This is an old archive page of HWZ prior to revamp. Please visit HWZ for the latest reviews and news.


» Articles
Intel Pentium XE 840 & Pentium D 840
By CPU-zilla
Category : CPU
Published by Jimmy Tang on Friday, 22nd July, 2005

Dual-Core Is The Future

What happens when the processor operating frequency has hit a wall and there's too much a price to pay for more performance? The answer lies in parallelism and dual-core processors are clearly the way to go if the chip giant intends to further increase the performance of current desktop computers. Although the frequency scalability of the Pentium processor is still possible, the amount of heat generated and the power required to drive the processor would be too much for a typical desktop to handle. In the end, it makes more sense to develop a smarter way to get processors to handle greater workloads and that is through parallelism.

Parallelism has been preached by Intel since the days of Hyper-Threading Technology. It involves the processing of multiple threads at the same time, which results in better CPU utilization and faster response times. Hyper-Threading was fairly successful as it gave the Pentium 4 added performance, anywhere in the region of 5%. However, Hyper-Threading did have its fair share of hiccups as in the early days, certain applications would show reduced performance instead of added responsiveness. When it was first introduced in Intel's Xeon processors, users were even advised to disable Hyper-Threading in certain types of applications, so as to avoid running into performance issues. All that has passed, thankfully. Intel's updated compilers and thread checking utilities have given developers the tools to optimize their softwares to take advantage of Hyper-Threading. In fact, most applications have some level of parallelism built into them. Even if there isn't, the operating system can take advantage of Hyper-Threading to multitask between applications.

Now, what really is the relationship between Hyper-Threading and dual-core? Well, it's really Intel's grand plan to bring parallelism to applications. If you think about it, Hyper-Threading is somewhat like the precursor for dual-core processors as it preps the developers to thread their software. Even if it's not the 'grand plan', there's no doubt that Hyper-Threading has somewhat a role to play in the development of dual-core.

Some of you would probably hate to hear this, but the fact is really this - Intel's role in the development of dual-core (or multi-core) is commendable and developers today are really taking advantage of Intel's compilers and threading tools. Even Intel's closest competitor, AMD, takes advantage of Intel's compilers and have somewhat benefited from these development tools. Intel has paved the way for the era of dual-core, whether you like it or hate it.

Intel's dual-core processor for the digital home and office.

Page 1 of 13 | Next>>