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Why Dual Processors are better

Why Dual Processors are better - PCSTATS
Abstract: Increasing computer efficiency drives people to do many things, and one of the most common is doubling-up, or tripling-up, or even quadrupling-up, on processors.
Filed under: Beginners Guides Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: none Oct 10 2000   Max Page  
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Implementing multiprocessors

Implementing a multiprocessing system involves more than just buying a second processor. You'll need to outfit your SMP motherboard with a special chip that will manage the various functions of all processors simultaneously. The processors you use will also need to be SMP-friendly.

Some of the complex functions that multiprocessing necessitates are worth looking at. In order for two processors to not get ahead of each other and start generating data that renders either of them out-of-date, multiprocessing depends on something called cache coherency. As one processor digs into its cached memory to retrieve a piece of information, the other processor checks that it hasn't updated that particular item without the other processor's knowledge. If it has, then it supplies the latest data. This cache coherency prevents data from becoming corrupted as two or more processors work more or less separately on one task.

Another feature that makes multiprocessing work better is referred to as bus arbitration. In order to access memory that's deeper than the processor's cache -- i.e., the RAM or the computer's hard drive -- the processor must go through something called the system bus. When more than one processor is operating, however, a squabble can arise over which processor gets to use the bus first. Bus arbitration assigns different voltages to pins on the processors, which in turn determine which processor is active and which is inactive. The active processor gets dibs on the bus. And this active/inactive status switches randomly between the processors, so nobody gets upset.

At the end of the day, multiprocessing is a neat concept, but for at-home computer-users, it hardly pays off. Doubling your processor does not necessarily double your speed, unless you're constantly using applications that benefit from dual processors. For most at-home users, this is not the case. For them, given the cost of all the necessary upgrades, you're better off investing in a typing course to speed up your keyboard skills than shelling out for this kind of glamorous upgrade.

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Contents of Article: none
 Pg 1.  Why Dual Processors are better
 Pg 2.  — Implementing multiprocessors

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