Thursday, March 30
Speaking of furore in geekland, there was a certain amount of consternation when benchmarks of Intel's new* Conroe processor showed it handily outperforming AMD's top-of-the-line FX-60 for games, traditionally** the Athlon's strong point.
Some people criticised the benchmarks, but they have been redone independently, and while not especially painstaking or comprehensive, they do seem to be showing a real and very significant performance jump.
So how has Intel managed to suddenly leapfrog AMD with what is, basically, a souped-up Pentium Pro?
For some time, both Intel and AMD have supported 128-bit short-vector instructions, performing two 64-bit or four 32-bit floating point operations at once. Except that neither one actually had a 128-bit FPU; both required two passes through a 64-bit unit.
So Intel fixed that, and as a result they are ahead of AMD. For as long as it takes AMD to double the width of their FPU, something that they were already working on anyway.
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