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AMD: You Want More Cores? OK, You've Got It!

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 100 comments

Yes, Of Course More CPU Cores are Better!

Instead of ramping up clock speed, the processor industry is moving towards putting more cores inside of computer chips. We all find this to be a good thing, and AMD recently blogged about a fact that we all think to be true – the more cores, the merrier.

In a post titled, "Cores – More is Better", AMD's John Fruehe, Director of Product Marketing for Server/Workstation, revealed some of the chipmaker's shipment data – information that is usually kept confidential.

"In looking through sales data for the first half of 2010, 12-core processors clearly outsold their 8-core counterparts – by a wide margin. I was expecting that there would be a slight bias towards the 12-core, but I figured there were plenty of applications where the extra clock speed of an 8-core might be popular," Fruehe wrote. "Apparently I was wrong, customers are voting with their budgets, and cores matter."

Fruehe came up with three scenarios that could be driving the demand for the company's 12-core Magny Cours chip over the 8-core version.

VirtualizationMany customers have told me that they have a rule of “one VM per core”, so with 12-core processors, their consolidation can get even denser. With 24 cores in a 2P server, there are plenty of resources to allow all of the VMs to have plenty of access to compute power whenever they need it.

Database/Business Apps-Databases are the kings of simultaneous multi-user access. Having a dozen cores in a socket helps ensure that all of your queries come back quickly, your reports aren’t delayed and when you are making new sales, you’re not waiting behind that bonehead in marketing to finish finding out who bought toothbrushes in Toledo last Tuesday.

High Performance ComputingIf you are breaking a big problem up into millions of smaller pieces and pushing that out to a cluster to solve, having 12 cores per processor means that you can dramatically cut the time involved through parallel processing. Folks like CSCS in Switzerland are taking advantage of AMD’s 12-core technology with their new Cray XE6 system that was recently installed.

This demand for more cores is a good sign for AMD, as the company is set to sample Bulldozer later this year, with roll out for the next-gen chip in 2011.

"That message is very good to hear because next year will see 16 total cores in our Bulldozer-based products," concluded Fruehe.

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Top Comments
  • 34 Hide
    schmich , September 26, 2010 9:12 PM
    Flanighanlol too bad an intel 6 core > amd 12 core lmao
    You wanted to point out > in price right?
  • 21 Hide
    superjunaid , September 26, 2010 9:27 PM
    This article is apparently geared towards businesses and professionals working on workstations rather than consumers using computers to read the news, write emails and create documents in word.

    Faster cpus with 2-4 cores is more what consumers want. But for businesses and server environments more cores make sense.
  • 19 Hide
    nforce4max , September 26, 2010 8:24 PM
    You can add cores till they are looked at as we do gpus today but performance per core really needs to improve and at the hardware level there needs to be in place a mechanism to fool an app or os to think that it is on one or several but fewer than there really is while the work load is shared over several cores at once. Why is simple most apps ect max out 1-4 threads/cores and do not take advantage of this. I would like to see a dual socket platform being aimed for consumer use that is much more friendly.
Other Comments
  • 19 Hide
    nforce4max , September 26, 2010 8:24 PM
    You can add cores till they are looked at as we do gpus today but performance per core really needs to improve and at the hardware level there needs to be in place a mechanism to fool an app or os to think that it is on one or several but fewer than there really is while the work load is shared over several cores at once. Why is simple most apps ect max out 1-4 threads/cores and do not take advantage of this. I would like to see a dual socket platform being aimed for consumer use that is much more friendly.
  • -5 Hide
    neoverdugo , September 26, 2010 8:32 PM
    Whoa!!! Imagine what will happen when AMD implements its on the home-based desktop clientele. Having more cores can be more efficient in a high level. I gotta upgrade my PC junk (even though it has been nearly 5 years now)
    I wonder what will be Intel's counter-offer besides Sandy-bridge?
  • 5 Hide
    ricardok , September 26, 2010 8:36 PM
    I really wish that MS/Linx variations/OSX created a SO that would see all this cores as one so that ANY app can be used (even if it's not enhanced to multi-cores) and the OS takes care of the 'virtualization'...
  • -7 Hide
    coopchennick , September 26, 2010 8:42 PM
    Instead of ramping up clock speed, the processor industry is moving towards putting more cores inside of computer chips. We all find this to be a good thing,...


    Wrong. People have been somewhat vocal about rather having ramped up clock speeds than more cores. Oh well though, now we are just waiting until coding will actually make good use of the cores.
  • -9 Hide
    BulkZerker , September 26, 2010 8:59 PM
    Honestly who needs more than 2-3 cores for general usage? Id love to have a octa core which would allow me to run a Dedicated server on top of a game but let's be honest. The 140 watt processors are just too hot to run in a oem type setup at anything over half load for extended periods of time.
  • 9 Hide
    zachary k , September 26, 2010 9:11 PM
    what ever happened to clockrate? or are we just ignoring that and just going for more cores.
  • 34 Hide
    schmich , September 26, 2010 9:12 PM
    Flanighanlol too bad an intel 6 core > amd 12 core lmao
    You wanted to point out > in price right?
  • 4 Hide
    doomsdaydave11 , September 26, 2010 9:21 PM
    The reason that clock speeds have plateaued over the last 5 years is simply a physical limitation. It's very difficult to get a chip to go past 3.5 ghz at stock, which is why we saw the switch to dual cores after P4's.

    Unless we see a major hardware change in the next 5 years, in 2015 you can expect to see 12 core chips at ~3.0Ghz making it into the mainstream.
  • 21 Hide
    superjunaid , September 26, 2010 9:27 PM
    This article is apparently geared towards businesses and professionals working on workstations rather than consumers using computers to read the news, write emails and create documents in word.

    Faster cpus with 2-4 cores is more what consumers want. But for businesses and server environments more cores make sense.
  • 14 Hide
    ares1214 , September 26, 2010 9:28 PM
    Well, theres this stuff called graphene that will push CPU clock speed to 25 GHz, and eventually to 1 THz. But until then, more cores, or rather more efficient cores is the best bet. However, AMD and Intel can add as many cores as they want, but software needs to take better advantage of them. If the software was more core friendly, we would be seeing the 1090T beat the i7 more and more often. Although AMD needed a new arch. They need more performance per core, not more cores, or atleast not until they are taken advantage of better. For those who say 6 core intel>12 core AMD, while it is true, lets not forget on a per core basis, Intels 6 cores can cost 2x more than AMD's 12 cores.
  • -2 Hide
    ct1615 , September 26, 2010 9:38 PM
    no one wants more cores AMD, we want better performing ones....
  • -2 Hide
    southernshark , September 26, 2010 10:16 PM
    I'm loving my 6 core AMD, and can't wait for 16.....

    While I agree with the people who would prefer more GHZ, I also see the wisdom in adding more cores. At some point, our desk top PC will be capable of all sorts of things that current models just can't do. Of course I am talking about AI.... and that will need more cores....

    Also I reckon to a phaze in the industry. We were adding more GHZ, now we are adding more cores. Once we get 100+ cores, I reckon they will shift back into making those cores faster. Its all a matter of time.
  • 10 Hide
    Marco925 , September 26, 2010 10:23 PM
    Flanighanlol too bad an intel 6 core > amd 12 core lmao

    based on what testing did you find that from?
  • -6 Hide
    K-zon , September 26, 2010 10:26 PM
    Having more cores is nice but the software to utlizie it is there or it isnt, One thing though that hopefully is open is if the software cant utilize the different cores, maybe the user can utilize more software over the more cores getting the acheivements meet in some form or another. The software would have to be agmentive of shift in protocols over the cores to find whats best to run it and with in conjuction of other software at sometimes and still maintain some of the same features. The question is now more then anything, since you have the hardware capacity where is your visually going with it? And with the idea of Visual, the complete UI experience of using the features and new hardware and software. And i gotta further put in the UI idea given im using it very losely. The UI, Your internet browser, maybe itunes, and lets AVG, and lets put in some kinda of optional program, Word or maybe even a game. To be more say multi-interface ready, Photoshop or Gimp, Some HTP program, maybe a photobucket or flickr account, Facebook, Video/photo collection program and organizer, Hardware optimization programs for setting the speed or transfer for quality and batch working. Either way, this is all on on monitor.
    With all these new hardware, 12 cores cpus, 2-4 gpus, intergrated processing for voltage controls and power consumption and etc. 4-24gs memory. YOu need a monitor to work with all these so you can get some of the greater benefits of newer tech under some control to what you need it for.
    Heck, they even have multiple monitor support somewhere. Rather one decent sized monitor or having more then one fits the bill is hard telling. Either way, bigger screen space for UIs usages is the outcome of these greatly. Otherwise you are stuck with a taskbar function of need to use these things, and not saying that a taskbar isnt needed, just when actually using it sometimes even on modest means, it is very short coming. And to sit and say that adding another taskbar is any more help is like saying, since i can tie my shoe, im going to add a second shoelace to my shoe and make it a double helx tie with it. Which is fine, but time taken and benefits aside, tiing my show with one shoelice always fit the bill nicley and adequetly. Its not till getting more Screen space to work with that needing the second shoelace is needed with the double helx tie. Either way, the consumers that that tend to have this tech tends to all the tech, and not much an issue.
    Either way, good innovations and nice products, should keep up the work.
  • 1 Hide
    scimanal , September 26, 2010 10:27 PM
    "Many customers have told me that they have a rule of “one VM per core”, so with 12-core processors"

    1 cpu core per vm? wow... that is one dangerous rule of thumb... There are generally three resources to think about in regards to a virtual machine, cpu, memory, and disk... each application will stress these and other resources differently.
  • 5 Hide
    hunter315 , September 26, 2010 10:47 PM
    Too bad this data only really reflects enterprise systems but that is where the vast majority of their money is made so i guess its fair, i just hope they can ramp up per core performance for those of us who dont have the means to get a 2P system with 24 cores.
  • 4 Hide
    JOSHSKORN , September 26, 2010 10:52 PM
    Great for business, waste of time for home users. Really, I don't know alot about how applications a run, but there needs to be more communication between the app and the operating system. That is, let the operating system decide on how many cores/threads to run an application on. Applications shouldn't be just written to load up 1 or 2 cores when an operating system could tell you there's 4, 6, 8 or 12 available to take the load off.
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