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question on processors


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#1
FayB

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I am planning on getting a new computer later this year windows7 (pro maybe). I am tyring to decided what processor to get.

I currently have a 3G Pentium 4 and am running win xp pro

I don't know how to compare the speed of the dual processors to my current processor and have some quesions?

•I would think that both Window-7 and Win XP support SMT - is that correct?

•If you have an OS that supports SMT but have apps that don't, will the OS still make use of the dual cores by executing some apps on one core and other apps on the other? For instance would it perhaps run monitoring software on one and other things like word processing etc. on the other? Or if the apps don't support SMT,- does that mean the dual cores are useless?

•If you have an OS that supports SMT and an app that supports SMT - does that mean that the app will itself make use of both cores while it is executing - running some instructions on one core and other instructions on the other?

•How do you find out if an app supports SMT - for instance AVAST, ADAWARE etc.

I want to try to make a good choice when I get another computer. I expect to have it quite a while.

Thanks,
Fay
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#2
Neil Jones

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What is this SMT of which you speak? Do you mean this? http://en.wikipedia....ount_technology <-- that is a hardware manufacturing process and is irrelevant of the operating system.

If not SMT, what technology are you referring to?
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#3
FayB

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Sorry, Guess SMT can have several different meanings.

Simultaneous multithreading.
http://en.wikipedia...._multithreading

Fay

Edited by FayB, 01 March 2010 - 08:00 PM.

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#4
Ferrari

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Hi FayB,

I would think that both Window-7 and Win XP support SMT - is that correct?

•If you have an OS that supports SMT but have apps that don't, will the OS still make use of the dual cores by executing some apps on one core and other apps on the other? For instance would it perhaps run monitoring software on one and other things like word processing etc. on the other? Or if the apps don't support SMT,- does that mean the dual cores are useless?


It is really up to the programs whether or not is utilizes multiple cores. Windows 7 will surely make use of multiple cores, I see my cpu monitor use all 8 logical threads (4 cores with Hyperthreading) on an i7 920 sporadically throughout use of it and other programs I have installed.

The best thing to do is to go to the website and research the programs you are concerned whether or not make use of a multi-core processor.

AVAST! As quoted per Avast.com for AVAST! Free Edition when I clicked on the technology tab.

Optimized for latest Intel Core i7 CPUs

Critical sections of the avast! scanning engine code have been optimized to deliver unrivaled performance on the latest Intel chips.
CPU optimization
New Multi-threaded scanning optimization

avast! runs faster on new multi-core CPUs. A new avast! feature allows the splitting of large individual files between cores, accelerating the scanning process.


If you have an OS that supports SMT and an app that supports SMT - does that mean that the app will itself make use of both cores while it is executing - running some instructions on one core and other instructions on the other?

It's all shared, it's not like one program or one particular OS service is completely set aside for one core and then the other program uses the other core... it's just all mixed and matched and "jambled" all together. It "processes" the code all at once really, very rapidly. Some services do have higher priority than others, but I don't mess with changing that ever.

Take a look at these architectural diagram of how things work... Core 2 Duo, i7 Socket 1366 It's hard to make sense of things like that, but that's the best I can do, I don't know much more than that. I'm not a microprocessor engineer. :)

I don't know how to compare the speed of the dual processors to my current processor and have some quesions?


The main things you should look at are FSB (Front Side Bus) or in the "i" series of processors the QPI (Quick Path Interconnect) and in AMD's proc's HyperTransports (HTs), how much cache (the more the better) L3 is better than just having L2, the clock rate i.e. 2.8ghz doesn't mean a whole lot these days, but the higher the better obviously.

Also, many novices make the mistake that the processor is doing most of the work when opening a program or operating windows explorer (not internet explorer) but the main component that can make a huge difference in the speediness of your computer is the hard drive. So look for a motherboard with a nice Southbridge/SATA Controller (communicates between the hard drive and processor) and a hard drive that spins at higher RPM i.e. 7200 RPM and better yet 10,000 RPM with higher the cache the better i.e. 32mb. Also, there are new hard drives out now called SSD's (Solid State Disks) which have no mechanical moving parts and operate much like a flash or thumb drive does. They are extremely expensive, but are very fast.

It will probably drive you crazy trying to make a decision on what processor is better than the other, so something that can be useful is a CPU Hierarchy Chart by a trusted reviewer of hardware like Tomshardware.com. The higher up the list, the better the processor. Also, research individual processors on that site once you have it narrowed down a bit into your price range, and they will list benchmark results for running all kinds of benchmarking programs, some multi-threaded, some not.

Simply put, the best processor for the money is the i7 920, or on AMD's side the Phenom II x4 955/965 and Velociraptors for hard drives are quite nice for the price compared to SSD's.

Hope that helps. :)

Edited by Ferrari, 01 March 2010 - 07:20 PM.

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#5
FayB

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Ferrari,

Thanks for the information. Looks like I will have do a bit more looking.
What I wanted to try to avoid was having applications (that are not written for SMT) that might run slower on the new computer than on the one I have now.
Thanks again,
Fay

Edited by FayB, 01 March 2010 - 07:57 PM.

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#6
Ferrari

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What I wanted to try to avoid was having applications (that are not written for SMT) that might run slower on the new computer than on the one I have now

They will run just as fast, if not faster because the architecture in the newer processors is much better. If a program doesn't utilize multi-core's, then it will just use one core but like I said they will run just as fast, if not faster because the FSB or QPI will be higher and there will be more cache to work with. Which core is used by a single core program is probably decided by the Southbridge and/or processor depending on where there is room to process the code.
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