Now that Intel is poised to release its first 3-GHz processor, IT shops everywhere are scrambling to understand how this watershed in CPU development will impact their PC-purchasing strategies. Compounding the issue is the incorporation of hyperthreading technology, a first in mainstream desktops.
Unfortunately, many early reviewers of the new Pentium 4 CPU will get the story wrong. The tools they'll use to measure processor performance--traditional, linear test scripts like Ziff-Davis' Winstone and BAPCO's SysMark--cannot generate the robust multitasking, multiprocess workloads hyperthreading was designed to address. In fact, these antiquated test suites may show a hyperthreading processor to be slower than an equivalent CPU (in clock speed) running without hyperthreading.
The truth is, hyperthreading will provide tremendous performance gains across a wide array of usage scenarios, from general business computing (where drivers, services and agents all compete for CPU cycles) to use by knowledge workers and other power users who run multiple apps. Any computing model that involves multitasking could benefit.
Bottom line: IT organizations should make hyperthreading mandatory on all new desktop PC purchases of 3 GHz or above.
For tools and more info on performance testing, see perform.networkcomputing.com.