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Signal Ground: SMP: What's in it for You?

Jun 30, 2000, 19:42 (3 Talkback[s])

[ Thanks to Ken Treis for this link. ]

"Linux SMP support has been smoothed out in the stable kernel since the release of 2.2 -- and dual Celeron 533s (plus a motherboard) can be obtained for less than $330 USD -- so what does that mean for your next system purchase? The Signal Ground team dives head-first into the world of SMP, looking for real-world price-to-performance data."

"In a Linux SMP system, the Linux kernel automagically manages the use of all processors. Unfortunately, the primary function of a CPU -- processing a stream of instructions -- doesn't lend itself very well to sharing. The sharing of one instruction stream is like two people (A and B) trying to share a computer terminal while interacting with you (C) at the counter in a bank. Perhaps upper management at this bank has decided that the two brains behind the counter should be able to serve individual customers twice as quickly. In reality, though, we know that even if A and B knew each other extremely well, the overhead of their communication would cause your transaction to take even longer to process."

"Instead of working like the crazy managers that I just described, SMP systems delegate entire tasks to individual processors. This is more like the real-world situation at a bank. When you arrive at the bank, you are greeted by the first available teller. If teller A is busy, you can meet with teller B to have your request processed. If both tellers are busy, you wait. If neither is busy, the prettier one processes your request while the other waits."

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