Josh (the blog)

Hey there. I’m Josh, a SydneyCanberra-based maker of Internets. I don’t update this very often.


Going dual core

Nvidia's stability test running on a dual-core processor

For the duration of the above processor load shot, my computer remained completely usable. Am running a Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core 4200+ at 2.4GHz (same clock as what I ran my old Athlon 64 3200+ at, haven’t attempted overclocking particularly vigorously just yet) and it’s so much better. Just for the switch-between-applications/preventing being slowed down factor. For the price, totally worth the productivity benefits.

I wouldn’t have ever really got a dual processor system because of the tremendous cost premium they commanded, and I’m still not quite sold on quad-core systems (except for video rendering), but two cores on a single processor die is cheap enough and beneficial enough that I really wonder why you wouldn’t get one these days.

“Beneficial enough” meaning in terms of having an extra bit of headroom to essentially mitigate against crashes in the form of processor hogging tasks. That alone is enough to make it great, aside from the obvious launch/use-multiple-apps-at-once advantage. This is before you even start thinking about multi-threaded apps (mostly just video, but worth considering, especially if you ever do encoding stuff).

Mine set me back $100 delivered and probably extended the usable life of this desktop by about another 12 months. It’s the switching-between-apps thing that makes computers “feel” slow more than anything else, and this technology solves that problem perfectly. Pretty good for a dead processor architecture (Socket 939)!

The only downside to it? Thermal power is up from 67W to 89W… but it’s still cheaper (temperature cost) than two real processors.