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When Too Many Cores are Too Much of a Good Thing

Do I really need a 12 core processor?

Processing cores are the guts of all modern processors. The past few years have seen ramping-up of cores within a processor instead of frequency speed increases. This has been a great thing because more simple cores mean tasks can be completed by splitting the work load.

Recently, I was in a discussion with a few computer scientist buddies on the subject of providing a better way for current applications to share the work load held within a sandbox (a closed memory allocation array). You see, most applications (80 percent plus) in use today still work on one task at a time (non multiple core aware or non threaded) and the cost associated to re-engineer these into threaded version is, well, huge.

We started to think, if we could find a way around this cost, we would have the holy grail of computer tweaks on our hands. The issue is that no current language or operating system is self-conscious of this very principle and until one arrives, these older applications will not change.

So what is the point? Well, the point is, if you are using an application written for single threads then why spend all the money on 6/8/12 core processors if it only runs on one processor at a time? The need for speed is still great and cores are also great if you are using two or more applications at a time, which, last time I knew, most people don’t have the brain power to handle typing or viewing three things at a time.

Now for many you are thinking, I have three programs running, isn’t each one using one core? The answer is, only the foreground application is really using the processor and all others are sleeping in memory, waiting to come to the foreground. This task-switching method has been around since the early DOS days when TSR (Terminate and Stay Resident) programs where all the rage. So real multiple threaded applications are specialized and most are games, simulators and higher end database systems. 

So when you are purchasing a new computer, phone or other processor-based device, remember what your end goal of use is. You may be better off with a faster MHz processor with only two cores over these mega core systems.

CAW (Cool Application of the Week):

With all these new phones allowing MP3/4 movies to be taken, I started thinking, what is a cheapest way to edit them into a movie or add text effects? So I started my search and found Lightworks Beta, which turned out to be a great open source application. Features are great and it could just turn you into the next Steven Spielberg on your kitchen table.

Be safe this holiday season, hug your family twice as hard!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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