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116

Summary Economics. It's cheaper and easier to design a CPU that has more cores than a higher clock speed, because: Significant increase in power usage. CPU power consumption increases rapidly as you increase the clock speed - you can double the number of cores operating at a lower speed in the thermal space it takes to increase the clock speed by 25%. ...


46

Well, HDD always had processors, mainly to cache data and do other HDD stuff like marking bad blocks etc. The Netgear product you linked is a NAS, which allows you to stream media from it over the network, so it's not really a HDD. It's more like a network connected HDD with some fancy software to allow you to stream information over the network. Old ...


39

The CPU is a processor; there are others. A processor is what runs program code, so any device that has firmware (which is code) has a processor of some sort. A hard drive has its own (small) processor running firmware that implements an interface protocol (e.g. SATA or SCSI) and controls the drive's motors. Think of your hard drive as a specialized ...


13

If you could look in detail at the workings of a typical desktop PC, you'd find processors all over the place. If you have a keyboard and mouse connected to USB ports, there's a processor inside the keyboard and one inside the mouse speaking the USB protocol. In the case of a hard drive, there's a ton of things for that processor to do. For one thing, the ...


12

Physics is physics. We can't keep packing more transistors into ever smaller spaces forever. At some point it gets so small that you deal with weird quantum crap. At some point we can't pack twice as many transistors in a year as we used to (which is what moore's law is about). Raw clockspeeds mean nothing. My old Pentium M was about half the clock speed of ...


8

Simple answer The simplest answer to the question Why doesn't "add more cores" face the same physical limitations as "make the CPU faster"? is actually found within another part of your question: I would expect the conclusion to be "therefore, we'll have to have bigger computers or run our programs on multiple computers." In essence, multiple ...


6

Many current "smart" appliances are in fact full-fledged computers, often running some clone of Linux. If the device is permissible enough, or has been rooted/jailbroken, you might be able to tinker with it, install new packages or even change the OS. They of course use CPUs. Examples include phones, TVs, DVD players, e-book readers, NAS boxes, home ...


6

Forgive me if I have overread this point but I haven't read it in the answers yet (though all other answers are great). Deploying processors to hardware equipment also reduces workload of your central processor, which is your CPU on the mainboard. Think of a computer with a single cpu that has to do every work that needs to be done. Control memory, control ...


6

To answer your specific question about hard disk drives which no one seems to have addressed. SATA (and all other disk attachment interfaces I can think of) works with blocks. Commands are defined to (among many other things) read and write specific physical storage blocks, and the data is provided over the attachment interface cabling. That command must be ...


5

Why doesn't "add more cores" face the same physical limitations as "make the CPU faster"? They do face the same physical limitations, but switching to multicore design gives us some breathing space before we hit some of them. At the same time other problems caused by those limitations arise, but they are easier to overcome. Fact 1: Power consumption ...


4

Long story short: Speeding up single cores has reached it limits, so we keep shrinking them and adding more of them, until this reaches its limits or we can change to better meterials (or achieve a fundamental breakthrough that overthrows the established tech. Something like home sized, actually working, quantum computing) I think this problem is multi ...


4

You probably should get new thermal pads. The old ones have taken the shape of the chips below them. If you reused them, air could get trapped between the pads on the chips making a poor seal. If the pads were put there by the manufacturer, then odds are they are needed for optimal heat dissipation. Pads are cheap, far cheaper than having to buy a new ...


3

The answer is relatively simple: when a thread is waiting for an I/O event, it yields the rest of its time slice to the OS which can then schedule another thread. When the high latency I/O has completed, the thread is marked as ready for execution. This is largely possible because most I/O is managed with interrupts rather than repeatedly checking to see if ...


2

CPU = Car engine: It's easier to make a more powerful car with 16 valves, i.e a lamborghini, than a high rpm car that would have one giant valve / cylinder at 100 000 rpm. The reasons are physical and chemical, silicon needs to be replaced with a computational rocket fuel to change the balance between number of cores and core speed.


2

Case A: There will be no graphics output. You can still connect a keyboard and mouse, but you won't be able to display anything Case B: You will be able to output video through your CPU, this is usually only good enough for excel/word/watching movies. Not recommended for gaming, rendering video, etc Case C: You will be able to output video through your ...


2

I would say the primary restriction on computational power limits are primarily related to the limit of how fast we can move the electron through a circuit (speed of light electron drift). There are many more factors like you mentioned. Adding additional cores would not make the processor faster, although it would allow it to process more in the same ...


2

In many modern CPUs, including Intel and AMD models, some instructions are executed directly in hardware, and some are "microcoded" - essentially, such instructions are internally made up of a series of smaller internal-to-the-CPU-only instructions. I'm not sure what you call the facility inside the CPU that "executes" microcode, and I believe microcode ...


2

Say (as an unrealistic example, but should still get the point across) you have a CPU that's running at 100F. How multicore usually works is by taking the clock frequency that the CPU that's running at 100F, and lowering it, thus lowering the speed some. Because it's no longer running as hot, they can plop a second, 3rd, or even 4th one right next to it ...


2

All semi autonomous equipment ever since the birth of the computer revolution has had some sort of "Processor" on it, it's just until now it was never really flagged as such. What your seeing here is the ongoing corruption and half truths that are spread through our society by over zealous marketing agencies, where sales people are encouraged more and more ...


1

Lets start with the obvious - those "processors" have always been there at some level. Hard drives have had disc controllers - the "IDE" designation for pata chips refers to the fact that the electronics was onboard. While traditionally these have been micro-controllers, my ssd - a samsung 840 has a three core arm based processor. These chips do things ...


1

Many peripherals/devices have always had processors to provide their core functionality and even relatively basic routers are in effect small servers (the most visible aspect for the end-user would be the web-based configuration wizards, you need an IP stack, a web server, etc. and a processor to run them on). But a modern consumer NAS is even more than ...


1

According to the Supported CPU list on Gigabyte's website for that motherboard, yes it will support it, as long as BIOS version F6 or newer is loaded onto the motherboard before trying to use it.


1

No. FLOPS is a measurement of FLOating Point Operations Per Second. It is a good measurement for that, not for everything in general. Yes. You can compare CPUs in many ways, that is just one factor. CPU cache is high speed memory on the chip used to hold data going to and from the CPU. Generally speaking, more CPU cache is better. Yes. It is ...


1

Long story even shorter: We really don't need faster CPUs. Outside of a few highly specialized uses* the CPU hasn't been the bottleneck for years - all the peripheral bits like memory, storage and network usually make the CPU wait for millions of clock cycles during which it can do other things. A second core can do more "other things", thus producing a ...


1

The term 'super computer' implies a computer NOT made of off the shelf parts. This is not a supercomputer you are speaking of. As far as the SSD idea. You are missing several factors which are going to be impossible to overcome. First, an SSD is fast but it is nowhere near as fast as DDR3 RAM is (when you copy a 8GB file to your hard drive it still has time ...


1

You can't do this with a physical machine - If you're running your OS as a VM you can take advantage of live migration to do something very similar to what you're describing. I know you can pass through a video card with the right hardware - (puget systems has great writeups on two different configurations - KVM on ubuntu with nvidia cards and ESXi) but I ...


1

To my knowledge, the general rule of thumb is that if a thermal pad or thermal paste is separated from the heatsink/chip, it should be replaced. So yes, you should replace them.


1

From experience: Get a SSD for the system disk. Move the paging file, any and all cache and TMP, TEMP dirs away from the disk that holds the system if possible, ... otherwise create a separate partition e.g. 16GB (to allow future expansion) for the paging file. I'd also recommend to try to move away the home dirs from the system disk - to a separate ...


1

I think another factor is temperature. If you increase clock frequency, the core temperature goes up. If you add more cores, even though the power consumption goes up, this is distributed over the cores, so the temperature stays the same (like if you add two hot liquids, at the same temperature, to each other, the temperature stays the same). Another ...


1

If you use cooperative multitasking and have a bad program: then yes, you are right. However in the real world the following is supposed to happen: Cooperative multitasking: I tread does not keep using the CPU forever. Instead it will either give another program a chance after some time or when it is blocked.Paul's answer describes the latter. Preemptive ...



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