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Index > Heap > Are multicore CPUs such a great thing? - Donanld Knuth talks

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Plue



Joined: 15 Dec 2005
Posts: 151
Plue
I predict we will not have much use for more than 2 to 4 cpu cores on personal computers for home/office use, however, I think we will get multi-core graphics cards. Actually, we already have that, I think. And it works well.
Post 11 Sep 2009, 20:18
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LocoDelAssembly
Your code has a bug


Joined: 06 May 2005
Posts: 4633
Location: Argentina
LocoDelAssembly
Quote:
Actually, we already have that, I think.

Exactly, and without resorting to SLI nor crossfire. http://www.techspot.com/review/139-geforce-gtx-295/
Post 11 Sep 2009, 20:38
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f0dder



Joined: 19 Feb 2004
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f0dder
Plue: today's GPUs are massively parallel. I have a GF8800GT, which is considered old hat by today's standards... and that has like 1000+ threads. Utilizing that kind of parallelism for non-graphics tasks is hard, though.

Imho dualcore is a really nice plateau for most people: they can't take advantage of more processing power, but the step from single->dualcore means the system feels more responsive.
Post 12 Sep 2009, 02:30
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ManOfSteel



Joined: 02 Feb 2005
Posts: 1154
ManOfSteel
Plue wrote:
I predict we will not have much use for more than 2 to 4 cpu cores on personal computers for home/office use

Huh? What do you mean by "office use"? Gaming? 3D modeling and rendering?
I've never noticed MS Word or Excel or similar software required more than a single-core Pentium II/III (maybe Office Vista????).

I've never owned anything "better" than a PIV and I do much more than "office work".
Post 12 Sep 2009, 09:23
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Borsuc



Joined: 29 Dec 2005
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Location: Bucharest, Romania
Borsuc
f0dder wrote:
Plue: today's GPUs are massively parallel. I have a GF8800GT, which is considered old hat by today's standards... and that has like 1000+ threads. Utilizing that kind of parallelism for non-graphics tasks is hard, though.
Not really since it's in the top-end range of models. 9800, its successor, is identical except that it's built on 65nm and thus has improved efficiency (less heat & power consumption). A 9500 (low-end, like mine) is better than an 8800 efficiency-wise (like any newer generation), but doesn't mean it's more powerful.

I don't think graphics cards have "threads" as we know them though. They are for shaders, and that's sort of SIMD in a way...

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Post 12 Sep 2009, 15:36
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bitRAKE



Joined: 21 Jul 2003
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bitRAKE
Knuth wrote:
I also must confess to a strong bias against the fashion for reusable code. To me, "re-editable code" is much, much better than an untouchable black box or toolkit. I could go on and on about this. If you’re totally convinced that reusable code is wonderful, I probably won’t be able to sway you anyway, but you’ll never convince me that reusable code isn’t mostly a menace.
At least, we agree on that.

Modern software is "more than one thing at once" - the abstractions have sufficient depth to utilize multiple cores/threads. Currently, the cores are just beginning to be integrated at the hardware level. At the extreme I can imagine complete core virtualization: where a single CPU looks like 1000 cores to software, but the processor just manages a massive array of execution resources.

Some features become available with this model which are not possible with software alone. For example, the processor could create internal core mirrors to eliminate pipeline flushes. (Increasing the speed of sequential code with non-predictable branches.)

Rather than "the hardware designers have run out of ideas", I prefer to imagine the multiple cores are in the migration path of the hardware designer's ideas. Knuth might be right about programmers not really needing to program to multiple cores, but they are here to stay.
Post 21 Sep 2009, 05:02
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