So here’s an exciting breakthrough in CPU technology that’s happened recently. Researchers from Intel and North Carolina State University have managed to make a breakthrough into making multi-core cpus, especially 8, 10 and 16 core CPUs much more effective than before. To set the scene, Dual and Quad cores have massive benefit in performance compared to a single core, but as soon as you start going to much higher core counts the boosted performance becomes less and less for each additional core. These researchers have managed a way to get round this, achieving result as much as 2000% performance in data processing from a 16 core CPU.
The reason why this bottleneck occurs is due to the communication that these cores need for them all to work together. This communication comes with a significant overhead per core relationship so the more cores there are, the more relationships, and therefore diminished performance increase. For anyone who wants the maths, the number of relationships for n cores is n(n-1)/2, which as you can imagine get’s pretty big pretty quick.
So is there any way we can get around this? Well the solution these researchers came up with was moving the software queue to hardware. Not exactly a clear idea but we’ll try and our understanding on what appears to be happening. Instead of the cores having to constantly “remember” what each other core was doing, their system moved the queue of what was to be done to a hardware source. So instead of the CPUs having to manage these relationships, they only had to go to one place, the queue of operations that needed to be done. The three steps they explained that the cores had to worry about being: add data to the queue, take data from the queue, and put data close to where it's going to be needed next, a lot simpler as you can imagine.
Currently this system has been called hardware queue management device or QMD and as said before, in data processing QMD had massive performance increases for large multi-core CPUs, while also this QMD logic has been shown to increase performance in other core communication dependent tasks. Hence will possibly have a much larger scope, even for us gamers!
Just think about it for a second, if this technology was backwards compatible, the mind boggles, a 7 year old Intel i7-950 might play GTA V on Ultra or an FX-6300 could play Dishonored 2 on Max Settings at 60FPS plus. Processors could be given a whole new lease of life. Unlocking all that performance that was lost for so little gain, future proofing them for years ahead of their time. An exciting prospect for sure and one that would change the face of our future proofing function beyond recognition. The days of whether I should buy an i7 or i5 are seemingly whizzing by us.
Whether this technology will start cropping up in future products is unsure right now, it is still in very early development, but to us it definitely feels like a step in the right direction for the utilisation of more cores ready for the future of processors. So if you are currently thinking about upgrading your PC maybe consider how many cores your new CPU will have, as it could mean Ultra gaming for the next decade, that or until those awesome game developers start to push to the new performance boundaries.