SMT vs. SMP!
We hate the silly abbreviations too, but this one could be important
You may not have heard of SMT, but the chances are you have a fairly good idea of what SMP is. "Symmetrical Multiprocessing" is only supported by a few advanced operating systems like Windows 2000 and Linux, and isn't exactly perfect by any means. Many use it though, because any CPU-hungry program that uses multiple threads can split the load between the two chips and thus the speed that instructions are processed increases. The downsides to SMP are that programs which do not use multiple threads are forced to use only the main processor, and that more often than not, the setup slows because of an inability to keep threads moving to each processor. Intel, who currently boast a market-leading share of the server-based processor industry, know this all too well, and thanks to the latest mind-numbing three-letter acronym, they may have found an answer. SMT is fairly new compared to SMP. "Simultaneous Multithreaded" it stands for, and it was developed in the 90s. It does not require a fancy pants operating system to function, and it handles processes in an equally impressive manner. There is a very well written article today at The Tech Report, which takes an in-depth look at SMT, discussing how it works and where it came from. The article touches on many aspects of it, including its pitfalls, and the possibility that Intel are working on SMT processors right now as a replacement to its Xeon server CPUs. What's more, it was written by a human being, and not as a thesis! Could this be the end of SMP? Will the abbreviations never cease? The whole article can be viewed here.