Do I really need... Megatasking?
What does it do?
Megatasking was one of the buzzwordsds at Taiwan’s Computex tech trade show in May. It means multitasking, but t more so, made possible by processors with more than the two, four or eight cores we’re used to. AMD showed off 16-core versions of its Ryzen chips, while Intel went one better with its 18-core X-series i9 (pictured).
Why would I want it?
For now, it’s all aimed at creative jobs like video editing, 3D animation and computer-aided design (CAD). In these fields, software is constantly working on multiple streams of calculations behind the scenes to update everything in response to the user. What’s interesting is that everyday computing tasks are getting more like that.
When you ask Microsoft’s Cortana or Amazon’s Alexa a question, for example, it has to process your speech and consult multiple data sources. When you use a program to apply a fun effect to a video clip, complex maths makes it look right. When you flick between browser tabs or apps on your phone, that’s multitasking. The X-series offers up to a teraflop of processing power, meaning it can perform a trillion (one million million) calculations per second.
What’s the catch?
Price. At the moment, that teraflop chip will cost about £2,000 – and that’s just the processor, not the PC powered by it. But new tech always starts at the top and then filters down into everyday products.
So can I do without it?
Today, yes. Tomorrow, not only will it let you edit your 4K home videos smoothly, but advanced multi-core processing power will help computers get much easier to use.