MP Mania?

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I don’t understand why as many people as there seems to be are getting all riled up about AthlonMP systems.

Mind you, if you’re doing serious activity with a program or programs that makes real use of two processors, or plan to use one of these as a server, I can see that. I’m not talking
about you.

I’m talking about everybody else.

Now I can understand why the concept of two processors is appealing. But in real life, for most mainstream activities, it doesn’t do you much if any good.

For the average person with average usage, MS OSs are just not inherently SMP OSs. Sure, you can put some activities on one CPU, and reserve the second for heavy hitting, but how many of you really have activities going on in the background that require a whole lot of CPU cycles? (Update: Apparently more than a few of you. If that’s the case, then certainly look into it).

Quake runs better? Sure, if you run Demo001 at 640X480 it does. Get higher and more strenuous than that, and the video card becomes the bottleneck.

You’ll see some Sysmark scores which show an improvement, but this is a great illustration of why a single Sysmark 2000 number falls flat on its face, and Sysmark 2001 is mostly useless.

I’d bet dollars to doughnuts that two applications or maybe just one application in their “Internet Content Creation” score benefits a lot from SMP, and the others derive little or no benefit.

If you happen to use that particular application or two, you have much more reason to buy SMP than Sysmark would indicate.

If you don’t use them, but rather use apps that don’t benefit from them, then that single Sysmark number deceives you into thinking you’ll get an improvement that you just won’t get.

If you’re thumbing your nose at DDR because it doesn’t give enough of an improvement, I don’t see why the same argument wouldn’t apply to SMP for the average person.

There is a saying, “If you have to ask how much it costs, you can’t afford it.”

Let me provide a corollary for SMP, “If you don’t know what it’s for, you don’t need it.”

Now if I’m missing something, I’d be glad to hear about it, but before you write, read that second paragraph again.

For Crusaders Only

If you’re some kind of SMP crusader thinking he or she is “defending the cause,” I’m not attacking appropriate use of SMP. I’m questioning inappropriate use of SMP that just wastes people’s money to no purpose (outside of ego).

Update 6/9/01: Let me clarify this point a bit. If this is your hobby, and you’re doing it for the joy of doing it, that’s fine. You’re doing it because you enjoy the hobby, not because you’re going to get a major improvement out of it.

If you look at this and say, “Even if it doesn’t help me a lot, I still want it” that’s fine. Unless your family is out on the street and starving,
there’s nothing especially wrong with you doing something for ego or bragging right so long as you know that that’s what you’re getting out of it.

It’s the person who thinks he or she will get a big boost out of SMP when they won’t with their computing habits that we’re talking about.


Now if you want to waste your money for ego, go for it. You don’t have the right to insist others unwittingly join you.

So if you write me, be ready to say why people in general (or at least more subgroups than those I mentioned) will substantially benefit from it, or, if you can’t, all you have left is explaining to me why wasting other people’s money for the sake of your crusade is a good idea.

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