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Re: Apple and Thunderbolt 3

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Joe Marler
Re: Apple and Thunderbolt 3
on Apr 26, 2016 at 8:34:28 pm

[Walter Soyka] "If GPUs are "melting down," it is a hardware problem, period. Electronics generate resistive heat when they are used, and the harder you push them, the hotter they get. If a design does not accommodate this fact, it is flawed. The system should stay in a safe operation range and be prevented from entering an unsafe state by design.

We've had thermal throttling in hardware for decades. The hardware itself enforces that performance slow-down to keep itself safely cool, and it should shut down completely before it ever reaches the point where the heat would be damaging."


As a former hardware designer, that is generally correct. You don't blame software for that, for two reasons: (1) The nMP cooling should be designed to handle extremely intense long duration combined CPU and GPU loads without even throttling. (2) If unforeseen conditions occur it should protect itself.

You should be able to run simultaneous instances of Prime95 and GPU stress tests like Furmark at the highest setting for days and not cause any problem -- and those are synthetic tests. If running actual production software causes hardware damage from overheating, I don't see any possible excuse for blaming the software, beta or otherwise.

It could be a manufacturing issue with thermal compound or assembly or a firmware issue with fan speed control. It was a GPU that failed, and if on a PC workstation you could possibly blame the GPU fans -- it's a separate pluggable subsystem. But the nMP GPUs don't have separate fans -- Apple is totally responsible for cooling. The nMP firmware has to read the GPU-provided thermal data and provide the needed level of cooling. If that didn't work right the GPU itself should throttle to prevent damage.

Even automobiles have had thermal throttling for years. The ECU reads many sensors and does whatever is necessary to maintain safe thermodynamic margin -- richen mixture, retard timing, etc. That is why the engine can feel sluggish when ambient temps are high.


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