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Doug's Mailbag: What To Do with All Those Cores, More

After Intel debuted its 48-core processor recently, Doug wondered what that kind of computing power could do for everyday users. Here's what some of you had to say:

Well, on many people's desks, nothing much at all. But for researchers, quite a bit. Individual researchers now need to share supercomputers with other people. With this sort of thing, the individual researcher could run drug simulations or weather models. The creative animator could render in real-time a movie from a 3-D model and try out different blocking/scene changes/lighting/etc.

This isn't to say that games couldn't be extended into realistic 3-D animations with artificial intelligence, but there are other applications than just more gaming.

Most people don't do enough with their computers to drive more than two or three processors at any one time, let alone 48. And with vendors trying to move the processing into the cloud on the Internet with subscription-based software, would there be any point to having a supercomputer on every desk?

Hoardware vendors seem to want ot put more power on the desktop, while software vendors seem detemrined to get everything off the desktop. With people pulling in oppostie directions, we'll probably remain in the same general state for a long tme to come.

I am a power user, and am fortunate enough to own the i7 Extreme Edition processor. I use it for a multitude of things -- I run Second Life, Photoshop, Outlook 2007, IE 8 and Sound Forge all at once, with no apparent slowdown!

For power/business users, multicores are the way to go. One day soon, apps will take advantage of the multicores and computing will be unlike what we are used to now. Soon, we will be saying, "Remember back in the day of the single-core Pentium processor..."

And there's no shortage of opinions about Office 2010. In fact, here are two more:

I'm currently running Office 2010 full-time at work and am quite pleased. I live in Outlook most of my day; I use Word and Excel quite a bit but not as extensively as some users. I'm still getting used to a few things, but overall I'm very impressed with the File menu and with the way it keeps track of people you e-mail. Conversations are also a favorite of mine.

Two problems I've experienced so far: Google calendar and iPhone calendar sync don't work and they refuse to comment about when fixes may be available.

More reader letters coming tomorrow. Meanwhile, submit your own comment below or send an e-mail to

Posted by Doug Barney on 12/14/2009 at 1:17 PM


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