Multiprocessor Systems: The More the Merrier?by Anand Lal Shimpi on January 3, 1999 6:15 PM EST
- Posted in
An Introduction to the Need
|From the first steps you take down the path of a tweaker, you are put on a journey of self-fulfillment by looking for a way to get the most performance out of your system. In recent times we've seen ideas that were considered at one time to be completely off-the-wall to come into the market as viable solutions for getting the most performance out of your system. Selling overclocked systems with a warranty and with the release of the Kryotech cooling system, selling computers that are thermally accelerated to speeds beyond those previously possible are just two examples of our continuous quest for improvement.|
While the engineers at AMD, Digital, IBM, Intel and Sun (among others) pursue new avenues of improved performance microprocessors and solutions, everyone else, at the end-user side of things, is working to get more, now. It would be nice to be able to run on a copper based chip today, however the silicon (more accurately, the Aluminum) in our Pentium II's and in our K6-2's will just have to stick around for a little while longer until those bad boys up there can give us something new to tweak.
Today's computers have always been more than enough for the business application market, things like office suites and word processing programs don't usually need a high end Pentium II 450 workstation to run fast enough for the needs of most. The reason many of us have expensive $3000 computers at home is primarily to be able to run the latest games at a pleasing speed, it is an unfortunate truth that is reality for many...but what if it isn't reality for you? If it isn't, then chances are that you use your computer for a little more than a little Quaking on the weekends. This would be the other application of today's high end computers, professional use.
Gasp, yes, there are professionals out there that need that Pentium II 450 cooking in your system more than you do, and for them, every last ounce of performance they can squeeze out of their system means a little more than 5 extra frames per second in Quake. What defines a professional user? That is entirely up to you to decide, however for the sake of simplifying things, this article will concentrate on three types of professionals: Computer Aided Design and Drafting Professionals (CADD), Graphics Artists, and Development Professionals (programmers).
Usually, the three types of people mentioned above, CADD professionals, graphics artists, and development professionals, don't have all the money in the world to spend on a computer that they'll eventually need to upgrade to keep up with the software they're using. What happens when you're designing a building in MicroStation and the rendering process is just taking too long? Or what about when you're applying a blur filter to a 20MB image file in Photoshop and you're at the end of your tolerance level for the slowly moving progress bar? And how about those of you that are waiting an eternity for your Visual C++ applications to compile? Is there a solution for you all other than slapping down an extra $500 for a faster processor?