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AMD Quad Cores, Oh My

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the just-right-kill dept.

AMD 423

Lullabye_Muse writes "From engadget we learn that AMD has plans for putting 4 cores on one die by the time Apple has fully gone to Intel processors. Full story here. They say they could eventually have up to 32 cores with scalable technology, but most programs haven't even got the ability to hyperthread, so do we really need the extra cores?"

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Do we really need the extra cores? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12791027)

You must be new here.

Re:Do we really need the extra cores? (5, Funny)

BlogPope (886961) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791044)

Yes. One core for my program, 31 for the Spyware/Adware/Open Proxy.

Re:Do we really need the extra cores? (4, Insightful)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791146)

I once fixed some lady's machine where about 20 spyware processes were running. Now imagine she has 32 cores. I guess 640 spyware processes will be running on that thing by the time she calls anyone to fix it.

Re:Do we really need the extra cores? (1)

sweetooth (21075) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791167)

Nah, those four apps will just come in versions that launch about 10,000 threads or child processes.

Re:Do we really need the extra cores? (5, Funny)

BlogPope (886961) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791174)

640 processes ought to be enough for Anybody!

Re:Do we really need the extra cores? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12791125)

It needed to be said sometime: "One core should be enough for everyone"

yes, Yes, YEs, YES, YES!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12791142)

I just soiled myself.

Re:Do we really need the extra cores? (5, Funny)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791179)

I'm sure we need at least 20 cores. Let's see... 9 cores for the mortal men, 7 for the dwarves, 3 for elven lords, and one core to rule them all and in the DRM bind them.

Re:Do we really need the extra cores? (1, Troll)

nick_davison (217681) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791190)

most programs haven't even got the ability to hyperthread, so do we really need the extra cores?

Bill - we know it's really you - will you ever learn? Programs used not to need more than 640Kb of ram, either.

Can't really blame the guy for posting under an alias. It's not like he and his company's all that popular around here.

Re:Do we really need the extra cores? (1)

new_here_arent_you (808971) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791213)

Yo.

Hyperthreading (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12791030)

What does a developer have to do to take advantage of this? When will compilers, or are there, compilers written that will automatically take full advantage of multi-core proccessors?

Re:Hyperthreading (3, Informative)

Mad Merlin (837387) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791093)

It's more an issue of programs taking advantage of multiple cores or multiple processors than the compiler. Using multiple cores means that a single program must either have multiple concurrent processes or multiple threads, you can't just magically compile that sort of thing in, IPC can be a complex beast. That, or you need to run multiple programs at the same time to take advantage of more than one core at a time.

Re:Must be a parallel universe you live in (2, Interesting)

Forbman (794277) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791194)

Perhaps a nice job scheduler would be nice. Perhaps, if one of the cores ran at 4x or in a very low latency mode and the other ones ran at 0.5x, the critical very interrupt-driven tasks could live on the fast core, and other tasks (like Word, Excel, etc.) could be scheduled on the other core(s). That way, even if a user app locked up on one of the non-critical cores, the rest of the system stays up and accessible.

I'd even take a multi-core 1GHz chip (with only a passive heatsink on it...) vs a 3.x GHz with its gas-powered 150K RPM turbine blower on it to keep enough air blowing over it.

Oh, wait. I already have a dual-processor (2x833 MHz P3) server, and it's quite a bit more responsive than my single-CPU workstation. SCSI of course has something to do with that as well.

Re:Hyperthreading (1)

Nasarius (593729) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791100)

Use Fortran, or another language/extension that automatically parallelizes on appropriate code.

Re:Hyperthreading (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791110)

" What does a developer have to do to take advantage of this?"
Easy use threads.

"When will compilers, or are there, compilers written that will automatically take full advantage of multi-core processors?"
That may take a new language or maybe c+++. Multi threading is not all that hard. And yes I have written code that uses threads.
However what most people seem to forget that you will take advantage of a multi core cpu right now. Bring up your task manager and look at how many tasks are running.

Re:Hyperthreading (1)

Sheetrock (152993) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791140)

There's a certain amount an optimizing compiler could do to take advantage of multithreading technology without requiring anything from the developer (although I don't know which do).

Writing decent multithreaded programs is as much a discipline as writing decent object-oriented code (although the two go together well). Basically you break a program into a set of independently-operating 'threads'. Thread safety becomes a concern -- if multiple threads access the same global variable you need a way to lock and unlock access to that variable before changing it. If one thread is beginning to change a string as the other decides to read the string, the second might see the string in a half-written state.

There is also the matter of figuring out how to distribute the load across threads in an efficient manner -- optimally each of two threads would have 50% load, each of three would have 33% load, etc. It's never optimal, of course, and you want to make sure display routines take priority over background routines so the display remains crisp.

I don't think there will be a way to transfer single-threaded programs to hyperthreaded technology and gain full advantage from the latter. As has been said even if you run only single-threaded programs nobody's system runs only one process anymore, but to fully unlock the potential of this technology will require developers to become more familiar and comfortable with multithreaded programming techniques.

How about multiple OS's under XEN? (1)

team99parody (880782) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791154)

With most OS vendors shipping some sort of hypervisor that lets you run multiple OS's on a machine simultaneously, I can finally get rid of some of the extra boxes sitting around my room.

It might be nice if these could use separate CPUs, since I never know when one of them might be busy (say, getting slashdotted).

FP (1)

Gundampilotspaz (651286) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791031)

First Post HAHAH

Short Answer (1, Redundant)

sp0rk173 (609022) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791032)

Yes, Yes we do.

Re:Short Answer (1)

Ninwa (583633) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791049)

You're clearly three words too long. Even shorter answer: Yes.

Re:Short Answer (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12791064)

You're clearly two characters too long. Even shorter answer: 1.

Another yes (1)

Stunning Tard (653417) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791144)

Yes.
I just helping create multiple threads that say 'yes'.

Re:Another yes (1)

Beardydog (716221) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791195)

I just using hyper-threading to read them concurrently.

Do we need the extra cores? (5, Funny)

DarkSkiez (11259) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791038)

Of cores we do!

I guess Intel is DOOMED (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12791042)

Now that Intel is running with Apple, Intel must be Doomed (tm).

BSD too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12791148)

BSD fans rejoiced when Apple made it part of their OS. Saved from death, their precious kernel exists in OS X. Now that Apple is dying, so is BSD. R.I.P.

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image: CIQDGVS /\/\<<

more cores, more heat (5, Funny)

howman (170527) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791043)

4 cores on one chip... I guess they will have to call it the earth simulator as the temprature of the chip will be reaching that of the earths core.
At least it will open up innovative new designs like built in coffee pot as well as new uses for old technology, like making pizza pops in your old cd burner.

Re:more cores, more heat (3, Interesting)

rpozz (249652) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791073)

There's another 'minor' issue that nobody else has mentioned yet. Regular Windows XP only supports up to 2 processors. This could cause some nasty issues between Microsoft and AMD.

Re:more cores, more heat (4, Informative)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791133)

Microsoft has said several times that one CPU package == one CPU for the purposes of licencing. They said this for hyperthreading and dual core, both still count as only one CPU. Windows XP will show four CPUs on a dual Xeon system if hyperthreading is on, and it will run.

Re:more cores, more heat (1)

beavis88 (25983) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791138)

Microsoft has stated that they'll stick to counting a processor as a processor, no matter how many cores. Oracle (and others) appear to be headed the opposite direction...

Re:more cores, more heat (4, Informative)

Bill Wong (583178) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791157)

I quote [microsoft.com] ,
Microsoft Windows XP Professional and Microsoft Windows XP Home are not affected by this policy as they are licensed per installation and not per processor. Windows XP Professional can support up to two processors regardless of the number of cores on the processor. Microsoft Windows XP Home supports one processor.

Re:more cores, more heat (1)

Barlo_Mung_42 (411228) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791232)

What really kicks ass about AMD's architecture is that the extra core needs very little more power. So adding more cores is much better than adding CPUs.

Do we need more cores? (1)

someone300 (891284) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791045)

Well if there is more than one thread running on the OS, it should be able to distribute execution between processors...

Hyperthread? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12791048)

Hyperthread(ing) is a term for a CPU that has two sets of states but one execution unit.. shouldn't the article use the phrase multithread?

Re:Hyperthread? (3, Informative)

Pandaemonium (70120) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791090)

Yes, the poster should have used 'multithread' instead of the Intel branded and copyrighted term, 'HyperThread' which is in regards to their proprietary virtual processor technology on Pentium 4's and Xeons.

Let's not let Intel get the next 'Kleenex'ing of the English language, shall we?

Re:Hyperthread? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12791156)

Why not? If we make the term generic enough, anyone can use it, and Intel's money marketing the name is wasted.

Quad cores == quad compile speed (5, Funny)

strredwolf (532) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791050)

Anything to go faster for Gentoo's sake, the better! Anything to make compiles go fast!

Re:Quad cores == quad compile speed (1)

phobos13013 (813040) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791147)

Actually Gentoo dev is already set to work on AMDx4 processors in anticipation of this news!

Re:Quad cores == quad compile speed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12791162)

Uh huh.

Since you seem to enjoy the trolling thing, how about this one:

Your masturbatory furry comic sucks, and so do you.

Ah... history fails to be remembered again... (5, Insightful)

fitten (521191) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791052)

but most programs haven't even got the ability to hyperthread, so do we really need the extra cores?

Once upon a time, most programs didn't have the ability to do IEEE754 floating point either so did we really need the FPUs?

Once upon a time, most programs didn't have the ability to do 3D graphics at 30fps. Do we really need dedicated high performance graphics cards?

The list goes on... but no one learns...

Yes, we need quad cores (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12791054)

Only a few programs can use multiple processors/cores (CAD, Animation, Scientific). But just unloading some of the OS processes onto other cores leaves more power for each standard programs. (Limewire + Firefox + Xvid compression)

Re:Yes, we need quad cores (3, Funny)

BlogPope (886961) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791081)

Don't forget Gator, HotBar, and iFrame!

Re:Yes, we need quad cores (2, Insightful)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791094)

It's a bit like the chicken-egg problem.

There could be no better incentive for software writers to support multicore than to start actually producing them for the masses! It should be normally like this, that someone comes up with hardware and people write software for it, not the other way around.

Re:Yes, we need quad cores (1)

Decimal (154606) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791172)

But I don't want individual applications full of code to take care of tasks using multiple processors. I want a few rather powerful processors running single-CPU applications, and the operating system doling out the work.

No more Mhz! (1)

MrPerfekt (414248) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791056)

Since we seem to have hit a wall as far as ramping up the actual clock speeds of processors, adding more cores so the processor can do more work will be where Intel and AMD will be focusing their development the next few years. So yes, we do need more cores otherwise Intel and AMD will have a hard time selling you a chip that's only 3-5% faster.

Re:No more Mhz! (1)

kwerle (39371) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791114)

Speed isn't all about speed. Though I'm a hardware simpleton, I do wonder if we'd be better off (after 2 cores) with simply adding a ton more cache.

Re:No more Mhz! (2, Insightful)

Kufat (563166) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791164)

Cache may well be reaching the point of diminishing returns. I seem to recall reviewers' benchmarks of 1MB vs. 2MB showing almost no gain, although I'm sure Intel has a set of benchmarks showing massive improvements.

multicore core vs cells (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12791057)

Ho ho, a battle of multicore processors versus cell processors we will have.

Evolution (1)

Garrett Combs (699749) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791058)

"...so do we really need the extra cores?"
Once chips start being produced with multiple cores, I think software developers will utilize the technology and run with it. But for right now, they have no reason to pour work into something that isn't going to function or benefit the software. A waste of time, perhaps?

Re:Evolution (1)

rsynnott (886713) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791111)

But it WILL benefit the software. One of these will make a server go four times as fast as it would with a single core chip. It's of little use to gamers (nor are dual-cores) but of lots of use to others.

Re:Evolution (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791165)

Game software will eventually take advantage of multiple cores. I doubt Microsoft would be paying for a three core PPC for XBox2 if it didn't make a worthwhile difference.

Making CPUs that run at a higher clock is proving to be prohibitive, so other means must be used to take advantage of extra transistors. I personally would prefer a slightly wider issue single CPU core, but the benefits go down, adds a lot of complexity, and that doesn't use many more transistors.

Re:Evolution (1)

rsynnott (886713) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791198)

Of course it will (game software). But at the moment it doesn't. I was just commenting on the constant complaints from people that multi-core systems are useless because they don't run those people's chosen applications.

Re:Evolution (1)

Forbman (794277) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791233)

But it's been there for at least... oh, 10 years (on WinTel). My 2-CPU Gateway 650 server benefits from even the multi-threading in NT 4.0.

The calculation engine in Excel 2000/XP/2003 runs in a separate thread. I think the spell checker in Word 2000+ might even run in a separate thread.

Various subsystems of Windows are indeed multithreaded. Some OLE-DB drivers are multi-threaded (yay, because ODBC isn't).

Even if user apps are not multithreaded, most of the OSs that users use will benefit from multiple cores.

Good... (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791061)

I think I'll start saving for a quad system, featuring quad core-cpu's.... ;-) Hey, I don't know what all this thing is about "modern applications not supporting Hyperthreading". First Hyperthreading is a ugly hack not comparable to real SMP, and second: running more than one application will have an advantage when having multiple CPU's. I was astonished with the difference when I first had a (non-dual core) SMP machine. I wouldn't want to go back. Now, if I could get SMP laptops ;-))

Re:Good... (1)

jbridge21 (90597) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791169)

They're not exactly "laptops", but people do make SMP "portables"...

intel [nextcomputing.com]
ultrasparc [nextcomputing.com]

Re:Good... (2, Informative)

Wicked187 (529065) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791173)

Alienware had one. Let me see if I can find it... I guess they do not have it anymore... but they do have P4 with Hyperthreading, and RAID 0 or 1... all in a laptop:

http://www.alienware.com/product_detail_pages/Area -51m_7700/area-51m_7700_features_tec.aspx?SysCode= PC-LT-AREA51-M-7700&SubCode=SKU-DEFAULT#sub [alienware.com]

Fcuk Yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12791062)

You can never have too much interCORES.

Socket 6000, anyone? (1)

kc32 (879357) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791063)

Isn't there some limit to how much you can increase performance by just putting in more cores? And besides, if they get up to 32 cores, that thing's going to be huge, not to mention needing a huge heatsink and fan.

Re:Socket 6000, anyone? (1)

rpozz (249652) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791101)

Yes, there is. Unless you use NUMA (where there are seperate banks of RAM), memory bandwidth is going to be more of a problem as you increase the number of cores. And yes, as you said, there's going to be more transistors, which will lead to more power consumption and heat dissipation.

Intel working on silicon laser to link cores (5, Interesting)

tbuckner (861471) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791070)

See MIT Technology review article: http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/05/07/iss ue/feature_intel.asp [technologyreview.com] The silicon laser, being made from the same material as the rest of the chip, would replace the copper wires that need to connect cores, thus letting Intel 'keep Moore's Law alive for decades', the article says. It would do this by permitting many, many cores in fast communication with less heat and less energy required than current copper-wired chips. Question: will Intel's possession of si-lasers shut AMD out?

Re:Intel working on silicon laser to link cores (4, Insightful)

wfberg (24378) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791221)

Question: will Intel's possession of si-lasers shut AMD out?


No, because AMD and Intel crosslicense their patents. Under the same agreement Intel gets to use AMD's AMD64 instruction set and call it EM64T.

We need more power! (4, Funny)

Lokni (531043) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791072)

1.21 Jigawatts!

Re:We need more power! (1)

Wicked187 (529065) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791219)

1.2 Jigahertz!

Hyperthreading is not easier than multicore. (1)

Ninja Programmer (145252) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791074)

[...] but most programs haven't even got the ability to hyperthread, so do we really need the extra cores?
Writing code for hyperthreading is not easier than writing code for multi-code/SMP. Both are just writing code targetted for SMP. NUMA-like concerns, for systems with multiple chips make more of a difference. If anything, hyperthreading is harder to optimize for, since you have to figure out when to issue PAUSE instructions.

Intel will have to get their act together (1)

rsynnott (886713) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791075)

And use something other than the FRONT SIDE BUS, for goodness sakes, to join their cores...

Doesn't have to be threads (4, Insightful)

m50d (797211) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791080)

Who still uses one application at a time, really? I know there's less benefit when it's different applications because of register sharing, but if it's cheaper to get 4 cores than 2 cpus it's probably worth it.

Re:Doesn't have to be threads (3, Insightful)

wfberg (24378) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791135)

I recently ditched a dual pentium-II for a AMD64 3000+.. and I miss the SMP machine. Why? Because if some stupid app was taking 100% CPU power, on the old machine that meant it was using 50% of my CPUs, and I had a whole nother CPU available for killing errant apps with.


Even gamers now do stuff like run skype side-by-side with their resource-hogging game.


Yes, you need multi-core, multi-processor, whatever.

Re:Doesn't have to be threads (1)

NitsujTPU (19263) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791178)

Righteo! Multiple cores are a good thing! I entirely missed that angle when posting my initial reply to this poster, but you hit the nail on the head here.

I also feel that I made a strong argument, that threads are simple to implement, and therefore are possibly much more prevalent than the poster feels. If they aren't they may become so soon.

Are more cores like hyperthreading? (1)

yderf (764618) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791082)

Could someone explain to me what the benifit of more cores is vs. hyperthreading?

I was under the impression that it much more like a multi-CPU machine. So wouldn't the use of the cores primarily be an OS thing anyhow? So as long as the OS is taking advantage of it, why not just keep adding them?

Again, I'm not sure of the differences.

Re:Are more cores like hyperthreading? (1)

BlogPope (886961) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791152)

Could someone explain to me what the benifit of more cores is vs. hyperthreading?

Simple. Hyperthreading is a trick to keep very deep CPU pipelines full, but at the end of the day, its executes 1 instruction per clock tick. With SMP/MultiCore, the system can do n instructions per clock tick. On a simle level, there are n little gnomes with calculators on an n-way SMP/Multicore chip, instead of 1 gnome with two INBOXes on a hyperthreading chip.

Of course, technically its more complicated, and I'm completely wrong. but why bring reality into my gnome fanatsy...

Apple cores. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12791083)

""From engadget we learn that AMD has plans for putting 4 cores on one die by the time Apple has fully gone to Intel processors. Full story here. They say they could eventually have up to 32 cores with scalable technology, but most programs haven't even got the ability to hyperthread, so do we really need the extra cores?""

Of course a core a day, keeps Linux at bay. :)

wicked (1)

howman (170527) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791085)

A computer that will burst into flame without being /.ed first... I want one.

Language Barrier (5, Funny)

Lemurmania (846869) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791087)

Need? What is this "need" you speak of? I'm having a very hard time understanding the post's question. If only the poster would use words I can comprehend, such as "want," "desire," "lust" and "pointless splurge."

What we have here is a failure to communicate.

Cores (1)

sub7 (187049) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791089)

1 core, 2 cores, 32 cores, OH MY!!

I think it's great now that the hardware industry (more specifically AMD) is sitting around tapping their fingers waiting for the software industry to catch up. I'm sure the OSS community will be among the first to support the new chips from AMD. (unlike Redmond.) *cough* Saa-weeet! ;)

- j

Re:Cores (1)

LurkerXXX (667952) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791184)

And exactly why do you think OSS will support the new chips before Microsoft? Multi-core chips are basically just SMP systems. Microsoft 2003 Server Datacenter Edition already supports 64-way SMP. Why don't you think they'd support these new AMD chips quickly?

Too Many Cores = Unbalanced Design (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12791095)

It is relatively easy to add multiple cores (copy and paste in your IC layout program) but I wonder if this is just another manifestation of that "megahertz myth" (multicore myth?). Adding bunches of cores is fune and dandy but you have to keep those cores fed with a wide and fast bus.

The largest chip packages currently available have fewer than 2000 pins (and I don't expect that to scale as quickly as the number of cores grow) and you can only cram so many DDR/Rambus channels before you run out of I/Os. Perhaps it is time to revisit optical interconnect or chip scale packaging?

To take advantage of this in the PC: (2, Insightful)

a_greer2005 (863926) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791099)

one would need either a ton more ram or faster I/O for the HDD than is standard tosday or even in the near future. the bottleneck is non volatile storage throughput, fix that and even todays systems could be much faster than they are with SATA/scsi/ata100/133

Re:To take advantage of this in the PC: (1)

cyber1kenobi (666018) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791186)

I agree - Intel's numbers game that they've been playing for years makes me sick. There are so many other bottlenecks that need to be addressed before pouring on more processing power. Hyperthreading is a marketing joke, dualcore is a marketing gimmick, it's all a joke!

Re:To take advantage of this in the PC: (1)

VoidWraith (797276) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791226)

Definitely. The processor may sell the system to a business, but to get real performance, the whole of secondary storage, and even primary storage, need to be improved.

Hell, I'm a Gentoo User! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12791104)

MAKEOPTS="-j12" or whatever, I'd got for it! :)

More Cores == SW vs Hardware accounting war (1)

team99parody (880782) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791108)

Lots of expensive software vendors are pricing expensive software (like SQLServer's "enterprise" version at $40000/CPU) on a per-CPU, not a per-core basis.

Multiple cores on a single chip is extremely important if you buy such sillily licensed software.

What's on your CPUs? (5, Funny)

Animats (122034) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791109)

  • CPU 0: Windows Update
  • CPU 1: Virus scanner
  • CPU 2: Client for P2P network decompressing "Star Wars 7 - The Revenge of Jar-Jar"
  • CPU 3: Useful work.

Re:What's on your CPUs? (1)

Soul-Burn666 (574119) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791159)

More like:
  • CPU 0: Windows Update
  • CPU 1: Virus scanner
  • CPU 2: Some random trojan
  • CPU 3: Solitaire

Must all write-ups include a BS controversy? (1)

xigxag (167441) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791113)

but most programs haven't even got the ability to hyperthread

Now.

Hyperthreading (1)

NitsujTPU (19263) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791121)

I apologize, I thought that hyperthreading merely referred to moving capabilites to the CPU that are normally realized in the OS.

To that end, I thought that hyperthreading was merely a hardware implementation of threading, as is normally provided by the OS.

Is this an incorrect assertion?

If it is a correct assertion, is it true that most software does not make use of multi-threading?

Re:Hyperthreading (1)

NitsujTPU (19263) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791151)

Intel's site on the topic [intel.com] appears to confirm my initial assertion. To that end, I would assert that threading is rather simple to implement under most modern models.

Several years ago, this would not have been the case. Many languages did not have multi-threading implementations that were intuitive. Now the story is a bit different. C and C++ have the POSIX threads library. Java is built to be mutli-threaded, as are many of the newer languages.

I see little difficulty in most systems making use of multithreading, and therefore, capitalizing on hyperthreading technology. Therefore, if it is the case that most applications do not make good use of threading, I would assert that it is improbable that this will remain the case in the future, and if it does, that programmers become educated on the topic of multithreading.

Wonderful! (1)

Karl Cocknozzle (514413) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791122)

You can get your XP-box rooted that much faster. Just think how efficiently Joe Sixpack can finally work on his system while the leeches of the internet get their share too! It is about time...

(/sarcasm)

Actually, if I can ask a serious question, does multi-core work the same way as multi-processor? (ie. Two procs isn't twice is fast, but closer to 1.5x...) And if it is essentially the same, will this not inevitably lead to far denser blade servers? (Ie. Two 8-core chips on blade as opposed to two one-core chips on a blade.)

In other news (2, Funny)

eclectro (227083) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791127)

AMD semiconductor manufacturer petitioneed the NRC for a rule change to allow small home use nuclear reactors, saying in the application "consumers will need it".

Also, they announced the acquisition of the frigidaire refrigeration company for an undisclosed amount, saying that "our product lines have a mutual synergy".

a subtle yet fundamental change (1)

Toby The Economist (811138) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791137)

It's more a case of it's the only way forward.

Clock speeds have, for the foreseeable future, hit the wall but transistor counts are still going up.

Clock speeds have been the way forward to date because they require no change in the way programs are written, yet provide performance improvements.

Now that the only way to improve performance is to harness increased transistor counts, multi-cores are in, but this means a programming paradgym shift is needed, because current programming languages are insufficiently descriptive to permit compilers to generate usefully multi-threaded code.

Either the programmer must take responsibility for such behaviour, or new languages are required. A subtle yet fundamental change is on the way; we're about to shift from the single-threaded approach to the multi-threaded approach.

--
Toby

We need as many as we can get (1)

Elshar (232380) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791158)

I can almost guarantee that your computer (even just idle) has at least a dozen or so processes going on. On top of that, any time you've been browsing the web and visiting anything with javascript/java/flash/etc, you can be sure that there's at least 1-2 extra processes just to show you the shiny bits.

Where we REALLY need these is for future applications. As time goes on we seem to be demanding that our computers do more and more. Just typing stuff up has gone from a simple plain text editor to OOo/Word/etc where you have inline pictures, interesting formatting, macros, inline spreadsheets, data objects, and on and on...

Not to mention gaming. Every AI guy you see running around could be smarter. Every environment could be more reactive to your prescence, more shiny bits to go flying as you blow stuff up, or allow your strategy game to go into more detail.

Just because there's apps out there that aren't multithreading doesn't mean that multiple cores/HTT isn't worth it. It absolutely is worth it. We should be pressing forward as hard as possible, not resting on our laurels because what we have is 'good enough'. If that was the case, we definately wouldn't be where we are now.

Yeah?!? Yeah?!? Well.... (1)

dominion (3153) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791175)

By then, Intel is gonna have, like, a million BILLION cores, with super powers like laser eyes and an invisibility shield!

[/absurdity]

Let the macho dick-waving contests begin.

Re:Yeah?!? Yeah?!? Well.... (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791205)

Difference is AMD's quadcore will be faster and take less power than Intels single core ;-)

hehehe

Ok, fanboy I may be but at least AMD is taking actual strides in MEANINGFUL improvements [e.g. low-power equal-performance AMD64 venice core] whereas Intel [outside of the PentiumM] is relying solely on a massively high clock rate [with an massively inefficient ALU] to get attention.

I mean why is it at something like bignum math or compiling a half clockrate AMD or PentiumM can get equal or better wall-time per operation when compared to a Northwood or Prescott P4?

So it may seem absurd to have 4 cores on one die but they're not half-ass slapped together inefficient designs.

AMD took the time to design HT such that things like this would be efficient.

Tom

Make them and they will come (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12791187)

1) If the cores are there then developers will write the apps to use them.

2) Most of the apps I use (especially my devo environment) and write use threads quite extensively.

3) Even if an app doesn't use multithreading, most modern OSes can and will allocate a process running on another processor for each app - if the CPU is available. So all any user has to do to benefit from a multi-core or multi-CPU computer would be to use a multi-processing OS, like Windows or Linux.

The answer is yes! A thousand times yes!

MULTIthreading != Hyperthreading (4, Informative)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791192)

The word "Hyperthreading" describes a specific hardware kludge by Intel to make a single-core CPU pretend it's dual-cored. Apps that utilize multiple CPUUs are called multithreaded. All you dorks parroting the article submitter and calling it "hyperthreading" are idiots.

To see where AMD is going... (2, Informative)

Eukariote (881204) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791197)

...have a look at these slides of a technology presentation given last friday http://epscontest.com/presentations/05q2_analyst-d ay.htm?slide=1&a [epscontest.com]

Impressive. If they execute on all that, Intel will have to keep on playing catch up for the forseeable future.

Do we really need the extra cores? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12791202)

The hardware always has to come first. No one would ever buy a DVD without a DVD player existing in the first place.

Re:Do we really need the extra cores? (1)

ledow (319597) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791211)

But why would you buy a DVD player if you didn't know whether the DVD's would be easily available?

A new demand for skilled developers (1)

mo (2873) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791212)

It's pretty obvious that the next wave of Moore's law seems to be moving computing towards parallelism.

This is pushing software developers to make their applications multi-threaded in order to exploit the performance gains of parallel processors.
The interesting thing about this is that writing concurrent multi-threaded applications is extremely diffucult. I expect there to be an increase in demand on skilled programmers in the near future to overcome this diffuculty.

Look at it this way: the increase in CPU speed has spawned the rise of programming languages with builtin memory management, thus making programming easier to do. By using higher level languages like Visual Basic, Python, and even Java, programmers generally no longer have to worry about memory leaks. This has made software easier to develop, and has made the programming profession possible for more people.

AFAIK, there exists no anlog for making multi-threaded applications easier to write. They're damn hard, and tracking down race-conditions where one thread's actions screw up another thread mid-step is a royal pain.

It seems to me that this is going to impose a pretty big limitation on the capabilities of entry-level developers. Until somebody develops some sort of fire-and-forget race condition prevention tool, it's going to pay to have skills as a multi-threaded app developer.

I guess all of those oldschool Solaris guys who have been bragging about having true threading with Java and C/C++ since 1995 are going to finally get their day.

For more reading, here's a good article about this stuff:
The Free Lunch Is Over: A Fundamental Turn Toward Concurrency in Software [www.gotw.ca]

Multicore is great, but not for the obvious reason (4, Informative)

trims (10010) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791215)

Yes, Virginia, we can use mutli-core. I mean, we're all into SMP heavily in the non-desktop role (does anyone actually make a "server" that doesn't have SMP?)

There are two big things I love about the multi-core Opterons: They draw less power than equivalent SMP machines (acutally, quite a bit less), and they allow multiple "CPUs" to use the same memory controller. Nominally, the second isn't a big win, but it can be for practical purposes.

Opterons have dedicated memory channels on them, so a current dual-socket Opteron has two DISTINCT DIMM banks - that is, on a motherboard with 8 DIMM sockets, 4 are allocated to each CPU socket. So if you have only one CPU, you can only use 4 DIMM sockets. Since those 4 sockets are often configured as a single bank (i.e. they all have to be filled to work), you can't add another CPU to the system without buying more RAM. This is wasteful. But with a multi-core opteron, all on-chip cores share the same memory bank.

The jist of this is that it'll be easier to have High-Compute, lower RAM configurations than it currently is reasonable to do. There are a lot of tasks out there which it is really nice to have a modest amount of RAM (say 4GB), but with huge crunch. Currently, it's hard to buy a config to do that, since you generally either end up way over-paying for CPUs, a huge number of tiny DIMM chips (which sucks for future expansion), or a larger number of motherboards, which draws more power.

And, hey, they're not tooo bad in price. Sun's dual-core v40z is less than twice as expensive as their single-core v40z, and you save lots on power/cooling/space.

Overall, a nice win.

-Erik

"DO WE?".. Fuck yeah we do. (1)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 9 years ago | (#12791216)

More power the better. We need it. Lets advance the technology and not start worrying about if we need it :)

You bet your ass we need it.
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