Linked by Nicholas Blachford on Wed 9th Jul 2003 16:43 UTC
Talk, Rumors, X Versus Y This article started life when I was asked to write a comparison of x86 and PowerPC CPUs for work. We produce PowerPC based systems and are often asked why we use PowerPC CPUs instead of x86 so a comparison is rather useful. While I have had an interest in CPUs for quite some time but I have never explored this issue in any detail so writing the document proved an interesting exercise. I thought my conclusions would be of interest to OSNews readers so I've done more research and written this new, rather more detailed article. This article is concerned with the technical differences between the families not the market differences.
Permalink for comment
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
RE: stringerman
by Roy on Wed 9th Jul 2003 21:39 UTC

Where did you find out that the P4 lacks ILP? (not trying to be difficult, I just never heard that before) I agree that the programming frameworks provided by MS haven't pushed parallel processing. Still, the 100% improvement in general apps seems farfetched.

Also, please explain how ILP and SMT are related. Again, just trying to learn here. My understanding of SMT is that it basically allows a single core to execute multiple threads at once and share a pool of execution units. It would seem that threads that don't fully utilize the execution units would benefit most from SMT. I'm not sure what this has to do with ILP. I've mainly heard of ILP in relation to Intel's EPIC architecture.

I knew I'd read somewhere that HT provided good server performance improvements though my memory is failing me as to what type of server. I'll take your word on the database/transaction stuff. Sounds familiar. As for games, that is pretty much what I meant by "games possibly someday". Most games are not currently written to take advantage of any sort of parallelism, but they certainly could be.

BTW, before OSX, Apple's multiprocessor experience pretty much consisted of adding an extra processor to improve Photoshop performance (the second processor was not utilized by most applications). IBM certainly does have a lot of experience here though. Next certainly has a lot of multiprocessing experience too, though I'm not sure about threads and I don't remember seeing multiprocessor NeXT boxes. Anyone know about these?

As for the Intel zealot / competition thing, I'm not for Intel and I'm not against competition. I find AMD's Athlon64 design MUCH more interesting than Intel's Pentium4 (including Prescott). AMD's system architecture (outside the processor) is very cool. I just hope they don't stumble anymore with poor execution. I also think the PPC970 is a great processor (as well as the Power4/5).