Academic journal article Journal of Accountancy

Chip Tip

Academic journal article Journal of Accountancy

Chip Tip

Article excerpt

Q. I am looking to purchase a new computer, and I notice that many of them come with multiple core processor chips. This has me wondering how many core processor chips I really need in my desktop computer.

A. In my opinion, you should purchase a computer with at least four, but no more than eight, processor chips. I'll explain why, but first here's a quick history lesson. The older Windows XP (standard edition) operating system supported only one core processor chip (not to be confused with the other various computer chips contained in the computer related to the video card, motherboard, hard drives, etc.). This meant that a Windows XP computer could perform only one task at a time, but to coordinate multiple activities, Windows XP employed a time-slice mechanism in which the core processor spent l/50th of a second on each process to make it appear as if it were performing multiple processes at the same time. For example, the core processor might spend 1/S0th of a second reading your hard drive, the next 1/50th of a second recalculating your spreadsheet, the next 1/50th of a second displaying the results on your screen, and the next 1/50th of a second writing to a USB drive. The processor would then repeat those four processes in 1/50thof-a-second intervals until each task was completed. In this manner it appeared that your Windows XP computer's core processor was performing these four functions simultaneously, when technically it was not.

Today, making computers actually perform separate tasks/processes at the same time requires multiple core processors, which is why computer manufacturers have moved to multiple core processor designs. Based on this explanation thus far, you might conclude that more processors translates to faster performance, but this is not necessarily the case because at some point adding core processors has diminishing returns. …

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