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Dual cores and Gaming

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November 23, 2005 6:32:59 AM

having read the dual core FAQ over here, I wanted to know if anyone has seen benchmarks of this, or is it conjecture?

In the latest CPU Charts, THG have tests running games (showing Duals being flogged) and tests for multiple apps (showing duals as kings), but not combined tests (showing game scores while things like skype,AV,firewall and other crap are in the background).

what do the forumz experts say?

I have a more specific purchase question to field you after you answer this one...

More about : dual cores gaming

November 23, 2005 6:52:32 AM

Your games are going to run better if 1 proc can take care of all the backround apps as well as chip in on the newer multi-threaded games such as quake4, F.E.A.R., and any game running in SLI.
November 23, 2005 7:53:29 AM

so, you say a Pentium D 830 would be better for this that an athlon XP 3200+ (venice) , for example?
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November 23, 2005 9:12:11 AM

I'm interested in this too. I'm about to buy another system and I'm trying to decide between :

Athlon 64 x2 3800+
Athlon 64 4000+ San Diego

Both are more less identically priced. My system will be a games machine with the usual crap in the background.
November 23, 2005 2:36:12 PM

It depends on a number of things, three of which immediately come to mind:
1) Just how much crap do you have running in the background?
2) Do you have apps that are multithreaded?
3) Can you take advantage of other multiple-CPU advantages, such as the new dualie graphics drivers?

Ultimately, only you really know how much advatnage you can see going dualcore or staying singlecore. Some people go one way, others the other. And then there's that huge middle ground where for an awful lot of people it doesn't really matter which way they go.
November 23, 2005 6:27:16 PM

Quote:
so, you say a Pentium D 830 would be better for this that an athlon XP 3200+ (venice) , for example?


I would say that an 830 is better than an XP3200+, but not a Venice.

Mike.

PS: Venice is the core name of the newer Athlon 64, not an old Athlon XP.
November 23, 2005 6:37:11 PM

Do you OC?

If Yes: Buy X2 3800+ and OC it to/above 4000+ clock speed.

Otherwise: Buy 4000+.

Basically, if you keep a clean system, with minimal background tasks running, then, generally, a faster single-core (especially 20% faster) CPU will give you better gaming performance.

If you have all these things running to keep your system safe (AV, Spyware, firewall, etc., etc., etc.), but you used the default configurations, turned on all the auto-this and background-that, have a stock ticker running or something else that is really 'RUNNING' in the background, and you don't know much about the registry and how to keep a system lean, and besides that you have weatherbug, traffic-cam, automatic screensaver downloads, etc., running along with all the adware applications that are installed at the same time, then you're probably going to do better with a dual-core CPU because you have so much other stuff running that you need the second core to run the game.

Mike.
November 23, 2005 7:33:33 PM

thanks for your thoughts, guys. Anyone ever try to test this mode?

first, i wanted to make it clear: i meant the athlon 64 3200+ Venice core, of course.

second, I'm usually running the following apps at the background:
Mcafee AV (lots of hard drive access)
Zone Alarm firewall
Spy Sweeper
skype (active for in-game chat)

a few other processes running are from norton system works (ghoststart, NOPDB,Nprotect) and some other negligibles.

i used to turn off the AV and firewall for gaming, but now that i'm playing on-line, i can't.

one more thing to note for a purchasing decision: as an Intel employee i can now get some processors at great prices (not inc. tax & shipping: the 830@160$ and 650@137$).

suggestions?

P.S. THG replied to my email that they'll look into benching games+apps.
November 23, 2005 9:09:24 PM

Like zipdrive, I keep a pretty clean system. Basically just firewall and anti-virus in the background (maybe email sometimes), and I always keep the registry clean and shutdown the unnecessary services.

I'm getting the DFI LanParty UT NF4 Ultra-D MB, didn't plan to overclock (grew out of that a long time ago when I could afford to buy the top-end instead of buying cheap and trying to make up the difference :) , now I just don't get the time to fiddle). But with that MB, if I got the x2 3800+, could I overclock that to faster than the single core 4000+?

At our games night I'm the one that normally hosts the game we're playing, i.e. host and client on same box (UT for instance). Would a dual core make a difference here?
November 23, 2005 9:20:29 PM

Quote:
thanks for your thoughts, guys. Anyone ever try to test this mode?

first, i wanted to make it clear: i meant the athlon 64 3200+ Venice core, of course.

second, I'm usually running the following apps at the background:
Mcafee AV (lots of hard drive access)
Zone Alarm firewall
Spy Sweeper
skype (active for in-game chat)

a few other processes running are from norton system works (ghoststart, NOPDB,Nprotect) and some other negligibles.

i used to turn off the AV and firewall for gaming, but now that i'm playing on-line, i can't.

one more thing to note for a purchasing decision: as an Intel employee i can now get some processors at great prices (not inc. tax & shipping: the 830@160$ and 650@137$).

suggestions?

P.S. THG replied to my email that they'll look into benching games+apps.


The best upgrade you can do is to ditch McAfee and Spy sweeper. Download the free Avast, which is a very good AV and run a spyware cleaner from time to time. Of course, using something else than Internet explorer for browser, IE firefox and using another email client that Outlook, IE foxmail will help to maintain your machine virus and spyware free.

Norton and mcAfee are way too out of their main task, that is checking for viruses. They now try to do too many thing that it bog down your system.

By keeping Avast and zonealarm, while ditching everything else, you'll have a clean system.. I use them..
November 23, 2005 10:20:12 PM

As an Intel employee, the price of the 650 is the smart move. HT and 200mhz will be more than enough for your background apps. The extra heat of the dual core, along with the heat pattern of the chips, make the Intel dual cores a poor choice anyhow.
It wont game as well as an A64 3500 would, but you wouldn't notice the diference, and the $ saving will go a long way to better gfx and cooling.
He-ll, for that price, I'd think Intel (though I'm not ready for DDR2 yet)
November 23, 2005 10:22:44 PM

A couple of good firewalls, like a router, and nforce4 dont hurt either.
November 23, 2005 10:27:45 PM

The X2 3800 runs 400 mhz slower than the 4000+, and has less cache. No background progs will use that kind of resources. If you go 7800 SLI, you would get the same framerate on the X2, because of the gfx drivers, but without, the 4000 will give more frames where they count the most (low framrate points) The SLI setup will still play Ati games poorly.
November 24, 2005 4:45:07 AM

I would hazard an opinion that you'd be better off with the faster single-core CPU. Though I don't know how much cpu skype uses - I'm assuming its pretty small, likely similar to a download (torrent/kazaa/whatever), if its a real cpu hog then that may push you over into the 'dual core can help you more' camp.

Mike.
November 24, 2005 4:53:06 AM

You could OC the x2 to faster than a 4000+, but you could probably oc the 4000+ even faster.

Hmmm, doing serving while you game, i'd say that's X2 territory...

For the system load, you have a clean system so the faster single core will give more.

But any of this is moot if both cores are OC'd because in any case, a 2.4+ghz A64 is enough that you won't notice - hmmm... I'm not explaining myself well... trying again: Once you reach 'fast enough' in the CPU dept., having a faster CPU doesn't make much of a difference. Fast enough seems to be around 2.0-2.2ghz on the A64s.

Mike.
November 24, 2005 7:56:24 AM

ok, next round :) 

first, regarding background apps: if Avast is good enough (and updated) i'll hapilly move over from McAfee since it's such an HD hog. second, I'm using mostly firefox as a browser (axceot for sites that it messes up) and thunderbird. - but 99% of the time they're not on when i game, anyway.
regarding Skype: in my experience playing UT2004, having a two-way chat is glitch free and has no noticable effect. however, when i tried a conference call (3-way) the game absolutely chokes and stutters.

second, i'm not realy into OCing right now, so that's not much of a factor (although i might want to do it in a couple of years when this system won't cut it).

third, i do not have the budget for an SLI system, and it costs me about the same to get a pentium D 830 as a 3200+ venice (and the 650 for even less). I'm considering joining it with 1GB of DDR2 (400? 533? 667? who knows?) and a 7800 GT
November 24, 2005 9:58:22 AM

my 3800x2 does 2.5ghz on air, thats 5000+x2, great value.
November 24, 2005 5:19:44 PM

Wow, that's a nice price.

I think 3.0ghz is the very minimum you want for an ok gaming machine.

My thoughts are the D830 would be good to have as a longevity hedge, but the 400mhz of the 650 should make a noticeable difference in the gaming... I'm thinking while an 830 system will be ok now, and still ok a couple/few years from now, it'll never be fast and always just... enough.

Now if the 840 (not EE) were similarly discounted and within the budget, the xtra 200 mhz would help and probably push it just enough faster... But I guess you could just OC the 830 a little later.

In any case, make sure you have the robust cooling it needs.

Mike.
a b à CPUs
November 25, 2005 12:02:58 AM

And high quality PSU.
November 25, 2005 2:52:22 PM

Quote:
having read the dual core FAQ over here, I wanted to know if anyone has seen benchmarks of this, or is it conjecture?

In the latest CPU Charts, THG have tests running games (showing Duals being flogged) and tests for multiple apps (showing duals as kings), but not combined tests (showing game scores while things like skype,AV,firewall and other crap are in the background).

what do the forumz experts say?

I have a more specific purchase question to field you after you answer this one...
As far as gaming goes for today. Buy single core. You can buy a mobo that supports dual-core. Then upgrade cpu next year. :mrgreen:
November 25, 2005 2:57:25 PM

Why are you considering a 64 x2 3800? From these benchmarks, the x2 3800 comes across as a total donkey. Its usually found 3/4 of the way down the table. Can these results really be right? The CPU I bought over a year ago , for about half the current price of the x2 3800, outperforms it according to these tables. Im not sure I trust these results.

N
!