Thursday, February 18, 2010

x86 Core Euthanasia

My computer is sort of like my pet. I buy nice things for it. I'm wary about how it will get along with the other computers, and I'm always excited to see what it can do after I install new parts. (The cats, by the way, love their new spider monkey tails. If you haven't made the plunge yet, it's totally worth it. If you've ever seen a cat running around with a can of soda clutched in its tail, you'll know what I mean.)

Unlike pets, however, if a computer part dies, there's usually a warranty. My current flock of USB ports weren't real wild about being hit with the arm-shaking jolt of static electricity I gathered from the cats, carpet and fuzzy office chair. They showed their displeasure by going on strike.

"Oh, we just can't have nice things," read the statement issued by the Motherboard, which represents the Amalgamated Union of Universal Serial Bus Ports.

So I did what any nerd would do when one of his under-warranty parts goes on the fritz: I bought some new, faster parts. In this case, I played the role of the evil industrialist, shaking his cane at the hordes of underpaid wage slaves waving signs outside one of his factories.

"To hell with all of you!" I shouted from the half-rolled-down window of my Bentley. "I'll replace you all with robots!"

Now, I'm afraid I've gone too far. You see, my new processor has the ability to "put individual cores to sleep." If they were defective or in pain, I could see a good argument for this, but according to Intel's spec sheet, these cores are perfectly operational! Never did harm to nobody, and Windows 7 is allowed to put them to sleep on a whim.

It may not be as bad as it sounds, because presumably these cores can be resuscitated. It does seem needlessly cruel to keep killing and reviving them over and over again, and I'm sure that my tacit approval will haunt me later.

It's just so fast, though! I'll just stop thinking about the poor little cores and their families, and maybe all the bad thoughts will go away.


  1. Yeah, that's right. Get your mind off it by doing some heavy encoding or something. And, remember, the cores are probably better off where they are.

  2. Nah, pets are much more cuddly. My computer just thinks it's my pet.


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