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Core 2 Duo vs Core 2 Quad with lower clock speed

Last response: in Video Games
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January 10, 2012 2:57:40 AM

I thought that when it came to gaming, a dual-core with a higher clock speed would be better than a quad-core with a lower clock speed.

But www.game-debate.com 's comparison between 2 system results shows otherwise:

Quad Core

Dual Core
January 10, 2012 3:02:47 AM

The quad core 2.13 gets a 6, while the core 2 duo 3.0 gets a 5 for the CPU score.
(you'll see what I'm talking about if you scroll down to where the big green check mark is)

I'm in the market for a cheap PC, and I'm not sure if I should get a dual or a quad.
I thought most certainly a dual would be better.

Can any of you ladies and gents shed any light on why the scores are like that ?


And if you raise the clock speed of the core 2 quad to 2.66, the score goes up to 7:

Quad Core
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January 10, 2012 3:40:55 AM

The Dual core will be much better for gaming.
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January 10, 2012 10:32:54 AM

it depends on the game. some are cpu bound while others are gpu bound.
it really does depend on the game and thats why i always say build a balance system. a decent dual with a low mid gfx card will give just as many fps all be it at lower rez asa high end quad with high end gfx... but more often than not if you put a low end dual in with a high end gfx you will get cpu bottlencks even with an i3 2100 you can still bottlneck with a 570 or 5870 on quite a few cpu bound games.
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January 10, 2012 1:03:27 PM

benski said:
The Dual core will be much better for gaming.


I thought so too, but this a gaming website dedicated to showing how well a system will be able to handle a game.

Pick any game with the same settings for the dual and the quad, the only variable is the CPU, and the constants are the graphics card and RAM.
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January 10, 2012 1:18:00 PM

as hexit said, if they have every game get same performance only based on CPU while completely disregarding game's engine and design then they are lying to you. If you wish to believe one source only, be my guest, however, I would think most people prefer to think for themselves.

some games are not optimised to use multi core cpu's, for example skyrim gets no benefit of running on a quad vs dual core. On the other hand game like SC2 gets a big difference depending on how many cores you got and what architecture they use. Skyrim is very CPU bound while SC2 is both CPU and GPU bound.

Doing benchmarks with varying CPUs while keeping everything constant is useful, but be critical of the results they give you. Ask yourself do they make sense.
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January 10, 2012 1:25:22 PM

I agree with HEXiT.
It depends on the game.
Suppose the game utilizes all four cores of a CPU, it would definitely run that game well, compared to a dual core CPU even if it has higher clock speeds.
Some of the older games, such as those which only utilizes two cores, will run better on a dual core CPU with high clock speeds than a quad core CPU with lower clock speed.
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January 10, 2012 1:55:46 PM

Having 4 cores will never make up for that slow of a clock speed.

http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/desktop-cpu-charts-q...

There you can see the e6850 beating the q6600 which is clocked considerably higher than the q6400. Most games will mirror these results, and in single threaded applications the difference will be even more pronounced. You will absolutely regret buying a q6400 to game on.

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January 10, 2012 2:27:22 PM

i dunno where you heard that, and you do know that list is over 3 years old and not only that it doesnt take into account crysis being badly optimized for quads so the benchmark is irrelevant sorry!... but there are a lot of quads in that list above the e6850 that being said the e6850 is still classed as an enthusiast cpu and still is priced accordingly... ie 300 pounds... why the hell would you buy that today when you could buy a 3.0 quad for less than half that... and i guarantee the quad will match it in single threaded performance. in fact i know my i7@2.66 will murder it and it cost 200 pounds.
back in the day your argument would have made sense but in today, it just doesnt.

sadly tech must move on and by the looks of it , it has left some behind.


as a basic rule of thumb. any 2.6 amd quad and any 2.4 intel quad will be enough for gaming for at least another 2 years or until they release the new consoles.

the q6400 is pretty much the lowest you want to go, and i personally wouldn't touch it as there is better quads out there for less/same money.
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January 10, 2012 5:55:16 PM

^ The OP specifically linked to 2 pre build PC's, one has an E6850 and the other has a Q6400, and asked which one is better, outrageous prices were not a factor in my recommendation.....

I know the list is 3 years old but you aren't going to find q6*** chips being benchmarked recently, especially not a q6400 because it's a horrible gaming CPU that isn't worth testing.
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January 11, 2012 7:03:06 PM

Alright, game-debate's results aside...

Say a core 2 quad had the same clock speed as a core 2 duo.
Shouldn't they perform the same if the same amount of cores are used up in the application or game ?

Or are there more factors to take into consideration when comparing both types of CPU's ?

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January 11, 2012 7:37:16 PM

There are always processes going on in the background that windows can run on the cores that a game isn't using, so if a game is programmed for 2 cores it would probably still run a little better on a quad core at the same speed because those background tasks won't be bogging down one of the cores the game is trying to use. But when the difference is 3.0 vs 2.13 (a 40% difference) then having background tasks moved to the extra cores isn't enough to make up for the loss in clock speed.

Not all cores are created equal though, a q9 series at 3.0 ghz is going to be faster than a q6 series at 3.0 ghz even though they are both quad cores because the 9 series has 12 mb of L2 cache vs 8 on the 6 series. All chip series have achetectural differences so you can't directly compare GHZ of one line of chips to another line.
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