AMD and Intel's Dual Core Demonstrations; The Race to Dual Core

The first time I, personally, had ever heard anything about "dual core" processors was several years ago at a regional conference when none other than Anand Shimpi gave a keynote about the advantages of parallelism, particularly with multiple core CPU applications.

Needless to say Intel and AMD must have come to the same conclusions earlier this decade since today we have seen server demonstrations with 90nm server chips from both companies. As the timeless adage states, "Many hands make light work."

We first got a hint that things would go toward dual core when we heard of a technology from Intel called "Hyperthreading." This precursor to truly multi-core processors emulated two processors on the same CPU. Many industry insiders almost took this as a warning for programmers to start optimizing and designing code for multithread operations. As quoted by Paul Otellini during Keynote Q&A of the recent Fall 2004 IDF, "over 90% of HT capable Xeons run with HyperThreading enabled."

With the dual core announcement, forum members (even in the AMD suite) were constantly correcting each other as to new nomenclature; no longer do we use "2-way, DP or 2-processor" to describe a server. Instead the correct terminology becomes a "2-Socket configuration." A dual socket, dual core Intel configuration actually refers to eight logical processors! Four physical processors exist on two sockets/dies with HyperThreading enabled on all four. Extremely threaded applications - such as web and database servers - are specifically tailored to take advantage of the additional threads, and things only get better from there.

During the Day 1 and Day 2 Keynote speeches, a technology that grabbed our attention was something called Vanderpool Technology or VT. VT is an upcoming feature on several processor families (including the dual core families) that allow processor emulation and/or virtualization. As explained by Intel, with Vanderpool Technology, we can actually run two operating systems simultaneously on the same machine, and even dedicate one processor to a given operating system, and another processor to a different operating system.

Of course, no Intel Developer Forum is ever complete without a stop by the AMD hospitality suite usually within a block or two of the convention center. In fact, AMD has an extremely similar technology to Vanderpool dubbed "Pacifica." According to our AMD correspondents, Pacifica technology will allow us to run multiple operating systems and dedicate specific CPUs to those operating systems. AMD also unveiled to us a technology called "Presido", which looks identical to Intel's Lagrange Technology (LT).

Dual Core Intel Solutions


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  • mikecel79 - Sunday, September 12, 2004 - link

    #9 Actually Intel did demo a dual-core desktop CPU at the IDF.

    According to this article at ZDNet:

    Here's a quote from the article:
    "Like the current Pentium 4, Intel's dual-core desktop chip is built on the NetBurst architecture and fits into motherboards using Intel's 915 Grantsdale chipset. But Siu declined to provide many details on the dual-core demonstration chip, which he described as an engineering prototype.

    "It is real silicon running on a standard 915 platform," Siu said. He wouldn't comment on whether it has the 64-bit memory extension technology, called EM64T."

  • Burbot - Sunday, September 12, 2004 - link

    #8: well, it does not happen often, but it is entirely possible. Here is a real life example: . They've encountered more then 100% scaling in one scene with Xeon Prestonia, and the testers there are definitely far from your average GarbageMark hugging newbies. It happens IRL. Reply
  • PrinceGaz - Saturday, September 11, 2004 - link

    There's no need for AMD to increase the speed with a die-shrink; moving from 130nm to 90nm allows them to fit twice as many transistors in the same size core -- meaning they will be able to manufacture dual-core processors at no extra cost to current single-core A64/Opteron's. Die-shrinks used to mean significantly higher clocks but that may now be a thing of the past, at least compared to the sort of increases we were used to. The future lies in multi threaded applications and die-shrinks will allow for more physical cores to be included on a processors. Reply
  • Anemone - Saturday, September 11, 2004 - link

    To start off, the current desktop A64's are very much better than their P4 counterparts for the gaming arena.

    However, that said, AMD is apparently more ready to demonstrate 90nm tech on dual core than they seem ABLE to demonstrate the same technology on a faster running A64 single core.

    Intel's issue is that they can't demonstrate either a faster running P4 OR a dual core desktop chip. So they have it far worse, especially that they are both claiming to be offering these items 9 months from now.

    So, from appearances, AMD is failing to demonstrate their A64 can run past 3ghz with a die shrink, so it would appear they are also hitting a speed ceiling. And Intel can't demonstrate either dual core or faster than 4ghz P4's at their own dev conference.

    *rolls dice* Well it seems AMD is farther ahead in the desktop performance game, but they may be hitting the end of the road. Intel is already there and has nothing to show you any different from the rumors. Buy AMD, imo, but next year isn't going to be as grand as either is making it out to be.
  • Locutus4657 - Saturday, September 11, 2004 - link

    #6 while those types of exersises make for great text book reading material the fact is in the real world you're almost never going to be able to optimise your application to get exactly 2x preformance increase. Maybe close but it's hard! Reply
  • AtaStrumf - Saturday, September 11, 2004 - link

    Blah, this is all crap! The best idea both AMD and Intel can come up with is sticking two cores on one die. Why dont't they take, say a prescott and a Hammer core and stick 'em together? That way we would have the best of both worlds :) Or maybe they could stick a Dothan and a Prescott core together?

    Of course I'm jokeing, but seriously, when I first heard of multy cores I thought they would be more like specialised sub cores better at certain tasks, stuck together for higher performance. The above given examples are a bit extreme, but wouldn't that be better, than simply everything times two?
  • Burbot - Saturday, September 11, 2004 - link

    Quote: It is important to remember that performance from a dual core processor can never exceed 2x
    This appears to be wrong. In fact, the "how can a 2-CPU system archieve more then double perfomance of an identic single CPU machine?" is a frequent textbook question. If the data set of an application does not fit entirely into cache of one CPU, but fits into two such caches, then two CPUs (assuming that cache coherency is implemented) can be more then twice faster.
  • icarus4586 - Friday, September 10, 2004 - link

    ZobarStyl--"I really wanted to see a dual-core desktop Intel based on the Pentium M, but if seems they can't swallow their pride..."
    Kristopher Kubicki--"Intel’s strategy also includes server processors as the most prevalent CPU product SKU, but actually weights higher priority on mobility P6 (Pentium M) Yonah processors."

    Ksherman: Dual core AMD64 chips have a bank of L2 cache per core, but share a memory controller. Dedicated cache, not RAM.

    GhandilInstinct: Agreed. Dual core Netburst? I didn't think they'd even try.
  • GhandiInstinct - Friday, September 10, 2004 - link

    150-200 watts, looks like BTX awaits! Reply
  • ZobarStyl - Friday, September 10, 2004 - link

    As was mentioned on the last page, it seems like in their current form the dual-core AMD solutions have already won. Current Xeons are bandwidth starved as it is with their single memory controller and adding a second core isn't going to change anything for the better unless they adopt on-chip memory controllers. Top that off with the fact that the Opteron will work in current sockets and there's just no competition, barring if AMD were to release their duallies 6 months after Intel.

    I really wanted to see a dual-core desktop Intel based on the Pentium M, but if seems they can't swallow their pride and it's going to hurt them since they can't even get Prescott past 3.4 in appreciable quantities. Smithfield isn't even 65 nm either, it's just two Prescotts stuck together...water-cooling will no longer be an option for such setups (a la G5?).

    Also, the HT/Dual Core Montecito would be nice if Itanic weren't already sinking, but they are blinded by their hubris and think that it's Itanium's speed that's holding back its success instead of its incredible price tag that stops programmers from writing for it.

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