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Old 12th October, 2003, 03:15 PM
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system idle loop

What exactly is the system idle loop? The reason i asked is something i read on the SETI site FAQ:

Will running SETI@home overload or burn out my CPU?

No. The CPU on most computers is always executing instructions (often the operating system's "idle loop") whenever the computer is turned on. It's no additional strain to execute SETI@home.

But surely this is a slight bending of the truth, because if the idle process was actually making the CPU do work all the time, then there wouldn't be a temperature difference between idle and load?

So assuming that my assumption is right, what exactly are the idle loop instructions..and what's the difference that makes other instructions (eg applications) put the CPU under load and increase it's temperature? i tried googling it, but didn't really get back any informative results
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Old 12th October, 2003, 08:05 PM
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The "idle loop" is basically a process that runs at the lowest possible priority. On NT/Win2K/XP it should show up as "System Idle Process".

Basically, it makes sure the system does as little as possible, depending on what the computer supports. For example, it operates differently on an ACPI computer to a "standard" computer.
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Old 13th October, 2003, 08:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shamrock_uk
i tried googling it, but didn't really get back any informative results
Who needs google, when we have an Aidan??
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Old 18th October, 2003, 05:57 AM
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On most modern operating systems, the command executed durring idle time is the HLT instruction. This tells the processor to do nothing durring that cycle. Since the processor isn't doing anything, it runs cooler.

When a program requests some CPU time, the OS stops sending the HLT command, and lets the programs instructions be carried out. These will work different parts of the CPU depending on the immediate instruction being processed (floating-point, integer, cache retrivals, ect) causing it to heat up.

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