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AMD 4x4 Quad Father, Quad Core CPU Details Emerge

CowboyNeal posted more than 7 years ago | from the up-and-coming dept.

178

JiminyDigits writes "AMD recently revealed a few more details of their upcoming quad-core platform architecture called 4X4. With CPU bundles affectionately dubbed 'Quad Father,' AMD is taking advantage of the inherent benefits of their HyperTransport interconnect technology to directly connect a pair of dual Athlon 64 desktop chips together with system memory. Details here show a dual socket motherboard that support a whopping 12 SATA connections, four X16 PCI Express slots (x16,x8,x16,x8 configuration) and few other bells and whistles. Supposedly Quad Father kits will come with matched CPUs from 2.6GHz up to 3GHz."

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Fuck it, we're going to five cores. (5, Funny)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 7 years ago | (#16528459)

Hey, it had to be said.

Re:Fuck it, we're going to five cores. (1)

Deathbane27 (884594) | more than 7 years ago | (#16528537)

Don't forget the precision trimmer^W floating-point core on the other side of the motherboard!

Re:Fuck it, we're going to five cores. (1)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 7 years ago | (#16528649)

What's sad is that Intel's probably going to do this. Well, actually, they fucked it and went all the way to eighty cores. No precision floating-point though, I think that's an oxymoron for Intel ;)

Re:Fuck it, we're going to five cores. (4, Funny)

buswolley (591500) | more than 7 years ago | (#16528863)

My Quatro shaves just fine thank you anyway.

Re: Bollocks, we're going to 30 cores. (1)

C4st13v4n14 (1001121) | more than 7 years ago | (#16528585)

Something tells me that the follow up to the quad core processor isn't going to contain five cores. Call it a "funny feeling." For those of us needing an upgrade or a new PC now or very soon, it would have been nice for the article to mention some dates as to when we can expect this new hardware. I just don't think it would sit well with me if I went for a dual core and then something like this suddenly appeared on the market. I'm also not thrilled about going with Intel even though my last five PCs have been Intel processor-based. I'm anxious to see what all the AMD fuss is about, but I will buy from Intel if they have the fastest processor at the time of my purchase.

Responding to my post with a serious one suggests: (5, Funny)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 7 years ago | (#16528711)

  _|= <---Joke

   o
  -|- <---You
  / \

(the joke looks like a chair because it was originally a Steve Ballmer joke)

Just like the SX/DX line (5, Funny)

HiggsBison (678319) | more than 7 years ago | (#16528591)

I fully expect Intel to make a 2-1/2 core CPU called the Dual-Core-3 and a 3 core called the Dual-Core-4.

Re:Fuck it, we're going to five cores. (4, Funny)

lordofthechia (598872) | more than 7 years ago | (#16528603)

Ahh all the ludicrous amounts of cores, when will it end?

"Sir it's AMD.... they've gone plaid"

Re:Fuck it, we're going to five cores. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16528853)

None ... One ... Infinity

Re:Fuck it, we're going to five cores. (1)

BeerCat (685972) | more than 7 years ago | (#16528855)

Yeah, and our cores go all the way up to 11

Re:Fuck it, we're going to five cores. (4, Insightful)

mochan_s (536939) | more than 7 years ago | (#16528957)

It's 4x4 so next step is 8x8 and ultimately to 64x64.

Maybe the number of cores will be the new Ghz?

Vista (5, Funny)

DaMouse404 (812101) | more than 7 years ago | (#16528515)

And this just about meets the minimum specs for Vista..
-DaMouse

Re:Vista (2, Insightful)

msobkow (48369) | more than 7 years ago | (#16529077)

Or a full Linux install with OpenOffice, Mozilla applications, dev tools, utilities, etc.

Sad to say, XP vs. Linux isn't much of a performance competition any more. With a slow enough old box, you'll find they both take forever to boot... ;)

What worries me with Vista is the memory expense of full-application rendering regardless of surfaces displayed, as well as the application expense of always rendering a full screen of widgets instead of skipping over clipped/obscured regions.

The graphics hardware is a small expense of Vista's display approach. I would not be at all surprised to find that total CPU load per application goes up significantly for identical binaries. The widgets exist whether they're rendered or not, so there shouldn't be any real per-application memory expense in that regard.

Other flashy GUI's have relied on OpenGL display clipping to reduce the widget rendering load -- my understanding is Vista's approach disables that clipping, requiring 100% rendering expense regardless of the final presentation.

Re:Vista (2, Interesting)

644bd346996 (1012333) | more than 7 years ago | (#16529327)

It only takes a few hours with a fast computer to build a uClibc based gentoo system in a chroot and transfer it to a pentium class machine. The resulting system can surf the web faster than any version of windows, even with Firefox. (OK, so FF was using glibc, so what?) Not even Opera on Win 3.11 was more responsive. The boot time was also faster than Win9x. OO.o and Writely were a bit slower than Office 97, but they looked nicer and had better interfaces.

Sure, running a full redhat distro on an old box like that doesn't work, but it is not hard to build a linux system that outperforms windows across the board.

Re:Vista (5, Funny)

Jinky Williams (975076) | more than 7 years ago | (#16530299)

"build a uClibc based gentoo system in a chroot."

When I read this, I snickered uncontrollably.

That is all.

Re:Vista (1)

lordofthechia (598872) | more than 7 years ago | (#16529331)

There's always the argument that with Linux you can install the window manager/distro to suit your PC, now if only one distro would have it automatically choose the most efficient WM for your computer. Though really every distro should have the minimum and recommended specs displayed in an easy to read format (for their average install) and distrowatch should be searcheable by such, would only make sense...

That said, anybody know any interesting Linux Kernel tricks/features that take advantage of dual or quad core CPU's that our Windows using bretheren aren't enjoying now?

Quad Father (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16528517)

affectionately dubbed 'Quad Father,'
Awww.. that's the cutest nickname ever.

Re:Quad Father (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 7 years ago | (#16528671)

The Corps is Mother, the Corps is Father

Was somebody at AMD a babylon 5 fan?

Re:Quad Father (5, Funny)

SigILL (6475) | more than 7 years ago | (#16528739)

Was somebody at AMD a babylon 5 fan?

Nah, it's a father to stick in your mother board.

Re:Quad Father (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16528909)

no, just a gangster movie fan.

Re:Quad Father (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 7 years ago | (#16530331)

Was somebody at AMD a babylon 5 fan?

I don't get it... "Quad Father" ~= "God Father"...

Re:Quad Father (1)

C4st13v4n14 (1001121) | more than 7 years ago | (#16528721)

They should have called it "Quadzilla" or "Quaddamage".

4 * x16 == x16+x8+x16+x8? (1)

spectral (158121) | more than 7 years ago | (#16528523)

Ok, I know I don't understand PCI Express, but isn't that 2*x16, and 2*x8? Yeah, it's 48 PCI-Express lanes, according to the page.. but saying that there's 4 x16 ports is a bit confusing, is it not?

Re:4 * x16 == x16+x8+x16+x8? (4, Informative)

FuturePastNow (836765) | more than 7 years ago | (#16528589)

I think they're going by the size of the slot rather than the number of PCIe lanes it has. An x8 slot can support graphics cards fine, if it has the x16 physical connector.

Re:4 * x16 == x16+x8+x16+x8? (5, Informative)

masklinn (823351) | more than 7 years ago | (#16528657)

There are something like 3 parts to PCIe-speak on motherboards:

  • The number of lanes, which depends of the motherboard chips. That's the total PCIe bandwidth your motherbord can handle
  • The physical size of the PCIe slots. That tells you what you can fit in the slots. For example, graphic cards use x16 slots, but can hum along perfectly with only 8, 4, 2 or even 1 lane (albeit with a much reduced bandwidth to work with).
  • The number of lanes in every slot, which gives you the bandwidth per slot: all PCIe devices must support x1, but they can use up to x32

What they're saying here is that you're getting 2 x16 and 2 x8 lanes slots, but all the slots have a physical x16 size, which means that you can plug pretty much anything in it, including 4 PCIe graphic cards at once (since graphic cards require physical x16).

I'm not sure I've been perfectly clear though, anyway it's fairly clear when you talk about slot size versus number of lanes.

Re:4 * x16 == x16+x8+x16+x8? (1)

spectral (158121) | more than 7 years ago | (#16529033)

That makes sense. I wish that some other terminology had been used for distinguishing between physical size and lane count, but oh well. Thanks for the info!

Re:4 * x16 == x16+x8+x16+x8? (1)

Fweeky (41046) | more than 7 years ago | (#16529205)

Note this is the reason for those swappable "Single Graphics Card/SLI Mode" PCB's on many SLI motherboards; when the chipset can only allocate 16 lanes to graphics, one mode sets all 16x to one slot and the other splits it into 2 8x slots. It's nothing new, and though there are motherboards these days which can drive 2 full 16x slots, I don't think they differentiate themselves much in performance from 8x just yet.

Re:4 * x16 == x16+x8+x16+x8? (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 7 years ago | (#16529719)

quad-sli aka x2 cards only work in x16 slots

Re:4 * x16 == x16+x8+x16+x8? (1)

Chris Snook (872473) | more than 7 years ago | (#16528919)

With PCIe, you can have x16 slots that don't have 16 lanes committed to them, and this can be configured in an appropriately featureful BIOS. So you could plug in 4 x16 cards, and reconfigure the bandwidth to them without opening the case, but you'd have a maximum of two cards running at x16 speed. Apple already has something like this going on in their Mac Pro workstations.

They should have a Tim Hortons Special Edition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16528527)

They could call it a "Double Double". Tim Hortons is everywhere, now, right?

Is it just me... (0, Troll)

pegr (46683) | more than 7 years ago | (#16528531)

or did that article suck?

Re:Is it just me... (1)

HiredMan (5546) | more than 7 years ago | (#16528923)


No, you just suck.

[rimshot]

I'll be here all week. Tip your waitress....

=tkk

Re:Is it just me... (1)

Poltras (680608) | more than 7 years ago | (#16530539)

what? you're saying you actually read it? *shiver*

Wow (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16528541)

my text editor will just fly. I can't wait to spend shitloads of cash on this.

Forced Overkill (5, Insightful)

FuturePastNow (836765) | more than 7 years ago | (#16528575)

"2.6GHz up to 3.0GHz"

Which means it will cost $1000-$2000 just for CPUs and motherboard. AMD's and Intel's quad cores will cost a grand also, which limits all of this to people with more money than sense.

If they're going to allow dual processors, why not let people use the $150 2.0GHz dual cores? Then the whole thing will come in under $500 and have much wider appeal.

Re:Forced Overkill (5, Insightful)

joe 155 (937621) | more than 7 years ago | (#16528625)

Well, it seems expensive now, but I remember when a DVD-R drive was over £500; early adopters expect to pay quite a bit for bleeding edge stuff. In a couple of years these will start to show up in regular computer shops for much more reasonable prices.

Also, $1000 doesn't seem that expensive, spending about $2500 on a computer (which you probably wouldn't need to upgrade for about 5 years) wouldn't be that crazy, would it? It seems cheaper than spending $1000 every year and a half (which might be an average upgrade cycle)

Re:Forced Overkill (1)

Abreu (173023) | more than 7 years ago | (#16528703)

Oh yeah, I remember paying for a 16x CD-RW drive more than it costs today to get a DVD-RW/+RW drive

Re:Forced Overkill (3, Interesting)

modecx (130548) | more than 7 years ago | (#16529049)

Heck, I remember paying 900 US bucks on a CD writer way back when 2x cd recording was blazing fast, and 8x reading was just becoming available... Oh, and discs could scarcely be found for less than $10 each at that time.

I considered it some of the best $900 I ever spent, and I still do. No regrets. In fact, it's still humming along in my Indigo2, which I pulled out of the scrap bin some years later.

$1000 bucks for a system loaded with quad processors won't scare many people off. $1000 for a motherboard might, however.

Re:Forced Overkill (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16529109)

I remember paying $200 at a computer show for a 2x CD-ROM drive. The POS had a disc caddy, and it wasn't even IDE and had to be plugged into an interface on the ISA Sound Blaster card.

Those where the days.

Re:Forced Overkill (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#16530043)

I remember paying $200 at a computer show for a 2x CD-ROM drive.

      I remember paying $350 for a blazing fast, 2400 baud Hayes modem!

Re:Forced Overkill (1)

raduf (307723) | more than 7 years ago | (#16529605)

You guys are crazy, right? I just "upgraded" my computer (meaning I kept the sound board and monitor) for less then $500 and there isn't anything except bleeding edge games that I can't do with it. What else do you spend your money for?! Oh, and that's 500 per two years at least, maybe with $100 per year for bells and whistles.

Forced Overkill is Right! (4, Funny)

Memnos (937795) | more than 7 years ago | (#16528745)

I'm just glad that my Dad wasn't a 4x4 Quad Father, or my Mom would have died during conception.

Re:Forced Overkill (3, Informative)

ocbwilg (259828) | more than 7 years ago | (#16528803)

Which means it will cost $1000-$2000 just for CPUs and motherboard. AMD's and Intel's quad cores will cost a grand also, which limits all of this to people with more money than sense. If they're going to allow dual processors, why not let people use the $150 2.0GHz dual cores? Then the whole thing will come in under $500 and have much wider appeal.

The target price is under $1000 for the CPUs and (presumably) board. That really doesn't price it out the range of people who were previously buying Athlon FX and Intel EE CPUs. Keep in mind that this is a high-end enthusiast-class platform, rather than the future of AMD's mainstream computing. If you just want dual CPU dual cores, you can buy an Opteron 200-series workstation for less probably. You won't get 4 PCI-E x16 slots and 12 SATA ports, but who needs that anyways? Or, you could just wait until 3Q of 07 and get a native quad core CPU.

Would it be great if they made it cheaper so that everyone could have one? Absolutely. But then they would be cannibalizing the sales of their other higher-end CPUs (why buy a $700 FX-series when you can spend $300 on low end X2 CPUs and get more performance?).

Re:Forced Overkill (3, Interesting)

Lord_Dweomer (648696) | more than 7 years ago | (#16528903)

Which means it will cost $1000-$2000 just for CPUs and motherboard. AMD's and Intel's quad cores will cost a grand also, which limits all of this to people with more money than sense.

This is called an "early-adopter price". You see, there ARE people with a lot of money...and contrary to your statement, they may, and probably do have plenty of sense, they just have more disposable income than you. They buy these when they first come out, and a year or two down the line when they are buying the next hottest toy on the market, companies will be forced to drop the prices on this bad boy so that the rest of us can afford it.

Don't bitch about the price of this just because you're jealous you can't afford it. Just realize that that is how the market works.

Think outside the Desktop Market... (3, Insightful)

RotateLeftByte (797477) | more than 7 years ago | (#16529149)


Couldn't this sort of beast be aimed at the Server Market? I have an application that would eat up this sort of config.
Curently we use a Dual Xeon or a Quad Xeon and these get maxed out at times.

Think outside of the Desktop Beige Box.

After a while, the technology will filter down to desktops but the server end is where people will pay top dollar/yen/euro/rouble for a system that really performs.

Re:Think outside the Desktop Market... (3, Informative)

Brian Stretch (5304) | more than 7 years ago | (#16530273)

Couldn't this sort of beast be aimed at the Server Market? I have an application that would eat up this sort of config. Curently we use a Dual Xeon or a Quad Xeon and these get maxed out at times.

4x4 uses low-latency unbuffered RAM while servers use ECC RAM. More importantly, you can already buy dual CPU Opteron motherboards and chips. They've been capturing LOTS of market share from the Xeon, especially at the quad chip (8 core) level where the Xeon's obsolete FSB architecture falls down. Some vendors even have 8 CPU (16 core) boxes. And then there's Cray's Opteron-based supercomputers...

4x4 is basically an Opteron 2xx-series platform adapted for the desktop enthusiast market.

Quad 2.0GHz? No problem (1)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 7 years ago | (#16529393)

4x4 is just a different name for Opterons in Opteron motherboards. Feel free to buy a 4x4 mobo and drop in some Opteron 2212s. However, since the 2212 is almost $400 and the FX-70 is only $500, you're probably better off buying what AMD wants you to buy.

These cores go up to eleven.. (5, Funny)

Channard (693317) | more than 7 years ago | (#16528577)

At AMD HQ

AMD PR Rep: The chips have four cores. Look, right across the board, four, four, four and...
Tech Columnist: Oh, I see. And most chips go up to two?
AMD PR Rep:: Exactly.
Tech Columnist: Does that mean it's more powerful? Is it more powerful?
AMD PR Rep:: Well, it's two more powerful , isn't it? It's not two. You see, most blokes, you know, will be playing games with two. You're on two here, all the way up, all the way up, all the way up, you're on two on your PC. Where can you go from there? Where?
Tech Columnist: I don't know.
AMD PR Rep:: Nowhere. Exactly. What we do is, if we need that extra push over the cliff, you know what we do?
Tech Columnist: Put it up to four.
AMD PR Rep:: Eleven. Exactly. Two better.
Tech Columnist: Why don't you just have two and make them a little more powerful?
AMD PR Rep:: [pause] These have four cores.

Re:These cores go up to eleven.. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16529257)

And spinal tap is rolling around in their fictious grave ATM.

But, while the AVG joe schmo won't use 4 cores, I do. I would use 444.

Renderfarms suck up CPUs like a fat woman sucking down sugar in a doughnut shop.

Re:These cores go up to eleven.. (2, Informative)

phaxkolumbo (572192) | more than 7 years ago | (#16529831)

We need to be able to moderate to (Score:6, Funny) for comments like these...

4x4 eh? (2, Interesting)

lordofthechia (598872) | more than 7 years ago | (#16528587)

They trying to say that all 4 cores get traction or something?

That aside the dual x16 PCI express Mobo looks sweet. I can finally have my triple headed, neigh, quad head display! Note that a quad cpu quad display setup might be useful for MMO gold farmers... they could have one machine running 4 bots unencumbered and have the ability to monitor all 4 at the same time...

Re:4x4 eh? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16529107)

They trying to say that all 4 cores get traction or something?

Absolutely. AMD full-time all-core processing provides outstanding traction with almost any air- or water cooled system. It constantly monitors processing conditions, sensing any loss of traction and automatically transfers processes from the cores that slip to the cores that grip. And cores that grip are especially nice if you're into Doom3 or any other game that demands a lot from a processor. Like grid computing, where AMD is a consistent champion, proving itself year after year on some of the world's most challenging algorithms.

Re:4x4 eh? (2, Interesting)

Brian Stretch (5304) | more than 7 years ago | (#16530323)

They trying to say that all 4 cores get traction or something?

Actually, that's not a bad analogy. Each AMD CPU has its own memory controller and bank of memory so there's lots of memory bandwidth to go around, whereas an Intel dual CPU config has both processors accessing memory through an obsolete FSB architecture. Accordingly, an Intel dual CPU machine will be spinning its wheels in situations where an AMD 4x4 has memory bandwidth to spare.

So there's... (0, Flamebait)

lagfest (959022) | more than 7 years ago | (#16528667)

four cores, or four cores that each contain four cores, or is this some stupid car analogy?

Re:So there's... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16528861)

As I was running SPECint
I met a man with 4 computers
Each computer had 4 CPUs
Each CPU had 4 cores
Each core had 4 pipelines
Pipelines, cores, CPUs, computers
How many were running SPECint?

(Answer: one, me. This guy was trying to boot Vista.)

= 4 Acentral Processing Units (3, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#16528673)

With two CPU chips with 2 cores each, shouldn't that be called "2X2"?

Hey, with 2 microprocessors, can they still be called "Central Processing Units", when each is "offcenter" to the other?

Re:= 4 Acentral Processing Units (5, Informative)

ocbwilg (259828) | more than 7 years ago | (#16528747)

With two CPU chips with 2 cores each, shouldn't that be called "2X2"?

It was explained awhile back, but 4x4 isn't directly related to the core count. Otherwise, why wouldn't a dual CPU workstation class system with dual core CPUs be considered 4x4?

4x4 actually is in reference to 4 CPU cores and 4 video cards, at least that is the way that it was explained to me.

Re:= 4 Acentral Processing Units (2, Insightful)

syzler (748241) | more than 7 years ago | (#16528997)

Otherwise, why wouldn't a dual CPU workstation class system with dual core CPUs be considered 4x4?

Actually, I think that was the point of the grandparent's post. The name 4x4 to those unfamiliar with the term in the context of motherboards is misleading. I thought the name referred to a quad core chip in a quad chip configuration. The grandparent's question and a few of the other comments I read implies I am not the only one to make this mistake. To the uninitiated a dual CPU workstation with dual cores would be a 2x2 using the nomenclature of offroading enthusiasts. When talking about chip configurations with multi cores it is not obvious that the term 4x4 would be talking about the ratio of cores to video cards.
 

Re:= 4 Acentral Processing Units (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 7 years ago | (#16529173)

4x4 actually is in reference to 4 CPU cores and 4 video cards, at least that is the way that it was explained to me.

I tbink 4x4 is suffering from the Moore's law syndrome - it applies to whatever you want it to apply to which happens to fit the concept (quads, exponential growth).

Re:= 4 Acentral Processing Units (1)

Plutonite (999141) | more than 7 years ago | (#16529723)

The way it was explained to me was:

MARKETING you n00b! You must be new here.

Re:= 4 Acentral Processing Units (1)

ccozan (754085) | more than 7 years ago | (#16528795)

a 4x4 car does not have the name from the 16 wheels it might have from the name, but the fact that all wheels are active and tracting. Exactly what this processor from AMD is doing: all 4 cores are ... well, working as 1 processor, which distributes the processing among them.

( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/4x4 [wikipedia.org] )

Re:= 4 Acentral Processing Units (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#16529239)

I never thought that the "4x4" designation for "all wheel drive" cars made any sense, either. It's 1x4, engine to wheels, as opposed to the standard 1x2+2 (1 engine driving both front or both rear wheels). 4x4 makes sense when each wheel has an independent engine, which is pretty rare. Though apparently the AMD designation really refers to "4 cores with 4 GPUs", which is not even the config (GPUs) they're marketing under this buzzword.

But then, they're inserting two "father packages" into a single "motherboard" socket, so they're not really clear on how this goes. They probably don't know how a 4x4 backseat works, under the stars, either.

Re:= 4 Acentral Processing Units (4, Informative)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 7 years ago | (#16529639)

I never thought that the "4x4" designation for "all wheel drive" cars made any sense, either.
I helps once you understand that the designation isn't limited to "cars", but applies to ALL wheeled vehicles. The format is (total number of wheels) x (number of driven wheels). For example, the US Army's M-939A2 [fas.org] 5 ton truck is a 6x6-- 6 wheels, all driven-- and the M1074 PLS [fas.org] is a 10x10! Civilian trucking, by comparison, will usually make do with 10x8 on the tractor unit, being more concerned with weight capacity than offroad ability.

Re:= 4 Acentral Processing Units (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#16530519)

That's really interesting (and Insightful :), thanks. Maybe you could update the 4x4::Terminology [wikipedia.org] Wikipedia page section. Because its description makes sense in the larger scope now that you clarified, but didn't discuss enough examples to understand the meaning of the two symbols in the combined "WxD" designation.

2 by 2 (1)

joe_n_bloe (244407) | more than 7 years ago | (#16529151)

Actually, that means "double double" at In-N-Out. In other words, ordering a "four by four" means you get four patties and four slices of cheese. No, it's not on the menu. Neither is "animal style."

Re:2 by 2 (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#16529261)

What is "animal style"? Is that better than "the works"?

Would Paris Hilton please demonstrate an "animal style with the works, 4x4 down on the floor" to me?

So where's the quad core cpu? (2, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 7 years ago | (#16528701)

After reading the article, I didn't see anything about a quad core CPU. Quad Father simply seems to be a dual cpu board with dual-core CPUs in it. That has been possible all along, no?

"Enthusiast Megatasking" is a lousy catchphrase (3, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 7 years ago | (#16528801)

AMD is pushing [hothardware.com] multitasking, a model of parallel processing that will never do desktop users much good beyond a small handful of processors. (Yes I know you currently have 57 processes running, and no that does not mean you'd benefit from 57 processors). If AMD presents these silly examples like being able to play two instances of a video game simultaneously, nobody will see any value. Instead, AMD (and for that matter Intel) should be doing all they can to promote fine-grained parallelism so individual applications can easily harness multicore chips without a huge extra developer burden. All too often I am sitting waiting for a job and my CPU utilization is only 50% because the app can't use both cores. (Come on, where's dual-core gzip?) You can say it isn't the chipmakers' problem, but if it prevents me from needing their products, it is their problem.

It's an OS problem (3, Insightful)

joe_n_bloe (244407) | more than 7 years ago | (#16529001)

Multitasking on *nux has worked fine since the 70s. Threading has been evolving on *nux since the 1980s and there is no shortage of threading support in that world.

The problem is with Windows and its tireless efforts to fill memory with dirty pages that get flushed at the most inconvenient times. Lots of CPU-intensive Windows applications support multithreading. It's not as if multiple CPUs are a new thing in desktop PCs. The old thing is the crappy NT scheduler and the OS's bizarrely dysfunctional memory management.

Re:It's an OS problem (2, Interesting)

Mad Merlin (837387) | more than 7 years ago | (#16529345)

Indeed, consumer hardware in general is held back by Windows and it's countless deficiencies. With memory for example, you basically can't use more than 2G of RAM with consumer level hardware because a) Windows still has miserable 64-bit support and b) Windows scales very poorly with more RAM anyways. So even those of us that aren't directly crippled by Windows, still have to put up with underdeveloped hardware.

Re:"Enthusiast Megatasking" is a lousy catchphrase (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16529081)

Actually, people running multiple instances of a mmorpg is pretty common. For those who haven't played them, it is mostly a lot of boring "grind" - doing repetitive tasks. I can see how this setup could appeal to these people.

Re:"Enthusiast Megatasking" is a lousy catchphrase (2, Informative)

Mad Merlin (837387) | more than 7 years ago | (#16529213)

(Come on, where's dual-core gzip?)
Gzip is sufficiently fast that I suspect in most cases it's more limited by your hard drive speed than your CPU speed. There is however, parallel bzip2 [compression.ca] , which most certainly does benefit from parallelism.

Re:"Enthusiast Megatasking" is a lousy catchphrase (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 7 years ago | (#16529645)

I back up from one drive to another, so can push up to 50 MB/s or so into gzip. And yet if I use the --fast option, what you say is often correct.

In fact I was going to go on a second diatribe in my previous post about how my new dual-cpu computer seems more disk-bound than ever, but I don't have any good suggestions on how to fix that.

Re:"Enthusiast Megatasking" is a lousy catchphrase (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 7 years ago | (#16529977)

Thanks. I've looked into it previously, but bzip2 is so much slower than gzip, it swamped the gain from parallelism. (Of course the files do come out a little smaller). (Also it doesn't yet support pipe input, which is a real problem for backing up an entire disk).

from "Memory Space" (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16529279)

Come on, where's dual-core gzip?

Peter Gibbons: What would you do if you had two cores?
Lawrence: I'll tell you what I'd do, man: two gzips at the same time, man.
Peter Gibbons: That's it? If you had two cores, you'd do two gzips at the same time?
Lawrence: Damn straight. I always wanted to do that, man. And I think if I had two cores I could hook that up, too; 'cause processes dig CPUs with cores.
Peter Gibbons: Well, not all processes.
Lawrence: Well, the type of processes that'd double up on a PC like this do.
Peter Gibbons: Good point.
Lawrence: Well, what about you now? what would you do?
Peter Gibbons: Besides two gzips at the same time?
Lawrence: Well, yeah.
Peter Gibbons: Nothing.
Lawrence: Nothing, huh?
Peter Gibbons: I would idle... I would sit on my ass all day... I would do nothing.
Lawrence: Well, you don't need two cores to do nothing, man. Take a look at my cousin: he's got a 386, don't do shit.

Gzip is serial -- can't parallelize it at all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16529509)

Gzip, like all bit-serial encoders, is an inherently serial operation. You can't parallelize it without either attempting to speculate (which may or may not help, and in the case of gzip is probably too fine-grained to give you good performance on modern machines) or running two gzips on two halfs of your files, which will not get the same compression ratio. Sorry.

Re:Gzip is serial -- can't parallelize it at all (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 7 years ago | (#16529735)

Gzip, like all bit-serial encoders, is an inherently serial operation. You can't parallelize it without either attempting to speculate (which may or may not help, and in the case of gzip is probably too fine-grained to give you good performance on modern machines) or running two gzips on two halfs of your files, which will not get the same compression ratio.
This is the problem with uninspired formalism. You throw up your hands and say "impossible," when a small (and very reasonable) compromise would yeild very useful results. Here's what the pbzip2 manpage says about that issue:
Files that are compressed with pbzip2 are broken up into pieces and each individual piece is compressed. This is how pbzip2 runs faster on multiple CPUs since the pieces can be compressed simultaneously. The final .bz2 file may be slightly larger than if it was compressed with the regular bzip2 program due to this file splitting (usually less than 0.2% larger).
That is a tradeoff almost anybody would accept.

Re:"Enthusiast Megatasking" is a lousy catchphrase (1)

RhettLivingston (544140) | more than 7 years ago | (#16529647)

The problem is that we keep trying to come up with programs to automagically twist programs written in a single tasking paradigm into a multitasking paradigm. Unless we could completely represent the program mathematically and apply a mathematical transformation, that will never be efficient. It would be easier to create a new paradigm to begin with. But we're blinded by our current focus on data. A focus on process oriented programming paradigms that utilize microprocesses to perform small bits of work on large data pools in a manner that works together to create complex processes in new ways will produce the results we need. The key will be to train ourselves to be very comfortable with chaotic math and processes.

Re:"Enthusiast Megatasking" is a lousy catchphrase (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 7 years ago | (#16529949)

That sounds somewhat like the blackboard [stsci.edu] architecture, have you looked into it? I agree that's much closer to how nature works. Imagine if all the cells in your body had to take turns :)

Re:"Enthusiast Megatasking" is a lousy catchphrase (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#16529999)

these silly examples like being able to play two instances of a video game simultaneously, nobody will see any value

      Yeah, instead they should present real situations, like playing oblivion/F.E.A.R./Doom while ripping and burning DVD's and seeding torrents...ooops

My upgrade path... (5, Interesting)

Josiah_Bradley (867692) | more than 7 years ago | (#16528811)

I upgraded from Socket A to Socket AM2 this summer with 4x4 in mind, but now they say it's only being supported on socket 1207. I bought a nice 150$ 3800X2 planning on saving up and getting another one with this new 4x4 I have been hearing about for a while. They keep saying things are future proof, yet they go and change the socket type and then make it so you can only buy the top-end cpus for it to work. Where is the AMD of socket 939 when they had everything from the low-end to the high end totally covered. 4x4 just looks like they are taking their server/workstation tactics and trying to apply it to gamers.

asd (-1, Offtopic)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 7 years ago | (#16528819)

asdasd asdasd as dad asdads a

Gillette (0, Redundant)

just_forget_it (947275) | more than 7 years ago | (#16528865)

Is it just me, or are processors with cores going to become like gilette razors with razorblades?

two dual-cores? (1, Informative)

DreadSpoon (653424) | more than 7 years ago | (#16528917)

I thought AMD was bragging about how their qaud-core CPUs were going to be "native," unlike Intel's which were going to just be two dual-core CPUs on one die? Or is this 4x4 platform not meant to be their real quad-core solutions, just an interim "hack" until the quad-cores come out in 2007?

Re:two dual-cores? (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 7 years ago | (#16529641)

It not a hack you will be able to have 2 quad-core cpus in a 4x4 system

Re:two dual-cores? (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#16529985)

2 quad-core cpus in a 4x4 system

Let me be the first on slashdot to ask, "but will it run Vienna?"

Obligatory... (1)

Rodness (168429) | more than 7 years ago | (#16528981)

Imagine a beowulf cluster of these! :)

AMD 4x4 - The off roading CPU (1)

suggsjc (726146) | more than 7 years ago | (#16529051)

Whenever I see 4x4 I think of a truck. So, is this going to be able to "off road"?

Re:AMD 4x4 - The off roading CPU (3, Funny)

Awedaura (921323) | more than 7 years ago | (#16529223)

It is not something you just dump something on. It's not a big truck. It's a series of tubes.

Re:AMD 4x4 - The off roading CPU (1)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 7 years ago | (#16529489)

4x4 is the Hummer of computers: designed as a military-industrial complex work machine, used by posers with more money than sense to show off.

I'm finally cashing in! (2, Funny)

qodfathr (255387) | more than 7 years ago | (#16529187)

As I've been the real 'quad father' since 1991 (that's the prefered pronounciation of 'qodfathr'), I'm expecting a big payday for such blatant copyright infringment!

Not as good as intels quad core? (2, Interesting)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 7 years ago | (#16529271)

AMD's quad soultion is two dual-core cpus, qhile Intel's is 4 cores in a single package.

TFA seems to suggest that somehow AMD' hypertransport system gives it an edge over Intel's solution, however any external bus (i.e. hypertransport) is going to be slower than package-internal interconnects.

Re:Not as good as intels quad core? (3, Informative)

KitesWorld (901626) | more than 7 years ago | (#16529483)

They're talking about access to system memory for independant applications.

Basically, if you farm out four tasks to a 2xDual intel setup, the memory bandwidth available doesn't scale. IE, you can add more dies, but at the cost of reducing the memory bandwidth available to each of those dies (to/from system).

With AMD's setup, adding a new die also adds a new memory controller (they're on the die, remember?), which in turn increases the amount of memory bandwidth available (to/from system).

It's already bieng proven an effective scheme in certain server markets, but as always the best solution for you will always depend on exactly what you are doing with the hardware.

Re:Not as good as intels quad core? (1)

KitesWorld (901626) | more than 7 years ago | (#16529501)

Oops, my bad.

The second paragraph also applies to a single-die, quad core setup. No additional bandwidth is provided for the extra cores.

Re:Not as good as intels quad core? (1)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 7 years ago | (#16529653)

TFA seems to suggest that somehow AMD' hypertransport system gives it an edge over Intel's solution, however any external bus (i.e. hypertransport) is going to be slower than package-internal interconnects.

That might be true, but Intel has no package-internal interconnect. Kentsfield has a single FSB that connects the two processor dice and the northbridge; there is no on-package fast-path between the dice. 4x4 has twice as many memory channels and several HT links in addition.

Kentsfield may still end up faster, since it has a better core.

I am... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16529323)

your father.

-m10

the obvious reaction (2, Funny)

illegalcortex (1007791) | more than 7 years ago | (#16529487)

*drool*

*pant*pant*pant*

*gasp*

*faint*

i want it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16530039)

look I want to have this quad-core CPU, so i have the same speed when working with my vista.

What's the point? (1)

Ari1413 (872981) | more than 7 years ago | (#16530261)

I'm by no means an expert with hardware (and certainly well below the slashdot mean). When I bought my newest computer, it came with 2x2.8 Ghz processors. However, I was under the impression that for games, this was currently all but useless, since most games would only "see" a single processor. Now, it's all fine well and good that my OS can run an antivirus program or encode mp3's or whatnot as I play, but for me that's hardly an issue anyway. I seem to recall hearing that we're just on the brink of dual core support in games that are only now being developed. So if two cores are mostly useless for games (for most people, the most CPU intensive thing that they actually use a computer for), why would I want even *more* cores?
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