Saturday, June 21, 2008

astonishing, all that stuff we invented actualy works.

Don't take this article the wrong way. As always I'm really glad to see technology advancing, especially when its advancing in the areas that happen to overlap high high end gaming with life saving medical modeling abilities, and the (sometimes life saving) most accurate weather reports to date. so my point isn't that any of this is any less great. I'm just a little confused. at this point, probably so are my readers. (except nick, he's already figured it out and is cross referencing with the nvidia press release)

The recent bit first. Technology news the past week has been flooded with stories (which im too lazy to reference, take my word for it, or look it up, or dont.) about new "single machine" super computers. they explain that protein-folding-scientists/financial-analysts/supercomputer-labs/video-game-designers have made amazing 100X improvements overnight in computer technology simply by utilizing the core processor design built into modern graphics cards.

This is all true, its the overnight part that loses me.

what actually happened is this. about 10 years ago a couple of big computer companies (namely AMD, IBM, Toshiba, and Sony) realized that the smaller faster processor architecture had logical limits too it. So they figured they had better find a different branch for computers to improve by. Years later, about the same time Intel was catching up with the realization (which is amazing since they brought the most competitive product to the marked, admitadly 2 years after the viable cell processor.... and at least a decade after the first ARM processors.... but thats not really relevent.) anyways, what intel and these other companies came up with was the idea of multi core processors. not the dual processor or quad processors of the late 90's. They had thought of putting hundreds, maybe even thousands individual logical units on a chip. (and in computer history, saying numbers this early in the game is always a bad idea, so ill say it now, yes, someday a processor may have a million cores on a single waffer.)

So thats the history lesson, and anybody who owns a modern console, or a core2 or X2 or cell processors, is using the results. so why didn't every dual core processor have these results? Well, simplifying a lot, nobody was really ready for their programs to work with multiple processors, in most cases this meant that buying a dual core processor (assuming that it runs at a slightly slower speed than a single core of the same cost would and has less cache per core) would actualy run... almost everything slower.

All these breakthrough technologies have accomplished is speaking to the new processors in a way they understand and can excel at.

Yes, its great that were finally seeing the results we expected... but didn't i already pay for that?

1 comment:

Sir Nicholai said...

I shall contribute to this post by offering this incredibly tangential awesome little link:
Look! You too can be a computer with dual left and right side processing power, utilizing the human 2.1.3 ARM core version, which God's AMD division developed after his intel division created the *entire universe*
And it's fun too.
You could even pretend you're helping cure diseases, while playing a video game, and tell all your friends how you are a good generous person who gives freely of their time to play video games for other people. Cept I'm not going to try that, because I think they'd all laugh. :P