Multi-core technologies refer to a class of microprocessors that combines two or more processing units in to a single physical package. This technology allows for increasing the processing power of a compute system without increasing the number of processor sockets. It allows for a certain level of parallelism (thread-level parallelism - TLP) in the system. With the advances in technology and the economics of manufacturing, today almost the entire line of microprocessors is no longer single core. This provides the customers with the advantages of never before seen compute densities. For example, the HPC Systems A1403 packs 4 sockets in a 1U package, with dual-core processors it packs 8 processing cores and with the upcoming quad-core, 16 processing cores in a 1U package. This opens up a whole new realm of possibilities for the customers. Depending on the system manufacturer and microprocessor, upgrading to multi-core processors can be anything from in socket replacement or a brand new system. Multi-core processors that allow for in-socket replacement are generally compliant with their predecessors in terms of power, thermal and application compatibility. This makes it easy for a customer to upgrade to new technology with minimal investment. They also, generally, reflect efficiency in design of the microprocessors. There are certain advantages and disadvantages in using a multi-core processor. Multi-core processors are not suitable for all types of workloads. The user has to profile his/her application of interest to determine the gains of using a multi-core processor. Although the applications can run on the new multi-core processors, it does not in anyway imply that it is able to utilize all of the available processors. However, nowadays most of the software is written to fully utilize all the available processors. For example, an older version of a financial analysis application may not experience any increase in performance but a newer version written for multiple cores may experience an immediate increase in performance when executed on a multi-core processor. There has been a bit of controversy surrounding the recent multi-core products in the x86 space. Some microprocessors package two or more individual processors in to a single physical package. Ex: Intel Xeon 5000 series and 5300 series. By definition this is called a multi-chip module (MCM) and technically it is still a multi-core processor. Depending on the area of application, MCM’s may not provide the same level of performance as a multi-core CPU. One must also note that a dual core processor may not always provide 2x the performance of two single core microprocessors.
AMD Multicore Technology: AMD processors feature a native multi-core design - Two or more cores are integrated onto a single processor die, with the cores joined in the same electrical package so they connect directly with one another at full speed. In socket F generation dual-core processors each processor core has it’s own dedicated L1/L2 Cache. AMD Opteron™ processors feature a dedicated L1/L2 cached and a new shared L3 cache on Quad-Core deliver efficient memory handling that reduces the need for “brute force” cache sizes. You can find an interactive tour of this technology from this website.
Intel Multicore Technology: Intel® multi-core architecture, on some series of microprocessors, has a single Intel processor package that contains two or more processor "execution cores," or computational engines, and delivers—with appropriate software—fully parallel execution of multiple software threads. The operating system (OS) perceives each of its execution cores as a discrete processor, with all the associated execution resources. For more information, please check the official Intel website. Talk to your sales representative to identify the right microprocessor technology for your needs.
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