Its time for me to give Prozac his due

I remember when this poster from Turkey slammed Prozac for having a dinosaur computer and said he had no right to give advice in the forums. Clearly he was wrong. I argued back and forth with Prozac about dual core CPUs being the best option right now. Clearly I was wrong as well. Dual core CPUs are overpriced and not a good value. Its hard for me to say that cuz I have just finished benchmarking my X2 3800. Although I have no regrets, I am a little disappointed.

Lets start with Quake 4. I am using 2GB of PC4000, NF 4 asus mobo and a 6800 GS BTW.... Acceptable quality for me topped out at 1024x768, high quality, and 8x AA. Not bad considering the same setup with a 9800 Pro was 1024x768, med quality, and 4x AA and it was a little jerky when doors opened up. Here is the clincher: I watched in dismay as a sempron 2800 with 512mb of PC 2700 and a slower 6800GS played it at the same levels. If there was a FPS difference I couldnt see it ( I use a optoma XGA projector and a 82" screen) So I installed the SMP patch for the game expecting miracles: No dice. I cant beleive a $80 CPU can hang with my $295 X2. Prozac called me out on the patch and I didnt listen. Damned review sites. What utter bullshit...

So on to video encoding. My X2 pushed 34 FPS on a 1 min clip of the comedy "dodgeball". My friends A64 3000 winnie pushed 22. ok, am I missing something? Oh yeah, the SMP video codec for Xvid. I gained 1 FPS. This is really starting to suck. Shouldnt I at least be able to get 40 FPS? Just for reference, my scores are on the mark with what anandtech has published. I honestly thought they were wrong and they just werent optomizing thier settings. What a joke! Me and my false notions of god-hood... But at least my 34 FPS is on par with a A64 3800-4000. So now I try Dr Divx using the 5.2 codec. I get 65 FPS. Now that is more like it. According to anandtech, a A64 4000 gets about 54 FPS. But my XP-m @ 2ghz pushed 31 FPS which means an A64 3000 should get in the area of 38-40 FPS. I was getting closer to my expectations but I was still falling short. So I tried my trump card. multi tasking..... I ran Auto GK and Dr Divx at the same time from the same clip (but they were on two different HDDs which were also on different channels) Auto GK started at 53 FPS (I was using the faster Divx codec this time instead of the Xvid codec) But it dropped to 24-26 once Dr Divx started up. Dr Divx dropped from 46 to 34 when I reversed the order in which the programs were started. I expected to maybe lose just a few FPS not half of them. All told, I would be just as well off running Dr Divx by itself in two separate sessions instead of running both encoders at the same time. But it wasnt a total loss, while running both encoders the second time, I also ran a video joining program to join up all of the those cool one minute clips you can find all over the net (I am such a perv), was downloading 2 files, and all sorts of hardware monitoring programs running in the background, and surfing the net. I didnt miss a beat. I guess that is cool but unless you have dual display capabilities, its too much to manage.

One last observation: I did encode a video while playing Rome: total war with about 2500 men on the field and the graphics maxed out. Dr Divx dropped about 3-4 frames and the game was a little lacking in fluidity since just last night I had 5000 men on the field with similar choppiness. This also vexes me: My buddy has a 3.4 ghz 500 series prescott, 2 GB of RAM, and a X800 mobility and he is able to max out the game like I did but without any choppiness.

Here is the world according to me: dual core doesnt make for a faster computer by any stretch of the imagination. I installed 3 different dual core optomized patches/codecs and it yielded me nothing I could see. I tried to run two similar programs to see if there was any benefit and at best it was like having 1.25 computers instead of the 2 or 1 and a half computers as I imagined. Prozac was right. Dual core is not the best bang for the buck at all. It makes for a POTENTIALLY more CAPABLE computer, but not a FASTER computer.

Over the past few months I spouted alot of bull crap about dual core and I am here to discredit myself. I would make such a good mao era communist. I guess is comes down to perception. The X2 3800 is alot faster than a A64 3200, But not twice as fast and perhaps not even 1.5 times as fast. It sure as hell isnt $130 faster! But when you size it up to a A64 3800, the X2 is not a good deal. Yes, it encodes video just as good, but when it comes to low to medium resolution gaming, the extra 400 mhz really matters. Its just like Prozac and may others have said before: buy a single core and put the saved cash towards a top notch GPU. Yes, you heard it from a dual core owner-not a naive fanboy who will defend his purchase no matter what and even to the point of being irrational. I will say this though: in a sense, my x2 is "faster" that a single core since I can now encode video all day long instead of only during the night. Now I can use the computer no matter what it is doing. But its not like I can crank out a divx video in 1 hour like I thought. Again, its all about perception.

As for over clocking? The X2 3800 comes with the same stock cooler as a POS sempron. ( the 4200 and 4400 comes with the really good one that I thought I was getting) I now need to buy a thermaltake big typhoon if I want to push the envelope and deal with all of the potential problems OC'ing offers. Good deal Prozac. Real good. Instead of being so conciliatory towards my uneducated dual core fancies, you should have called me a damned fool and other insulting names.... Someone kill me. The clincher? My 6800GS arrived from new egg the same day the 7600 GT was announced/released. Call 911. I am a done tome turkey
15 answers Last reply
More about time give prozac
  1. I don't know what to say about his. 8O :? 8O :?
  2. Your video cards the bottleneck, not the X2. Your friend with the
    Prescott would not be able to encode video like you while playing.
  3. Where have you been all my life stranger? I did have a miscinception about dual core. I wish I had listened (in a way). I guess I had such high expectations for a $300 chip. Such is life. Lets tackle your comments shall we?

    According to the benchmarks, low to medium resolution gaming is not CPU dependant, but the CPu does matter. Would you call 1024x768, high quality, and 8x AA the high end of gaming? I dont. The reviews of the SMP patched quoted like an extra 30 fps at the levels I was playing at. if I got them, I didnt see it. It sure as hell didnt smooth out the game play. Quake 4 is SMP enabled after you install the 1.1 patch from ravensoft. You even get this cute little "SMP on/off" tab after it is installed. I would say it is SMP enabled. I also say it doesnt matter. At least for me it didnt. I am not blaming dual cores buddy. I am saying I was wrong to put any weight into it when buying my CPU. I honestly beleived that dual core patches would make up for getting a modest GPU. I was wrong for that. Are you picking up what I am putting down?

    The Divx codec has been SMP capable for quite some time now. Here is my beef: I did gain 20 FPS over the Xvid codec when using the divx codec. But guess what? My XP-m CPU gained 10FPS as well. So dual core nets me 10 FPS? Geez, man. There is something wrong with that. When it comes to to either the Xvid or Divx codec, dual core gives me the equivalent of about an extra 400mhz. I guess that is good. I guess. I would not have went on a tear like I did if there wasnt a good reason. The reason is this: Had I picked up a A64 3800 (for less than $295 mind you) I would have achieved similar encoding performance and as an added bonus I would have gotten better gaming. The main purpose of my rant was to give a real life opposing view for those considering dropping an extra $100 on a dual core when it isnt worth it (unless one has specific multi tasking needs) Its too late for me but not for everyone else.
  4. you are absolutely right. I realized that after I had finished my benchmarks. I do have a capable machine. But my ideas about it being super fast have been dispelled. It is nice to be able to encode and play games at the same time. But that is small consolation when the computer performs in a mediocre manner at both disciplines. I am just trying to get the word out you know? I think that is what these forums are all about. Getting good gouge out on the streets, not pissing people off and impressing people with substantial knowledge. In retrospect, I should have been listening to the things people WERENT saying about dual core. Not all of the things they said it could do. Its nice being able to run two instances of Prime 95 at the same time........ and then realize no one is interested!
  5. You may just have a point there about the AA. 8x would seem high. bust since the card is capable of 16x I didnt see it as being as such. You know what? I remember telling prozac not to fight me on the subject of dual core vs single core. I remember sending him the link about the SMP patch for Quake 4. I also remember telling him that a 30 FPS increase was like a "generational" leap in terms of gaming performance. I feel like a total choad now. Trust me, I would not have said those things about dual core and gaming if I didnt have some kind of technical source. I dont spout mindless crap around here unless I can back it up. I honestly thought I was going to see an increase based on what I had read despite the rule the GPUs are what matters in gaming.

    I am most disapointed about the video encoding bit. maybe future codecs will improve performance some but as of right now, I dont think patches will mean anything. I guess I need true multi threaded programs, not some patch for a single thread program that carries empty promises
  6. seems to me i remember seeing that the big increase in performance from SMP patches did not corralate to increase in FPS but rather CPU utillization. Take Q4 for example...perhaps before the patch one of your cpu cores was running at 69%, and after the patch it was doing the same amout of work but at 59%....anyways, that how i interperted the results. Im not quoting any exact numbers here..just an example. Im sure someone will a) correct me b)flame me c)both or d)agree but give correct datum. or lastly e) none of the above.
  7. Quote:
    seems to me i remember seeing that the big increase in performance from SMP patches did not corralate to increase in FPS but rather CPU utillization. Take Q4 for example...perhaps before the patch one of your cpu cores was running at 69%, and after the patch it was doing the same amout of work but at 59%....anyways, that how i interperted the results. Im not quoting any exact numbers here..just an example. Im sure someone will a) correct me b)flame me c)both or d)agree but give correct datum. or lastly e) none of the above.
    LOL :P
  8. Quote:
    seems to me i remember seeing that the big increase in performance from SMP patches did not corralate to increase in FPS but rather CPU utillization. Take Q4 for example...perhaps before the patch one of your cpu cores was running at 69%, and after the patch it was doing the same amout of work but at 59%....anyways, that how i interperted the results. Im not quoting any exact numbers here..just an example. Im sure someone will a) correct me b)flame me c)both or d)agree but give correct datum. or lastly e) none of the above.
    LOL :P
  9. Dual cores are worth the money.. just not when their at stock speeds runing single threaded apps.

    Go grap a single core version of whatever dual core your running (IE the single core chip that runs as fast as one of the dual core cores). Then see what we mean... their basically one in the same in that scenario.

    Now the dual cores really shine when overlclock and when using a multi threaded app. Still if you can get your clock up to 2.5 you will have decent performance in single core apps and stellar performance in multi threaded apps.
  10. Don't blame yourself for buying into the marketing hype of dual core...no one ever said that dual core would make a computer faster, GHz is GHz no matter how many cores it has...you can only successfully run multi threaded apps on a SMP/dual core machine, dual core DOES give performance increase while running multiple CPU intensive apps, dual core DOES give overall performance increase and a smoother computing experience...there is more to realizing performance increases other than slapping a dual core CPU into the mobo...there are still a lot of bottlenecks when it comes to enthusiast level boards and being able to truly take advantage of 2 cpus...just look at the chipset diagrams for enthusiast level mobos compared to server grade mobos, big difference in how the northbridge/southbridge/memory communicate and overall data flow through the mobo...generally speaking, server grade affords less bottlenecks and increased data flow between components and CPU to memory...there is a reason why you don't see PCI-X on any enthusiast level mobos, there is a reason Gigabit ethernet is run on a 64bit/133MHz bus, there is a reason why running SATA II off the 32bit/33MHz PCI bus is a waste, and there is a reason why PCIe is becoming the standard...dual core is the beginning, the market will demand that mobos and memory be able to take advantage of it...give it some time...

    Don't be too dissappointed tho...keep the X2 and just upgrade mobo and memory when AMD starts using DDR2...or better yet, just get a dual opteron or dual xeon machine and really see what multiple cpus are all about!
  11. "seems to me i remember seeing that the big increase in performance from SMP patches did not corralate to increase in FPS but rather CPU utillization. Take Q4 for example"

    Quake4, if properly set up with SMP patch, and WinXP running properly with both cores, and SMP compatible gpu drivers, should give a 25-35% boost at non-gpu bound resolutions....
  12. No BS dude. 16X antialiasing is a setting available to me while in the game. My driver only allows up to 8s. Strange...
  13. "at GPU bound resolutions". Not that is an interesting subject. Lets say 8X AA is pushing it with the 6800 GS, that means there is no headroom at all left for graphics performance right? Here was my train of thought about that SMP patch: that if I ran into some stuttering at a certain setting, the SMP patch would allow me to jump that gap at achieve a setting that was unattainable without it. But if the GPU is maxed out, then there is nothing that can be done right? So that means, if I am playing Q4 at 1024x786 (that is all my projector can handle), high quality, and 4X AA and getting smooth gameplay, that means the SMP patch wont neccesarily allow me to bump up the settings. It will simply give me more FPS on the setting that already has smooth game play. Kinda like going from 80FPS to 100. Big woop. What do you think about my reasoning? Am I far of the mark? Look, I am just trying to console myself and justify things in my own mind.........
  14. Good point. I have seen a silver lining though. With my two XP setups, they were useless to me while encoding video. So I had to time everything. Before I went to sleep, I would line up 8 hours worth of jobs to encode while I was sleeping, so whe I woke up I could check emails and do whatever on at least one of them. With an X2 I can encode all day everyday and not have to worry about wanting to do anything else. So in a sense the X2 is faster since I can encode more movies in a 24hr period than with a singlecore. Right now I am encoding a fatty McGrip of Simpsons seasons so I really need this ability. But when I am done, I will be back to just doing a few movies a week and the while having the option is encode whenever no matter what is nice, it become superflous.
  15. Yes, I would agree with your observations. Most apps are not multithreaded and if you use those on a frequent basis, save your money and get a faster single-core machine. It will run faster and cooler too. My machine will sometimes have one core sit idle when the other is pegged at 100% in some application that not multithreaded. I knew that would happen and expected it to, and don't regret having the chip be no faster than a 3500+ in executing most applications.

    The difference and advantage in dual cores is the ability to do two things at once, not nearly as much in trying to do one thing twice as fast. I am a chronic multitasker and the added core is wonderful to have to open and run that additional program with. But then I have what accounts to a workstation-type machine in both usage and construction, not a gaming box.
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