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LinuxWorld: Open source tips for Intel and AMD - A little chipset war never hurt anyone

Jan 14, 2001, 18:36 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Nicholas Petreley)

"My first contestants, should they decide to accept the challenge, are AMD and Intel. I love to watch these chipmeisters wage war. Thanks to the competitive challenges posed by AMD with its Athlon series of chips, the price/performance in CPU chips and supporting chipsets offered by both these companies is phenomenal. I picked up a 1-GHz Athlon a couple months ago for well under $300. I'm almost afraid to find out how much the faster chips are selling for now, lest the speed greed demon bite me yet again."

"The catalyst for the fight is some advice I'd like to offer these two competitors on how each might leverage open source to attempt to beat the other. The operative word here is attempt, however. Ideally, I don't want either company to actually subdue the other for any extended period of time, since the ongoing competition is what keeps prices low and performance high."

"Enough beating around the bush. Here's the advice: Go for broke this year and invest heavily in open source. Specifically, devote as many resources as possible for tuning optimizations in the GNU compilers to produce code that runs best with your chips. I'm not talking about bolstering generic 686 optimizations. I'm talking about chip-specific optimizations that a developer would activate with a compilation flag such as -O Athlon, -O Duron, -O Thunderbird, or -O PentiumWhatever. Heck, these companies should even add some new processor instructions unique to their individual CPUs, and then use the optimization flags to make the compiler use these extra instructions. If it improves performance, why not?"

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