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New computer chip design boosts speed

U.S. researchers say a new technique in computer chip design can increase overall computer processor performance by an average of more than 20 percent. Researchers at North Carolina State University claim that in the new design, graphics processing units and central processing units on a single chip, normally involved in separate processing activities, can collaborate.

GPUs were initially designed for the single function of executing graphics programs and are capable of executing many individual functions very quickly. The CPU, or the "brains" of a computer, have less computational power but are better able to perform more complex tasks. "Chip manufacturers are now creating processors that have a 'fused architecture,' meaning that they include CPUs and GPUs on a single chip," researcher Huiyang Zhou said. "This approach decreases manufacturing costs and makes computers more energy efficient. However, the CPU cores and GPU cores still work almost exclusively on separate functions. They rarely collaborate to execute any given program, so they aren't as efficient as they could be."

"Our approach is to allow the GPU cores to execute computational functions, and have CPU cores pre-fetch the data the GPUs will need from off-chip main memory," Zhou said. "This is more efficient because it allows CPUs and GPUs to do what they are good at. GPUs are good at performing computations. CPUs are good at making decisions and flexible data retrieval."

The researchers said the new approach can improve fused processor performance by an average of 21.4 percent.

No comment or expectation has been provided as to when we may see such innovations in our computer devices.

Greg Gibson Owner, Founder and Designer & NewTribeZ Radio

Topics: Computers
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