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Intel AMD Hardware

4 Cores? 6 Cores? Do You Care? 661

Posted by timothy
from the 8-cores-a-dollar dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Intel has updated its processor price list earlier today. Common sense suggests that Intel may not care that much anymore whether its customers know what they are actually buying. One new six-core processor slides in between six-core and quad-core processors – and its sequence number offers no clues about cores, clock speed, and manufacturing process. If we remember the gigahertz race just a decade ago, it is truly stunning to see how the CPU landscape has changed. Today, processors carry sequence numbers that are largely meaningless."
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4 Cores? 6 Cores? Do You Care?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 19, 2010 @07:43PM (#32958218)

    Would you want to have a 4 inch penis? Don't you think a healthy 6 or 8 inches might be better?

    I have a quad core, which I'm confident will soon become the equivalent of a 4 inch penis. I'll have to upgrade my e-peen when it become affordable.

    Seriously though, if you like to game on your computer there is no such thing as too much power.

    • by thomasinx (643997) on Monday July 19, 2010 @07:52PM (#32958340)
      Not necessarily. I could very easily envisage a 6 core system that plays games/handles most tasks worse than a quad core system (emphasis on most). More cores doesn't necessarily mean more power. There are many other statistics to take into account before a judgement can be made, especially when it comes to gaming. Your e-peen is safe for now. Put it to good use.
      • by Grishnakh (216268) on Monday July 19, 2010 @08:16PM (#32958594)

        Maybe I'm missing something, but unless the 6-core system is clocked slower than the 4-core one, the 6-core system should outperform it easily in all tasks.

        Where it becomes questionable is when you're comparing higher-clocked fewer-core systems to slower-clocked, greater-core systems, because then it comes down to the software you're running and how well it's architected for multiple processes and parallelization. Obviously, a single-threaded application will generally run better on the faster-clocked system, unless that system is being loaded down with a lot of other processes.

        • by Surt (22457) on Monday July 19, 2010 @08:24PM (#32958666) Homepage Journal

          The 6 core system is slower in non-parallel tasks because the OS has per-core overhead. So all single-threaded tasks get slower as the number of cores rises.

          Imagine a task running on an otherwise idle core. It is running as fast as possible, with only OS overhead getting in the way of using 100% of that cpu. Now add more OS overhead to that cpu for core management. There's also cpu (hardware)-level overhead to consider, and the possibility that caches aren't ramped to the same level, so now more cores may be sharing a same-sized cache ... etc.

          Lots of reasons for the performance of a single core to drop as the number of cores goes up.

          • by Cylix (55374) * on Monday July 19, 2010 @08:56PM (#32958974) Homepage Journal

            Even dismissing core overhead and other details you did not mention there are still some wildly important facts to remember.

            Only modern games have been designed to take advantage of multi-processor systems. There is also a scaling factor which needs to be considered on an engine by engine basis.

            I believe valve only recently made updates to the hl2 engine which optimize for greater then four core systems. While you could vary well purchase a dual proc host and fit it with 4 or 6 core processors the engine may not be able to scale on greater then 2 to 4 threads.

            At one point the multi-core support wasn't so hot and I had to disable it on my dual core system. Again, this is an application by application basis and not all experiences will be equal. Certainly, in the future we can assume most newer systems will utilize the hardware better, but it is no guarantee for today.

            • by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Monday July 19, 2010 @09:10PM (#32959080) Journal

              I would hope that the scheduling would get better, actually, but even if the engine is only optimized to take advantage of four cores, it would probably run better if it could actually have all four cores to itself, with the OS and everything else running on core five.

              I suppose it depends how much overhead there is.

            • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Tuesday July 20, 2010 @04:53AM (#32961386)

              Everything I see shows that modern OSes not only don't have an overhead with more cores, it helps things. Reason is what OSes really have is a heavy context switching overhead. If a processor is doing something, and the OS needs it to do something else, it has to generate an interrupt, push everything on to the stack, switch to the kernel, switch to the net process, etc. It is a hefty overhead. However that all goes away if instead multiple things run at the same time on hardware. They don't switch contexts, they just keep running.

              This is the reason why web/DB heavy servers like to have lots of cores, even if less powerful. Sun's new chips are designed with that in mind. Each core can handle 8 threads in hardware, meaning it acts like a 64-core CPU though only having 8 actual cores. Why? Context switching. The tasks it normally deals with are not high load, but they switch around a lot. The more than can run side-by-side from the OSes perspective, the less overhead and the more efficient use of processor resources.

              In a desktop the tasks are more intense so it is less useful to have lots of threads/CPU (currently 2 is the highest in the Core i3/5/7 series) but more cores are still quite useful. It allows for more things to happen at the same time, from an OS perspective, and lowers overhead.

              You notice too, using a multi-core, multi-threaded system. Things are damn responsive.

          • by The Snowman (116231) on Monday July 19, 2010 @10:27PM (#32959616) Homepage

            The 6 core system is slower in non-parallel tasks because the OS has per-core overhead. So all single-threaded tasks get slower as the number of cores rises.

            Imagine a task running on an otherwise idle core. It is running as fast as possible, with only OS overhead getting in the way of using 100% of that cpu. Now add more OS overhead to that cpu for core management. There's also cpu (hardware)-level overhead to consider, and the possibility that caches aren't ramped to the same level, so now more cores may be sharing a same-sized cache ... etc.

            Imagine a single-threaded game with a high CPU demand that consumes all time on a single CPU, while background processes such as the OS, drivers, pr0n downloads, etc. run on the second core.

            Yes, each core has overhead, but in general, more cores does increase the system's potential performance even if it maintains or decreases an application's performance.

            Honestly, this is not always a big deal. I have a quad core, but often have to wait for the hard drive to do anything.

            • by vlm (69642) on Tuesday July 20, 2010 @07:17AM (#32962124)

              while background processes such as the OS, drivers, pr0n downloads, etc. run on the second core.

              More likely, given todays throw away mentality of, "if its infected, just throw it out and buy a new PC", using a 6-core processor means you get 5 "free" worm/virus infestations before you "have to" buy a new computer. Unless you run mac or linux of course.

    • Seriously though, if you like to game on your computer there is no such thing as too much power.

      I'm pretty sure I maxed out Snood at 4 cores.

    • by kanto (1851816) on Monday July 19, 2010 @08:00PM (#32958422)

      Pfft.. this reminds me a bit of the jump to DirectX 9 graphics cards; in general the old cards performed better in brute force triangles per second whereas the new ones would perform better at the more technically advanced stuff (read: the things you disable when you're serious about fps). How much use is it having 6 or 8 cores if the program being run only efficiently uses 2 or 4 of them most of the time? It's not like everything can just be multithreaded like that and even if it can, there's bound to be some overhead for doing it.

      • by cynyr (703126) on Monday July 19, 2010 @08:05PM (#32958486)

        because some of us run more than one thing at a time....

      • by ultranova (717540) on Monday July 19, 2010 @08:16PM (#32958600)

        How much use is it having 6 or 8 cores if the program being run only efficiently uses 2 or 4 of them most of the time?

        The program? I dunno about you, but I run plenty of programs at once. And having 4 cores means that I have a few on standby whenever I feel like doing input, even when the machine is busy processing stuff.

        The real issue I see is memory access. Even with a single core did we run into memory bandwidth/latency bottleneck; with 4-6 cores those are 4-6 times as much. In the long run we have to give up Neumann architechture; it simply can't scale to our needs. A NUMA might be an acceptable compromise, but in the long run we need to change to a dataflow architechture, and that also means a step beyond C/C++ and other Algol-descended languages which have dominated our thinking these past decides.

        We need to switch to a system with lots of cores, all with their own local memory, and able to send each other messages. As an added bonus, such a system is also a natural fit for artificial intelligence.

        It's not like everything can just be multithreaded like that and even if it can, there's bound to be some overhead for doing it.

        True, but most hard problems can be redefined as search problems, and those can be efficiently multithreaded. Our current programming languages just make multithreading a pain, since you have to worry about everything manually.

        • by flappinbooger (574405) on Monday July 19, 2010 @08:41PM (#32958840) Homepage
          Here's my take. Gaming is not the question here. Gaming is, has, and will be about clock speed and graphics card.

          No computer should be built today with less than 2 cores, that much is a given. Anyone who is at all a "power user" should consider a 3 core. AMD's triple cores are really stinkin snappy. Quad core systems? Of course they will become the norm, after a while. Intel and AMD have basically said that since they can't go up in speed they're going to go sideways with cores.

          As screens get bigger they will fill up with this feed, that feed, weather, streaming video, multiple website tabs, flash games, a few trojans, printer drivers, chat clients, etc. Lots and lots of things going on at the same time, more cores will make future computing a much more enjoyable experience.

          Hey, Intel - shrink the atom core, clock it at 2.5 to 3 ghz, give us 50 atoms on one chip and save yourself some hassles with this iWhatever confusion. Make the model number the number of atom cores.

          Regarding TFA? The marketing guy must have been laid off, this numbering system is stupid (intel and amd!). I3 = dual core, I5 is both 2core and 4core, I7 is 4 core, but is now 6 cores. Yeah, that makes sense. Uh huh.
          • Gaming is changing (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Sycraft-fu (314770)

            Turns out in modern games, a lot of shit happens at the same time. While this was traditionally coded as a bigass while loop because systems were singe thread, it doesn't have to be. You can thread all that shit out and have the game engine do multiple things at once. It is still being worked on, but it is getting much better. Most very modern (as released this year or perhaps last year) games make extremely good use of two cores to the point that many require it. They can fully load both, no problem. A sma

    • Most games barely touch 4 cores these days.

      Most of the games lean hard on the Vid card.

      You will get better results out of a SLI system.

    • by Locke2005 (849178) on Monday July 19, 2010 @08:10PM (#32958556)
      My wife says it doesn't matter how many cores I have!

      Of course, my wife also said she wanted 10 inches... I just told her, "Screw you! I am NOT having it shortened!"
    • Seriously though, if you like to game on your computer there is no such thing as too much power.

      Yeah, but some older games (e.g. Deus Ex, even the Steam version) tend to misbehave on multicore systems...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jeremy Erwin (2054)

      Two four inch penises might be interesting.

    • by AmigaHeretic (991368) on Monday July 19, 2010 @10:53PM (#32959806) Journal
      I think you made the wrong analogy.

      Do you want 1 big penis or 6 to 8 tiny ones?
  • by mikael_j (106439) on Monday July 19, 2010 @07:45PM (#32958236)

    The average consumer just thinks "bigger is better" and by creating a mess of hard to understand sequence numbers they can make it harder for the semi-knowledgable customer to pick the right CPU. The same can be seen with graphics cards and many other products (if there is some kind of system behind your sequence numbers you do have to remember to change the system every now and then to further confuse everyone).

    • by pelrun (25021) on Monday July 19, 2010 @07:48PM (#32958282)

      Yep, much like the mobile phone industry - make the whole mess so utterly confusing that instead of picking an appropriate product that suits your budget, you're tricked into buying at an inflated price.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        This is actually what a lot of America is founded on-- think about it, in an ideal world a company would have a need, and they would go find the company that provides the solution.
        We do the opposite, we employ tons of marketers to convince people they need our product. What happens with a recession? Tons of them get laid off. With an extended recession? They don't get hired again.
        TIS A GOOD DAY TO

        BE AN ENGINEER.
        (sorry to those who were expecting a different ending)

    • by snooo53 (663796) * on Monday July 19, 2010 @07:49PM (#32958298) Journal
      Some combination that measures both how many operations per second, and how much power it's going to take to do said operations (i.e. Watts/computing unit). I don't know if even FLOPS is sufficient anymore to describe current computing tasks. Heck, I'd be happy with any sort of standardization.
    • by pclminion (145572) on Monday July 19, 2010 @07:50PM (#32958306)
      What benefit is there in confusing your customers as to which product they should purchase? When I, as a consumer, feel overwhelmed or confused about a product choice, I usually respond by simply purchasing nothing at all. And I'm sure I'm not alone in that.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mikael_j (106439)

        Because when the mythical "Joe Sixpack" walks into a store to buy a new computer so that his intartubes will go faster he'll either fall for the sales pitch of find the machine with the best "big number to price" ratio and if you can sell crap at inflated prices because it's got a big number that's easy money.

        And then there's the "prosumer", the guy who actually knows a bit, he/she will hopefully be confused and not realize the difference in performance between the 3782GXT CPU and the 4790GXT CPU is actuall

      • by spazdor (902907) on Monday July 19, 2010 @07:56PM (#32958372)

        There are others, who respond to the same stress by spending indiscriminately. And their reaction might, on the economic whole, outweigh yours.

      • by Nerdfest (867930)
        I generally pick a machine in my price range and check the processor speed rating against others. Inevitable, I look at the graphs and say ""yeah, it'll be fine". You can run a full Java IDE and an application server on a Linux netbook. Unless you're playing the very latest games, almost anything is fine for most people.
      • by Pharmboy (216950) on Monday July 19, 2010 @08:12PM (#32958572) Journal

        The problem now is that you have to do a tremendous amount of research before you buy now. It used to be much simpler: Pentium 60, 66, 75 or 100, pick one. Later it was still simple with Celeron or P2/P3/P4, as you are picking bigger cache and faster bus speed. Now to get the highest return on partially defective silicon, they offer too many models, many that overlap each other, and can be very confusing, with some dual core models that outperform quad core, etc. A year ago I finally settled on a Q9550 but it took reading 50 articles to figure out that it was, at the time, the best bang for the upper middle buck. So yes, the average consumer will get boned.

      • by GreatBunzinni (642500) on Monday July 19, 2010 @08:31PM (#32958714)

        You may not be alone in that but you, along with those who think like you, certainly are not the majority. Joe Six-pack doesn't know the difference between a megahertz and a megabyte and he has much more important things to do than waste his time learning boring stuff such as the difference between SSD HDs and the traditional spinning disk HDs, let alone learn what a processor core is and what importance, if any, it has on his computing needs.

        He just goes off to buy a computer and spends his money on what appears to be the best possible product he could purchase on his budget. He just chooses whatever product has the biggest e-penis he can afford. That means he chooses the one with more megahertz, the one with more HD memory, the one with more RAM, the one with more cores, the one with the bigger processor number... Heck, joe six-pack may even end up choosing a computer just because it comes with more RAM chips. "see? it has more rams, which is good."

        The sad thing about it is that this behaviour is perfectly natural. When you decide to purchase something, you end up purchasing the best option according to the information that you were able to access and digest. Some of us may be better informed than others but we all do this. Some of us are better informed to the point of being able to see pass Intel's marketing bullshit but others aren't quite so fortunate. Nonetheless, the decision process is the same.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by rm999 (775449)

        Even very knowledgeable people have a hard time predicting how fast a CPU will be. CPUs no longer operate in a single dimension that can be quantified by a single number. You have the architecture, cache size, clock speed, number of cores, FSB, etc. A slower quad core CPU may be faster for me, whereas a faster-clocked dual core may be faster for a gamer. A cheap atom chip may be better for my poor cousin who just surfs the web.

        My point is customers should not be using the name of a CPU to decide what to buy

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by AK Marc (707885)
        When I, as a consumer, feel overwhelmed or confused about a product choice, I usually respond by simply purchasing nothing at all.

        I don't believe you. Someone steals your car. You go to the dealer. You get a confusing choice of turbo Diesel engine, where it gets great mileage, but uses a different fuel. Or the hybrid, where you know there's some issue with battery replacement, but it gets better mileage than the gasoline powered choice and doesn't run on diesel, which is called smelly and is not at ev
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Wowsers (1151731)

      Picking the right CPU is quite easy, it's the motherboard that's the problem, especially with the current fad of putting on the board as few PCI slots as possible. No wonder there's not the problem there once was with IRQ conflicts, because there's not enough slots to make conflicts!

      • by ultranova (717540) on Monday July 19, 2010 @08:22PM (#32958660)

        Picking the right CPU is quite easy, it's the motherboard that's the problem, especially with the current fad of putting on the board as few PCI slots as possible.

        To be fair, most boards nowadays have both networking and sound integrated, so it's not like the average consumer needs that many (or any, to put it bluntly) PCI slots. Add a graphic card, and that's it.

    • by AHuxley (892839)
      Yes I know, you will have to spend a day with google, tech sites and reviews.
      Some site will have a chart, graph or list on page 17 of 21 pages that has real data.
      Your price point, games and projected usage will jump out and you read off some sequence of numbers.
      Find a price comparison site and hope its listed at a fair price.
      The average average consumer would be in for a 10 to 40% alphanumeric milking?
    • The average consumer just thinks "bigger is better" and by creating a mess of hard to understand sequence numbers they can make it harder for the semi-knowledgable customer to pick the right CPU.

      Semi-knowledgable sounds like "knowing enough to be dangerous". I have counted at least four people who are friends, or I work with, who think more cores is better, without any regard for the type of task they'd use the machine for. Then surprise when their older machine runs their browser twice faster than their new expensive 4-core machine.

      For most desktop tasks, which by their nature depend mostly on strong linear performance, two cores is the line, that, if crossed, you start to lose performance, rather

  • Price drops (Score:3, Insightful)

    by glittermage (650813) on Monday July 19, 2010 @07:48PM (#32958284)
    I do care when Intel ships more cores. The price of 'old" cores drop and I get better value for my $$$.
  • No. (Score:5, Funny)

    by bertoelcon (1557907) * <{berto.el.con} {at} {gmail.com}> on Monday July 19, 2010 @07:48PM (#32958288)
    The headline asked a question, I answered it.
    • FYI, there ARE always other options, not IS.

      (Just in case you do care about that, and English isn't your first language.)

  • by Anonymous Coward

    F@(# Everything, We're Doing Five Blades!

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You do know that you're allowed to write "fuck" on the Internet, right? You don't have to censor it like that.

  • Such as processing times for apps, possibly flops, but for the average user that won't mean much either.
  • by mindwhip (894744) on Monday July 19, 2010 @07:58PM (#32958388)

    ... overdue for its 2 year processor and motherboard upgrade. It is overdue because when I started to look at what processor met my ideal performance/cost ratio it was impossible to figure out.

    I don't have time spare to sit with a spreadsheet and a matrix of 30 different processors to work it out so I won't be upgrading now until something breaks. You lost a sale Intel, and I will have to pay more attention to system requirements of games for a while.

    I would guess I am not the only one choosing not to buy because its so unclear...

    • by Myrcutio (1006333)
      don't worry, even the Intel reps don't know what the difference is. I remember talking to one about hyperthreading when they added it back to the Core series, trying to figure out how two cores suddenly have 4 threads. After 15 minutes of slide presentations with various price points, he came to the conclusion that AMD's closest match for it was still slower than the Core processor with HT. I still don't know what the hell it means, and the benchmarks certainly don't help clarify it. Currently running a
  • by Chewbacon (797801) on Monday July 19, 2010 @07:58PM (#32958392)
    I remember the clockspeed race and it was much simpler to decide what CPU you needed when looking at system requirements. Just a week ago I was looking at a game's requirements and had no idea if my CPU met them. If I were to upgrade, I wouldn't know which CPU would satisfy the requirements. I'm pretty handy with computers and I find picking a processor with today's marketing daunting, I can imagine being totally in the dark if I knew little about computers. Intel could do a better job indicating which CPU is better than the other and letting you know what you're buying.
    • by qbel (1792064)
      Wow, you took the words out of my mouth man. I have been using computers all my life, and the gigahertz race made sense back then.. Now? Lol... I realized I might as well give up trying to stay with it because you only need so much power to run Wordpad, Excel, watch DVDs/movies and surf the web. I just don't feel like it is worth the time commitment to know what's what. I spent 400 bucks on my laptop, and it does everything I need (HD video, compiling code, photoshop, opening 40+ tabs), is ridiculously fast
  • The real story (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    isn't just that the sequence numbers are out of order...

    But that the differences in processor performance are largely irrelevant anymore. Who cares if it's 4/6/8 cores/hyperthreading/gigawhatzitz. The bottom line is that all of them are ridiculously fast. You would do far better putting your money into just about any other component.

  • by bobcat7677 (561727) on Monday July 19, 2010 @08:00PM (#32958416) Homepage
    The number of cores and the speed per core becomes vitally important when you start doing virtualization. Since Windows 7 has this out of the box and Macs use it all over the place and everybody and their cousin are running VMware (or insert your favorite VM environment here), yes, I think alot of people care. That's not even starting to talk about the server space where almost everything is virtualized these days and more cores can mean more VMs (especially on Hyper-V).

    I don't want to leave the enthusiasts out, so I will just say for their benefit that seeing all those core graphs lined up in task manager is a major rush and should not be discounted as users look to buy processors (though I guess Intel has that covered with "hyper-threading":P
  • by DeadboltX (751907) on Monday July 19, 2010 @08:01PM (#32958438)
    Nvidia and ATI have been giving their graphics cards arbitrary numbers for years.

    Is a 330m better than a 220m? maybe.
    What about a 9600 vs an 8800? who knows.

    Intel didn't invent the random product model numbering scheme, they are just joining the ranks.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Lueseiseki (1189513)
      When you kinda grasp how they do it, it's not so hard.

      If I'm looking at an ATI card with the number given as 5850, I know that it's part of the current generation ( 5### ) and is a pretty high end card card ( #850 ).

      If I see 4350, I'll know it's from the previous generation of cards ( 4### ) and it is an entry level or HTPC card.

      It's kinda hard to really know whether an ATI's 4650 is greater than a nvidea 9800GT though, but I think the real difficulty comes from trying to know how much a generation of c

  • by Locke2005 (849178) on Monday July 19, 2010 @08:01PM (#32958440)
    If the chip can't run all the cores at full speed due to heat/power considerations and therefore either throttles back each core's speed or disables some cores under heavy load, than core counts are really just a deceptive pissing contest, aren't they?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by JoeMerchant (803320)

      If the chip can't run all the cores at full speed due to heat/power considerations and therefore either throttles back each core's speed or disables some cores under heavy load, than core counts are really just a deceptive pissing contest, aren't they?

      Depends, performance is much more multi-dimensional than it used to be.... if you have an occasional operation that can parallelize to use 24+ threads, it might be advantageous to get a dual socket motherboard with a couple of the new 6 core hyper-threading processors - even if they throttle back to 1/2 speed, you're still getting a 6x+ speedup compared to single core.

      Personally, for today's software mix, I like the throttling cores, most stuff chokes a single thread so having the ability to run that sin

  • by jayveekay (735967) on Monday July 19, 2010 @08:02PM (#32958446)

    Misleading Indicator of Performance Statistic was the worthless number we had back then, and we liked it!

  • Blingcores?

    But seriously, folks. I know we're all a bunch of geeks here, myself included. But the truth is that it's not the CPU market that's changing. It's the nature of computing itself that is changing. Devices that can be called computing platforms are varied in size, function, and resources. An iPhone is essentially a mobile computing platform, but people wouldn't call it a "computer" in the conventional sense of the word because "computing" is an activity that has moved so far into the backgroun

  • One guess why (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Locke2005 (849178) on Monday July 19, 2010 @08:08PM (#32958520)
    Have you considered that the reason the processor numbers tell you nothing is that ALL the chips are fabbed with 6 cores and the ones that have one or two bad cores in testing have 2 cores disabled and are sold as quads?
    • No (Score:3, Informative)

      by Sycraft-fu (314770)

      And a minimal amount of research will tell you this. Intel's 6 core chips come off their new 32nm lines, since space and power are a premium. Intel's 4 core chips come off their much more prevalent 45nm lines. They are completely different processes and thus one is not sold as the other.

      Intel has pretty good yields, they traditionally have, and thus don't have a real reason to do that sort of thing. It is more economical to fab quads on the more available 45nm process than to make them out of any failed 6 u

  • Do I care if my truck has a Hemi or some other engine? No. I care if it offers the right balance of strength, carrying capacity, looks, and gas mileage. Do I care if the airplane I'm flying in uses GE or Pratt & Whitney or Rolls Royce engines? No. I care if the plane will get me where I need to go comfortably, safely, and quickly. In the early days of computing, it was a thrilling thing to have hardware that could keep pace with software. I still have painful memories of Photoshop 3 screen redraws. Th
  • I would like my CPU cores to be assignable. If I want 1 of my 4 cores on background stuff
    all the time, thats my business.

    Id like to be able to have fun with my GPU cores without being a super-duper programmer.

  • I use AROS (Amiga X86 OS) as a hobby. It doesn't support SMP. There are various other apps I use that don't support SMP.

    So while 8 cores at 3GHZ each is ~24GHZ. I wish the speed wars hadn't stalled as I'd personally have more use for a single core running 20+GHZ.

    We do seemed to have sort of stopped at the 3GHZ mark and just gone to adding cores.
  • by adenied (120700) on Monday July 19, 2010 @08:22PM (#32958656)

    When I decide a new computer (usually because the current one is out of warranty) I just buy whatever the newest Mac laptop is that seems to fit my use case. I might look at the specs a bit but frankly I couldn't tell you what processor is in the one I currently have.

    I used to care a lot about this. When I was in high school. I have a lot more interesting things to care about and I think 99% of the public does too. I'm not trying to diss anyone here. If being a processor geek is your thing, more power to you. But I think people decide for whatever reason that at some point they need a new computer and just buy whatever fits their price bracket and feature needs.

    If I was say, building a huge server farm, or spec'ing out computers for a big group of people I'd obviously do a lot more homework. But those are edge cases in the grand scheme of things.

  • by juventasone (517959) on Monday July 19, 2010 @09:10PM (#32959074)
    I'm surprised no one has mentioned the Windows Experience Index [wikipedia.org] (WEI). It may not be as exhaustive as the benchmarks many of us read, but it is very easy to understand. I've yet to see any manufacturer or retailer advertise a WEI score, but it would be a great help to consumers if they all did. Anyone could easily compare offerings from Intel and AMD, or see the significance of discrete graphics or SSDs (without even knowing what they are).
  • Yes, I care! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by BLKMGK (34057) <{morejunk4me} {at} {hotmail.com}> on Monday July 19, 2010 @09:40PM (#32959292) Homepage Journal

    I want 6 cores and if possible I'd like it unlocked for a reasonable price. Their current "extreme" 6core is actually looking attractive to me but I keep waiting for the price to come down. I had hoped that a new 6core would come in that would be reasonably priced and that even if locked could be clocked up pretty good. But at $880+ I dunno' - I will wait for the street price to hit before I get interested.

    Why do I want 6cores? Because I compress video pretty often and it's an hours long chore while keeping the quality and resolution high - file sizes plummet though. Hi Def video compression is intensive on the CPU and I often see rates as low as 13fps when compressing. That's on a 920 clocked to 4.2ghz. On water this thing hits 80C with a good sized radiator and multiple fans - I'll be moving to a bigger radiator soon in hopes of solving that. A 6core would give me at least a 30% increase in speed if not more depending on if Hyperthreading continues to buy me anything (it does now). If this new CPU can hit speeds like the unlocked Extreme and hits NewEgg for say $750 I'll score one but not when it's within $100 or so of the unlocked Extreme.

    Frankly, if there was decent code to chain multiple machines together to process video I'd try that but the last I saw of code to do that it was old and not worth my time. Since I also happen to be doing this on Windows chances of finding good code to slave machines together is even slimmer.

    So yeah - I care and I agree this new number scheme SUX! But hey in the end it's the performance I care about and how high it will clock without melting down. These Extremes are sick fast but wow are they pricey :-(

    P.S. Were it not for video processing I'd still consider a C2D just fine or maybe an overclocked i5. This 920 STOMPED my 3.8GHZ C2D though so was well worth the investment and it has also beaten a few dual XEON Macs :-)

  • by Deorus (811828) on Monday July 19, 2010 @09:46PM (#32959336)

    It wasn't until recently when I had issues with Microsoft Virtual PC because my BIOS (which had already been upgraded once) was bugged and would not enable hardware virtualization that I realized that my CPU (an Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600) was one of the very few with hardware virtualization back when I bought it, as the processor models directly above and below this one did not have it, and I bought this CPU assuming that any "nodern" (2007) quad core CPU would have it, I chose this particular model based on price alone.

  • I always loved posting this pic for a forum friend who worked at Intel.

    http://images.invisibill.net.nyud.net/intelmodelnumbers.jpg [nyud.net]

  • by dingen (958134) on Tuesday July 20, 2010 @04:53AM (#32961382)

    The process of choosing a CPU (or any component for that matter) has never really changed. This is what you do:

    1. 1) Get a list of all recent CPU models and prices
    2. 2) Sort the list by price descending
    3. 3) Ignore the top of the list, because those prices are just ridiculous. There will be a point in the list where prices suddenly drop to more decent levels
    4. 4) Pick a model around that point in the list (the highest one you can afford, but not so high the price becomes ridiculous again)

    Any other spec is just marketing.

  • Make -jX (Score:3, Interesting)

    by malloc (30902) on Tuesday July 20, 2010 @09:09AM (#32962990)

    6 cores. Do You Care?

    Written like someone who's never heard of 'make -j'. Seriously, anybody that compiles stuff wants more cores, and if you ever reach a point were disk IO is the bottleneck just throw in an SSD.

    Random project on my box:

    make clean; time make -j8
    Real: 4.3s

    make clean; time make -j1
    Real: 14.7s

    Compiling is an inherently parallelizable task.

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