Archive for the ‘CPU’ Category

Mind shifting from CPU to GPU – Intel vs. NVIDIA

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

After Intel dragged its case against NVIDIA to the court, CEO Jen-Hsun Huang of NVIDIA could not resist in making the repeated statement that GPUs have arrived leaving CPUs outdates in the finely indirect reference to the credo of graphics chip maker that PC processor mind share would soon shift from to NVIDIA from Intel. The statement which Huang inserted in the recent NVIDIA release about Intel’s court filing read as at the core of the issue is that CPU has already run its course and the essence of PC is quickly shifting to GPUs. It also said that it is clearly an effort to smother innovation to safeguard a vanishing business.

It is not the first time NVIDIA’s CEO Huang said this as he had mentioned openly last year that the company can “open up a can of whoop-ass” over Intel when he was responding to questions regarding the forthcoming Larrabee graphics technology of Intel. Huang has also said many times in forums that CPUs of Intel are good enough and are not so finely indirect code, where the CPU technology of Intel is past its principals.

However some questions should be posed as is Huang right? Would consumers place more importance on GPUs than CPUs? And finally more important is, would chipmakers and PC makers put significantly more marketing and development resources in the GPUs? So, a quick solution to the first question is consumers often expect computers to perform better when handling web-based games, graphics and videos and so unconsciously or consciously consumers might put more emphasis on GPUs. There is also a small answer to the later question, as for instance, if you look at the Puma laptop platform of AMD, there is an increased emphasis on graphics as the platform is performance driven. Therefore surely as a chipmaker the graphics technology from their ATI units is making a broader mark these days compare to CPUs.

This however does not mean that impetus is necessarily in the favor of NVIDIA. A great change happening in the PC market is not just the drive from CPU to GPU but also a shift from conventional laptops to inexpensive laptops or netbooks and currently most of the market is all of Intel. An analyst at Investment Bank Collins Stewart Ashok Kumar said that the dramatic change which is happening in the PC industry is altogether migration to inexpensive solutions which are netbooks. He said that Intel integrated graphics only in a sense that it might pose more of a challenge for NVIDIA in the future.

In fact the netbook market shows probably more compared to anything what a consumer mindset is. It is not necessary for the graphics to be great or good but they should be adequate. Although the CEO of NVIDIA is right when he said GPU technology is far beyond integrated graphics, he is also not necessarily right when he says that there is massive mind share shift to the NVIDIA standard GPU centric universe.

Intel Core 2 CPU architecture

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

For the past several years the hype machines have been long awaiting for the new processor architecture from Intel. The new architecture budded as Core 2 is a radical shift for the company that was once the main proponent of ramping up the CPU frequency. The first desktop product Core 2 promises to be much faster compared to the Pentium D series and even faster compared to Athlon 64 FX-62. These last tests were however not completely true as the FX-62 was actually an overclocked FX-60 that ran on DDR400 and not on DDR2-based FX-62. Therefore it is very much clear from all the industry scuttlebutt, sanctioned testing and all the leaks that Core 2 offers faster performance. There still are questions about how fast it is really, when in a wider array of applications than the previously tested results.

The answer remains that the Core 2 micro architecture had been summarized of its high points before it was launched. The Core 2 actually owned much of its inheritance to the mobile Pentium M processor line of Intel. However, the first iteration of this architecture that is called as the Banias was the creation of Israeli design team of Intel, which means that the core 2 is not just another iteration of their Pentium M. rather it borrows a little from their old Netburst architecture while adding some excellent additional enhancements for the new architecture. This has resulted in a processor that has substantially shorter instruction pipeline compared to Netburst. The entire instructions performed per clock cycle which is substantially higher and so even if Core 2 processor is running at lower clock frequency than any previous Intel desktop lines it would run applications much faster. Additionally the Core 2 is also much power efficient.

The main goal of Intel regarding the mainstream CUP is to maintain around 65W versus 130 w of high end Pentium D 940 or 90 to -95W of mainstream Pentium d or some extreme editions of CPUs. As a result what you get is a CPU which uses much less power while also running applications significantly faster. This fast speed of the processor has also enhanced by the excellent architecture of Core 2. its architecture completely differs from that of Netburst micro architecture that is used in Pentium 4 and Pentium D processor. The Netburst had used very deep pipelines which can be nearly 31 stages for the latest CPU to establish deeper and higher frequencies. Ultimately this architecture ran into brick wall with higher frequencies that actually consumed too much of power while also generating to much of heat. Intel had never shipped a 4-GHz CPU officially even though they spoke about the processor beyond 5-GHz a few years ago. The Intel Core 2 strives for a great efficiency while also offering outstanding performance considerably above past Intel products. This is because their Core 2 architecture is based on their specific goals which include fourteen stage pipelines, four instructions per clock and macro-ops and micro-ops fusion which together contributes towards its fast performance.

64-bit computing – coming to a computer near you

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

The technology enthusiasts who think and feel ideas take time to germinate can now be sure as the 64-bit computing has finally arrived where the software and the operating system run on the 64-bit CPU from AMD or Intel. The operating system of Apple has been 64-bit for nearly five years and Linux for around eight years. However, the compatibility problem has dogged this 64-bit Windows version since Windows XP were introduced. There are a number of key benefits like an improved performance and support for several gigabytes of RAM. However, the question remains why 64-bit now and also why you should care for it now?

To be honest, the promises of 64-bit computing were around for quite a while and some even think it can be a broken promise. However Microsoft offers a 64-bit version for their both Windows XP pro and Windows Vista Ultimate while there are also 64-bit versions freely available for Linux. According to Gartner one PC from every four that is sold today is built with 64-bit operating system. When it comes to hardware, both AMD and Intel have also offered 64-bit processors for several years. Apart form this; the additional RAM that is supported by the several buses is now surprisingly affordable due to the smooth manufacturing process and the typical levels of demand. The most important thing is that several companies like Autodesk, Apple and Adobe also offer their flagship software products in versions of 64-bit. For the first time Adobe offers their Creative Suit 4 with 64-bit version.

Therefore the main benefit has much to do with the memory addressing. Long ago, the master minds working at Intel and several other companies had decided that a PC will require just 32-bit register size as the amount of RAM that a CPU can easily access. Right after that in 2003 AMD had launched the first 64-bit processor called as the Opteron. However the rules suddenly changes as the CPU was able to access a surprising amount of RAM which can be translated to several gigabytes of RAM. This does not mean that you could not install so much of memory but even if you wanted to you could not. Therefore since then the software and operating system have been gradually catching up to the hardware to finally reach then today.

There are basically two main advantages of 64-bit for computers. For the consumers it would be like adding 8GB or 16GB of RAM so that the memory intensive applications like Adobe Photoshop CS4 can have enough overhead to cut off page swapping virtual memory. However running 64-bit version of Adobe Lightroom 2 on MacBook, additional RAM would mean never overloading your computer as it often tries to process several megabytes of images. Additionally for the consumers running 64-bit computing would mean that they never have to worry about how many programs and applications they are running. You will hardly experience a BSOD on a computer with 16GB of RAM as the programs are free to consumer the sufficient RAM they need so that the computer is processing information rapidly.

Intel’s Quad-Core CPU delivers speed and power

Monday, February 16th, 2009

Intel delivered their Core 2 Duo processor line in July which also delivered a surprise through the computer industry. The performance devotees who had been pleased by the performance of the Athlon 64 X2 CPUs had seemed to change their minds almost overnight. Additionally the message board is also full of posts arrogant on how they could push their E6300 CPU over the 3GHz. Currently it is AMD that is struggling. The company is looking anemic which was once noticed as swift and lean compared to the older juggernaut of Intel. The Sunnyvale, California based CUP Company would also not leave the competition so easily. AMD has already cut out prices from their own line of processors after Intel launched their Core 2 processor as the standard AMD system trends would be fairly less expensive. However, the price reductions have actually hurt the margins of AMD and the final thing the company would want is to be the second tier provider as they are back into the times when they were perceived as the second basis for Intel friendly CPUs.

Intel yet has something like their killer instinct they previously had, which fear that the ex-CEO had frequently proclaimed. Therefore Intel has launched their Core 2 Extreme Q6700 Quad-core processor. They are carefully built with 2 Core 2 Duo dies and this QX6700 is basically a 2 dual-core processor Cup that is packed single.  This makes it look like one processor as it is crucial for the licensing of operating system. Microsoft actually counts the hollows and not how many cores are used when licensing windows.

They have designed a system that uses QX6700 in order to find out if the 2 additional cores would really make any difference, but the result is as you would expect which is mixed. There are a few systems where it can make a clear difference while in other programs or applications you might hardly notice it. However when noticed in during the introduction for windows licensing purpose, the QX6700 actually looked a single CPU. The code name for this new quad core chip is Kentsfield which literally ties two dies that are built into the same multi chip module. This offers QX6700 a proficient die size of just 268mm sq that is double the size of single Core 2 Duo CPU.

There are also some other inferences for this approach, where both the dies offer 4MB of common L2 cache, but they are dedicated to the 2 cores on the same die. When you need to pass data forth and back between the cores it must be done through the 1066MHz SFB or shared front side bus. Intel suggests that SFB has ample of bandwidth to manage the kind of traffic that is used by desktop CUP. Some of the CPU architects still have some quires as a true quad-core basically consists of four cores on one die, but to this Intel had several reasons: The outcome is better for the pair of 143mm sq dies over the single 286mm sq die. It is also easier to bin-sort CPUs in order to get matched pairs for which the die with 2 mismatched cores will have to ship at a frequency of lower core. Lastly the key reason is faster time in marketing.

How to choose CPU for your next laptop

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008

Now days, even regular central processing units, i.e. CPUs seem to be potent enough to counter their ‘desktop cousins’ in each and every application apart from gaming. This thing aids in explaining why the sales of laptops are starting to overtake the sales of desktops. If you’re using a personal computer for personal productivity or business, it’s any time more convenient to purchase a computer which you can carry along with you.

However, having shopped for a laptop can prove to be a dreadful experience; just because it exists in loads of sizes and shapes. Manufacturers who sell their wares through online means present prebuilt rigs. At the same time, they also present build-to-order machines wherein you can get to decide the components wanted by you. That is, indeed, one of the greatest options. It can, however, make shopping experience much more intimidating as there’re a lot of permutations for choosing from.

It is simple enough for picking something such as a ‘Wi-Fi adapter’. 802.11g is a prescribed fare in several configurations, particularly at lower end. 802.11n is offered in the form of one of the extra-cost options. This thing holds true for optical drive and hard disk as well. The actual challenge lies within having chosen the appropriate CPU for various needs.

Babel tower

Intel Corp., and Advanced Micro Devices Inc., i.e. the top chip makers of the US surely do not make the work easy. Both of them are coming up with certain product names which were never heard off before. Moreover, these names reveal a bit or literally nothing regarding the product.

For instance, look at Core 2 line of Intel. All of them seem to be dual-core processors. However, the fact is that any of the Core 2 processors can contain any number of cores; right from 1 to 4 inside. ‘2′ in ‘Core 2′ symbolizes that it’s the 2nd generation of ‘Core’ processor of Intel. The naming scheme of AMD isn’t better. Now, just pay attention: What is the exact difference between an ‘AMD Athlon X2 Dual-Core Processor for laptops and AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual-Core processor for laptops?

It isn’t just the nomenclature that is making things all that confusing: It is the overabundance of ‘clock speeds’ in which the chips come. Intel especially is notorious in terms of pushing out various models whose differences are just price tags and clock speeds.

Make use of this guide

Dual-core central processing units are, at present, a sweet spot with respect to mobile processors. This thing, of course, holds true till you look out for an ‘ultra light laptop’, or you are running out of funds. If you show interest in having seen raw specifications for every mobile CPU, we can guide you through our ‘quick reference charts’.

You might have noticed that processors from Intel have been under greater focus as compared to those from AMD. This can be attributed to the fact that ‘Intel’ has completely knocked ‘AMD’ out of the market of mobile CPUs.