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Intel Not Going to Wait for Software to Catch Up

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 44 comments

Intel wants to always be ahead of what software demands.

Just this year alone (and we've only cleared three months of it), Intel has unleashed an entirely new generation of desktop and mobile mainstream processors, as well as bumped up its enthusiast desktop offering to a hexacore, 12 thread Gulftown CPU. Earlier this week Intel bumped the core count for Nehalem-EX server chips to eight with the ability to process 16 threads.

With this rapid pace of rollout, is there any worry that Intel's hardware performance growth is outpacing the speed of software progression? Intel says it's not worried at all. In fact, it prefers staying ahead of the software demand curve.

"We learned our lesson in waiting for software. We did this 64-bit thing that was perceived to be a little bit late relative to the market. So we will get the hardware out there as soon as it's ready," Kirk Skaugen of Intel's Architecture Group said at the Nehalem-EX launch, according to the Register.

"What drives things mainstream," Skaugen said, "is this 'software spiral' that's been talked about since the early days of Andy Grove. The fact that when we announce new hardware, it creates a software set of innovations that put more pressure on the hardware to create new hardware innovations - and the cycle goes on and on."

Basically, if you build it, they will come.

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Top Comments
  • 31 Hide
    pbrigido , April 2, 2010 1:02 AM
    I have to agree with Intel on this. Forcing software companies to get up to speed is a good thing for all of us.
  • 11 Hide
    shin0bi272 , April 2, 2010 1:08 AM
    Why cant nvidia have this mindset? cause we all want gpgpus dont we? oh wait I forgot... NO WE DONT! Good call Intel
  • 11 Hide
    Emperus , April 2, 2010 1:06 AM
    This makes sense.. Playing catch up or even waiting for the software to catch up would also allow competition to catch up to them.. Besides staying ahead will always help system builders to build a literally future proof setup.. There exists only a spot of bother wherein the hardware might reach a saturation point beyond which the technology might mostly under perform due the lack of resources to utilize it efficiently..
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    Display all 44 comments.
  • 31 Hide
    pbrigido , April 2, 2010 1:02 AM
    I have to agree with Intel on this. Forcing software companies to get up to speed is a good thing for all of us.
  • 3 Hide
    maigo , April 2, 2010 1:03 AM
    cool beans
  • 11 Hide
    Emperus , April 2, 2010 1:06 AM
    This makes sense.. Playing catch up or even waiting for the software to catch up would also allow competition to catch up to them.. Besides staying ahead will always help system builders to build a literally future proof setup.. There exists only a spot of bother wherein the hardware might reach a saturation point beyond which the technology might mostly under perform due the lack of resources to utilize it efficiently..
  • 11 Hide
    shin0bi272 , April 2, 2010 1:08 AM
    Why cant nvidia have this mindset? cause we all want gpgpus dont we? oh wait I forgot... NO WE DONT! Good call Intel
  • 4 Hide
    mlopinto2k1 , April 2, 2010 1:15 AM
    Totally makes sense. Especially when everyone thinks this company or that company is holding down progression. They won't look like corporate monopolizers trying to make money by holding back technology. It will force software companies to compete to utilize the hardware they are being given.
  • 2 Hide
    chess , April 2, 2010 1:16 AM
    can you still believe the i7 is years old? way to rock intel :) 
  • 10 Hide
    ravewulf , April 2, 2010 1:26 AM
    If only AMD could compete on the same level. I'll keep on hoping
  • 5 Hide
    tpi2007 , April 2, 2010 1:33 AM
    emperusThis makes sense.. Playing catch up or even waiting for the software to catch up would also allow competition to catch up to them.. Besides staying ahead will always help system builders to build a literally future proof setup.. There exists only a spot of bother wherein the hardware might reach a saturation point beyond which the technology might mostly under perform due the lack of resources to utilize it efficiently..


    I was also thinking that with such fast processors and graphics cards we have today, to really make use of them to the fullest, we really need to start having decently priced SSD's, not only to store the OS, but everything else too. It's probably the major bottleneck in any given system. Even an old Pentium III at 1GHz benefits immensely if you give it a modern 7200rpm Hard drive with more data density per platter, so modern systems defintely need SSD's to bring the best in them. Storage systems have always lagged behind.
  • 0 Hide
    Parsian , April 2, 2010 1:48 AM
    NOW that is an attitude i like to see more especially when it comes to Gaming... I hope developers are developing new stuff rather than sell the same old thing over and over and over and over again and again and again...

  • 1 Hide
    spoofedpacket , April 2, 2010 1:53 AM
    otacon72Intel learned their lesson...so did ATI... Nvidia is learning it now.


    Oh god. Can you think about anything other than video cards?
  • 8 Hide
    mindless728 , April 2, 2010 1:58 AM
    hey you guys, don't knock developers, making a program efficient with that many threads isn't easy. In fact some problems can and will never be threaded (its impossible to do)
  • -1 Hide
    bombat1994 , April 2, 2010 2:05 AM
    nice intel
  • 0 Hide
    andrewcutter , April 2, 2010 2:08 AM
    i tihnk impossible is a word tossed around by ppl who dont want to know the power they have to change....(read this some where)

    sooner or later some one will come and write a language that can thread anything i think...

    PS: i dont know much abt programming
  • 1 Hide
    digiex , April 2, 2010 2:15 AM
    Intel should develop its moblin software or some linux derivative in parallel also, in that way M$ will be forced to catch up fast or else it will eat dust.
  • 0 Hide
    gekko668 , April 2, 2010 2:30 AM
    I'm not a programmer but can someone explain to me why is it taking so long for programmers to create software that can can take advantage of multi thread. Is it because of cost? is it hard to write code for it?

    thanks
  • 1 Hide
    lauxenburg , April 2, 2010 2:34 AM
    ravewulfIf only AMD could compete on the same level. I'll keep on hoping


    AMD is competing on the same level. No one gives them attention though. They currently have 12 core Opertons out and 16 core versions with smaller fabs are due this summer.
  • 1 Hide
    JohnnyLucky , April 2, 2010 2:51 AM
    I think the development and progress is great but it seems it comes at a high price for consumers.
  • 6 Hide
    mindless728 , April 2, 2010 2:54 AM
    @AndrewCutter, some algorithms have actually been proven to be impossible to thread

    @gekko668, it is very hard to write thread safe code and as i said above, some code is impossible to thread

    personally, this is one of the things i work on in my spare time as i see it being one of the parts of programming that needs a lot of work right now

    EDIT: this is what i go to for school, computer science
  • -4 Hide
    Anonymous , April 2, 2010 2:58 AM
    Ummm... Who care about intel when IBM is doing oh so much more!!! Every hear of Power7, guys???? It's an 8 core, 4 thread monster with edram L3 cache that makes it an absolute revolution in computing. Add in it's 256 way large SMP system design (model 795) and it's super computing use (wikipedia: "blue waters") and IBM clearly leads. And yes, it can play crysis!! Power powers all the game consoles and a version of Power7 will power the next gen MS and Sony consoles. Intel? Intel? Who cares!
  • 0 Hide
    jkflipflop98 , April 2, 2010 3:35 AM
    PowerGuyUmmm... Who care about intel when IBM is doing oh so much more!!! Every hear of Power7, guys???? It's an 8 core, 4 thread monster with edram L3 cache that makes it an absolute revolution in computing. Add in it's 256 way large SMP system design (model 795) and it's super computing use (wikipedia: "blue waters") and IBM clearly leads. And yes, it can play crysis!! Power powers all the game consoles and a version of Power7 will power the next gen MS and Sony consoles. Intel? Intel? Who cares!



    You're smoking crack if you think M$ is going to make the mistake of using an underpowered in-order processor for the next xbox. Developers want to spend time making games, not compliling software builds over and over and over again to make the code run fast enough.
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