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Old 11-15-2008, 03:45 PM   #1
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Default Whatever happened to ever increasing GHz speeds?

I took the time out of my hands to register on this web site, and finally ask this question from people that actually know much more than I do.

Here is the phenomenon I'm talking about; this quote from an article I just read describes it best: "With the gigahertz race largely abandoned, both AMD and Intel are trying to pack more cores onto a die in order to continue to improve processing power and aid with multitasking operations"

This is what I don't understand; I thought that the reason why they keep on making new CPUs, and keep on trying to advance them was to make them faster (most importantly)!

I don't know, but under my impression, and, also, from what I've seen, the larger the number of GHz that a processor has, the faster the processer is. So, why are they abandoning increasing GHz clock speeds? I truthfully think it's because they might just not know how to make them faster using their current methods, maybe they're hoping that this multi-core idea will lead them to new ideas towards increasing clock speeds once again.

Whatever the reason is, truthfully I don't actually believe that these new multi-core CPUs are actually any bit faster at all, like for say, a 3 GHz Pentium 4 from 2002, is basically just as fast as a 3 GHz Intel Quad Core CPU from 2008. That is my impression, and I'll get to that in one second.

But, I just want to hear from somebody that really knows what they're talking about if there is an actual speed increase of a type or form that I don't know about, or haven't realized.

All I know is, as long as I'm under the impression that there is no actual speed increase between a 3 GHz CPU made nearly 7 years ago, and one from today of the same speed, but, more cores, I will never EVER buy a brand new processor again, I guess there are some good sides to that, buying a CPU will be cheaper for me, because I won't be buying the newest one, when the one made 7 years ago is just as good, and far less expensive. All I know is, when I upgrade my CPU, I only do it when I want to achieve a faster machine, but with no speed increases, the only incentive for me to buy a piece of new CPU technology is when I buy a new laptop, because laptops always have the newest stuff.

All I do know FOR A FACT is that my brother just got a new laptop with a Quad Core Intel chip that has the exact same clock speed as the single core AMD inside my year old laptop, 2.2 GHz, and, from using his laptop, and comparing it to mine, there is ABSOLUTELY NO NOTICEABLE performance increase AT ALL!! So, things like that are what have formed my opinion on this. But now, I just want to hear some professional perspective.
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Old 11-15-2008, 04:00 PM   #2
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Default Re: Whatever happened to ever increasing GHz speeds?

There's a lot more to it than just clock speed. Newer CPU's have been getting much more efficient clock for clock. What that means is that a Core 2 Duo @ 3 Ghz is faster than a Pentium 4 @ 3 Ghz even in single-threaded applications.

They have been putting more and more cores on CPU's because more and more programs are going multi-threaded. That means that the program can make use of the more available cores and allow the program to work better. Multi-core CPU's are especially useful for servers.

The reason you aren't seeing any difference from you and your brother's laptop is because you aren't doing anything on them where the speed or extra cores show the difference. If you were to encode the same video on the laptops, the diffference would be very big.

Also, it's not that they have really abandoned speed either. If you look at overclocking results lately, you would see that CPU's are getting some pretty high clocks. I'm running my Intel Xeon E3110 (E8400 basically) at 4 Ghz where the original clock is 3 Ghz. AMD's newer batches have been getting better too.

I hope that helps.
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Old 11-15-2008, 05:01 PM   #3
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Default Re: Whatever happened to ever increasing GHz speeds?

Aye, Cabbs is right on the dot.

Think of a computer with one CPU. Now, lets say you have a program that's multi-threaded and uses up 75% of the CPU. You only have 25% of the CPU to use

Now think of a computer with two CPU's. You run that same program you ran before and its running at an even distribution over the two CPU's, so its running at a load of 37.5% on each CPU. You now have 63.5% of CPU to use on both processors.
This is an example of a Dual Core Processor. You have two Processors in one, or two cores in one physical Processor.

Now imagine the benefits of using Four cores. That's now using only 18.75% on each core.

Now the only problem is if your using a program that isn't multi-threaded you won't gain any benefits. However, most programs now are threaded to you can use at least 2 cores and many games are becoming threaded to support quad core CPUs.

Of course your not going to notice a difference between those two computers, like cabbs said, you have to run a program to stress the CPU's.

Download Cinabench on both computers and run them. Look at what one finishes first.
Here's a link:
http://www.softpedia.com/get/System/...INEBENCH.shtml
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Old 11-15-2008, 09:13 PM   #4
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Default Re: Whatever happened to ever increasing GHz speeds?

Thanks so much for both of your very insightful answers. It all makes much more sense now.

My laptop is running at quite acceptable speeds at this moment, and I don't have enough money to buy a new one right now anyways.

But, you guys shouldn't have automatically assumed that I don't use my pc for resource intensive purposes. No, not games, but music. Sometimes, once my songs get really complex, the computer does get slightly notticeably slower. Also, I am not a casual pc user, that only knows how to check email, and play music/games. I have learned some developer languages, and am intrigued by advanced aspects of computers, but don't really have the time to really do some serious coding (what with the music and all).

Thanks for the information, the next pc I get will deffinately be influenced by this information, deffinately a quad core, or 8 core if they're available yet.

But truthfully, still, I'd like to see them starting to significantly increase the real GHz clock speed numbers, either ways.
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Old 11-15-2008, 09:41 PM   #5
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Default Re: Whatever happened to ever increasing GHz speeds?

Just remember it's not all about the CPU and its speed. It's the Hyperthreading speed, the FSB speed, the Ram speed, the video card, the hard drive.

A processor doesn't determine the computer's ability. It's the combination of quality parts that make its ability to sore. Having a fast CPU will do nothing if you Ram is running three times slower.
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