Let us face it, we have been improving multitasking capabilities of consumer operating systems for more than 10 years since the old Task Swapper in MS-DOS shell till the new Windows Server 2003. In 1995 Microsofts PR people told us we were going to experience the true multitasking in Windows 95, but kept saying almost the same thing about all the OSes coming out later, including Windows 98, Windows 2000 and Windows XP. In fact, operating systems already do provide quite effective multi-tasking, but what about our hardware?
Historically it has been more efficient to have a 2-way system in order to get higher performance in situations when a lot of tasks needed to work at the same time or there are extremely demanding applications needing a lot of CPU power. Unfortunately, 2P systems are too expensive for consumers and even some specialists since they require high quality components, two processors instead of one, specifically designed mainboards and so on.
As a result of all concerns about the cost of 2P computers, the Hyper-Threading idea was born. Why not utilize the currently unused CPU blocks in order to get more efficient and cost-effective computing? However, the Hyper-Threading may not be enough when we deal with certain kinds of applications that do not benefit from the Hyper-Threading technology. One of the solutions is to incorporate more CPU cores on a single processor, this idea has been around for some time now and we know that Intel will launch a dual-core IA64 Montecito chip and a dual-core IA32 Xeon Tulsa processor in 2005. Since Intels technologies introduced with server CPUs usually migrate into desktop space after some time, I would expect the dual-core processors for desktop applications to show up sometime in 2007-2008.
Nevertheless, even dual-core CPUs and 2P systems cannot allow us to virtually split a single computer for different tasks and needs. And here comes the Vanderpool Technology newly unveiled during IDF Fall 2003!
As our Anna mentioned in her IDF Coverage Part 1, Vanderpool is a hardware technology implying that your system gets split into several parts that work independently and use the same resources of the PC. Intel will bring this technology to platforms within next 5 years. This is a very interesting idea since microprocessors will be so powerful in 4-6 years time that a single chip (especially if it has two cores) will be able to serve the needs of the whole so-called Digital Home. How about you doing some work on your PC, your children play a game on it, and there are no slowdowns, unwanted windows and so on? Certainly, such personal computer will require a special operating system, but that is what Microsoft here for. Additionally, manufacturers of mainboards, audio cards, graphics cards and other hardware will have to support this technology in order to provide you the terrific opportunities given by the Vanderpool technology.
With Vanderpool, Hyper-Threading, dual-core and other innovative technologies, can you imagine how powerful the personal computers will be in the second part of the decade?
All-in-all, the idea of Vanderpool looks useful enough now, but will require support from the whole industry. Hence, the Vanderpool will be mostly an industry standard, rather than a simple another technology offered by Intels microprocessors.
by Anton Shilov