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Discussion on: My beginner’s guide to choosing a laptop for programming

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Ben Halpern

What's your sense of how the software used for developing software makes adequate use of multiple cores? It's easier to tell when an application is hogging memory, and my system is struggling. Where might I get a feel for the difference between cores and processing power?

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Humza K.

It's cute to see you asking questions when you already know the answers Mr. Founder :)

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Ben Halpern

I don't think I really know the answer. These things are constantly moving and I'm not caught up on the current state of things. Sometimes the whole landscape can change without you noticing.

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Ben Hilburn

I don't know that there is a consistent answer for this - it varies pretty wildly by tool and workflow.

As editors, neither ViM nor EMACS, for example, are multi-threaded, but more complex IDEs usually are (e.g., VisualStudio, Eclipse). For buildchains, it varies by the tool. GCC, for example, has been able to use multiple cores for concurrent compilation for a long time, but developers targeting Xilinx FPGAs have only been able to use multiple cores since the release of Vivado. I do think that many common devops-y tools benefit from multiple cores (VMs being the most obvious), generally.

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Jonathan Boudreau

Just a nitpick - VIM 8 and Neovim can use multiple cores using some new features. There are plugins which run tasks in the background for linting, auto-completion, etc.

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Ben Hilburn

Good to know! I didn't realize that had been added to ViM 8, and I'm not very familiar with Neovim, myself. Thanks for sharing =)