I don't buy that it's only good for runaway processes. Try using iNav to purge
a few thousand spool files from an iSeries. On my machine the mouse goes
unresponsive (freezing for 10+ seconds at a time), switching apps takes 15+
seconds, and opening a 12K email takes long enough to go get a cup of coffee.
I literally move away from the PC as it's not worth trying to use until iNav
finishes. This is on a 2GHz PentiumM with 1GB RAM, and XP Pro.
- Doing large compiles on your PC.
- Batch photo editing.
- Video encoding.
- Any other traditional long-running process.
Basically, your long-running process runs unimpeded and you still have a
responsive system that can be used for other work. Like submitting a batch job
on the iSeries, your long-running process can run in the background while
you're free to work in the foreground without a performance penalty.
Again, it's something like a $30-70 price premium over a single core CPU. On
even a $500 system that's just a 10% premium for the potential to double your
performance or at least maintain responsiveness. Shouldn't the PC should be
waiting on you and not the other way around?
Eventually, apps will come out that are optimized for multi-core/multi-thread
designed. Some are already available, although for the most part they aren't
general-purpose consumer stuff.
I'll add that the next generation of Intel CPUs is supposed to make the L2
caches shared across all cores in a socket. So even if you are using just 1
core for your processing, performance should rise with the potentially larger
As Walden said, MS products are priced per socket, not per core. XP & Vista
both are 2-socket licenses giving you the potential for 8 cores today and up to
16 cores when the 8-core CPUs ship (probably next year).
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