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

“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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