches the marketing people get paid to have though.

Re:Just ship with a low-draw driver (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41666893)

Some of those cards probably use more power than the specified cap in idle. Personally, I miss the times when a standard tower case was twice as smaller than what you buy nowadays.

Re:Just ship with a low-draw driver (2, Interesting)

mabhatter654 (561290) | about 2 years ago | (#41667183)

I agree. The power draw of video cards has gotten childish and wasteful. The last PC I built needed a 500 watt power supply just to be "stable" using lower end parts. ("Green" edition HDD, single slot non-vacuum cleaner video card, etc) That's just terribly inefficient. My laptops are all using 65 watt external supplies... And they are faster in everything but graphics.

It's time somebody nip these guys... When PCs are using more power than refrigerators, there's a serious problem with priorities. (XBox 360 is even worse)

Betteridge's Law of Headlines (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41666899)

Betteridge's Law of Headlines [wikipedia.org] states the following: Any headline which ends in a question mark can be answered by the word 'no'.

Nine times out of ten there has been scaremongering about EU regulations, the disastrous consequences haven't occurred. Maybe it's because the regulations weren't as bad in the first place, maybe it's because of the public outbreak, I really don't know... but these sort of issues tend to get fixed. Maybe certain sections are reworded, maybe technology companies are given a special permission to sell their latest models even if they break the limit, acknowledging that it's needed for the technologies to kick off so they can later be optimized (Latest Intel processors require a lot less energy than they used to). Then again... maybe it isn't such an issue even if this does come to effect. I'm not saying "Graphics will never get better than they're now!" but I'm saying that they've been stagnating and the sacrifice that I, as a gamer, might be forced to do wouldn't be that bad.

As for the parent post, the customer who installs a driver wouldn't be breaking the law. This - even if it came to effect - would limit the sales, not criminalize the components.

Re:Betteridge's Law of Headlines (3, Insightful)

DrXym (126579) | about 2 years ago | (#41667267)

The EU's energy policies have been relatively sane, usually consisting of prominently displaying a device's energy rating in a simple letter grade. Devices which get an A+ or A rating have a natural sales advantage over those with a lower rating such as a B, C or D. It doesn't stop someone buying a lower rated device but the rating clearly it pushes demand towards efficiency and in turn manufacturers respond to that demand. Net result is lower power consumption devices.

I really don't see the big deal with regulation attempting to steer PCs towards efficiencies too which obviously includes integrated or discrete graphics processors. I could see that it could impact sales of high end cards but it might also act as the incentive manufacturers need to produce more efficient cards in the first place. I'm sure there is a correlation between energy draw and performance but its not exactly 1.0 and I expect that a lot of things a card could do to reduce its power draw aren't being done because the incentive wasn't there for manufacturers to pursue it. Now it is.

Re:Just ship with a low-draw driver (1)

Angostura (703910) | about 2 years ago | (#41667027)

This is akin to the way that kitchen appliance manufacturers work. Ovens, dishwashers and washing machines all have an 'Eco' setting - all of which will get the machine the coveted excellent energy rating but which will, in most cases never be used. I've seen something similar on a car.

Re:Just ship with a low-draw driver (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41667235)

You can be damn sure any "eco" mode in cars will see use. We pay almost 2 euros / litre for gasoline over here.

Re:Just ship with a low-draw driver (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about 2 years ago | (#41667055)

Its that sort of manoeuvre that regulatory bodies love to slap down, as its an obvious attempt at an end run around regulations.

 

Re:Just ship with a low-draw driver (2)

Alkonaut (604183) | about 2 years ago | (#41667079)

I think this is a stupid regulation to begin with, but if I was making the regulation, I'd just make sure it stated that the device shouldn't be *able* to draw more than X watts, regardless of driver etc. That is, even with a hacked and supposedly unsupported driver, the device should stay under the ceiling, or not function, otherwise the fault is at the manufacturer. Worse, if the manufacturer itself provides the driver, they should be fined even steeper than if a lone hacker provides it. Feels like if you make regulations, you should make sure to make them work, or just not make regulations.

Re:Just ship with a low-draw driver (0, Troll)

cs2501x (1979712) | about 2 years ago | (#41667157)

Or... the industry could actually honour the law rather than being assholes? The point is that energy conservation is a useful activity--let's presume for the legal entity at large, and maybe even the populace. In fact, the drive in energy efficiency is the sole activity that has allowed portable computing to take place--iPhones, Android devices, the works. Imagine the benefits of improving these things further.

Re:Just ship with a low-draw driver (5, Insightful)

Rockoon (1252108) | about 2 years ago | (#41667277)

I don't think 'energy efficiency' means what you think it means. It does not mean 'able to be supplied via a portable battery'

GPU's are already far more energy efficient than CPU's, and thats using the term correctly. GPU's that use a lot of power do so because they do an enormous amount of computation per second.

In your fantasy world, the power consumption is limited by a desired computational capacity.
In the real world, the computational capacity is limited by a desired power consumption.

There is no limit to desired computational capacity. We always benefit from more. Laws which artificially restrict power consumption beyond market forces are laws which artificially restrict your access to computation. "You are calculating way too fast! By law you must slow down!"

The way that some of you progressives get things backwards is quite amusing.

Re:Just ship with a low-draw driver (1)

RoboJ1M (992925) | about 2 years ago | (#41667163)

Unlikely, none of the manufacturers have done that for plasma TVs, they just hobble the screens for the EU.
Bring back PowerVR and the Kyro III and TBDR I say.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PowerVR#Technology [wikipedia.org]

Am I the only one... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41666857)

Am I the only one that from reading the title thought that this was due to Bitcoin mining?

Re:Am I the only one... (5, Insightful)

zrbyte (1666979) | about 2 years ago | (#41666889)

Yes.

Re:Am I the only one... (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 2 years ago | (#41666963)

Yes, sir.

Re:Am I the only one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41666997)

Yes

Re:Am I the only one... (1)

djscoumoune (1731422) | about 2 years ago | (#41667017)

I thought it was about the WII U

Re:Am I the only one... (1, Funny)

TeXMaster (593524) | about 2 years ago | (#41667117)

Mee 2

No. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41666863)

Next!

It's okay (4, Funny)

Spy Handler (822350) | about 2 years ago | (#41666867)

EU won the Nobel peace prize so they can slow down your FPS game framerates

Re:It's okay (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41666979)

NO WAY! If I must exhaust world energy resources and make my best to contribute to global warming and pollution, so be it! But never ever lower my FPS from 200 to 190!!

Loophole (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41666881)

I only read a few bits of the document, but I think there's a loophole. ...
This Regulation shall not apply to any of the following product groups: ...
(v) game consoles; ...
Game console means a mains powered standalone device which is designed to provide video game playing as its primary function. ...

Maybe... (0, Flamebait)

gigaherz (2653757) | about 2 years ago | (#41666887)

... AMD is complaining because they can't make the GPUs efficient enough to fit the limits and still be competitive with NVidia's.

Re:Maybe... (4, Informative)

Firethorn (177587) | about 2 years ago | (#41667129)

If AMD can't make them fit in the limits, where does that put NVidia? Hate to say it, but for at least the last 3 generations I've studied, NVidia offers the highest performance cards, but ALL of their cards have a performance disadvantage when you look at performance per watt.

Is this for real? (5, Insightful)

dabadab (126782) | about 2 years ago | (#41666897)

The thing is, the actual, public regulations have very little similarity to the fear-mongering (and certainly click-generating) article on nordichardware. You can check it out yourself: here (pdf) [eup-network.de] .
Also, note, that these regulations are about idle power - and that's an area where some real advancements were made - if AMD's claims are to be believed (3 W in idle with ZeroCore Power), their top-end 7970 GPU's idle power draw is about 10% of the maximum allowed.

The claim that GPUs over a certain bandwith will be banned seems to be absolutely fabricated - it's not something that the regulation's wording or intent or whatever would even hint about.

Re:Is this for real? (1)

ZeroSumHappiness (1710320) | about 2 years ago | (#41666903)

First they came for our idle power maybe? (Not seriously, but maybe?)

re: Bandwidth (3, Informative)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | about 2 years ago | (#41667165)

Yes, that seems to be misreported.

The only reference to bandwidth I could find is in the following:

1.1.3. Category D desktop computers and integrated desktop
computers meeting all of the following technical parameters are
exempt from the requirements specified in points 1.1.1 and
1.1.2:
(a) a minimum of six physical cores in the central processing
unit (CPU); and
(b) discrete GPU(s) providing total frame buffer bandwidths
above 320 GB/s; and
(c) a minimum 16GB of system memory; and
(d) a PSU with a rated output power of at least 1000 W.

In short, it is an exemption for very high end computers from certain power requirements, not a ban. Nordic Hardware's Jacob Hugosson has delivered a very bad article there.

Re: Bandwidth (1)

dabadab (126782) | about 2 years ago | (#41667271)

Well, if you read a little bit further down you will see that this exemption will expire 30 months after enacting the regulation - but it is mostly moot anyway, since a desktop computer has to satisfy all four of the requirements above to be exempted, so it effects only a very-very small number of computers.

Re:Is this for real? (1)

Firethorn (177587) | about 2 years ago | (#41667187)

The claim that GPUs over a certain bandwith will be banned seems to be absolutely fabricated - it's not something that the regulation's wording or intent or whatever would even hint about.

My reading of it is that GPUs over a certain bandwidth are completely exempted from the regulations. To bring up a car example, it's how a Semi isn't included in car MPG/LP100K regulations, because it's considered 'special duty' or 'high performance'.

For whatever reason, bandwidth was the performance metric the regulators fixated upon, but even with more and more stuff being done within the GPU(such as simulation physics), bandwidth actually isn't an issue at the moment. Perhaps the high end cards are capable of storing so much that once you have all the textures and such loaded, you're sending(and receiving) relatively limited amounts of data, with the vast majority of the work going for the highest 'realism' in the game.

A better metric might be Floating point calcs per second, but even that isn't necessarily a good metric today.

No! (4, Interesting)

nospam007 (722110) | about 2 years ago | (#41666913)

'Will EU Regulations Effectively Ban High-End Video Cards?'

"Any headline which ends in a question mark can be answered by the word 'no'".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betteridge's_Law_of_Headlines [wikipedia.org]

Re:No! (-1)

Robert Zenz (1680268) | about 2 years ago | (#41666951)

There are exceptions to that rule, f.e. the headline some time ago on Slashdot: "Will the Desktop PC live forever? [in the context of Tablets/Smartphones]"

Re:No! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41667067)

If you take it literally and try to apply it to all possible headlines, Betteridge's Law becomes a variant of trivialism [wikipedia.org] .

Nobody read the source? (5, Insightful)

burne (686114) | about 2 years ago | (#41666917)

Read the actual document people.

This is not policy.

This is not even draft policy.

THIS IS NOT EVEN RESEARCH INTO POLICY.

This is a PRELIMINARY REPORT that looks at potential solutions to rising energy costs and e-waste within the EU by helping people use less power. It merely outlines a variety of means through which this can be achieved in the EU. What is outlined in the shambolic article above is merely one part of this large, well sourced report.

Yet more BS made up by Europhobes.

Re:Nobody read the source? (1)

greg1104 (461138) | about 2 years ago | (#41666941)

The claim is that the preliminary report is not the source here. It's just being used as a reference for what the guidelines look like. The news, as it were, comes from some anonymous source within AMD. They're the one saying that this is moving quickly toward becoming a real policy. There is no validated source to be found here. This is posting a rumor claimed to be an insider leak.

Re:Nobody read the source? (1)

zugedneb (601299) | about 2 years ago | (#41666947)

yeah, I insult a couple of morons, and my karma is horrible, yet theese other editor morons can write the way they want...

Re:Nobody read the source? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 2 years ago | (#41667063)

also, wouldn't apply to docking stations.

(but would apply to workstations, which is kinda fucked)

Re:Nobody read the source? (1)

Burb (620144) | about 2 years ago | (#41667151)

I look forward to seeing this on the front page of the Daily Mail.

Re:Nobody read the source? (2, Informative)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 2 years ago | (#41667221)

"It is at first denied that any radical new plan exists; it is then conceded that it exists but ministers swear blind that it is not even on the political agenda; it is then noted that it might well be on the agenda but is not a serious proposition; it is later conceded that it is a serious proposition but that it will never be implemented; after that it is acknowledged that it will be implemented but in such a diluted form that it will make no difference to the lives of ordinary people; at some point it is finally recognised that it has made such a difference, but it was always known that it would and voters were told so from the outset."
-- Times editorial, published on August 28, 2002

Except it's the EU, so you can eliminate that "voters" bit above.

Not to defend it but... (4, Insightful)

N1AK (864906) | about 2 years ago | (#41666919)

Firstly it's not something that is even planned for implementation, let alone dated and incoming. If the EU really were to put a limit on the power draw of graphics card to come in 5 years from now which required cards to use 1/2 the power it would hardly matter. There would be a small decrease in the rate graphics improve while they focus on improving efficiency.

Probably my bigger gripe is that it would be simpler, and likely more effective, to tax power use rather than try and legislate what is/isn't allowed in various electronic devices. A generic tax would increase uptake and development of efficient devices and encourage people to be less wasteful while still allowing them to buy some inefficient items (gfx cards if required) and pay accordingly. They're going to tax us anyway so it might as well be focused on discouraging unsustainable behaviour instead of, for example, having an income.

Re:Not to defend it but... (2)

jonbryce (703250) | about 2 years ago | (#41666985)

Firstly, the EU doesn't have the power to tax energy use, that is down to member state governments. Secondly, most people tend not to consider energy efficiency when buying stuff. I do for most things, but not desktop computers where I want the fastest machine I can afford.

If you have something like 100,000,000 workplace computers in the EU and you can reduce power consumption on each one by 50W, that works out at a saving of something like 10TWh of electricity per year.

Re:Not to defend it but... (1)

Pentium100 (1240090) | about 2 years ago | (#41667143)

If you have 100M computers in the EU and can reduce the power consumption of each one by 10%, you will reduce the total power consumption of those computers by 10%.

Besides, low end graphics cards do not use 50W and office computers have low end cards, unless they are used for graphics and actually need the fast cards (most don't). Low end cards are also cheaper than the more powerful ones, so businesses use them (or even use integrated graphics).

Re:Not to defend it but... (4, Informative)

Alkonaut (604183) | about 2 years ago | (#41667103)

This is a usual complaint with regulations such as this. The other obvious example is the light bulb ban. The problem with your approach is that adding a tax on electricity that is big enough to give an impact on peoples' shopping behavior when it comes to light bulbs, would mean industry would pay through the nose for electricity that actually creates jobs, and electricity that does work that can't be done more efficiently. The difference between that electricity and a light bulb is that at low power bulb can light a room with much less power than an old style 60W bulb. If we increase electricity taxes and don't wan't to lose competitive power in our industry, then we have to have a VERY complex system of energy subsidies to industry. A simple ban on a few consumer products is way simpler to implement and regulate, even though it might seem like micromanagement.

Re:Not to defend it but... (4, Insightful)

N1AK (864906) | about 2 years ago | (#41667243)

Comparative to the complexity of setting acceptable power consumption figures for graphics cards and a myriad of other devices those obstacles are trivial. What about dual and quad card setups, what about clocking of cards (artificially limiting but allowing users to unclock), what about outsourcing gfx card work to other cards, how about people who are using gfx cards to handle work more efficiently than would be possible on a CPU etc.

Yes making electricity more expensive knocks onto hundreds of other things but so does making fuel more efficient and it hasn't stopped us implementing some of the highest taxes on fuel. There's also a reason why average MPG for cars in Europe are so high compared to the US.

If the issue is that certain high power consumption industries would cease to be viable because of the increased costs and risk of imports then bring in tariffs for imports that charge the balance. It already makes no sense that we require EU producers to manufacture products with high taxes on unsustainable behaviour and then allow the market for products to go to importers who don't have to follow those regulations.

Re:Not to defend it but... (1)

N1AK (864906) | about 2 years ago | (#41667265)

The other obvious example is the light bulb ban.

To be fair the light bulb ban is based on a technological advancement that can improve efficiency by an order of magnitude on probably the most numerous power consuming product on earth and where the saving in energy cost exceeds the initial outlay. In circumstances as one sided as that the case for a ban is more compelling.

IANAL but looking at the draft regulations... (5, Informative)

Chrisq (894406) | about 2 years ago | (#41666929)

IANAL but looking at the draft regulations they have this totally wrong.

1.1.3. Category D desktop computers and integrated desktop
computers meeting all of the following technical parameters are
exempt from the requirements specified in points 1.1.1 and
1.1.2:
(a) a minimum of six physical cores in the central processing
unit (CPU); and
(b) discrete GPU(s) providing total frame buffer bandwidths
above 320 GB/s; and
(c) a minimum 16GB of system memory; and
(d) a PSU with a rated output power of at least 1000 W.

So the high end cards in high end systems are not banned but exempt. Anyone who is a lawyer care to comment on my interpretation?

Re:IANAL but looking at the draft regulations... (2)

jiriki (119865) | about 2 years ago | (#41666939)

The reason for this is probably that power saving is most effective for the "common machines", because most office computers do not really need high performance graphics cards.

On the other hand you do not want to prevent companies doing serious graphics work (movies, advertising) from operating. So I guess this makes sense after all.

Re:IANAL but looking at the draft regulations... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41666977)

Very good catch! Id login and mod you up but Im on a fairly old mobile phone.

Re:IANAL but looking at the draft regulations... (3, Interesting)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about 2 years ago | (#41667169)

Not a lawyer, but am a PC gamer. The computer needs to meet all of those requirements, and I would think that there are very few enthusiast PCs which hit all of them. My rig flies through the most recent games, but only meets one of those specs: 16GB RAM. I run a 750W PSU, Core i5 2500k (4 cores), and a GTX 670 (198GB/s bandwidth) which puts me well under the mark.

This exemption is for servers and parallel computing setups with multiple discrete GPUs. The only single cards which hit the 320GB/s bandwidth mark are the dual GPU cards, which is just two regular cards in Crossfire / SLI on one card. Top line Core i7 still only have 4 cores; You need Xeon or high-end Bulldozer CPUs to qualify (cores per CPU, remember).

This isn't a gamer's exemption. This is for server farms and universities running clusters.

Re:IANAL but looking at the draft regulations... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41667275)

Dont forget government spy servers, they gotta have a rule to cover their own bases.

That's a bit beyond a 'performance machine' (2)

Firethorn (177587) | about 2 years ago | (#41667225)

Looking at it, it says that the computer has to meet ALL of the requirements.

My computer is 'high performance'(or at least was), but it's only a quad core and doesn't have a kilowatt PSU.

Which would be bad while tossing in a hexacore CPU and a kilowatt PSU isn't that hard, it's generally not necessary even with the hottest graphics card on the market today. A lightly loaded kw psu will waste more than a smaller, moderately loaded but well designed supply. A 750W power supply that isn't lying about it's ratings and a quadcore works well for games.

Also, the article was complaining that no cards planned today have more than 320 GB/s of frame buffer bandwidth, so therefore outside of two cards/SLI you might not be able to meet that exemption.

Still, I imagine that for the component market it won't be as big of a deal - you could always be putting the card into such a system.

Reading more on the regulations, it looks like such a video card would be considered an 'adder', thus allowing more power to be consumed. But how that would work is beyond me.

Re:That's a bit beyond a 'performance machine' (3, Insightful)

Firethorn (177587) | about 2 years ago | (#41667257)

Which would be bad while tossing in a hexacore CPU and a kilowatt PSU isn't that hard, it's generally not necessary even with the hottest graphics card on the market today. A lightly loaded kw psu will waste more than a smaller, moderately loaded but well designed supply. A 750W power supply that isn't lying about it's ratings and a quadcore works well for games.

Thus creating the dilemma of making a machine consume MORE power in order to be exempt. Much like how MPG requirements made cars less attractive to consumers and helped spark the SUV craze, because SUVs didn't have the same requirements.

Re:IANAL but looking at the draft regulations... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41667233)

Sounds like what should be a decent performance class gaming rig in about 2 years.
6 cores? *points at old PhenomII in the corner*
320GB/s? last gens dual GPU cards (590, 6990) already hit that, if next gen gets DDR4/GDDR6 RAM I'd expect even amd 8870 and nvidia 770 to do that.
16GB RAM? Already damn cheap.
1kW? Errr, well, guess people will have to get used to oversized PSUs...

MADNESS (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41666965)

Regardles of this ever makes it (hoping SOMEONE actually uses BOTH SIDES OF THE BRAIN ...) this would be one more nail in the coffin ... one more reason why Cameron is darn right in sending packing the entire EU CLOWN - FARCE and one more reason for Europeans to REPEL EU BUREAOUREGULATORS AS A WHOLE.... since the overwhelming majority of times them clowns in Brussel sprouts suits are just wasting our time...

In other news (1)

simonebaracchi (1744894) | about 2 years ago | (#41666975)

New ban ruling could actually ban stuff!

Problem? Sell them as "heating equipment" (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41666981)

We still have regular light bulbs sold in EU, they are sold as "heating devices". I think same could apply to GPUs.

Define "efficient"? (1)

erroneus (253617) | about 2 years ago | (#41666983)

These devices which draw more energy? Do they not output more results?

Once again, focus the wrong thing (2)

skiminki (1546281) | about 2 years ago | (#41666993)

If electric consumption is to be reduced, why tax/ban/restrict devices instead of taxing electricity more? Now people building game rigs are going for 300W SLI solutions instead of 200W high-end card solutions. But of course, people need electricity for "real" work, so it should not be taxed as is.

The same kind of lawmaker idiocy has infected car markets, at least here in Finland. New cars are taxed based on their manufacturer-claimed, usually quite unrealistic CO2 pollution values. But it's the fuel that produces CO2, so why not tax fuel (more) instead of cars. Now people with old gas guzzlers don't have the money or the will to upgrade to a newer, cleaner equivalent.

All this regulatory nonsense is just making the system more complex for no real reason while providing unnecessary loopholes.

Re:Once again, focus the wrong thing (2)

Half-pint HAL (718102) | about 2 years ago | (#41667153)

Because the power draw of your PC is negligible next to your (hypothetical) electric car. Modifying the price of electricity such that inefficient computers and light bulbs are expensive would render other day-to-day electricity uses prohibitively expensive.

The PC industry is currently inherently energy-inefficient, because they're constantly fighting for the next-gen "top end" components, and the current-gen "average" is last gen's top end. No-one really focuses on energy efficiency, because it doesn't shift boxes, and it costs money to design. Regulation is the only way to prevent the current nonsense of glorified typewriters with enough physics horsepower to fry an egg.

This is a right wing troll (5, Interesting)

Required Snark (1702878) | about 2 years ago | (#41666995)

Whoever is stupid enough to make this a topic on Slashdot: this is a right wing troll. The big bad evil government is not going to rip your high end gaming machine from your cold dead hands. Stop wasting our bandwidth and time with this dumb ass crap.

I think this is deliberate counter propaganda that shows up more often when there is some big scandal about business doing something stupid that screws a lot of people. In this case I guess it is the compounding pharmacy that caused the meningitis epidemic. The corrupt criminal organization calling itself the "International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists" successfully lobbied Congress to defeat attempts to regulate their industry. Now there are over 200 meningitis cases and 15 deaths, and the number of exposed patients may be higher because more drugs were tainted.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444657804578052972230404046.html?mod=googlenews_wsj [wsj.com]

If you want to be paranoid about something, worry about corrupt politically connected businesses risking your life for profit. It actually happens. Not that it often ends up on Slashdot, as opposed to right wing scare tactics.

Re:This is a right wing troll (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41667045)

Why the fuck would anybody try to cover up a health care problem with news about graphics cards?

If we assume for the sake of argument that this story is meant as a distraction, it would be far more likely that it's trying to cover up AMD firing a vast number of people in cost cutting measures.

Or, more realistically, we could assume that somebody out there is being an idiot and posting some drivel. There are lots of idiots posting lots of drivel.

Re:This is a right wing troll (2)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about 2 years ago | (#41667309)

Why the fuck would anybody try to cover up a health care problem with news about graphics cards?

Did you take a wrong turning somewhere? This is a site for nerds, many of whom play games or work in the tech industry. This is exactly the kind of story I'd publish if I wanted to hide something.

I'm betting it's CETA [wikipedia.org] (AKA ACTA III) though.

Re:This is a right wing troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41667099)

Whoever is stupid enough to make this a topic on Slashdot: this is a right wing troll. The big bad evil government is not going to rip your Big Gulp from your cold dead hands. Stop wasting our bandwidth and time with this dumb ass crap. ...

FTFY.

Oooops!

Re:This is a right wing troll (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41667161)

Snark, what a lot of bollocks you're talking here. Why is the EU even regulating this kind of thing at all? It's idiotic. There's already a sound mechanism for regulating energy use, it's called THE MARKET PLACE. The more expensive energy is, the more expensive it is for you to run your high energy GPU, therefore the more motivated you are to look for lower energy solutions, therefore the more money AMD or NVIDIA will make by designing and selling you one. You Nanny Statists have a one track mind: regulation. No regulation is better than poor regulation. The EU produces mountains of poor regulation and is slowly *****-up Europe as a consequence.

Re:This is a right wing troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41667205)

Except, I don't MIND having private industry risk my life for profit, I just dont't want government interfering with my consumer choices. Apples and oranges--you're not trying to tell me what's a realistic concern, you're trying to tell me what sort of world and government I should want. I'll decide that for myself, thank you.

Re:This is a right wing troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41667281)

Except, I don't MIND having private industry risk my life for profit, I just dont't want government interfering with my consumer choices. Apples and oranges--you're not trying to tell me what's a realistic concern, you're trying to tell me what sort of world and government I should want. I'll decide that for myself, thank you.

Really? Can't you imagine what medical industry would look like if drugs weren't regulated at all? You'd buy some drug and pray that it won't kill you or cripple you for life instead of healing you.

Personally I don't want to be in a position where i have to pre-research every choice offered to me as a consumer. I like the kind of regulation that keeps companies from risking _my_ life for profit.

This is a left-wing troll (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 2 years ago | (#41667241)

Obvious left-wing troll is obvious.

Cap and Trade (1)

some old guy (674482) | about 2 years ago | (#41667013)

The EU could fire just one of their fat bloated bureaucrats and save the BTU equivalent in hot air of all the video cards ever produced or ever will be.

absurd (1)

anonieuweling (536832) | about 2 years ago | (#41667087)

All workaround and perceptions aside:
The proposal is absurd.
Now they regulate your PC, next they regulate your coffee machine.
They already made old fashioned light bulbs extinct.
So what is next?

They just regulate and not do it the other way by making the market move in the `right` direction by lowering prices.
So what will this do to our PC's?

Re:absurd (5, Insightful)

ledow (319597) | about 2 years ago | (#41667167)

Nothing. A lot of things are exempt. And this isn't law at all, and certainly not law in all EU countries yet (that takes years to happen).

And, at the end of the day, RoHS regulations, CE testing / FCC certification (only one of which is necessary for any one country but BOTH of which are passed for almost every device, even if that means limiting the device in a way not required by local law!), etc. put a MILLION times more constraints and restrictions on things that you have in your PC and you haven't once moaned about that. Because, by and large, you won't notice and won't care. I bet your PC has a "spread spectrum" option in the BIOS and, if it doesn't, it's because it's on by default.

In the same way that nobody cares about energy ratings on their fridge or freezer (I don't even know what mine is), nobody would care about a voluntary system. So, over time, the ratings move to mean that any fridge has to have a basic minimum criteria in order to work and be sold as a fridge. As a result, almost all the fridges in shops nowadays are A-rated because people DIDN'T care (like you don't care about the reason behind the proposed legislation, you just want to run your unnecessarily-powerful-when-idle graphics card), so they made the manufacturer's care instead.

You didn't complain about your car needing to have electronic engine management to pass EU emissions tests. That's basically the whole point of catalytic convertors and ECU's in cars - to allow you to pass the emissions tests. They actually severely limit the car's capabilities for the sake of an environmental concern that only affects things when scaled up by millions of units. Yet every year the tests get more stringent.

What's different? Because it touches your PC? PC's are somehow magically exempt from regulation because you're a geek? I'm sorry to tell you that they aren't. They are already the subject of lots of changes that were enforced upon them by both EU and US laws (and where most manufacturers target the lowest common denominator, losing you even more) and so cost more than they theoretically need to, perform less than they theoretically could and aren't allowed to be sold if they don't.

P.S. your graphics card doesn't need to consume 200W on idle. It really doesn't. And, nowadays, that's the equivalent of a houseful of light bulbs. You were just the next highest-energy user on the list of home products that doesn't involve heating (a necessary expense if you don't want millions to die from the cold / undercooked food).

Regulate idle power instead (4, Interesting)

Alkonaut (604183) | about 2 years ago | (#41667119)

Regulating idle power draw would actually be good, and a lot more clever than regulating the power ceiling. Saying that desktop computers can't use more than 10W in idle, and no component sold discretely can use more than 5W idle would make a huge difference. In reality, those of us running these 300W graphics cards only run them for a fraction of the day, and if they were 150W instead would make much difference, whereas a difference between 20W and 10W for the idle power would make a bigger difference over a week or a year.

Re:Regulate idle power instead (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41667211)

That's EXACTLY what this regulation does. From: http://www.eup-network.de/fileadmin/user_upload/Computers-Draft-Regulation-subject-to-ISC.PDF

"The annual total energy consumption (ETEC in kWh/year) shall not exceed: ....
ETEC shall be determined using the following formula:
ETEC = (8760/1000) * (0.55*Poff + 0.05*Psleep + 0.40*Pidle)."

Panic-mongering for nothing (1)

vikingpower (768921) | about 2 years ago | (#41667141)

This is a "working document", still a far cry from becoming official regulation. Moreover, once it becomes an official EU directive, it must still be implemented by each EU country separately; this is a process that can take years and years. In the mean time, there is space for lobbying, parliamentary action and all kinds of measures on national ( EU country ) levels to circumvent or soften the regulation. TFA is stirring up sensation where, truly, there is nothing to be seen.

640kB should be enough for anybody. (1)

gshegosh (1587463) | about 2 years ago | (#41667179)

640kB should be enough for anybody.

SLI FTW? (1)

bluescrn (2120492) | about 2 years ago | (#41667181)

If we can't have a single high-power graphics card, can they stop us linking up 4 or more medium-power cards in one system?

Manufacturers will find a way (1)

jevring (618916) | about 2 years ago | (#41667197)

Just like how the auto industry cries foul when legislation comes up about enforcing fuel efficiency standards, and then still find a way, so will nVidia and AMD. Sure, they might have to work harder, but it's not like they have a choice. They can't simply disregard the whole european market.

More Like... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41667199)

...the middle of the end for the EU.

As if getting the Nobel Peace Prize wasn't a big enough kiss of death.

No they won't (2)

Hentes (2461350) | about 2 years ago | (#41667201)

The scope of this Regulation covers products from the following list that can be
powered directly from the mains alternating current (AC) including via an external or
internal power supply:
(i) desktop computer;
(ii) integrated desktop computer;
(iii) notebook computer (including tablet computer, slate computer and mobile thin
client);
(iv) desktop thin client;
(v) workstation;
(vi) mobile workstation;
(vii) small-scale server;
(viii) computer server.
(3) This Regulation shall not apply to any of the following product groups:
(i) blade system and components;
(ii) server appliances;
(iii) multi-node servers;
(iv) computer servers with more than four processor sockets;
(v) game consoles;
(vi) docking stations.

This regulation only applies to computers not graphics cards. Folks who assemble their gaming rig themselves can continue to do so.

Creeping Statism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41667231)

Is anyone else bothered with the idea that government is taking more and more micro-managerial control over just about everything you can imagine doing with your life?

The editorial is far too fucking kind (0)

Pinky's Brain (1158667) | about 2 years ago | (#41667253)

I appreciate that the editorial added contains correct information, but people who RTFA might not realize it's not clarification but correction of complete and utter BS.

Nordichardware is making a joke of themselves by leaving that article up as is ...

Will they 'effectively' ban it? (1)

fisted (2295862) | about 2 years ago | (#41667279)

I certainly hope so! Would be nice if everybody stopped only caring about graphics, when it comes to games.

Scare mongering. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41667303)

Really, several other sposted PRECISELY what I was going to say and others have pointed out that the regulation requires PRECISELY that: reduce the idle or low power modes where the 3D either doesn't exist or has almost no requirement for such power as the maximum thorughput of the card.

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