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Recent Hardware Innovations

Recent Hardware Innovations
Technology with Integrity

By Tim Torian, Torian Group, Inc.


Hardware innovations are wonderful. If I can’t afford it, I can just wait. It will come down in price till I can. If I buy the latest, you can be sure there will be a faster, better one before I get started paying it off. I love the computer business because it is always changing.

Dual Core processors are showing up on the shelves at Costco and Best Buy. They are the next generation of computers. For some time it has been standard practice to put 2 CPU’s in servers. The CPU is the “brains” of the computer – it actually does the computing. With two of them, there is rarely a wait to get something done – if one is busy, the operating system routes the work to the other.

Workstations have has a partial version of this with “Hyper Threading”. Hyper Threading allows the processor to handle two sets of instructions right up until the time the actual processing gets done. It is like having 2 lanes leading to the processor instead of one.

Both Intel and AMD are now selling Dual Core processors. These have 2 entire CPU’s on one chip. They are still a little pricey, but the prices will drop as the volume of sales increases.  This gives you a workstation that is practically never too busy to do the next thing.

The only catch is that software has to be written to take advantage of the extra processor. Windows XP supports 2 processors already. But it can only allocate the entire program to one or the other unless the program knows how to divide up the work. For example, one processor could be running Accounting, while the other takes care of Email.  With a dual processor aware program, one part could be handling reformatting while another is printing, both within the application. 

Should you run out and buy one? Unless you are doing very heavy work, such as graphics, CAD, or video, probably not. Tests show about an 8% increase in productivity for Microsoft Office type tasks. With heavy calculation based programs, the increase was about 85%.  Even if you are multitasking, you are usually interacting with only one application at a time on your desktop computer. Will you buy one – probably so, as they become standard on desktop computers over the next year or so. Just wait, the price will drop…

Tim Torian has taught computer networking at the College of Sequoias and Cal Poly Extension. He has a BS in Computer Science, and has been consulting on computer networks for the past 18 Years. His industry certifications include: Cisco CCNA and CCNI, Microsoft MCSE, and Novell CNE.  He is president of Torian Group, Inc. which provides a full range of Technology Consulting services to local business, including computer services, networking, and custom software development. They can be reached at (559) 733-1940 or on the web at www.toriangroup.com


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