AMD is Betting the Farm on Maximizing Core Count

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Links of London

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Keith E. Whisman

AMD please take this advice.

AMD, we want you to build a processor line that uses a tri channel DDR3 memory controller. We want many cores. We want really fast processor cores. We want lots of L1, L2, and L3 cache. We want at least 64 PCIXpress 2.1 lanes for full on quad SLI/Crossfire running at full tilt X16 on each graphics card.  

We want super fast multi core processors with instructions that have load balancing and process sharing to help improve performance. 

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novatvstdios

my analogy is this: In the video games industry, the only difference in the games now are cinematic presentations. Every single game could have been made in the days of Doom when real time global illumination was a wet dream. Since that time, I haven't seen ONE piece of innovation that didnt pertain to graphics. Game play mechanics, the area which requires the least processing power has been completely ignored in pursuit of this holy grail called realism, and in the process, realism has been confused with reality sims and the biggest benefit of VR has been all but ignored. By extension, the moment i saw that Nero was 700MB and software bloat was introduced into my vocabulary I could see the disturbing trend. Now 10 odd years later and Windows live is supposed to be 100+ MB. Really?

The point is Computers are pretty fast and have been for some time, but software developers are the ones who are tasked with making functional apps zippy. AMD, like every other business has to keep itself relevant and as the underdog, has to make more desperate moves than Intel. More cores are cheaper, bottom line. Intel is going down that same route, but the difference is that it is cheaper for intel to produce massively multicore processors with higher clocks, which would potentially increase the processor life cycles some orders of magnitudes, effectively putting intel out of business. What would they do? Charge $10000 for a 100 core cpu that costs the same as an i9 to manufacture? (Capitalism says yes, but the free market says no) So for the time being they're going to release +N core devices in a deliberate to keep profits aloft. AMD has nothing to lose but market share so this is the logical move for them.

As for the guy denouncing multicores on mobile platforms, what rock have you been blogging under? Multicore MIDS are going to litter the 2010's.

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ps3universal

Sure hyper-threading is cool and it was used in the pentium era but in reality do we need it? I say no. What we do need is real (not virtual) cores, and those cores are to be sped up to a very high frequency. So in a way AMD has it right...  the only thing that is really needed is for software developers and operating system manufactures to enable the use of more then just two cores in a program.  

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Nimrod

Im sorry but the answer has got to be both. It looks like their just looking for a way to slack off on the performance end. In the real world, having the number of cores in hardware that a program has been dsigned to take advantage of is a requirment not an optimization. And since its not like programs are going to start needing more cores than Intel can deliver, AMD has no other course of acction in their fight on the desktop highish end of the spectrum.

 

They need more Hrz or they need to rediscover the performance per clock advantage they had back when the AthlonXP 1800+ was their top end part. End of stroy.

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BadCommand

...Red Fish, Blue Fish

Seems like the same old conversation, my servers need 4 or more and my desktop needs up to 4.

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Torcflaed

when are they going to realize one key to better performance is to use the multiple cores for seperate functions of the system?

for instance if I have 4 real cores then why not dedicate one of them to all MB functions that call on the processor, dedicate another to streaming graphics info to the graphics card so it can do it's thing and then the remaining cores work on the actual programs

I want to know why systems noticably slow or freeze momentarily for simple background sub programs when theres 4 real cores a MB chipset a graphics card, all kinds of differant processors doing all kinds of things but I plug in a thumb drive and a movie I am watching staggers for a second?

this makes no sense to me

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mesiah

Most small system stuttering or hanging really has nothing to do with your CPU. It is most often caused by the system having to wait for drives to spin up and access data. As for hanging what attaching a USB device, I would complain to microsoft about that one. Typically when a new device is detected, installing it is the highest priority. Windows fires up your hard drive and starts hunting for drivers. If you are already running a fairly taxing program it is easy to get stuttering when that occurs.

An SSD will actually help more with stuff like that, or MS could work on smoothing out the process. Either way, I don't think a million cores, no matter their focus are going to solve the problem.

 

*Also, MPC please fix the spell check. There is no longer a spell check option at the top and right clicking on a word to correct spelling in firefox produces a context sensitive menu that does not have spelling corrections. I have to switch to html mode, correct spelling, then switch back.

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intelati

We aren't camping, please get some new SPAM (filter) PLEASE.

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eric0rr

they both will increase, but more speed per core will out-last i think, mainly due to smart phones, and other devices not calling for dual cores

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PCLinuxguy

this sounds good but here's what the companies fail to take into account: there's less than a handfull od real world applications that benefit from multicore CPUs  (unless you do video editing and perhaps for servers but not for the average joe's desktop). So until that changes then it's basically like having a V12 engine with cylinder deactivation on full time that cuts it down to 6 cylinders.   Hacing a CPU the size of those very small sd cards like they use in phones that could run at 2.5 Ghz and under 20 watts while hammering up over 20 cores with hyperthreading (or something better) would be impressive.

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YoshiHNS

The new chips are going to be more about the actual design of the chip than just having more cores. The "two cores in one" is an idea that basically makes sense. If it's scalable (4+ cores in one), it should push for more cores on chips while also bringing a new level of multi-processing.

Yes, most people don't understand that two cores can sometimes be faster than four and so on. It then makes sense to start pushing more cores. If that's what people are going to buy, then supply.

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bbarker3

Wouldn't more cores equate to more power, regardless of processing speed? Wouldn't it be better to have a Quad a 1.8 GHz vs a Dual at 3.6 GHz (ofcourse only if the processors were from the same family)? Just curious.

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Peanut Fox

It really would depend on the application.  It the application that is going to be running on these two CPUs is only optimized for 1 or 2 cores, then in this instance the duel core would likely outstrip the quad core by a large margin.  Even still with a clock speed difference that large, the duel core is going to have an advantage in a lot of other instances too.  However, as more and more applications start to take advantage of multithreading, really isn't going to be the issue going forward.

In the end it's really going to depend on how the chips are designed to take advantage of computer processing.  Duel cores and quad cores aren't designed the same.  I'd really like to see MaxPC do an article where they disable 2 and 3 cores on a quad or six core chip to see what the effects this would have on performance.  This could give us a much better idea on how software and the number of computational cores that a CPU has actually effect real world performance.

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mesiah

"I'd really like to see MaxPC do an article where they disable 2 and 3 cores on a quad or six core chip to see what the effects this would have on performance.  This could give us a much better idea on how software and the number of computational cores that a CPU has actually effect real world performance."

 

+1 to you my friend. I would love to see an article like this. Someone get this guy a cookie :D

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d3v

I think I understand what AMD is getting at. Cores are the new GHz. Back in the pentium 4 days Intel chose to increase clock speeds at the expense of Instructions Per Clock. They did this to take advantage of the widely held belief among consumers that faster clocks equal better performance. Today most average consumers think that more cores equals better performance so AMD is just looking to exploit this popular misconception.

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amay

AMD understands that single threaded performance matters as well. If you study what they are hoping to accomplish with the architecture then you'll understand.

 

Bulldozer is broken down into 2 dual integer core modules that share 2 128 floating point units & 2mb L2 cache (if the news report from xbit is to be believed a 8 core bulldozer chip will have 16mb cache) in a scenario where 4 or fewer cores are used the single integer core will have access to both the floating point unit (which should function as a 256bit unit) and 2 mb L2 cache.

 

John Fruehe (who goes by the screen name JF-AMD - he is quite active on several enthusiast forums on the net - semiaccurate, overclock.net, etc) has promised an improvement on single threaded performance.

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Walnut

Honestly, at this point in time, I see little use for more than two or four cores. No one writes applications for ridiculous numbers of cores so unless you're playing three separate instances of Crysis, you're just wasting your money. 

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Nimrod

Kind of a dumb coment. For one thing, Crysis isnt that great at using lost of CPU cores. Secondly, I very rarely ever just have one program running at a time. But if your happier pretending like its 2002 have fun shutting down all your other apps before you open a game and turn off all the fancy display settings in windows.

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BAMT

Multiple cores are nice but only to an extent. Of course, if you're running a single threaded application you'll lose a little performance in that application because of the lower clock speed, but with more cores you can run a few high-intensity single threaded programs without decreasing general responsiveness. For instance, I have a quad core Intel and I can encode video on one core and maybe transferring encrypted data on another while on the internet and maintaining a smooth and responsive KDE4 with effects. But this is only so useful without multiple threads as it's VERY unlikely for someone to have 5 videos encoding at once, for example. (Yeah, I know there are multithreaded video encoders. It's an example.)

Also, maybe he meant 4 and 6 core? Because HT doesn't count as cores.

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Eddd

Hey Justin

Stop pluralizing nouns with apostrophes.

One core. Two cores.

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aviaggio

Hey Eddd

Stop bitching over a typo.

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Walnut

Your preposition selection is a bit awkward. I'd go with "quit bitching about a typo." But I totally agree with what you're saying.

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Havok

And I would have said, "Quit bitching about a typo."

However, I totally agree with both of the above statements.

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quickone

Between my 3 rigs, two quad cores and a dule core laptop, when I am not folding for MPC I am usually using, out of the 10 cores, 3....  Folding It's 10/10 with all fans 100%

For the average user they will not need more than 2 or 3 cores for anything they do.  If you're encoding, rendering, or folding then the more the better but for most of the computer using population clock speed might be better.

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aviaggio

I'm kinda with you here. Until we see applications and games take full advantage of 2-4 cores I don't see the point of having 6, 8, or more, cause 99% of the time they're not doing anything.

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Nimrod

Dude get with the times. I just played the original Halo for the first time ever on my PC and even that game uses both cores in my rig. Games have been fully taxing 2 cores for the better part of the last decade. N:TW can use 6 or 8 already i think also.

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