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stupid question but i dont know the answer(parallel processing)

post #1 of 3
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Whenever i get asked a question by one of my friends and i dont have an answer i feel the need to find out as quick as possible..

Basically the question is this.
Why is parallel computer more efficient then just really high clock frequencies?

Is it simply the fact that there arent materials that can work at those frequencies? ie 12ghz core2 single core vs a 3ghz quad would be equal, but the quad is physically possible while the other is not?

I know im making this very simple but if something that takes 4 seconds to compute at 3ghz. wouldn't the above 2 chips complete it in the same amount of time?

Sorry for dumbing this down so much but i really don't know the technicalities to explain it any better.

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post #2 of 3
Basically it breaks down to the fact that when processing in parallel, you can do more at the same time. Sure, a single core clocked high can compute it's math fast, but it has to work in a single pipe. So let's say you are working on a multi tiered project. Many calculations have to be performed, and some have priority. The ones with priority have to be performed first before other calculations can begin, so the CPU must work hard all the time, one project after another. However, when working in parallel, or multi-core, priority calculations can occur at the same time. With those being done, even at a slower speed, these next calculations can be accessed quicker.

Even though the project may take the same amount of time to compile on either chip (one being clocked faster, the other having multiple calculation cores), the parallel processing is more efficient because it can do more at the same time, and the non priority calculations can be completed faster.

That's what I figure anyway, other may have better descriptions.
post #3 of 3
Quote:
Why is parallel computer more efficient then just really high clock frequencies?
It depends on the application. Not all programs benefit from parrallel processing. However, most complex applications can be divided into threads which would improve performance though.

Quote:
Is it simply the fact that there arent materials that can work at those frequencies? ie 12ghz core2 single core vs a 3ghz quad would be equal, but the quad is physically possible while the other is not?
Correct. Current commercial transistors can't switch fast enough for those speads. A 12GHz Core 2 Single core is NOT equal to a 3GHz quad. You have to take into account of the overhead managing the cores, the cache sharing/thrashing, and application.

Quote:
I know im making this very simple but if something that takes 4 seconds to compute at 3ghz. wouldn't the above 2 chips complete it in the same amount of time?
No. Single vs multi-threaded issue again.

To solve: What is 132/3232? a Single Core would be faster since it is only one equation that can't be broken up into parts.
To solve: Is 53423 a prime number? A dual core would be faster since it requires thousands of multiplication equations simultaneously.
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