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Intel Takes Quad Core To the Desktop 191

Rob writes to mention a Computer Business Review Online article about Intel's official launch of the Kentsfield chipset. Their Quad Core offering, Intel is claiming, is up to 80% faster than the dual-core Conroe released this past July. From the article: "Kentsfield, a 2.66GHz chip with a 1066MHz front-side bus, is more for computational-heavy usage, including digital content creation, engineering analysis, such as CAD, and actuarial and other financial applications. Steve Smith, director of operations for Intel digital enterprise group, claimed rendering is 58% faster for users building digital content creation systems, for video, photo editing or digital audio. In other words, Kentsfield is for high-end desktops or workstations only. For the average office worker who uses their PC for general productivity apps, such as communications and garden-variety computing, Smith recommended the Core 2 Duo from 'a price point and performance perspective.'"
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Intel Takes Quad Core To the Desktop

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  • by topham ( 32406 ) on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @10:08AM (#16837064) Homepage

    We were issued laptops at the start of the project. Typical laptop is a Thinkpad T42p. They average somewhere between 1.6Ghz and 1.8Ghz.

    Some people were complaining about performance (java is a hog, and they were using stuff that makes java look 'light'). so they requested new machines.

    They were issued Core 2 Duo systems that are 1.8Ghz, with 2 Gigs of ram. This machines are nice. They guy from IT Support comes up to replace the system and starts saying that he doesn't know why we would upgrade to the desktops, they are the same speed as the laptops.

    Ok, I expect that from some guy off the street, but IT Support?

    (Note: For this work there is a significant speed difference, it is obvious, and almost immediate.)
    Never mind the differences between a single core from a Core 2 Duo, and the core used in a Thinkpad anyway...
  • by pla ( 258480 ) on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @10:33AM (#16837326) Journal
    since I am a journalist for a computer rag.

    I will say "lucky bastard", but that also explains your follow-up comment:

    Applications can barely use two cores properly, and games are still not as SMP aware as they should.

    Although apps and games have started to improve their multithreading, you don't get multi-core for single-app performance. You get it so you can play a modern FPS at the same time you have DVD Shrink backing up a movie for you, with little to no slowdown to either. With a quad core, you can add in two more CPU sucking tasks, again with little to no slowdown (though currently, memory needs to catch up to task of dealing with more cores).

    Six(ish) years ago, I got my first dual CPU machine. Almost nothing except the OS itself ran multithreaded at that time. And the improved performance of the machine just blew me away - Only last year did I eventually decommission that ancient dual CPU box because modern single-CPU speeds had passed it (and I still would have held out, except for the knowledge that I could do an in-place upgrade to a dual-core CPU whenever I wanted to).

    So you may not see the point of multi-cores, when your favorite game won't run any faster on four than on one. But that doesn't even come close to meaning that "most" people won't benefit. Quite the opposite, I'd say that only hard-core gamers wouldn't benefit. Everyone else will feel the improved responsiveness the first time they touch a multi-core box.
  • by s31523 ( 926314 ) on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @10:47AM (#16837526)
    Faster, good... Wider, good... But why not parallel with dual-DMA? Right now, it seems you could have 10 cores, but if all the threads running on each core have to contend for 1 bus, it doesn't matter how fast the bus is. I want each core to be able to access its own memory so it is not blocked by the other core's if it is accessing memory. I want one core to be able to access my NIC while the other accesses the hard drive and the other access the video card. All this requires some sort of parallel bus setup. It is my understanding we have not done this sort of architecture yet, but if we keep increasing the number of processor cores, this would seem to be the next step. BUT, I am not a hardware guy. I am a software guy, and expect it all to just work! :)
  • Re:whats next (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Divebus ( 860563 ) on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @11:38AM (#16838162)

    For the price, I'd rather have 2 dual Woodcrest 2.6 Mac Pros to get 8 cores...

    Ahhh... if only EVERYTHING was Xgrid aware, then that would work... I'd get a pile of Minis or the Xgrid agent for Linux. Hell, After Effects can't even use all the RAM in one machine, much less Xgrid.

    More processors in one box is the only thing the current incarnation of After Effects can take advantage of... with diminishing returns on the processor count as you pointed out. Our Quad G5 is not twice as fast as a Dual G5 rendering After Effects - maybe 1.6 times faster.

    However, the same Dual G5 2GHz was still 2 or 3 times faster than the Dual 2.4GHz Xeon under Windows doing the same After Effects work... and that software is optimized for Windows.

    (oh god, I've just opened the flood gates for pimple faced gamers to flame me)

The absent ones are always at fault.