Another Dual Core Bottleneck

AMD did some press stuff about its dual-core processors and mentioned a few new tidbits.

It announced that the dual-cores, as Infoworld put it, “won’t be targeted at the high end of the market.” While new, this is not too surprising given what Intel’s already announced pricing.

The “two-for-almost-one” pricing will surely tempt many, including many overclockers.

This isn’t exactly a free gift, though, especially for overclockers. We’ve already spoken about the extra heat challenges dual-cores represent.

However, before you can have heat, you have to have power, and that’s the second big challenge overclockers are likely to face with these dual-cores.

Try getting dual-cores cranked up anywhere near the max achievable by single-cores, and you’re asking the mobo to transform double the power through those MSOFETs and into the CPU. Standard MOSFETs aren’t going to like that, and if they overheat, they either shut down or fail.

Those interested in revving up dual-core sometime this year need to put two things in your mind:

1) You’re going to need mobos with either beefier or more MOSFETs. There’s two ways mobo makers can handle extra power. They can make the MOSFETs beefier and capable of handling more power and heat (that, however, makes it more likely they’ll need extra cooling), or they can put more MOSFETs to the task (which take up more space and add other difficulties).

The point to understand now is that current motherboards have to be considered guilty until proven innocent in this regard. No doubt many mobos have some, even considerable headroom whan it comes to power, but we’re talking about 100% headroom here.

This is a matter of special concern to AMDers, because current socket 939 boards are supposed to be able to handle the first dual-cores. No doubt they’ll be able to within the default power specifications AMD sets for these chips, and then some. Whether they can handle two cores running at 3GHz is quite a different matter.

This may end up being as much a problem with the Intel chips, too, but since they’re going to need new mobos to function, there’s a better chance that new generation will be readier for the extra burden (though this is another guilty-before-innocent situation).

2) It’s likely you’re going to have to cool whatever or how many you have Keeping MOSFETs cool is the best way to keep them from stalling or failing. Keeping them cool may well become as important or even more important than what you do to cool your CPU in determining how far you can push a dual-core system. Entrepreneurs, take note.

A Bemused Observation

If you look at the dream overclocking box six months from now, we’re looking at two CPUs pumping out 200 watts plus, two video cards putting out not much less, motherboards circuitry needing cooling, plus everything else.

If you’re a heat-sensitive computer component, talk about an unfriendly working environment!

If this keeps up, in a few years, overclocking with air will become bipolar, as in only doable at the North and South Pole. 🙁


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