AMD patch tackles dual-core game glitches

AMD's drivers and utilities page has been updated with a new "AMD Dual-Core Optimizer" patch that aims to fix lingering problems with dual-core processors in games. The description for the patch reads:
The AMD Dual-Core Optimizer can help improve some PC gaming video performance by compensating for those applications that bypass the Windows API for timing by directly using the RDTSC (Read Time Stamp Counter) instruction. Applications that rely on RDTSC do not benefit from the logic in the operating system to properly account for the affect (sic) of power management mechanisms on the rate at which a processor core's Time Stamp Counter (TSC) is incremented. The AMD Dual-Core Optimizer helps to correct the resulting video performance effects or other incorrect timing effects that these applications may experience on dual-core or multiple processor systems.
A quick peek in Microsoft's MSDN Library sheds a little more light on the issue. In short, some games rely on an instruction called RDTSC to read the CPU's clock cycle counter in order to perform timing operations based on it. With multiple CPU cores and power management like Cool'n'Quiet enabled, cycle counters end up out of sync, causing glitches and potentially crashes in those games. AMD's release notes say the Dual-Core Optimizer patch "synchronizes Time Stamp Counter (TSC) MSRs [model-specific registers] on AMD Dual-Core Processors," meaning it syncs up cycle counters to avoid game glitches. Thanks to The Inquirer and reader Droopy1592 for the tip.
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