Recently in both the print and online versions of Maximum PC we looked at Nvidia’s CUDA API and what a GP-GPU future might look like. The one wild card in this equitation is the other big player in the graphics card market, ATI. Will ATI play nice by supporting CUDA and licensing PhysX? Or will it go its own way, a result which may end up killing both companies initiatives.
Let's set aside Crysis, heavy encoding, and the few other specialized tasks capable of making a high end rig writher in agony. For everything else, we're at a point where the software needs to catch up with the hardware, and that hasn't always been the case. Remember when your anti-virus program would kick in, preventing you from being able to open a Word document or perform other mundane tasks with any sense of urgency? Neither Intel's brute-force, gazillion stage pipeline nor AMD's Rainman approach to efficiency were enough to get over the performance hump, and it took the advent of mulitple core processors to blow the doors open to multitasking.
Now that dual- and quad-core processors are mainstream parts, the roles have been reversed. There exists only a handful of programs developed to intelligently utilize additional cores, and even less that take advantage of the additional computing power effectively. Toss benchmarking by the wayside and you probably won'tt be able to discern between a dual-core E8200 (2.66GHz) system, and one equipped with a quad-core Q9450 (2.66GHz). For that to change, developers must learn how to program for not only today's hardware. but tomorrow's too.
Find out what 'unwelcome advice' Intel has for developers after the jump.
AMD’s Phenom line gets some new additions with three new CPUs. The Phenom X4 9950 Black Edition which is now AMD’s fastest quad-core CPU at 2.6GHz is joined by the Phenom X4 9350e at 2.0 Ghz and the X4 9150e at 1.8 Ghz.
A few of the specs for these processors:
L1 Cache Sizes: 64K of L1 instruction and 64K of L1 data cache per core (512KB total L1 per processor) L2 Cache Sizes: 512KB of L2 data cache per core (2MB total L2 per processor) L3 Cache Size: 2MB (shared) Memory Controller Frequency: Up to 1.6GHz - 2.0GHz with Dual Dynamic Power Management
Interested in hearing how some intitial overclocking went on the 9950BE? Make the Jump for details!
Playing the waiting game often means your proposed upgrade stays stuck in a perpetual limbo, except for those rare times when the next best thing truly is right around the corner. It appears we've reached one of those junctures, and a trifecta of new Nehalem procs already have one foot nudged out the door and ready to run. Keep reading to find out what Intel has planned, and when.
*Ok, they may not be the biggest ever, but they're still pretty awe-inspiring. We got a little hands-on time with one of these huge, CPU-cooling hybrids and watched the little processor tremble with fear.