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Moore's Law

By Steve Jones,

http://home.fnal.gov/~carrigan/pillars/Moores_law.pngI was reading recently about Intel's new Lynnfield processor, and found myself not very excited. The announcement mentions the clock speeds for this series (2.66GHz, 2.8GHz, and 2.93GHz), the price, and the manufacturing process (45nm). These are quad core processors with Hyper Threading, so they can potentially run 8 threads at a time.

There was a time when I eagerly looked forward to the new 486 processors, the Pentiums, and the rising transistor counts along with the ever-increasing clock speeds. There was a race to build faster processors, which would make all my applications run quicker. That's something I like, since I hate waiting for splash screens to load applications and windows to render.

As we've separated out our duties, with many SQL Server professionals working with the application layer and not being as involved in hardware as they might have been, I thought this would make a nice Friday Poll. This week I'm asking:

Do you care about the new processor enhancements?

Or do you just look to buy the newest AMD/Intel CPU with the most cores? At the highest clock speed?

There was a time where I not only spec'ed out the database server, but I often installed memory and drives inside it. I still remember getting boxes from Compaq with the various components inside. The last time we got a new server for my employer, I never saw it until it was racked, and even then I connected through a remote desktop to check the SQL Server installation done by someone else.

The last MSDN magazine I got had an article on parallel debugging, something that programmer had better learn as we move towards more cores and less speed changes. Since the developers up in Redmond build the parallel processing features into the SQL Server platform, do you care?

I don't think I do very much. It's a generic part, and I'm not sure how important it is for me to analyze it more than just buying the current CPU. Even in my desktop, I wanted something to support Hyper-V, but beyond that I wasn't very concerned about the various nuances of the options. I went for quad core, high speed.

So let us know this Friday, do the CPU enhancements pique the interest of SQL Server professional?

Steve Jones

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