First of all, we need to clarify that this article is not about what physically limits the number of cores in a processor, but whether there is a configuration that, regardless of that limit, might be ideal and therefore with which designers and chipmakers are more comfortable.
Is 8 the ideal number of large cores?
One of the changes we are going to see is the adoption of heterogeneous configurations in PC processors, which we know about the Intel Alder Lake architecture and is prevalent for future AMD processors. This means that the number of cores will be increased, but cores of the same complexity will not be added, but much simpler.
There are two reasons why these small cores can be added. On the one hand, they take care of the simplest instructions, for which the most complex CPU cores have no advantage in terms of speed, but they have a downside in the power consumption of each instruction. On the other hand, there are execution threads or processes of different programs which are sent to one type of kernel or another.
The adoption of this strategy in the future by Intel and AMD hides a clear message that we will not see a jump beyond 8 cores as the standard size of PC processors. It is clear that it will be possible to buy configurations with a greater number of cores, we have the case of the future Intel Alder Lake where the measurement of “big” cores is 8.
Small cores vs. multi-threaded
Multithreading in any type of processor is based on using a processor’s dead time or execution bubbles to run a thread that is completely independent of the first. Just because an x-core processor runs 2x threads doesn’t mean it runs twice as fast.
Multi-threaded processors are considered additional cores in the eyes of the operating system. It would be physically possible to increase the number of execution threads of a CPU core, but these depend on the bubbles created by previous execution threads. This is why it is much more efficient to add more lower power cores than to increase the number of threads.
As the number of small cores may increase in the years to come, it is not for nothing that today’s operating systems and programs are not made up of a single thread of execution, but of dozens. little hearts that can be executed easily in these little hearts. . Who will grow more and more.