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The Mac Gains a Multicore Ally

There's a huge debate raging about just how well XP and Vista exploit our new generation of dual and multicore systems.

Critics argue that Vista does little to take advantage of additional cores. And because most multicore systems run at slower clock-speeds, apps can actually run more slowly. (Do you run dual or multicore desktops? If so, are they faster than old-style single-cores? Let me know by writing me at [email protected].)

While Microsoft says little about Vista's multicore support (after a week of solid research, I still haven't gotten any clear answers and have found some contradictory information on Microsoft.com), Apple is touting how Leopard was designed for multicore. Leopard apparently has a multicore-optimized network stack and a scheduler to distribute work across cores.

But perhaps the best way to exploit multicore is to write apps with multiprocessing in mind. And here, perhaps, RapidMind can help. The company has a development system where programmers define which parts of the software is to be multithreaded, and then RapidMind automatically makes these components run against whatever cores are available. Originally for Linux and Windows, RapidMind today is announcing support for the Mac.

Posted by Doug Barney on January 07, 2008 at 11:52 AM


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