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Is the Race to Increase CPU Clock Speeds Over?

Posted January 29, 2011 7:03 AM

We all remember the gigahertz drag race of the computer microprocessors, but why haven't CPU clock speeds increased in the last five years? Is the processor clock speed no longer the bottleneck? If speed isn't the only indicator of CPU performance, what other critical parameters must be taken into account? How will engineers deal with energy usage and heat production in the computer in order to increase CPU clock speed?

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#1

Re: Is the Race to Increase CPU Clock Speeds Over?

01/29/2011 10:50 PM

Processors are still being overclocked by gaming computer manufacturers and individuals. So obviously this must be an effective and important method of speeding up the processing.

Multiple cores continue to increase in numbers, and cost substantially more. They are the only processors routinely used in gaming computers. More cores are more important than clock speed, but speed is still a big factor.

Discrete video cards are still used in all high end gaming computers. They take a load off of the rest of the central processor. The high end gaming computers have two or more video cards and lots of memory built in.

Intel hopes to end the importance of discrete video cards through CPU's powerful enough to make them superfluous.

Additional memory is also added to the mother boards of all high end computers, to speed them up.

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#2
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Re: Is the Race to Increase CPU Clock Speeds Over?

01/30/2011 12:46 AM

CAN I OVERclock my macbook. 4 gig ram; 250 gig hd MacBook Model Identifier: MacBook5,1 Processor Name: Intel Core 2 Duo Processor Speed: 2.4 GHz Number Of Processors: 1 Total Number Of Cores: 2 L2 Cache: 3 MB Memory: 4 GB Bus Speed: 1.07 GHz Boot ROM Version: MB51.007D.B03 SMC Version (system): 1.32f8 Serial Number (system): Hardware UUID: Sudden Motion Sensor: State: Enabled

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#6
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Re: Is the Race to Increase CPU Clock Speeds Over?

01/31/2011 4:58 PM

<Intel hopes to end the importance of discrete video cards through CPU's powerful enough to make them superfluous.>

If that is their thinking they just don't get the high end gaming world. You give us a bigger better CPU? The game designers will build bigger better games to use all its power and still need a video card.

My current vid-card has more memory and computing power on it than my entire first computer.

Perhaps now it is cheaper (and easier) to stack up multiple cores than it is to increase the speed of a single? Either way the computing power is still increasing so the race is far from over.

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#3

Re: Is the Race to Increase CPU Clock Speeds Over?

01/30/2011 2:31 AM

CPU speed isn't the "end all - be all" of computer performance. You can give the CPU all the methamphetamines you want, but it won't help if the speed of the ram and hard disk are the equivalent of a 1200 baud modem. (Ok, that's an exaggeration, but not by much).

The CPU speed hasn't been the bottleneck for quite some time.

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Re: Is the Race to Increase CPU Clock Speeds Over?

01/30/2011 4:39 AM

I wonder where the bottleneck is in a canned drink plant.
Del

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#5

Re: Is the Race to Increase CPU Clock Speeds Over?

01/30/2011 12:13 PM

As signal speed/frequencies increase, various electromagnetic effects take on more and more importance. Circuit-trace inductance, inter-trace capacitance, trace-boundary effects, trace geometry, designing parallel traces so that they all have roughly the same length (so that parallel signals arrive to destination almost simultaneously), ... Designing better circuit BOARDS and integrating as many functions as possible into as few chips as possible is where the action's at right now. That, and finding other ways to transmit digital information (photonics, quantum computing). DZ

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