Multitasking comparisons?
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See the answerDear CPU Scorekeeper

How does a P3 866B Intel and an Athlon 850 compare when they are multitasking?
- - Double-O-Seven, July 2000

See the questionCPU Scorekeeper Responds

As you are probably aware, you can directly compare overall performance of these two (or any two) processors using our CPU Comparator.

You are correct, however, that most of the standard benchmark tests used to compare processor speeds are based on single-application runs through a prescribed script, or synthetic algorithms designed to stress or feature integer or floating-point calculation performance. The tests are set up this way more for reasons of convenience and standardisation than any attempt to accurately mirror the day-to-day demands of multitasking computing.

Between any two processors of comparable speed, multitasking performance is more a function of the sophistication of your operating system, the amount and type of memory in your computer, and its hard drive speed. At the chip level, whether you are running one application or several, it's all about pipelining, prefetching, and instruction optimisation. For the computer user, multitasking performance is more about pre-empting, multithreading, and perceived response time, which are all higher-level functions than the CPU normally cares about.

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