Do you really know "dual-core CPU processor"?

Source: Internet
Author: User

Recently, the hype over dual-core processors has been so widespread that the understanding of the technology seems to be out of the truth. Both AMD and Intel are praising the merits of their dual-core processors through their websites. Such campaigns are timely, as most industry watchers believe the dual-core processors will be in the pipeline in 2006.

But behind these phenomena, and in the many related media reports, there are hidden truths that are not known and unusual. Below, we'll tell you five facts about a dual-core processor that you might not know about.

1. Intel and AMD are not the first companies to launch dual-core processors

It is widely assumed that competition around dual-core processors has been and is limited to the PC sector, and AMD and Intel are vying to be the first to launch such products to the market. This understanding is not right. In fact, IBM walked in front of the two companies and launched a dual-core POWER4 chip in 2001, albeit a X86 server processor. The POWER4 chip is used in IBM's RISC server. Subsequently, Sun and Hewlett-Packard (HP) have launched a UltraSPARC based on dual-core architecture and PA-RISC chip. Only because these products are based on the UNIX architecture, but also high prices, so there is no large-scale access to pervasive applications.

Later in 2004, AMD and Intel unveiled their dual-core plans, and for the first time since 2005, they have been supplying dual-core products.

Of course, the two companies have launched dual-core processors dazzling-including AMD launched dual-core Opteron server chip and Athlon 64 desktop computer chips, as well as Intel's dual-core pentiums and xeons ... and AMD and Intel are continuing to announce new dual-core chips, dizzying.

In the Mobile world, IBM is also the first to launch a dual-core chip to the market, its PowerPC 970FX Low-power version released in 2005. However, this is basically an OEM product, will not be supplied to ordinary buyers. The same is true of IBM's X86.

In the X86 area, Intel won the mobile dual-core processor race with the Centrino duo it launched this January. The mobile chip is used for the popular new imac--Although the imac is a desktop computer. (Apple's imac computer is designed to be similar to putting a large laptop on the back of a flat panel monitor, as can be seen from its internal disassembly analysis.) The new imac is also the first Apple computer to use the Intel dual-core processor.

2. Power consumption is a problem

For technical challenges, dual-core processors have been imposed on the industry, but the industry is not prepared in advance.

The real reason Intel and AMD used the technology was not that it was a sudden appearance and an excellent idea. In fact, chip makers could have been able to roll out the faster and faster single core processors. However, this approach is not feasible, because with the clock speed of more than 3GHz, the single core processor began to consume too much power. Indeed, Intel canceled the planned 4.0GHz Tejas processor in 2005 because the chip's power consumption may exceed 100W.

As power consumption increases, the cost of cooling the ultra fast mono-core chips is increasing, requiring larger radiators and more powerful fans to maintain their operating temperatures. By contrast, dual-core solutions can continue to improve processor performance while temporarily avoiding power and thermal problems. "As a processor manufacturer, this is the only way we can lift performance within a certain power range," said Margaret Lewis, AMD Business Solutions Director, TechWeb. ”

Of course, rigorous semiconductor analysis and reconciliation readers would like to prove their rationality from the chip voltage, performance and other technical factors of such chips. (Some advances in these areas actually make it more challenging to drive down power consumption.) )

In addition, some people think that dual-core is not a panacea. As the June 2005 article on the site, "deep understanding of the dual core" said: "From our standpoint, dual-core is not new; it's just a makeover of old products (SMP, symmetric multiple processing) ... The performance problems faced by dual processor systems built on a single processor are still present. ”

But, as a simple explanation, that's basically enough. Lewis added: "The laws of physics have not changed; We have just come up with ways to improve them." ”

3. Clock speed is not the only key word

Double core does not necessarily make your computer clock faster, but it will improve the overall performance of your PC.

This is a subtle technical feature that has a difference. The dual core does not mean that the speed must be faster than the single core processor. If you're thinking about the original clock speed, you should buy the fastest processor you can find. Intel's fastest single core processor is the 3.8GHz Pentium 4 model 670 and 3.6GHZ Pentium 4 model 660. The current fastest dual-core processor is 3.2GHz Pentium D 840. (a 3.6GHz dual-core Pentium D 960 is scheduled to be launched in the second quarter of 2006.) )

AMD's single core/dual-core processors can have the highest speed comparable to each other. The speed of single core Athlon 64 3400+ is 2.4GHz. Dual-core Athlon X2 4600+ speed is also 2.4GHz. However, the same 2.4GHz speed, the dual-core performance is obviously higher than the single core. Even if the two cores run at a slightly lower speed than 2.4 GHz, the dual-core processor has a higher throughput than a slightly faster single core processor.

However, it may be surprising that the dual-core processor does not double its performance (due to the burden of sharing resources between the two cores). "What we're seeing is a dual-core processor that can achieve 1.4-1.8 times times as much as a single core, depending on the application," says Lewis of AMD. ”

"When you increase the number of cores by one time, you keep the same power, but you increase the throughput by almost one times." "Shekhar Borkar, an Intel researcher, said in an interview in 2004. (he apparently did not emphasize the loss of performance due to shared resources.) )

Many technical people warn about performance issues, noting that "multi-core processors require operating system support to optimally use the second computing resource." ”

Simply put, this means that multithreading is the key to getting good performance. Multithreading has sprung up in a single nuclear environment over the past few years, and people are developing more aggressively against double checking it out. "Every day you run a very strong multi-threaded application on your computer, which is called the operating system (OS)." "AMD's Lewis said," in the past always have a multithreaded environment. It (dual core) makes this multi-threaded environment more efficient to run. ”

4. A large number of users are not aware of the dual core

Intel is also a supporter of multithreading. The chip giant stressed that its dual-core product, which supports hyper-threading technology, can make more efficient use of potentially unused resources, "capable of processing four of software threads at once." "For those who are proficient in dual-core, here is a piece of advice. So far, there is much debate about the implementation of multithreading and the use of dual-core processors by existing operating systems and applications. (In the operating system, some Linux supports dual cores, and Windows Vista will be the first operating system that Microsoft has taken into account with dual-core design.) )

Almost half of all PC users are still ignorant of the double core.

A survey conducted recently by Harris Interactive, a market research firm, shows that 48% of PC users are still at a loss about what the dual-core is after AMD has announced its Opteron plan for nearly three years. (Of course, within the industry is another case.) Data center managers and corporate CIOs are well aware of the capabilities that dual-core computing can bring to the enterprise. )

In a survey of home users, 42% of personal-computer owners said they knew about the double core, and 10% of early adopters claimed to know the dual-core. Of the two (52%) respondents, whether they were very knowledgeable about dual-core knowledge, only 12% had dual-core systems.

That proportion is likely to rise soon. Frost & Sullivan, a market research firm, predicts that a dual-core processor will replace a single chip in desktop, laptop, and server areas at an annual 15-25% rate. Intel may want this speed to come faster-it plans to ship 60 million dual-core processors by 2006.

5. Dual-core, quad-core ... Increasing number of cores

To get more consumers to know about dual-core processors, Intel and AMD have borrowed from Hollywood's approach. Intel has recently made a ViiV PC device known as "Intel Indies Film Contest" to the creator it considers to be the best digital video. AMD's video game is called "the Second Film Contest". AMD says its games show that the Athlon X2 processor "is bringing content authoring and multimedia performance to a new level". Although the winners of the two games were good, they could not be seen on the surface except that they might have been edited on the PC. Dual-core is not the latest achievement in the most advanced computing field.

After a few years, dual-core may become obsolete products. Intel is already preparing a quad-core server processor, which is scheduled to be launched in 2007; its rival AMD is also developing quad-core chips.

Further afield, Intel is preparing a eight-core chip code-named "Yorkfield", which is scheduled to be launched in 2008. AMD's situation is not clear, only that it will increase the number of cores to more than two in 2007. In the x86 field, Sun is already supplying a eight-core server processor, the UltraSPARC T1 (formerly "Niagara").

Indeed, multi-core processors appear to be the direction of future development. Simon Davidmann, founder of Co-Design Automation Inc., once said: "All chips will become multi-core processors and we must learn how to program them." ”

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