Chapter 2. Four Effective Multicore Designs


Please. As I was saying, she stumbled upon a solution whereby nearly ninety-nine percent of all test subjects accepted the program as long as they were given a choice, even if they were only aware of the choice at a near unconscious level.

 --The Architect, The Matrix Reloaded

In this chapter we take a closer look at four multicore designs from some of the computer industry's leading chip manufacturers:

  • The AMD Multicore Opteron

  • The Sun UltraSparc T1

  • The IBM Cell Broadband Engine (CBE)

  • The Intel Core 2 Duo

Each of these vendors approaches the Chip Multiprocessor (CMP) differently. Their approaches to multicore design are implemented effectively with each design having its advantages, strengths, and weaknesses in comparison to the other designs. We will use these designs for all of the examples in this book. The program examples in this book have been compiled and executed on one or more of these multicore processor designs. In this chapter, we introduce you to the basics of each design, and throughout the book we fill in the necessary detail as it pertains to multicore application development and design.

In many mass market software applications, the differences among hardware implementations are abstracted away because often one of the primary design goals is to make the software compatible with as many different hardware platforms as possible. So there is a conscious effort to avoid platform-specific features. In these scenarios, the software ...

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