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My Dream PC -- Silent, Cold, and Motionless

Discussion in 'Electronic Basics' started by Radium, Mar 24, 2007.

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  1. Radium

    Radium Guest


    I wonder if it is possible to design a PC that does not reqiure any
    fans or discs.

    This computer uses RAM chips -- instead of magnetic discs -- in to
    store information and does not need a CPU because each bit of
    information is provided with a processing unit and its own memory.
    This would make the PC run much faster and not need any fans or moving
    parts. It is entirely chip-based. Since each bit is provided with its
    own memory and processing, this would prevent crashes or overheating
    from occuring.

    Also, couldn't a PC be built in such a way that it freshly generates
    the correct electric signals ["on the fly"] instead of playing them
    back from its ROM chips?

    Its not that I don't like ROM. I was curious as to whether there is an
    "on the fly" alternative that freshly-generates the electronic signals
    [that are normally stored in ROMs] instead of playing them back from
    the ROM.

    There are sets of instructions stored in ROMs. In the case of a PC,
    these instructions load before the CPU "knows" it has a hard drive or
    other peripheral devices. Couldn't those instructions be generated in
    real-time insteading of storing them?

    I am aware that EEPROM is reliable, low power, customizable, reprogram-
    able, cheap and proven. But just out of curiosity, my dream PC is hard-
    coded [thus not needing any ROM] and also uses RAM chips -- instead of
    magnetic discs -- in to store information and does not need a CPU
    because each bit of information is provided with a processing unit and
    its own memory. This would make the PC run much faster and not need
    any fans or moving parts. It is entirely chip-based. Since each bit is
    provided with its own memory and processing, this would prevent
    crashes or overheating from occurring.

    Other specs are below. The stuff below also do not need any ROM memory
    because they are physically-built to generate the signals which
    correspond to the following.

    OS: Windows 98SE
    Browser: Mozilla Suite 1.8b

    No fans, no discs, no moving parts, no ROM [except for the CD/DVD
    recording/playing and re-writing].

    IOW, my dream PC would work perfectly but would not need any moving
    parts, discs, or fans. The "HDD" would consists of silicon RAM chips
    in place of disc-platters and electric parts in place of magnetic
    parts. No moving parts, no noise, no fans, no magnets, no hazardous

    To put it simply, what I am describing is a PC that does not need to
    store any information because all of the signal codings for the info
    is generated in real-time.

    The following is a bad analogy but I'll add it anyway.

    PC reading info from memory = sample playback synth playing back its
    samples of sounds of an FM synth.

    PC generating its signals in real-time = an *actual* FM synth freshly-
    generating its tones "on the fly".

    Yes, I know, the above is a poor analogy but I couldn't think of
    anything better.



  2. Just unplug your computer and throw the IEC cord away. It will meet
    all three requirements, forever.

    Service to my country? Been there, Done that, and I've got my DD214 to
    prove it.
    Member of DAV #85.

    Michael A. Terrell
    Central Florida
  3. If every bit (did you really mean every *bit*?) had its own alu logic,
    you would have the extreme case of a multiprocessor architecture. You
    would wind up with much more power consumption than a conventional
    architecture. I don't see how you could avoid having some kind of central
    control mechanism to decide what instruction gets executed next.

    As for not needing ROM, it's perfectly possible to generate all of the
    control signals with random logic, just harder. Eliminating the microcode
    ROM can make for a very fast processor, but you pay for it in circuit

    Look over at the hardware side of the Damn Small Linux site
    ( They have several low-power machines
    with flash ROM instead of disk and no fans.
  4. Radium

    Radium Guest

    There is a central mechanism somewhere along the line. Not denying
    Yup thats what I dream of.
  5. Sure, that's easy enough with off the self hardware, with a few
    Is RAM really appropriate for long term or bulk storage? What
    happens when you turn the system off? Even flash isn't really
    suited for HDD replacement due to its limited write endurance,
    although the situation is improving.
    Well yes. You indirectly mention microcode later in your post
    which is not present on all processors - some instead prefer
    so-called 'random logic' (because a schematic appears to have no
    discernable pattern or structure). For microcode it's viable
    although inflexible - consider the Pentium f00f bug which was
    corrected with new microcode. With random logic you'd need a new,
    redesigned chip.

    For anything other than microcode, it would quickly become impractical.
    If you were writing,say, a bottloader, you would have to write your
    software and then design a chip from scratch that spat it out.
    Such a chip would likely be bigger and slower than a ROM chip.
    What makes you think a massively parallel system would be more
    reliable than a uniprocessor solution? The software is substantially
    more difficult to write - the development tools for parallel processing
    are fairly crude. Thorough testing is even harder.

    You may be interested in looking at the INMOS transputer. That
    seems broadly comparable to what you have in mind (apart from this
    strange wish for a ROMless computer) and it was designed 20 years
    Forget it. Such a fundamentally different architechure would never
    run a current version of Windows: too many assumptions about the
    underlying architechure are made for that. You'd need custom,
    designed from the ground up versions of your software.
    This appears more confusing than the main thrust of your article
    for several reasons, and I suspect you're not altogether clear of
    the underlying priciples. But I'm no expert there so I'll leave
    that one lie.
  6. geoff

    geoff Guest

    Not sure about fans but for disks, you are talking about solid state drives.
    Those are available now but way too expensive for the common market.

  7. Look up the old texts on CPU design. The usual strategy was to route the
    opcode bits of the instruction word to the select inputs of a demultiplexer.
    For n opcode bits, there would then be 2^n output lines, called
    "instruction lines", because each would uniquely indicate one type of
    instruction. Each instruction line would be an input to a logic network
    whose outputs controlled the ALU, the bus-access gates and the read and
    write-enable lines to registers and memory. There were usually at least
    two clock signals, and many instructions need more than one clock cycle so
    you need some flipflops to keep track of the CPU internal state. It gets
    real nasty real fast for anything bigger than an 8-instruction toy
    processor. That's why IBM started using microcode back in the days of
    magnetic core memory, before there was such a thing as a silicon ROM.
  8. kony

    kony Guest

    yes, but do you really need it or is this just a novelty
    idea or a passing fancy without real benefit?

    A well designed system will not be loud, even inaudible with
    fans. It will run cool if you select power efficient
    components, and of course don't need modern performance
    levels, or spend more time and money on the cooling

    It's starting to read like a daydream, not something you are
    going to need let alone build.

    False, mechanical/magnetic discs don't use a very high % of
    system power, getting rid of one doesn't by itself allow
    fanless or motionless. Do you need it to journey to outer
    space? If not, you probably have a more modest # of years
    life requirement.

    I hate to break it to you, but this is not some grand
    vision, it is the obvious eventual evolution of computers,
    mentioned time and time again.

    The key here is that always wishing for some better future
    tech is silly. If you can't make due with contemporary
    tech, odds are that when that new tech finally comes to pass
    you will still be having same kinds of thoughts, that the
    (then) contemporary tech is not ideal and .... if only...
    some thing changes... it's even better.

    Being modern means using what is available to get the job
    done, being able to use the technology instead of only
    finding it problematic.

    No, a piece of silcon is dumb, awaiting instrucitons that
    are pre-written.

    Generated by what? You'd then need instructions for it to
    generate the instructions, a bit like telling you to walk
    over to the ringing phone, knowing that when you answer, it
    will be my pre-recorded message telling you to go to the
    store and get some bread and milk. It is pointless since I
    could have just told you to get the bread and milk instead
    of introducing the additional step.

    You have no dream PC, just fragments of concepts that are
    not targeted towards anything in particular.

    I recommend that you do as briefly suggested above, to
    better learn to use the technology available. Let tomorrow
    take care of itself unless you are the engineer being paid
    to come up with these inventions.
  9. Frank McCoy

    Frank McCoy Guest

    At one time, not too long ago either, a 4-gig drive for under $200 would
    seem like a hell of a bargain. Two of them isn't really all that bad,
    even today, as long as you're not downloading big video files.

    Sombody *is* making a computer with all solid-state disk-drives ... 80
    gig, as I recall. A bit pricey though, as you state.
  10. Radium

    Radium Guest

    I don't need it but I would like it.
    Never said it neccesarily would.
  11. Tom Horsley

    Tom Horsley Guest

    Well, they do make solid state "disks" (a bit expensive, mind you, but
    not moving parts). As for the fanless part, I already have one of
    those (it is absolutely silent):
  12. DaveW

    DaveW Guest

    Of course it'll work. That's why all the major manufacturers already
    produce computers using that design...



  13. Radium

    Radium Guest

    quotes from :

    "Each machine instruction (add, shift, move) was implemented directly
    with circuitry. This provided fast performance, but as instruction
    sets grew more complex, hard-wired instruction sets became more
    difficult to design and debug."

    I still prefer the "hard-wired instruction sets"

    "a bug could often be fixed by replacing a portion of the microprogram
    rather than by changes being made to hardware logic and wiring."

    But I still perfer the "hardware logic and wiring".

    Yup. Just for personal preference, I also like my PC to be massively-
    How is this FM-synth analogy more confusing than the rest of my
  14. kony

    kony Guest

    Solid state *drives* need not be expensive if very high
    capacity and performance don't matter. A 4GB CF card and an
    IDE adapter can be had for about $50. Since most of that
    cost is the CF card, even $10 is possible for an embedded
    system with lesser capacity needs.
  15. jasen

    jasen Guest

    you could just dunk the wole lot in fluorinert, or transformer oil...

    Via makes some low power X86 cpus too. some of them will run without
    forced air.

    as for doing without disk, reasonable large flash modules are available.
    If there is it'd be called a rom. possibly a mask rom, these chipa aren't
    programmed, so they aren't storing info, they're made that way.

  16. jasen

    jasen Guest

    go with a risc processor then. eg: arm, power-pc, sparc etc

    you won't run W98 on them but if you pick the right one WinCE
    is a possibility.

  17. CBFalconer

    CBFalconer Guest

    Why recommend such expensive and poor systems when various Linuxes
    and RTOSs are freely available, and proof against obsolescence
    since source is also available.
  18. SteveH

    SteveH Guest

    A bit like my 1st wife then!


  19. Before, or after?

    Service to my country? Been there, Done that, and I've got my DD214 to
    prove it.
    Member of DAV #85.

    Michael A. Terrell
    Central Florida
  20. jasen

    jasen Guest

    I wouldn't have spelled it "wince" if I was reccomending it.
    The guy wanted W98, the closest he'll get on non-x86 hardware
    is Windows CE.

    As you say linux will do the job, especially if all he wants to
    do is run Mozilla 1.8, But he'll have to do without
    advanced flash "swfdec" isn't as capable as the real thing, but it's
    catching up.

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