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Processors - dual core / hyperthreading

Posted on 2006-05-10
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Last Modified: 2010-04-25
This question is for my general interest (please no links to horrendous technical details).

About three years ago the fastest intel processors were about 2.6 GHz, now one sees 3.4 GHz BUT with dual core and HT.
What sort of performance improvement brings the dual core and HT.
Are there any particular environments where that is really useful or conversely a waste of money?
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Question by:AndyAinscow
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rindi earned 1000 total points
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The dual core brings much more (it is actually like having a mainboard with 2 real processors, which has been used in workstations and servers for a long time) than HT, which isn't really much more than a simulation of 2 processors. The most important thing to put all this power to use though, is you need an OS which support this, if you don't have such an OS, you would only use 1 of these CPU's. Modern OS's do support multi CPU's. (Linux, and XP from at least pro uppwards). Not much current software support multi CPU's, but if you are running more than one software title at one time these different instances will be distributed among the CPU by the OS, so that will improve the performance anyway.
Another thing, the modern CPU's also have 64bit functions, and with XP you need to install a special 64bit version to support that, but there is only very little driver support for that OS, so with XP you normally won't see the difference there. Linux on the other hand has almost the same support for 64 bit as to 32 bit, so with that OS you also get a power boost from there.
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by:Callandor
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For single threaded applications like office apps and games that are available today, dual cores do not benefit.  If you do a lot of multitasking, running more than one heavy app at a time, dual cores will benefit you.  There are also programs like Adobe Photoshop which know how to take advantage of dual cores, and if you run cpu-intensive applications like video or audio encoding, dual cores can help.
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by:AndyAinscow
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Callandor - Visual Studio 2005 ?
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by:Callandor
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That's not a dual core aware application, but if you are doing a long compile, a dual core will let you do other things while waiting for it to finish, which is definitely a plus.
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by:AndyAinscow
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Many thanks to both of you for the useful info.
I'll keep it open until tomorrow in case anyone else has some good comments to add.
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by:rindi
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your welcome
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