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Why you don't want a dual core right now...

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November 8, 2005 5:32:11 PM

For those folks that don't understand why a dual core CPU is currently a BAD idea unless you like tossing money away.

http://www.tomshardware.com/cpu/20051107/single_core_cp...

As I've said before, this is marketing pure and simple -- trying to keep life going in what is essentially a dead CPU market.

More about : dual core

November 8, 2005 5:35:05 PM

Dude... if it bothers you that much, then design your own damn CPU!

Really... this is getting ridiculous. Just because we don't have 10GHz CPUs... it doesn't mean the market is dead.
November 8, 2005 5:49:35 PM

If people "see the light" then maybe we'll get 10Ghz CPUs. But until then, the dual core band wagoners (aka I've already spent my wad and need to feel it was worth it) are taking AMD and Intel down a nice profitable road that bares NO fruit to the consumer. Pay more, get less, no progress.

Read the article, I'm surprised it was posted on Tom's.
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November 8, 2005 6:07:28 PM

Do we need a 10GHz CPU?

If so, why?

Answer those to my satisfaction and perhaps I will concede you have a point.
November 8, 2005 6:35:25 PM

this article doesnt exactly as i recall say that dual core is BAD. it just says you can make do with single core just as wel

so what the hell ya talkin about with your bitching that it's a waste of money... it has it's merits.
a c 159 à CPUs
November 8, 2005 6:43:29 PM

Dual core may have some merits, but it won't do much good without newer software to support it. I just changed from win2k to the trial version of 64 bit xp pro, and the difference in speed is amazing. Too bad a driver for my canon printer isn't even available.
November 8, 2005 6:43:42 PM

I'm a software engineer -- I code for what "common" hardware is available. If a 10Ghz processor is the current top end and 8Ghz is the mid and 6Ghz the low, I'll code for reasonable performance on 8Ghz CPU. The more processing room I have, the more features I can include (trust me, the feature list is never emptied).

As I've said before and as the article correctly stipulates -- I'll code multiple threads if there is a justification to do so AND (very important) the nature of the tasks can logically be broken up into threads that would significantly improve the performance.

The minor point I disagree with in the article -- even if AMD/Intel dropped the prices of dual core CPUs and everyone (the common factor) had dual cores -- the driving factor for myself (and dare I say other software engineers and more importantly the project leads/managers) would be "sales leverage" in a competitive market. If my product does XYZ faster than my competitors product, then there is the potential for putting in the extra time/resources required to do multi-cpu threaded project.

However, this alone will not be enough -- because getting to Market first is ALWAYS a huge influence in what goes into the final design/deliverable of most software products. Since threaded applications require more design work to efficiently and effectively use more than one CPU, the product takes longer to develop & debug. There is considerable pressure to just get it OUT the door where more than one processor support is put on the sideline.

Most software engineers such as myself love to work on threaded applications that make use of multiple CPUs -- it is a challenge I enjoy. However, the act of making a profit and the business side of software development does NOT permit the engineers to do tasks just for the challenge -- the task needs to be tied to the goal revenue generation.

Rob
November 8, 2005 6:49:12 PM

Yea the software isn't taking advantage of alot of this new hardware coming out... but i'd rather the hardware be there ... no one says you have to buy it. If stupid people buy these things it's there problem.
November 8, 2005 7:01:26 PM

I think that dual core CPUs are cool, and who wouldn't want to have one? But of course, prices are too high at the moment, and getting a dual core CPU isn't very beneficial at the moment. I mean, dual core CPUs might eventually replace our current CPUs one day, but right now, dual core is not very useful. Not many programs support it, so hopefully in a year or two, more compatible software and drivers will be available.
November 8, 2005 7:02:47 PM

Yes correct, I don't think they use the word "BAD". However you pay more for ONE dual core processor which would provide the same processing potential as TWO single core CPUs and you get a better motherboard with the one TWO single CPU setup -- because the motherboard also supports dual core CPUs for those that might want a quad setup.

Perhaps "not a wise investment" is more appropriate than "BAD".

Either way the dual core push is based on the hope software developers such as myself get the green light to code threads where applicable. But this is rarely a design decision that goes un-noticed by any software company. It would be a wise choice for AMD/Intel to continue with development of both single and dual core processors -- afterall the benefit resulting in one core can be appliable to some degree in dual cores.

Sure, eventually threaded software will be more common place -- but that is many many many years away (5-10 years at least) and current dual processors will be long since dead in the water 5 years from now. If AMD/Intel dropped the price of their dual core processor considerably (today) it would be meaningful for here and now and a smart move IF AMD/Intel are serious about pushing dual core -- but the fact they haven't done so (drop prices) suggests that this really is nothing more than snowball the consumers out of their money.
November 8, 2005 7:15:13 PM

i CAN DEfinately go with the

"not a wise investment"

but it's not bad. the technology is fundamentally sound for now. it's just not the best bang for the buck. it's too expensive and not yet fully supported by developers.
November 8, 2005 8:31:07 PM

Your arguements about software development, and the use of single vs. multi-threading has one huge flaw in them: I don't need multi-threading performance, I need multi-tasking performance instead. I love the fact that I can encode a DVD and play FarCry at the same time with only a minor hit to performance.

In this day and age, for the common consumer, CPUs are fast enough for single tasks, but it's the massive amount of multi-tasking that's occuring on systems that is severly hindering them. For me, as a standard consumer, a 10 minute task taking 1 minute less only matters if my system is unusable for those 10 minutes. If I can have the task run, and still do the other things that I want, I'll be happy to let it run in the back-ground for as long as it needs.

As for price, I can't really argue it, but I can say that it's new technology, and it's also about gloating rights. Why do people spend $200K on a car that will go 200 mph when they can spend $100 for one that does 150? In either case, you're never going to take complete advantage of what you bought. The same thing goes for these dual-cores. The introduction and purchasing of the systems today just means that the price of them will come down sooner, rather than the introduction and eventual price reduction happening later.
November 8, 2005 9:42:45 PM

Tasks may have many threads, everything in the OS is a thread underneath -- sorry, no flaw. If you have a task it will have at least one thread (most likely more than one). Threads can be managed by the OS (which doesn't really do that much managing) or they can be managed by the software (aka by the developer specifies thread and what CPU it is to be processed on).

A Task is a pretty generic term.

I'm pretty sure Gloating rights is not relevant at all (spending more money for the same performance isn't exactly something to gloat over) -- the margin of difference in performance between two equal single core CPUs and a dual core CPU is for the most part completely irrelevant (<1% - read the article).

You can do what you describe encode DVD and play FarCry on two single core CPUs -- nothing new here. You can do it for less $$$ than a dual core CPU. I disagree, I've code applications that could bring the fastest CPU to it knees and I was only warming up (just testing the waters so to speak). There is no such thing as a CPU being "fast enough" -- never will be.

Buying dual core makes very little sense at the current prices -- if they dropped $300+ it might be worth consideration. What AMD/Intel are trying to do is recover some of there R&D expense this "experiment" that ultimately isn't giving consumers anything new or faster. So you can be sure that AMD/Intel are trying to market this as "the future" so they can recover the expense.

I think Intel/AMD should have gone down other R&D roads before trying to sell "dual cores" -- the fact they didn't means they hit a wall they should have anticipated long ago as the equations to determine what the wall really was is a known factor -- power & heat -- both were known long long ago. My guess is Intel/AMD are trying to buy time and keep themselves afloat by a strong marketing campaign -- re-invent the wheel and sell it so they can have the money to figure ways around "the wall".
November 8, 2005 10:41:56 PM

After reading these two points from their conclusion I don't even need to go through the whole article, because I know whoever wrote this doesn't have a clue.
Quote:
3. The dual cores in the professional space still are expensive and their price/performance ratio does not hold a candle to a dual-processor single-core machine (leaving computing density aside).

4. Right now, going for a dual processor machine using single cores will deliver the best bang for the buck.


First of all, what isn't expensive when you enter into the high end workstation/mid range server segment? Weird I don't hear this much criticism about SLI. :roll: I can't stand people that think if something doesn't improve performance of a game or they don't have a use for it, it's useless.

Secondly, I know a lot of people that ran/run dual cpu machines and are now looking at a single dualcore chip as an alternative. I myself had a nice Opteron setup. But between heat, noise and space, an X2 setup was quite attractive. People seem to all of a sudden get confused over dualcore chips, when there have been dual cpu machines all along. If you never needed a dual cpu machine, then why all of a sudden would you need a dualcore machine? Correct me if I'm wrong, but as far as OS and apps are concerned dualcore functions the same as single core dual cpus, no? You could say dual cpu machines are useless too. If you do not need the massive amount of memory bandwidth NUMA provides (which in reality is really very seldom) and no high bandwidth peripherals (PCI-X) a single dualcore setup is every bit as good as a dual cpu setup and for a fraction of the cost.

Seriously, don't blame the companies, it's the consumers that are morons. I've read THG forums for years now. I don't know how many hundreds of posts are something like; "OMFG, do I need a dual cpu machine?!!!!" only to go on to talk about how they use IE, Winamp and Outlook Express at the same time, so they think they need a dual cpu machine. Now a solution comes around and people realize you can actually do quite a bit with a single cpu/core, wow imagine that :roll:

So no, dualcore isn't useless, but just like dual cpus, not everyone needs it.
November 8, 2005 11:30:05 PM

Don't think anyone said "useless"? I know I didn't. And yes, I've been running multiple CPUs for many years now because I do write applications that use both CPU's on specific threads.

And I agree -- dual core CPU's or Multiple single core -- tis the same thing. Also, since most applications have more than one thread anyway i.e. your MP3 player could be using 3 threads, FarCry 2 threads -- guess what -- you still only have 2 CPUs and hence only 2 threads can be executed at the same time. Without specific software instructions to say what thread goes to what CPU, there is NO guarantee your DVD encoder will be dedicated to one CPU, nor FarCry dedicated to the other -- unless you coded the application you leave it up to the OS to try to load balance the threads as best it can.

I think the issue is "why pay more for the same"? Dual core just isn't significantly different enough to warrant the extra cost of two single cores.

But if you really want a fluid computing experience one or two CPUs just ain't enough and then there is the entire sub-system to think about (bus, memory, chipsets, hard drives, graphics cards, etc. etc. )
November 9, 2005 12:01:05 AM

I really don't understand what everyone is bickering about. The reason why dual core was introduced was to increase processor density. The whole point was to allow people to have 4 cores in a 2-way server where before you could only have 2 cores. This is a lot more cost effective than having a 4-way server which requires more interconnects requiring a more expensive motherboard, generating more heat and drawing more power.

Now, do 2 separate processors offer more performance than a dual core processor? The answer is yes of course. The reason is because having 2 separate processors allow each to have exclusive resources ie individual buses to the chipset. A single dual core processor only has 1 bus to the chipset. This is true even of Opterons since both cores on a dual core Opteron use the same HT link to the chipset. (I am not refering to 4-way Opterons with HT links between processors. Besides thats between processor and not to the chipset.)

While people using workstations have the luxury of saying its a waste of money to invest in dual core processors while 2 seperate ones are cheaper, the desktop market cannot say the same. Dual core is critical because it allows regular people to have more processing power while still using 1 socket. A 2 socket motherboard is just too cost prohibitive for the mass market.

Dual cores aren't a ripe off, they are just targeted differently. Besides Intel has been pricing aggressively for dual cores at least in the desktop market where the technology is focused. The 820 was very well priced when it was first released and has since dropped even lower. Intel's aggressive pricing even forced AMD to respond with the X2 3800+. Prices will continue to drop as the 831 Presler is set to replace the 820, which will continue to be available for a few more months at even lower prices.
November 9, 2005 12:29:18 AM

Quote:
I disagree, I've code applications that could bring the fastest CPU to it knees and I was only warming up (just testing the waters so to speak)


I can write one right here:
[code:1:3a75de9d6b]for(int i = 0; i < 100000000; i++) {
x += 1;
}[/code:1:3a75de9d6b]

Now just cause I have, it doesn't mean that it does anything useful. The point being, unless you're in the prefessional or the enthusiast class, 90% of what you're doing doesn't press a CPU to it's limits. On top of that, for the tasks that do run CPUs to their limit, there is a consumer expected processing time. Processors that can encode a full length DVD in a couple minutes just aren't a realistic expectation. This is why multi-tasking performance is becoming more important to the consumer.

As for gloating rights, may not be applicable to professionals, but you obviously don't know the enthusiast market at all (Which is exactly what the high-end dual-cores are targetted at). That's all about the gloating. I love the expression that people give me when I tell them that I have a dual-core CPU and a 7800GTX.

Price drop: You obviously have no clue what you'r talking about here either. Here are your prices, and if you expect a $300 drop from that you're crazy. A 3800+ for $22, or a 4200+ for $100? Why not just give them away? On top of that, compare your 4800+ price to Opterons running at 2.4GHz. Yes, you may be paying a little more, but you are recouping that cost on less expensive RAM and motherboards, for as you said <1% difference in speed.

As with any new technology, the introduction of it is always expensive to recoup costs. No-one needed a plasma TV 5 - 10 years ago, since there was nothing that could actually use that definition, but that didn't prevent people paying through the roof to get a hold of them and have their braggin rights. LCD screens, blue LEDs, whatever. It's always the same trend. So unless you expect to argue the entire costing structure of the world for the past 100 years, I'm going to have to say that you're full of crap in terms of the price.

Last but not least, the concept of going down other R&D roads. Have you even read the roadmaps for the next year, 2 years, 5 years, or 10? They aren't focussing purely on dual-core, quad-core, then eight & sixteen cores. Instead, they are using this as a supplement to their current plans or improving single core performance. On top of that, they still need to make money to have R&D funds to develope those faster cores. So if they can make some money by providing some functionality to a nice niche market, more power to them. They're doing proper business, and fufilling my needs in the process.
November 9, 2005 12:34:45 AM

I better cancel my order for a dual core A64 then. :roll:
November 9, 2005 8:22:45 AM

Quote:

As for price, I can't really argue it, but I can say that it's new technology, and it's also about gloating rights. Why do people spend $200K on a car that will go 200 mph when they can spend $100 for one that does 150? In either case, you're never going to take complete advantage of what you bought. The same thing goes for these dual-cores. The introduction and purchasing of the systems today just means that the price of them will come down sooner, rather than the introduction and eventual price reduction happening later.


I totally agree with emogoch here. There will definitely be people who buy dual core, not only because they can afford it, but also because they are enthusiasists about computers. It looks like most people here agree that dual core isn't bad - it's just way too expensive. Eventually, there will be applications and games that will be able to use a dual core processor fully, extracting all the performance it can, but there is still a way to go for that.
November 9, 2005 11:25:50 AM

If u don't have the money for dual core just chill man and let the peeps who do enjoy their purchase.
November 9, 2005 12:00:39 PM

if you got the money then go for it...

each time you wait for something... there's always another thing in release and it makes you wanna wait for that... you'll just keep on waiting and waiting... if you really need something new just go for it.
November 9, 2005 2:59:03 PM

My take:

Eventually there will be more apps and games that SMT better. (Not necessarily even close to the ideal 1+1=2 though.) But these will likely always remain a minority. (Perhaps a larger minority than right now, but still a minority none the less.)

Writing, testing, and bugfixing good multi-threaded apps is just way too time consuming and expensive for everyone to bother. Further, it many cases it isn't even necessary. After all, who even needs a multi-threaded Notepad or Minesweeper?

So anyone expecting multi-threaded apps to be much more abundant in the future than they are now will likely be disappointed IMHO.

What dual-core does provide are two things:

1) Power users that would normally use a dual CPU machine can now save money and work with a more simple form factor.

2) As the typical user has more and more background tasks running (YIM, MSN, AIM, ICQ, firewall, antivirus, automatic updates, P2Ps, adwares, spywares, quick launch this, quick launch that, this service, that service, this toolbar, that toolbar, etc., ad nauseum) the ability of the OS to devote this myriad of tasks to one core while Doom3 runs on the other will no doubt be of benefit. I know we like to think that all users should be smarter than that, but lets face the truth, they're not us and they probably never will be. So while this may be of little benefit to us, to Joe Blow it'll be of use.

So to be perfectly honest, I don't give flying fig if Joe Blow goes out and buys a dualcore proc when he doesn't consciously multitask, because in reality, it may actually be benefitting him more than you want to admit. And obviously power users who know what they're doing see definite benefits as well.

But this still won't change the simple fact that the world is not likely to ever be full of commonplace SMT software. If AMD, Intel, or whoever really want to benefit coders, then they'll come up with something better than the multi-threading architecture that us programmers have to settle for today. You can only polish a turd so far before it becomes painfully obvious that you need something better from the ground up.
November 9, 2005 5:24:37 PM

Quote:
1) Power users that would normally use a dual CPU machine can now save money and work with a more simple form factor.
That's where I'm coming from and so far seems to be one big point everyone overlooks. Dual cpu machines weren't/aren't for everyone, I don't think dualcores are either. Granted AMD/Intel want to make it seem like it is, why not, they're pushing their products just like they have been doing.

V8VENOM- I apologize as my first post wasn't directed towards you specifically, just the subject and the article that was linked. Though I can't say I disagree with your points.
November 9, 2005 8:25:37 PM

Quote:
I like so seriously need a quad core right now due to my unusal usage.
Coming soon. Maybe late 07 or early 08. Than 8 core. :mrgreen:
November 9, 2005 9:48:46 PM

As ever people have to choose their own point in the downwards price curve when adopting a new technology. Me, I'm happy with a single core P4 that's over a year old now. I'm happy that others want the new technology first, so prices eventually come down.

TMPGEnc is the hungriest app I run, it takes advantage of the hyperthreading in an "ordinary" P4 with a claimed (by Pegasys) estimated 45% benefit there; a dual-core will I expect not be twice as fast on top of this.

Apps will always soak up whatever CPU power is commonly available. A few examples from outside the gaming world:

- remember old Win 3.1, when you dragged and dropped a window it went into "outline" mode, then it redraws when you drop it. On an old 286 or 386, moving around a megapixel or two used to take a lot of grunt. The "outline" was cheaper for the CPU to move than a full colour window. Bet you don't consciously think of this as a difference between "old" windows and XP, but difference there is.

- Google made us all think about searching in a different way. We used to think that searching was 'hard' - users would carefully formulate a search string then press "go", and wait a LONG time for results. I'd love to know how Google do it so well.

- If you use the Firefox browser, do you notice how the "Find" feature jumps through the document in real-time as you type in the search string? That's neat.
November 10, 2005 4:59:57 PM

Quote:
If u don't have the money for dual core just chill man and let the peeps who do enjoy their purchase.


Oh no, I have enough money :)  However, I just don't see it necessary right now. It would be cool to have a dual core right now, but as I've said before, it is too expensive right now. It will eventually get cheaper, and by that time, I'm sure that dual core will be a whole lot morew useful. And Rob423 is right too... When you wait for something to get cheaper, something better will already be out by then. But that's why the hardware gets cheaper in the first place. Oh well, I'm pretty satisfied with my system right now... P4 3.4 Ghz, GeForce 6800GT, 1 GB RAM, etc. Though, it is a SFF case, so it's not really upgradable, and I would have to get a new case to get dual core... I just got this computer 4 months ago, I think I will keep using it for a while.. :D 
November 11, 2005 6:37:39 AM

My dual core 3800+ feels awesome, of course its overclocked to 2.53......and the gtx is sweet....but still, the new nvidia drivers give +10-15% performance on dual core, that with the multitasking bonuses makes an x2 appealing imho.
a b à CPUs
November 11, 2005 8:49:30 AM

Damn man long time no see.
Welcome back. :D 
November 11, 2005 2:35:34 PM

Ja, Matisaro, haven't seen you in forever. Welcome Back. Like the new look?
November 11, 2005 5:00:08 PM

Yeah, the new look is pretty choice, it took me like 3 days to remember what email address I used for the forum to reregister, almost gave up and started a new nickname.

I have been suffering a lack of freetime recently but sometimes when its slow at teh jobzor I need another forum to check.

HOws things here>?
November 11, 2005 6:14:02 PM

Quote:
I have been suffering a lack of freetime recently but sometimes when its slow at teh jobzor I need another forum to check.
I hear that!

Quote:
HOws things here>?
We live. We learn. We love. I don't know. Less flaming. Less posting. Not much new tech to drool over, so this is no surprise. You missed the green meanies. Hopefully that form of evil advertising never rears its ugly head again here.
November 11, 2005 8:31:05 PM

ANy of the old timers still around?
November 11, 2005 8:57:06 PM

8)

I am glad to see some of you accept that handling of multiple threads is important even if x processor is slightly faster at single threads.

I love my double double 840EE!!
November 11, 2005 9:02:33 PM

I'm sure that you're happy with your dual core. I wish I had one as well. But, I'm afraid to say that by the time that dual core is a whole lot more useful, there might be better processors than what you currently you have, and maybe even cheaper. Still, I guess that will be in a year or two, so you might be in advantage in the long run. Looks like we're back on topic!
November 11, 2005 9:30:07 PM

May as well get a dual core right now, since I've seen benchmarks of Serious Sam and Quake 4, which both utilize dual core. Q4 is quite efficient at it, in fact. I think this is due to the work they're having to do on the new consoles.

Also, the new 80-something drivers from nvidia utilize dual core for DirectX and OpenGL...
November 11, 2005 9:51:54 PM

There is a lot of stuff coming out. I will be showing Presler overclocked very soon.

With all the low voltage stuff coming we should see a fast race to quad core and this will definitly put a cramp in netburst architecture.

It will come down to improved bus technology to support the bandwidth needed. The FB DIMM numbers are very promising on Dempsey.
November 13, 2005 4:59:55 AM

I did not know Q4 was multithreaded.

Fugger and I agree on something, ill be skiing in hell.
November 13, 2005 11:43:55 AM

I thought the article took a long time to state the obvious: dual core opterons are too expensive.

However, most people will by buying dual core A64s anyway, so an article comparing 4800+ to FX55 etc. would have made more sense.

This article LINK was more insightful on the whole single vs dual core thing.
November 15, 2005 12:12:30 PM

Quote:
ANy of the old timers still around?
Sure. A bunch are still here. A number have left though. :( 
November 16, 2005 9:37:42 AM

Popular Misconceptions about Dual-Core CPU’s.

Dual-core CPU’s are for servers. Desktop users will not benefit from a dual core chip.
Wrong. Desktop users will benefit as much as server users, just differently.

Dual-core CPU’s make sense only if applications are multi-threaded.
Wrong. Even when you run a single-threaded application, Windows and other resident applications run at the same time. One will always benefit from the second core.

Dual-core CPU’s are for advanced users only. A typical user will not see any benefits.
Wrong. This is sheer arrogance. Every user runs Windows and at least one other application.

Dual-core CPU’s don’t deliver 2x performance.
You don’t pay 2x either.

Dual-core CPU’s are not for gamers.
Wrong. Gamers also run Windows and anti-virus applications.

Benchmarks don’t show a solid performance gain with dual-core CPU’s.
You don’t need benchmarks to find out if you can work comfortably with your PC or not. Benchmarking applications don’t get upset when they close and restart explorer.exe in the middle of a file copy because it’s not responding.
November 17, 2005 12:17:16 AM

This is not really true...

If you are a chess player..or professional chess player you need those
multi-processsors or dual core cpu x2 from amd.

Chess program like deep fritz 8..will use it. The program could use
8 cpu's at the same time to accelerate is research... or ply's.

For more info: http://www.chessbaseusastore.com/ProductDetails.aspx?pr...

But there is not a lot of software right now that could benefits from this..
on that side you are right. :-)
November 17, 2005 5:50:02 PM

thats right now. Once software's optimized for it, you'll want it.

Not everyone wants to spend $200 for a single-threaded proc right now, then spend another $300 when prices drop for a dual core to swap in (in a year). Besides that comes out to $500 total anyway (a temp single core to save money then upgrade), which is about as much as a dual core right now.

So you spend the same anyway and don't lose anything by getting dual core now...
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