IDF Day 3: AMD and Intel's Dual Core Demonstrations; The Race to Dual Coreby Kristopher Kubicki on September 10, 2004 7:22 PM EST
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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).