Its different, its better, it will sell

E_man

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Jul 16, 2010
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Guys I hope this conversation continues. You have both made some really good points. Like splmonster, it was my understanding that both the apps and the OS needed to be developed in a way that allowed them to utilize both cores. For example, I was under the impression that a Windows 32 bit OS will not take advantage of the second core; prohibiting apps from doing so either. If I wanted to take advantage of both cores, I thought the requirement was to run a 64 bit OS; so, that is what I installed. For example I know some of my apps (office?) are either not compatible (especially in the early/less popular days of 64 bit) or they will run not in 64 bit mode. I also I think I understand where splmonster is coming from when he says dual core doesn't really matter. If you listen to the podcast, I've gotten pretty animated about how meaningless benchmarks are to me. People get really caught up in the higher the number the better. I get to play with a lot of Android phones and I can tell you the user experience on phones that are almost double mine (900) had a much slower feel in terms of the user experience. My phone is blazing fast and I honestly can't imagine it going any faster. A second core would be nothing to me because that's my perception. So I guess all of these things combined put me on the same page as splmonster.

You don't need a 64bit OS to take advantage of 2+ cores. You do need it to take advantage of more than 3.4Gb of ram though, which is why many people push it. Also, you're correct, many apps don't run in 64bit mode, but many apps don't need to take advantage of 3.4Gb or ram! (There are also some other advantages, that most programs don't need as well). The advantage to running 32bit programs even on a 64bit machine is even if each program individually only sees 3.4Gb of ram, the OS can assign them to any of the 4/6/8Gb you may have. The apps themselves don't actually need to see all of it, and don't even fill what they can see.

I do listen to the podcast (my favorite ;) ) and completely agree, benchmarks are often misused. With my captivate, there were certain methods to sort of work around the RFS system samsung used. These gave 2800+ quadrant scores. Getting a true fix to the RFS by completely replacing it gives ~1800 in quadrant. However, it's much faster.

As for not feeling faster, for many things it won't. Like I said, you'll notice it in very specific (but common) circumstances such as web browsing, flash, games, multitasking, and the like. When I'm running Rythmbox (music player) or some other lightweight program, my single core netbook feels like my quad core desktop. However loading Android Central on my netbook can be a 15 second process (less than 1 second to download, the rest to render at 100% processing power).

That said, what you did E_man, was present data (which as an Engineer by trade I'm always a big fan of) to back up what I think is a contention that the apps are already written to support dual cores and will take full advantage of them regardless of the OS? You did so by showing the Windows task manager. So I guess that helps me a little bit, but is Android really working the same way?

My point in showing the windows task manager was to show that multithreading is commonplace in todays programming. When it was first introduced, nobody knew how to do it. Now, everyone does it, and those who don't know how, can easily find sources to read up on it. Dual core being introduced to mobile is far different than its introduction to the desktop. People already have experience in doing it, and like I posted, google's been pushing multithreading (the only thing on the app's side needed to take advantage of dual core) for over 6 months now at least. Now the android kernel can be compiled with SMP (kernel level multi-threading). Once Ice Cream/Gingerbread2/Honeycomb complete the support, everything will be ready, and should take advantage of it. My point was to also show that even on far more powerful machines than these tablets, having the ability to run things on multiple cores opens new possibilities.

I will admit I don't have the degree to say one person is correct and the other isn't. I actually get a little confused because I hear so many explanations for this. Now, based on my phone example, and my experience of not thinking my phone could actually perform any faster than it does; I am still suspicious of whether a dual core is a necessity.

The reason that is is due to the fact that things you do on your phone are designed for the power available. The exception being flash and the rendering of "desktop" web pages. Dual core isn't necassarily meant to make these things faster (again, the exception), but to make it so you can do more. Imagine you have a phone with HDMI 1080p out abilities. Makes it easy to play video on your TV if you want. You need a dual core to get 1080p, or even 720p comfortably. Better 3D games is another one. Heck, pretty soon I expect things like the Atrix to be the primary computing device for many, once prices and OS compatibility get worked out. Give it maybe 5 years. Once phones reach that "good enough" threshold (just like laptops did), and the price becomes right, interesting things will happen.

I will say, for many people, especially on the phone front where we are limited by screen size, dual core is far less useful in my opinion than on the tablet.

On a tablet however, I think dual cores will open up the possibility of CPU hungry applications that a single core could not. Even the UI on some of the single core tablets I played with at CES felt laggy to me. That could be due to the fact Froyo isn't intended for tabs, and it could also be a core thing.

Strange, even the single core Galaxy Tab seemed fast to me. But yeah, dual core on tablets is where it will really catch on. That's where I want to render desktop web pages, play some serious games, watch videos, flash, etc. That's where I want an almost desktop experience, and that's where dual core will shine the most.

I want to reiterate, these things I mentioned may not be the highest priority. Someone may see the pen input as the holy grail in tablet specs, and the 1.5Ghz snapdragon is powerful enough to do what you want, and it's pretty powerful. As an engineering student, taking notes on a tablet without pen input would be horrible. Too many symbols, equations, and such to use a keyboard. :p

BSG75 said:
Apps don't need to be reprogrammed for multiple cores. As long as they are multi-threaded apps (which they are), they are already ready to go for multiple cores.
Exactly

I remember hearing or reading that the hold up is that the dalvik vm doesn't support multiple cores yet. Each app runs it's own instance of the dvm, so the apps can be multi-threaded, but still not be able to run more than one thing through their dvm at once. That seems to be the bottleneck. However, two different apps can be making use of each core at the same time, it seems. You just can't have one app accessing more than one processing core at a time. If that is the case, then I think it's safe to say multiple cores are not a waste.

Yes, two different apps should be able to take advantage of the multiple cores. Interesting about the Dalvik Engine. That would explain quite a bit about the LG 2X and the Atrix benchmarks. Some of the processing intensive stuff didn't gain much. I figured the OS wasn't assigning cores well yet. Not assigning them at all makes even more sense. I imagine that is fixed in honeycomb, since dual core support is a flagship feature.

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I also want my tablet a little future-proofed. If Ice Cream introduces full multiple processor support, I don't want my tablet to be let out in the cold.
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Honeycomb should introduce that before Icecream even :p
 

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