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Intel vs AMD CPU concerns and questions.

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April 12, 2013 11:00:54 AM

I am planning to build a gaming PC/HTPC using an Intel Haswell i5-4670 CPU. However, I have concerns over the fact that both Microsoft and Sony have selected an eight-core AMD Jaguar CPU or APU to power their new video game systems. Since it will make it easier for game developers to port their games between these new video game consoles, I am concerned that game developers are going to start porting their games to PCs running eight-core AMD CPUs such as the FX 8350 and its replacements, making four-core Intel CPUs such as the i5 and i7 nearly useless, even though most games don't use more than two or three cores at this point.

My questions are:

1. After the release of the new video game consoles, will video game developers start porting their games for PCs using eight-core AMD CPUs? If so, how long will this process likely take?

2. Will game developers still port their games for Intel based PCs since Intel is the dominant CPU in the PC market?
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April 12, 2013 11:08:24 AM

The crystal ball says: "Who knows?"
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April 12, 2013 11:11:58 AM

Well consoles and PC's are two different things. Games to day are mostly made for consoles and then ported over to PC's. I would not worry too much about it since the change over is not going to happen on current generation CPU's.
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April 12, 2013 11:16:58 AM

well, technically BOTH Intel and AMD CPUs use the x86 instruction set, among others, so as long as you write the game to work with the x86 instructions, it 'should' run on both CPUs.

This is different than an a cpu found in cell phones and tablets, which traditionally use the ARM based 'instruction' sets. that's why you can't use cell phone apps on PCs, unless you get an emulator and are a lot smarter than me.

That's a VERY general idea of it.

Now, some games might be optimized for one CPU over another, but that isn't generally the case, because developers want their games to run on the most computers possible.

it sounds like the Xbox and PC are going to both use an AMD processor based on the x86 instruction set, so porting between the three platforms shouldn't be to horrible. Especially since most games are written with Direct X in mind anyways, which is like an instruction set for graphics cards. the Xbox 360 was DirectX 9, the new one will be Direct X 11.

As far as cores, its about freaking time developers write game code to utilize multicore CPUs, they are only 8 years on the making!!! o.0

Dry
April 12, 2013 11:20:33 AM

I should also say that SINCE a consoles hardware doesn't change, developers can write the code of the game to run REALLY well on it, optimizing it, to run to a fixed set of expectations, like, the game MUST run at 30 FPS or MUST run at 60 fps, to ensure a good user experience.

With a PC, since the specs can vary so widely between users, developers CAN'T guarantee the same thing, so there's no promise that the SAME game on PC will run at 30 FPS using your Radeon 6670, even though that's basically the 'same' graphics card that will be in the new consoles.

Dry
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April 12, 2013 11:20:46 AM

The problem is not the cores involved, but rather the software environment. Only a few of the latest releases use multi-threading. In the case of multi-threading it is an open question whether the Intel or the AMD is superior.

If they port games to the PC they will need to be neutral to the CPU. One or the other may be better optimized for a particular game, but no one porting a game wants to sacrifice a major market segment by making it unplayable on a particular processor.

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April 12, 2013 11:28:19 AM
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Game developers want the largest possible market for their games.
They will not develop games that require 8 core pc's to run well.
I would not worry much about that.
Once you get past two threads, it is difficult to write programs that can effectively use "n" threads.
Developers will not pay that expense.
Even then, there is always some single threading going on in any multithreaded app or game.
It will still pay to have the fastest speed available on a single core.

If haswell pricing carries forward from ivy bridge, you would be well advised to plan for a haswell "K"; the added 5% in cost will bring you 25% better performance.
April 12, 2013 11:48:31 AM

Crysis 3 responds VERY well the more threads you give it, but this game has just come out in the last couple months. So I think slowly developers are figuring out how to use multi core CPUs to their best.

its not just me, but in my personal benchmarks, my frame rates jumped 40% from 30ish to 50ish on a GTX670 switching from an i3 to an i7.

Dry
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