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Dual Core Mystery

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November 9, 2005 12:34:01 PM

Hi ,

If I buy myself the Pentium D 830 from Intel, would I need special software in order for the dual core to be active? This is still a mystery for me. I heard people claim that even if you have a Dual Core processor, if software does not support dual core technology , then it will only use one of it's cores to run software.

What are examples of software especially for a dual core, or do I have it all wrong. What would be the use in having a dual core processor if you can't really use it to date 2006 ????

Please advise me well, so I can decide to buy
Otherwise I am looking to get a Pen 4 630

thank you
Ralph

More about : dual core mystery

November 9, 2005 1:22:21 PM

you can multitask yay

that thing must be a heat monster
November 9, 2005 2:12:20 PM

A dual core CPU will help when you're multitasking. I mean like encoding/decoding a video/audio file(s) in the background while playing a stupid game like SeriousSam2.
There is no need for special software, the OS takes care of that.

So if you have a thick wallet go for a dual core CPU. It's your money afterall, I hope.
November 9, 2005 2:14:20 PM

First you would need Windows XP or newer to use the processor corectly. (Or a modern version of Linux, etc.)

Second, what dual core (or before that, dual processors) allows you to do is two things:

1) Run multiple heavy-use (or one heavy-use and several light) applications simultaneously without a loss in performance. So you could, for example, be easily ripping and reencoding a DVD into DivX while you play Doom3 and not see any slowdowns with dual core. Or alternatively, with all of the programs that people leave running in the background today (AIM, YIM, MSN, antivirus, firewall, P2P sharing, adware, etc., etc.) these can run on one core while your game gets the full use of the other core, thus improving your performance compared to a single core at the same speed.

2) Run multi-threaded applications faster. This is the 'special software' that you've heard about. What multi-threaded means is that the software is compartmentalized so that each piece can be run simultaneously on multiple cores/processors, thus combining the computing power of multiple cores/processors. The vast majority of software and games are not multi-threaded. So unless you actually know what software you intend to use, and know that this software is multi-threaded, chances are that this benefit may hold little or no meaning for you.

Most people out there would still benefit from a faster single core than from dual core. So it's good to examine exactly why you would benefit (if at all) from dual core before buying it.

(And as a side note, it might also be a good idea to examine why you're going with Intel instead of AMD, as AMD performs better, uses less elecricity, and creates less heat.)
November 9, 2005 3:42:01 PM

If your software does not support multi-threading, you still get some benifiets. Like real time virus scanning and software firewalls. They can run on seperate core, saving a dedicated core for gaming or whatever.
And lots of business apps are multithreaded, like AutoCAD, Photoshop, etc...
November 9, 2005 7:39:50 PM

Hello, I was just recently looking at this issue myself. First off as said before there are only several programs that take advantage of the dual core but this is also something that is going to be developed over a wider range of software in the future. Personally I bought a dual core chip because of how it would bring great advantage to the use of the computer for my career field. I use it to multiple high end software packages simultaneously like 3D Studio Max, AutoCAD, Photoshop, Illustrator, and Premiere among others. Some of the software like mentioned before will use both processors. Examples are 3D Studio Max and Photoshop. On the other side of things, gaming is another story. I am not particularly interested in this for my computer use but I don't think that many games out there are taking advantage of the dual core chips yet. But I do hear that the new Playstation 3 as well as the Xbox 360 will both have dual core chips inside. The other thing that I have heard is that this dual core thing is not going away and that in fact the development right now is with more cores, ie four or more. From the information that was presented to me I came to the determination that a dual core chip was a solid investment. I bought the AMD Athlon X2 3800+ instead of any Intel chips however because the benchmarks seem far superior with the AMD's and they seem to just genuinly run better. I have only been using the chip for a month or so though. The only thing that I had to do for it to recognize the chip is to reinstall Windows XP. The initial install did not have the necessary software to support the second core and a fresh install made it work smoothly. Plus this gave me a nice clean machine to work with. Also I picked the AMD chip because it works with current Socket 939 motherboards. I didn't own one already but was much cheaper than buying a motherboard for the new Intel chips because they are just coming out. If you need anymore information about it feel free to email me because I have learned quite a lot about the upgrade. Good luck.

-Brian
November 9, 2005 11:56:03 PM

If you are getting a dual core you should also make sure that your motherboard is dual core certified. From Intel the chipsets are the 945 and the 955 series. Supposedly the Intel 975X is to be released by mid November so that maybe an option as well. nVidia's SLI motherboards are also capable of running dual core processors.
November 10, 2005 5:46:52 AM

a D830? Really?
An X2 3800 can be had for the same price, does everything better, is cooler, has a more stable platform, and wont spend it's time throttled, trying to save it's own bacon.
If you can use a dual core, why not get one that was designed right, not slapped together, at the last minute?
November 10, 2005 12:42:13 PM

Quote:
Hello, I was just recently looking at this issue myself. First off as said before there are only several programs that take advantage of the dual core but this is also something that is going to be developed over a wider range of software in the future. Personally I bought a dual core chip because of how it would bring great advantage to the use of the computer for my career field. I use it to multiple high end software packages simultaneously like 3D Studio Max, AutoCAD, Photoshop, Illustrator, and Premiere among others. Some of the software like mentioned before will use both processors. Examples are 3D Studio Max and Photoshop. On the other side of things, gaming is another story. I am not particularly interested in this for my computer use but I don't think that many games out there are taking advantage of the dual core chips yet. But I do hear that the new Playstation 3 as well as the Xbox 360 will both have dual core chips inside. The other thing that I have heard is that this dual core thing is not going away and that in fact the development right now is with more cores, ie four or more. From the information that was presented to me I came to the determination that a dual core chip was a solid investment. I bought the AMD Athlon X2 3800+ instead of any Intel chips however because the benchmarks seem far superior with the AMD's and they seem to just genuinly run better. I have only been using the chip for a month or so though. The only thing that I had to do for it to recognize the chip is to reinstall Windows XP. The initial install did not have the necessary software to support the second core and a fresh install made it work smoothly. Plus this gave me a nice clean machine to work with. Also I picked the AMD chip because it works with current Socket 939 motherboards. I didn't own one already but was much cheaper than buying a motherboard for the new Intel chips because they are just coming out. If you need anymore information about it feel free to email me because I have learned quite a lot about the upgrade. Good luck.

-Brian


I have to keep asking though,

If you have a Dual Core How would you know though if the CPU is
actually using the two core seperatly , How would one check this ?
I mean if you say, One core for background programs, and the other core for a main program like photoshop or some game. How can we really know that the cpu isn't secretly using only one core to do it all, can we regulate this process in any way ???

Good question though if I do say so myself (^_^)
November 10, 2005 2:07:46 PM

Just hit Ctrl-Alt-Del and goto the performance tab on the Task Manager, the CPU usage will be split into multiple windows if your computer recognizes the Dual.
Quote:
How can we really know that the cpu isn't secretly using only one core to do it all, can we regulate this process in any way ???


Because the CPU isn't doing the load balancing your Operating System if it supports multiple CPUs is.
November 10, 2005 2:38:06 PM

Quote:
Because the CPU isn't doing the load balancing your Operating System if it supports multiple CPUs is.
Not only that, but I believe that Windows does have the ability to assign tasks to specific cores just like how you can assign different priorities. So if you don't like how your OS is balancing the load you can change it.
November 10, 2005 6:46:29 PM

It is true that you can view exactly which processes are on which core and how much of each one is being used at any given time by way of the task manager. As also said before, I just wanted to confirm that you can set a certain process to be located on one core and other processes on another. From my experience however, this does not prove to be that beneficial. First of all from the times that I have used the Set Affinity option in the task manager it has reset itself when Windows XP restarted. In general, I believe that Windows XP has the power to change the core that the process is on by demand. During us the computer generally uses the first core the most and seems to send secondary applications to the second core. I will try to investigate the assignment of the processes and its affinity to certain cores for you when I have some free time.

-Brian
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