C. Processors (cont.)
What does FSB or Front Side Bus mean?
The front side bus or FSB is what the CPU uses to communicate with the rest of the computer. It's important to know the FSB you will be running on your computer as it affects the type of memory/processor youíll be buying. The Athlonís currently run at a 200/266/333 FSB (333 is just recently) with the Pentium IVís running at 400 and 533 FSB. (The Athlons use a DDR [double data rate] where as the P4ís use a QDR [quad data rate] bus)
What is a Coppermine?
A coppermine is a second generation pentium III which moves the L2 cache onto the chip die, doubling its speed. So a Pentium 600E has 256k L2 cache running at 600 megahertz, where a Pentium III 600 has 512k L2 cache running at 300 megahertz. Intel engineers found less L2 cache running twice of fast, beat the living snot out of More L2 running half as fast.
What is the benefit of having a dual CPU system over a single one?
The main benefit gained from adding a second CPU is a massive decrease in rendering time. Most of the major 3d packages, including 3dsmax, feature multithreaded renderers which allow the second CPU to decrease render times as much as 89% as compared to a Single CPU system. The second CPU also increases viewport performance when running software HEIDI, as well as increasing the ability to multitask and run multiple programs simultaneously.
Additionally its possible to set affinity under NT based operating systems (As well as Linux and other MPS OSís) to specific tasks. This allows you to assign your 3d application to CPU #2 and set it up to render, while freeing CPU for any task you see fit. Though at some aspect this happens automatically, setting affinity allows you to further tweak and enhance the performance of your system.
For a more in-depth look at Dual and Single CPU performance, check out the 3dsmax benchmarks at The Benchmark Page and the Dual CPU article at Real World Benchmarks of 3DSMAX R2
Where can I get a Dual Athlon MP System?
A variety of system manufactures now offer Dual Athlon MP based workstations. Boxx, Xi, Alienware and a variety of others. Visit their respective sites for more information and pricing guides.
Can I run a Dual Thunderbird or Duron on an AMD760MP motherboard?
This particular configuration is possible, although not supported by AMD in any fashion. The Athlon MP's were designed from the ground up to support SMP and will perform faster and much more stable then the Thunderbird or Duron processors will be able to do. Once again, AMD does not support nor recommend that anyone run a Dual AMD system with Thunderbird or Duron processors.
What is an Athlon MP?
The Athlon MP is the next generation AMD processor designed for Multiprocessing. Based off the Thunderbird processor it features Smart MP technology, Hardware Prefetch, "Snoop" bus technology, MOESI technology, and 3dnow PRO (Which includes support for SSE). These technologies and features will be explained more in depth in an upcoming 3dluvr review.
What is a Northwood?
Northwood is Intel's second revision of the Pentium IV. It features a different socket design mPPGA, an additional 256k l2 cache, more reliable cache accuracy, a reduced .13u process and some additional hardware enhancements.
What is Tualatin?
This is Intel's new budget processor, based on the Coppermine line. It features a .13u micron process and a higher clock speed then its coppermine brethren. Not all Intel boards support the Tualatin, so check before buying.