June 26, 2006 2:00 PM by Daniel Chambers
I always feared the upcoming Conroe cored Core 2 Duo CPU from Intel because it was promised to kick the crap out of AMD's Socket AM2 processors, one of which I currently own. The reason I didn't wait to get a Conroe rather than the Socket AM2 CPU I now have was because I didn't want to wait until August to get one. August is too late because I wanted my new computer for my University holidays (July).
I figured that the long lifespan of the AM2 socket would allow me to easily upgrade the CPU if it got too weak in the future. Also, the Conroe only really kicked the crap out of the Socket AM2 where games became CPU dependant (eg at a massive framerate). And in that circumstance I thought that it didn't matter whether my new computer got 170 frames per second rather than 200.
However, according to The Inquirer, AMD has had a wildcard in their sleeve just waiting for Intel. Socket AM2 CPUs have the capability to do "Reverse Hyperthreading". For those who don't know, Hyperthreading (or HT) is a process that Intel pioneered that allowed two threads to run consecutively on a single CPU core. I had this technology in my last Pentium 4 computer and I can vouch for its usefulness: multitasking was improved. However, with the advent of dual core processors, HT was no longer necessary so Intel stopped using it.
Reverse HT, as the name states, is a process that AMD is pioneering that allows a single thread to run across multiple cores. This technology has the potential to solve all the problems with dual core technology.
The problem with dual core technology, as I see it, can be summed up with this saying: "you can't make a baby in one month with nine wives". Basically, before Reverse HT you couldn't run a single thread across more than one core. Most applications are single threaded and a lot of them cannot be ported to be multithreaded programs (not to mention multithreaded programming is reportedly a pain in the proverbial). Therefore, most applications run slower on dual core CPUs because each core on the CPU is actually slower than a core on a normal single core CPU. Therefore, dual core CPUs aren't actually faster than single core ones for single threaded applications.
Reverse HT can turn all this around. With the ability to run a single thread across two cores, the speed bonus that multithreaded applications have enjoyed from dual core CPUs can now be realised with single threaded applications.
According to the INQ article, Reverse HT on Socket AM2 CPUs has the potential to kick the crap out of the Intel Conroe CPUs, or at the very least, bring them back in the running, out of Conroe's dust. And the best part: this technology is already on current Socket AM2 CPUs eg mine! This means shortly my new computer will kick more arse than it currently does (which will be a lot of arse! :D ).
This is just perfect timing for AMD, hiding away the news of Reverse HT, letting Intel get everyone hyped about Conroe and how good it is, then at the last moment before Conroe is to be released, after Intel can do anything about it, smacking down Conroe with Reverse HT Socket AM2s.
Score 2-1 for AMD and therefore myself.