The most important measure of computer performance from a business’s perspective is how fast your computer allows its user (your employees) to work on their day to day activities. The rest of this chapter provides the committee’s views on matters related to computer performance today. All things constant, the higher the generation of the CPU, the better the computer's performance tends to be. The overhead and latency of that communication in effect delays computational progress as the CPU waits for data to arrive and for system-level interlocks to clear. In general, power considerations are likely to lead to a large variety of specialized processors. Organizations will run performance tests in order to identify performance-related bottlenecks . Those additional market opportunities have strong economic underpinnings of their own, and they have clearly reaped benefits from deploying technology advances driven into place by the computer-systems industry. The meter verifies that the correct voltage is passing through the circuit. FIGURE 2.1 Transistors, frequency, power, performance, and cores over time (1985-2010). Although their performance overhead is sometimes enough for the performance advantages of compiled code to outweigh programmer productivity, JavaScript and PHP are fast becoming the languages of choice on the client side and server side, respectively, for Web applications. For most computer systems today, the amount of time it takes to access data from memory is more than 100 times the single cycle time of the CPU core. As one might expect, different market segments have different use scenarios, and they stress the system in different ways. Exponential growth of the type and scale that have fueled the entire information technology industry is ending.1 In addition, a growing performance gap between processor performance and memory bandwidth, thermal-power challenges and increasingly expensive energy use, threats to the historical rate of increase in transistor density, and a broad new class of computing applications pose a wide-ranging new set of challenges to the computer industry. Consider a Web server, such as one of the machines at search giant Google. In summary, the sustained viability of the computer-systems industry is heavily influenced by an underlying virtuous cycle that connects continuing customer perception of value, financial investments, and new products getting to market quickly. It is better, for example, to have a larger number of lower-speed processors to optimize the throughput rate and minimize power consumption. The raw computational capability of CPU cores is an important component of system-level performance, but it is by no means the only one. Thus, modern software systems now have and rely on multiple layers of system software to execute programs. External Peripheral Connectors Check how many and what type of external ports are available on the computer for use with future peripherals. There was a time in the industry when much architecture research was expended on the notion that because every new compatible generation of chips must carry the aggregated baggage of its past and add ideas to the architecture to keep it current, surely the architecture would eventually fail of its own accord, a victim of its own success. However, in most architectures, there tend to be few such registers because of their relatively high cost in silicon area. additions to historical instruction sets—such as Intel’s SSE 1, 2, 3, and 4—attempt to accomplish more work per clock cycle by operating on grouped data that are in a compressed format (the equivalent of a jackhammer that drives multiple chisels per stroke). At the same time, they set the stage for a fresh round of incremental advances that eventually overtake any remaining advantages of the older technology. To put it into perspective, a laptop or desktop with a 3 GHz processor can perform around 3 billion calculations per The clock speed of the computer and the speed of processing data are managed by the CPU of a computer. In those situations, the gross reliability and “up time” characteristics of the system can be far more important than the instantaneous performance of the system at any given time. 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