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Help with deciding on Dual or Single core CPU.

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March 26, 2006 5:12:11 AM

Alright. I plan on building a PC for myself and I am not able to decide wether or not I should get a single or dual core CPU.
I primarily do just gaming. I do not plan to play 2 games at once or run another program while Im playing a game. I will always burn a disc or use an editing program at another time.
I am concerned about the future. I have heard later games will start coming out that will take heavy advantage of dual core.
But also, that many current games do not support dual core and you need to shut one off ?
and by running off one core does that make it go considerbly slower and than running on a real single core?
All I play on my PC now is WoW, EQ2 and D2. I am planning to get Oblivion also. I would like to build a PC that I wont need to upgrade for a while, and that would be able to run games on Max.
I know the CPU is the hardest to upgrade?
What CPU would you reccommend ?
Thank you for reading.
March 26, 2006 7:26:15 AM

Current games with some patches are seeing +50% with 2 cores.

Note that I multiply by 1.5 even though there are 2 cores, as it does not scale in a linear manner, no doubt this is why you're asking that question in the first place.

So say:

2.5 x 1.5 (scaling) = 3.75
3.0 x 1.0 (1 core) = 3.0

Thus in the long run you are, for example, +25% or so better off with dual-core, even if it is clocked only 83.33% as high.

EDIT: http://www.amdcompare.com/
March 26, 2006 6:31:31 PM

Ok, Thank you both for the replys!

So you are saying that Dual cores are better even if there are times I need to run a game just off one?
And sorry if you answered this, but I need it a bit clearer.
Let's say I got a AMD Athlon64 X2 4200+. Does EACH core run at 4200+ ?
Would it run the same as a single core 4200+(if there was such a thing).?
Cause I am not sure wether or not I should get the X2 4200+ or a single 4000+. (those are the highest in each I can afford).

Thank you!
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March 26, 2006 6:38:56 PM

Quote:
Ok, Thank you both for the replys!

So you are saying that Dual cores are better even if there are times I need to run a game just off one?
And sorry if you answered this, but I need it a bit clearer.
Let's say I got a AMD Athlon64 X2 4200+. Does EACH core run at 4200+ ?
Would it run the same as a single core 4200+(if there was such a thing).?
Cause I am not sure wether or not I should get the X2 4200+ or a single 4000+. (those are the highest in each I can afford).

Thank you!


Yes, Dual Cores are better, no questions about it and will continue to increase that margin.
Yes, an AMD X2-4200+ has 2 cores running at 2.2GHz with each core having 512k cache.
Personally, I would go for the X2-4400 which is 2 x 2.2GHz but with 2x 1MB of cache, or the equivlant dual core 939 pin Opteron 175, but now costs a few dollars more than the X2-4400
March 26, 2006 6:47:43 PM

I agree. Having dual core is like, switching from a rubber ladder to aluminum. Once you go dual core, you'll never go back. I game heavily on my dual core and it is now my primary machine for everything. It just laughs at everything I throw at it
March 26, 2006 6:57:26 PM

Ok, thanks! You guys helped me decide better!

But, does each core having 1MB cache make a huge difference over each having 512k ? Like will my performance decrease dramatically from going with the 4200+ ?
I don't have too much extra $ though and last time I checked the 4400+ was almost 100$ extra.

Sorry for all the questions but I am not too knowledgeable about this and it's really important to me!
March 26, 2006 7:02:43 PM

You might see a difference with the extra cache but, get what you can afford. I know the 165 is around 325 +/- nowadays so just get what you can get. I was kinda skeptical about going dual core myself but i'm glad I did.
March 26, 2006 7:05:32 PM

Before I start about cache, about your question of a core needing to be disabled. Honestly, I don't think it is possible. But a few games have a Dual-Core problem and the manufacturers are already on the way for a fix. There is even a little homemade patch available. More info here:

http://www.hardocp.com/article.html?art=OTQ3LDE=

Go over to the benches section. (Is that link dead or is it just my PC?)

Now about cache. Cache is kind of like RAM for the processor and will shave a few seconds off your load times if you game alot, or open programs that are used frequently a little faster, but not by too much. I'd just invest in more regular RAM, like maybe another 1GB with that $100.

~Ibrahim~
March 26, 2006 7:14:46 PM

Ok, Thanks!
I was planning on getting 2GB Ram so I am assuming it will help a lot more with the 4200+?
March 26, 2006 7:16:16 PM

Yep, 2 Gigs is a good number these days. Go with OCZ or Crucial as long as it fits in your budget. Good RAM
March 26, 2006 7:24:31 PM

MS directly if performance is negatively affected

Even if the game/application can only take advantage of one of the two cores on the X2 or Opteron dual core, either cores is certainly more than powerful enough for today’s games and equivalent to the same MHz single core mate, and the additional core is not wasted since there is alwyas a background service it can offload.
March 26, 2006 7:48:53 PM

Thank you all for your help! I really appreciate it! :D 
!