Multi-core. Yay.

So Intel is shipping its much-vaunted Pentium D multi-core, high-speed, do-even-more-time-wasting-faster processors today. Do we really need more processors to do what we don’t really need to do now? How many of us have set up our Media Center Edition Home Theater All-in-one Entertainment System to the degree that one of these chips would make any sort of real difference? Granted, I’m addressing a core audience of uber-geeks that can probably compile C++ while recording the latest episode of “American Idol,” all while choosing whether to go with the Dark Side or the Light in Knights of the Old Republic 2. However, I feel that we are going the wrong direction in this race of better, faster, more, in that we have the processing capability we really need to do nearly anything we want. What we are failing to focus on is the user aspect of computing in general. When Apple, arguably the most user-friendly, multi-colored fruit-flavored marketing juggernaut in the world computer market, has to offer classes to teach users how to email their photos, there is a problem inherent in the system. What happened to the 1950’s dreams of the future, dreams where computers did what we wanted them to, and did it with a calm, synthetic, “Compliance!” Ok, so maybe the robot intelligence from the “Flight of the Navigator” is a little off-center. However, off-center is preferable to off-target completely.

In technical jargon, the new chips promise to kick up performance another couple notches, taking the hyper-threading technology and replacing it with actual hardware cores. Most average users won’t see much of a practical difference in performance from the older P4’s, especially from the Extreme Edition 3.73 GHz / 1066FSB monsters, which remains the king of the Intel hill for a while, especially since relatively few programs are set up currently to take advantage of true multi-threading. Overclocking is supported, though, so when purchasing a new motherboard to accomodate the new chips, look for one with support for multipliers above 14x and Vcore adjustments, for those of you brave and willing enough to take the chance of frying your new toy. But then again, as soon as I can get one, I’m going to see what she’ll do too, so–Gentlemen, start your BIOS! [Britt Godwin]