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Hyperthreading, another mmx? not really

Hi folks. If you're at all interested in yesterday's news regarding the availability of 3GHz, hyperthreading-capable chips, I think you'll find the below commentary by testing guru Randall C. Kennedy quite useful. Enjoy. Also, you can find more information on testing servers in our Performance Portal.

Commentary: The 3GHz PC, Hyperthreading and You

Now that Intel Corporation is poised to release its first 3GHz
processor, IT shops everywhere are scrambling to understand just how
this watershed moment in CPU development will impact their PC purchase
strategy. Further compounding the issue is the incorporation, for the
first time, of Hyperthreading technology in a desktop platform. So not
only will this new CPU be the fastest ever (in terms of raw GHz), it
will also feature some revolutionary new scalability-enhancing
capabilities that will redefine how organizations view processor

Unfortunately, many of the early reviewers of this new CPU will get the
story wrong. That's because the tools they're using the measure
processor performance - traditional, linear test scripts (Winstone,
SysMark) with minimal concurrency - are incapable of generating the kind
of multitasking, multi-process workloads that Hyperthreading was
designed to address. In fact, they may even show a Hyperthreading
processor to be marginally slower than an equivalent CPU (in terms of
clock speed) running without Hyperthreading.

It would be a shame for customers to walk away from these misguided
reviews thinking that Hyperthreading is another "MMX" - i.e. a
technology of little value to mainstream customers. The truth is,
Hyperthreading will provide tremendous performance gains across a wide
array of usage scenarios, from general business computing (where the
numerous layers of drivers, services and agents all compete for CPU
cycles) to knowledge workers and other power user types who frequently
run multiple applications. Virtually any compute model that involves
multitasking has the potential to benefit from Hyperthreading.

In the interest of countering the inevitable "FUD" about Hyperthreading,
we've developed a new "How To" guide on multi-process benchmarking. We're also working with leading hardware vendors to help
them better understand the complexities of performance testing for the
real-world. It's our hope that, by encouraging customers to look beyond
the antiquated linear benchmark numbers, we can open their eyes to the
very real potential of this exciting new technology.

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