Gateway to Put Quad-core Desktops in Stores

Gateway will be one of the first PC makers to put quad-core desktops on retail shelves and has already announced deals with Best Buy, Circuit City Stores and CompUSA to sell its FX series (starting at $2,099.99) across stores in the United States. The FX Series of quad-core desktops, featuring Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 processors at 2.4 GHz with a 1066MHz FSB and 8MB of L2 cache, brings to retail a platform designed for advanced graphics, gaming and digital capabilities. The deal also includes sales of Gateway's Portable Media Drive Kit ($149.99), which includes a 120GB PATA hard drive. Gateway's portable media drive kit features a custom USB cable that eliminates the need for an A/C adapter and color-coded ends that identify which end should be used for data transference or for connecting to a power source.

News source: eWeek

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$2000 isn't really that bad. Intel charges about $550 for the CPU alone. But for that kind of cash you'd want a Geforce 8800, not an outdated Radeon X1950.

So, if the quad cores are for a platform to do advanced graphics, gaming and digital capabilities, then what will dual core do?

And do we really need to save a few seconds when doing those things?

When you start increasing cores, instead of raw processing power, you're dealing with paralelism. One core can be devoted to task A, another can be devoted to task B.

If applications are properly optimized for this kind of work, the difference can be immense. At the very least, more cores usually can mean improved responsiveness overall, as no single task will tie up the entire system.

But the problem is - developers haven't yet even BEGUN to take real advantage of this stuff.

On the other hand, calculation programs, modeling, etc. have always taken advantage of parallelism, that's why it makes sense to use a quad core for that.

And DESPITE what MS may say, Vista ABSOLOUTELY DOES NOT use all cores the right way. It's nowhere near optimized.

Only games are starting advantage of this technology, but it'll be a decade before Word or PSpice or whatever it is you use (even Visual Studio!) will use this technology properly.

Computer Guru,

It's not even all about developers. Many tasks are simply not suitable for threading. There's not really a coincidence calculation programs have been better taking advantage of this compared to e.g. computer games, and it's not really all software developers fault.

Same goes for Vista, Word, etc, it can only split tasks on multiple cores if the work at hand would even be suitable for that. For work to be suitable, it cannot be a sequential series of instructions depending on former states, and often it has to be. General programs are often state machines, while algorithms in math programs are more often not. Even games can have a hard time supporting this well, although they at least often use 3D engines that can be somewhat optimized for this.

But when we're talking e.g. Word, we're likely to never see a good optimization here, for the same reason an employee can't start working while he's still driving to work, an example of states that are dependant on each other. Math programs are more like "I can package the apples while you package the oranges" (= calculate f(y) while also calculating g(y)). So it's hard for a developer to "design" a tool that it can somehow suddenly start doing things in parallel, when it must know the result of a former set of instructions first. The main problem with Word is that it's almost always dependant on user choices, and that usually wrecks parallelization right there.