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/ Forums / Dual core CPUs, donít get your hopes up

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A K Jan 27, 2005, 02:43pm EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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this is probably a stupid question, but why cant we just make CPUs bigger to allow more stuff to fit inside? why does the core have to be so friggin small?

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Josh D Jan 28, 2005, 06:12am EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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The smaller, the less distance travelled.

Consider a computer that executes 1 billion instructions per second: What may seem a small increase in size to you may be a serious detriment to performance.

Sean B Jan 28, 2005, 07:04am EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Jan 28, 2005, 07:06am EST

It's not only performance... but production costs.

If processors were larger, manufacturers would be able to fit fewer cores on a 300mm wafer, which would mean they'd be producing fewer processors at the same current cost.

Think of it like a bakery. They have a certain amount of money to spend on ingredients, so in order to produce more goods, they try to stretch out the dough to last longer.

Steven Stein Mar 03, 2005, 12:53am EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Mar 03, 2005, 01:03am EST

The less distance electron flow has to cover, the more operations that can be accomplished in any given time frame.

This is why Cray...who started the 'modern' supercomputer movement - and I have personally worked on several different flavors of Crays, including the one which had their entire interiors bathed in fluid (the Cray-2)...were built in the shape of a 'C'. This is/was the most efficient architectural shape for combining massive amounts of hardware/raw computing power while, at the same time, reducing electron pathway distances.

The same idea applies to CPU cores. Samller IS better...but only up to a point. As the micro-architecture is reduced beyond a certain scale, MUCH greater electrical leakage is incurred. This is one of the reasons that modern procs, especially the high-speed P4, have become so power hungry. Because the scale is so small, it has become harder to ensure adequate insulation on the traces leading to spurious electrical emission, heat generation and EMI (ElectroMagnetic Interference) signatures. Think of the latter as 'radar detection' on a miniscule scale.

The upshot of this diatribe is that at this time we are 'hitting the wall' as far as reducing scaling while increasing proc speed. That is precisely ONE of the reasons why AMD procs are more efficient than IntHell procs at present. The AMD runs at lower core speeds, reducing heat loss and making better use of the resources available to it.


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