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TIME TO GO DUAL??

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February 4, 2006 11:03:52 PM

Ive just finished reading this article http://www.tgdaily.com/2005/07/08/dual_core_and_the_fut... which basically says that we'll just have to see whether dual core processing in games "will usher in a new age of PC gaming."

Im curious to know
1) what has happened/been announced since this article has been written, and

2) whether i should go for the 64 3700 or if the $100 more towards buying the X2 3800 will pay off in the long run.
Im a hardcore gamer, and almost never run many programs simultaneously, so do i really need to go dual core?

Im aware that the latest of Valve's games, Quake4, and some others take advantage of dual core processing. What else is there that is comming out?

More about : time dual

February 5, 2006 12:15:32 AM

I'll be able to provide a real-life comparison, hopefully after tomorrow.
I just picked up an AMD 64 X2 3800+ at a computer show today ($329 on the spot -- decent deal).
I'll be upgrading from a 3000+ Winchester.
So, I'm gaining 200 mhz of speed, the use of an extra core plus various improvements to the AMD architecture by moving to a newer revision.

I also eyed the 3700+. The vendor's price at the show in Marietta (GA) was $209. So, the extra core only cost me $129 more (200 mhz slower and half the cache, though). Still, for me, the X2 seemed like the best option.

I've had my socket 939 system for about a year now. Started out with AGP, upgraded the video one time, switched to a PCI-E card and MB in December, and this is the next logical upgrade step.
My goal is to keep this system until mid 2007, probably.
February 5, 2006 1:42:55 AM

Quote:
I'll be able to provide a real-life comparison, hopefully after tomorrow.
that'd be much appreciated. Thanks
Related resources
February 5, 2006 2:30:28 AM

I have not seen a single case where a single core beats a dual core running at same MHz.
If not multi=threaded, the dual core only beats the single core by 2 to 4 percent.

clicky
February 5, 2006 2:52:06 AM

Another way to ask the question is: does paying a little extra for dual core make sense if you're upgrading from a slower processor?
If I had a 3200+ I probably wouldn't buy the X2 (both at 2.0 ghz). For that matter, it doesn't make much sense to go from a 3200+ to a 3700+, either. Just overclock what you've got.
I had a 3000+ (1.8 ghz) and it's a Winchester (early model). In my case, the 3800+ X2 gives me a small speed bump, all the latest revisions to the core (Manchester) PLUS a second core to play with.
For the money, it made more sense to me to spend a little more and get the second core.
For others, it's better to save the $120 and get a faster single core CPU.
Still, others would say keep my 3000+ and just overclock the hell out of it (for $0 cost).
That's why this is one of those questions with no definitive answer. It's a matter of weighing goals, budgets, usage patterns, etc. to figure out which option is best for the individual.
February 5, 2006 9:51:57 PM

OK, today I pulled my AMD 64 3000+ Winchester and plugged in my X2 3800+ in its place.
I don't have any synthetic benchmarks or the hot shooters like Half-Life 2 or Far Cry to test framerates. Anyway, my primary interest was in having a more stable, more responsive system.
I spent the afternoon cruising the web, playing around with Photoshop and Microsoft Office, and I played a quick game of Rollercoaster Tycoon 3.

All around, I'm very happy. I think the $329 was money well spent and I think I'm happier with this processor than I would have been with something like the 3700+.
The difference was immediately apparent when I booted up my system with the new CPU.

Previously, Windows popped up within 10 to 15 seconds after turning the computer on -- but there was another 15-second wait while all the minor little programs completed their start-up routines.

With the X2, there was no wait.
Windows came up within about 10 seconds and was ready to go. I clicked on the Taskbar and all the usual culprits were there (Real player, Winamp, Google Desktop search, Microsoft Antispyware Beta, my Norton security programs, anti-virus and firewall, Norton Go Back, etc.) They apparently loaded up while Windows was loading up. Once the desktop came up, windows was ready to go. That was a nice change.

I downloaded some photos from my digital camera, resized them in Photoshop and then created a test Powerpoint presentation in Microsoft Office. With the 3000+, Office had a tendency to stutter -- it never froze up the computer, but there was a definite hesitation. With the X2, it was very responsive and there was no "stutter."
Now, how much of that is due to the second core and how much is due to the fact that the X2's Manchester core has all the latest revisions and refinements, is a separate question.

I also uncompressed some RAR and Zipped files and the process seemed to be a little bit quicker.

Lastly, I loaded up Rollercoaster Tycoon 3, which I had quit playing some time ago because it was so slow and aggravating. Even the menus were slow to load up and navigate through.
Gameplay was noticeably quicker with the X2. I don't think the difference can be attributed to the 200 mhz speed bump. Improvements to the core might be reponsible for some of the improvement (there's about a year's worth of innovation between the Winchester and the Manchester cores), but it just "feels" like the extra core came into play.

I downloaded the latest version of CPU-Z and it properly identifies both my cores. My CPU is a Model B, Stepping 1, Family F, Ext. family F, Ext. model 2B, Revision BH-E4 (whatever all that means).

Oh, one other thing. I had several things running at one time, including working in Office while Norton Anti-virus was running a check in the background. When I've tried that before, there was noticeable lag and slowed performance. But with the X2, performance was smooth and trouble free.

OK, no revelations here. My experience pretty much parallels what all the reviews have said. If you have a game that isn't running quick enough and that's your priority, you should probably buy the fastest single core CPU you can afford.
But if multi-tasking is more important, then the X2 definitely won't disappoint.
February 6, 2006 1:11:28 PM

Quote:
Now, how much of that is due to the second core and how much is due to the fact that the X2's Manchester core has all the latest revisions and refinements, is a separate question.
There's quite possibly an easy way to answer it, as I didn't hear you mention updating Windows to run the multiprocessor HAL.

Run "devmgmt.msc". Check under the "Computer" heading. If it says "Uniprocessor" then you're still only using one core. (And thus we know exactly how much is from the better core as opposed to having a second core.) If it says "Multiprocessor" then you're good to go and using both cores. (But then we don't know if it's the second core or just the better proc that is making things oh so nice.)
February 6, 2006 2:11:20 PM

I think you guys have run this topic into the ground! The ONLY thing that should be up for discussion is whether it's the cost-effective solution.

If you're a gamer and you can afford it, everyone here SHOULD agree that a dual-core CPU is the ideal solution. With Quake 4 and F.E.A.R. already supporting dual-core chips, it should be pretty obvious that's where the gaming industry is headed. The benchmarks on those games (with the dual-core patch applied) are pretty amazing and speak worlds for the benefits of dual-core CPUs.

As for me, I'm just dying to get a copy of Oblivion... although I can't confirm it, I believe it'll be dual-core optimized out of the box and my X2 is ready!
February 6, 2006 2:36:07 PM

Ive been keeping track of the elder scrolls 4 which will have dual core support for both the PC and 360. I think that all future games will make use of the feature, and it will improve frame rates. On another note, if buying a dual core CPU, I dont sdee the point in getting any other then the 3800+ and 4400+ as both will overclock very easilly to match the speeds of the better models.
February 6, 2006 3:30:21 PM

Quote:
For now, and probably 7-12 months you don't need dual core, it'll be good in case games come multi-threaded, it's up to you, video card is more important than a CPU, so X2 3800+ would be nice if you have a good vid card.

Quake4 has a patch, but single cores still win. For the next 6 months a 3700+ should be good, but after 6 months game might need dual core to run.


I bought a dual core (havn't put it together yet) because I think I'll use it to an advantage in multi-tasking but prozac has a point, I mean I bought my first 64-bit cpu this time last year and nothing yet reall takes advantage of it. Sure there is 64bit WinXP but you get worse performance on that than the regular except for a few applications.

So IMO if you think you'll multi-task a lot or not build a PC for many years then a dual-core would be worth it otherwise just get a single (me and my roommate both are building new system, I got dual-core he got single, person preference at this point)
February 6, 2006 5:28:05 PM

Great. I'm at work right now but when I get home tonight I'll try that and see. Thanks. :) 

OK, I'm home, I ran devmgmt.msc -- Windows is recognizing my X2 as a dual core CPU. I also have the latest Nvidia drivers so I think I'm getting the most out of the two cores.

So far, so good. If you've got an older 3000+ or something slower, and just want a bit of a bump up in speed and a more responsive/stable system, you can't go wrong with the X2 3800+.

I'm very happy with mine. :D 
February 6, 2006 5:45:55 PM

Quote:
I have not seen a single case where a single core beats a dual core running at same MHz.
If not multi=threaded, the dual core only beats the single core by 2 to 4 percent.

clicky



yah to that comment yes if 3dmark06 wasnt out then i would agree with ur comment but this is not the case and dont waste ur money on a 3700+ when the 3800x2 is 300 bucks and performs a so much better and is a great oc'er
so i say get the dual core way worth it more and more things will need it and youll notices a much smother running computer than if u went with single core
February 6, 2006 6:13:16 PM

Quote:
I have not seen a single case where a single core beats a dual core running at same MHz.
If not multi=threaded, the dual core only beats the single core by 2 to 4 percent.

clicky



yah to that comment yes if 3dmark06 wasnt out then i would agree with ur comment but this is not the case and dont waste ur money on a 3700+ when the 3800x2 is 300 bucks and performs a so much better and is a great oc'er
so i say get the dual core way worth it more and more things will need it and youll notices a much smother running computer than if u went with single core

I would agree the 3800+ X2 is a great chip, but does not beat a 3700+ in everything. I have an s939 3700+ and my friend has the 3800+ X2, in Multi-Tasking and apps that are Multi-Thread (Such as the aformentioned 3DMRK06) I cannot deny he won, but in Gaming w/ Single Threads, he cannot touch me.

~~Mad Mod Mike, pimpin' the world 1 rig at a time
February 6, 2006 11:06:26 PM

Hi guys
I will rather wait for the M2 or the Intel (Conroe or Kentsfield).
Skip past the netburst chips.
If you had to get a chip NOW, just get a 939 and X2.

What IS the next major Intel motherboard release anyway?
Thanks.
February 7, 2006 11:41:46 AM

My X2-4400 reached 2.6 GHz without much drama. Sure, an FX60 will go even higher than that, but as-is I have the performance of a non-OC'd FX-60... and my chip was nearly half the price and I bought it in July '05. I've gotten tons of use out of it.

Just yesterday a co-worker asked me to look at her PC that was unresponsive (3.2 GHz P4 w/ HT) One application had gone nuts and was using all of her processor... tasks that should have taken seconds had been running for minutes. Had that been my X2 at home, I wouldn't have noticed the slow-down... just a bump in temps.
February 7, 2006 11:45:55 AM

About the faster Windows boot times a previous poster mentioned... I noticed that on my X2-4400, but I wasn't sure if that was a result of the Raptor I'd put in my system at the same time as the processor upgrade. From the instant I can see my Windows desktop, Windows is functional even as the misc. applications (MSN Messenger, AsusProbe, etc) load.

Is that the result of a dual-core system or just a fast hard drive?
February 7, 2006 1:01:42 PM

I went back and forth over this topic with prozac and it really got me thinking. Any way you slice this pie, a new graphics card will always bemore important to people like you. If you had a choice between buying a $300 CPU or a GPU, you should pick the GPU. But if the GPU is not going to be upgraded, what is the big deal with $60? You can pick up a X2 3800 for $295 from ZZF. The 3700 goes for around $ 235. I dont think you would miss 200 mhz when it comes to gaming. Why not shell out $60 for possibly the last chip you would need to buy until PCI-e gets an upgrade? This is how i see it: Spend another $60 and you get a GUARANTEE that the xtra cash will pay dividends. It may be 12 months from now, but it will come sure enough. Until all mainstream chips are dual core, there will probobly always be a price difference so you are going to have this problem for quite some time. IMHO, dual core is no different than the arguement between 512k LS cache or 1MB L2 cache. Should you get a 7800 GT or GTX? Is 2GB of slower RAM better than 1GB of performance RAM? It all depends on what you do and how much cash you are willing to part with. No one can answer that except you.
February 7, 2006 1:14:17 PM

Quote:
I'd go for the overclock X2 3800+ to 2.4Ghz option especially if you have a 7800GT/GTX with latest Forceware.




Hi Wusy,

I just wondered exactly what you meant by the above quote. Its just i have a 7800GT and im upgrading this month from a 3000 XP 64 (Venice) to a 3800 X2. I am playing FEAR at the moment aswell. So I assume i would notice a performance increase (generally speaking) but would it be significantly better because of the 7800GT and the X2 working together, and if so, why? Thanks in advance


cheetsy
February 7, 2006 2:32:23 PM

Quote:
but would it be significantly better because of the 7800GT and the X2 working together, and if so, why?
If you get the video drivers that will utilize your second core to perform extra processing then you should notice a jump in performance. Obviously single-core (and single CPU) systems can't take advantage of that. Where as dual-core (and dual CPU) systems can. :) 
February 7, 2006 2:35:49 PM

Quote:
Just yesterday a co-worker asked me to look at her PC that was unresponsive (3.2 GHz P4 w/ HT) One application had gone nuts and was using all of her processor... tasks that should have taken seconds had been running for minutes. Had that been my X2 at home, I wouldn't have noticed the slow-down... just a bump in temps.
This tells me that something in her system must not be set up right because if it was actually using HT then she wouldn't have seen it slow down to a crawl like that. HT is very much like dualcore in that respect. Granted, it's not as good as two actual cores running at the same clock, but it's still better than what you described.
February 7, 2006 2:41:11 PM

Referring to the faster boot up times for Windows: dual processor or hard drive at work?
In my case, it HAS to be the new processor.
When I installed my X2 3800+, everything else remained the same: hard drive, video card, ram, etc.
My hard drive is a fairly quick EIDE model -- a 160GB Seagate (single-platter design), 7,200 rpm and NCQ enabled (for me, it seems to work quicker with NCQ than without -- others disagree).
I did not reinstall Windows when I changed my processor, because I'd already done that in December when I changed motherboards.
So, in January I had a fresh install of Windows, which took about 30 seconds to fully load up on my 3000+. Switching over to my X2 3800+, the same install of Windows on the same hard drive takes half the time to load up and become operational.
Now, one other thing to consider (and I don't know how to answer this) is that my old processor had the Winchester core, and my new processor is a Manchester. AMD has made several refinements to the core, including SSE2 and other instruction sets.
What we need to see is someone make a similar transition from a newer core (such as a 3000+ Venice) to an X2. If they report similar improvements in boot up speeds, that would seem to suggest that the dual core design gets the credit.
February 7, 2006 11:17:10 PM

SWEET!! oh well thats decided it then, the $11,300 dollars (NT Dollars) is totally worth it. I take it though because the multiplier is locked i would have to bump up the FSB, is there any way i can test my ram to see what it can handle? In windows i mean, like a program that can find the optimal overclock simlilar to that of coolbits for the forceware drivers? I have cheap Kingston Value Ram, its about all i can find here locally.

cheers
February 8, 2006 12:00:26 AM

wow you get a round a bit :)  lol, erm yeah, well thing is its finding the websites, cos im a brit, and i dont speak chinese let alone write it lol, have to get the wife on the keyboard me thinks, but i suppose i could pop along to taichung and go to Nova. You mention the ram, any usual suspects? I mean should i just look for the standard ones ie, corsair etc?

chars
February 8, 2006 12:26:05 AM

LOL fair nuff :D , thanks for you help mate :D 
February 8, 2006 1:50:57 AM

Any opinions on a 3800X2 vs a Opteron 165? Or maybe paying for a 175 (seems too pricey yet cheaper than a 4400)? The 165 is only 1.8ghz but 2mb L2 cache and its about $30 bucks more than a 3800 (at least at newegg, 3800 jumped up to 330 earlier today then back down).

I think the 3800 is probably better than a 3700 at this point for me. I won't likely upgrade my cpu for 2-3 years (video likely first) so I want something as future proof as possible. My main worry is dual core driver/software issues and that I don't run multiple programs at once a lot.

Bah, maybe I'll just get a 3200 and try to overclock. :lol: 


Also, budget isn't really a problem luckily..just price/perf bugs me. My 2100 tbred just isn't cutting it in games these days. :cry: 
February 8, 2006 11:39:17 AM

You could of done but then i would of had to say "sorry im actually british, i teach english here" and then you would have done a DOS attack on my mothers knitting for limbless people website because i caused you to lose face (as they say here in taiwan) LOL :lol:  :lol: 
!