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What is the point of quad core?

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July 11, 2007 8:03:52 PM

Alright I see all these people making dream game machines with the QX6xxx. But then I also see discussions on how it's so hard to program software to take advantage of multiple cores. My question focuses more on gaming but I guess it could apply to any software. If software developers are having trouble taking advantage of multiple cores, why spend $1000+ on a quad core cpu? :pfff: 

Or am I completely wrong and software has caught up to hardware? :sarcastic: 

More about : point quad core

July 11, 2007 8:24:16 PM

the point of a quad core is to gain 2 more cores.:D 
July 11, 2007 8:29:10 PM

They're not having trouble per se, its just more time and resource consuming to write multithreaded, due to the need to insure the threads do not need to share data and are syncronzed.

As of right now, with the entry level quad cores less than $400 and soon to drop below $300, its more of a gamble on clock speed vs core #. Do you want to gamble that there are going to be lots of apps that will use 4 cores before your next upgrade or not? Next year will see octo core CPUs from Intel, and possibly AMD, which should drive quad core prices down further, but at the moment, it doesnt look like multithreaded apps are going to be dropping on the market in huge numbers anytime soon. Of course the kiddies will name the 3-4 upcoming titles that will be multi threaded, but you will still have to deal with GPU bottlenecking, so unless you are going to be running a server, rendering or editing video etc, you really need to look at what is going to be most beneficial to you specifically.
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July 11, 2007 8:52:38 PM

its not just more cores for individual programs, its more overall cores, so you can run more apps at once.
July 11, 2007 8:57:09 PM

jeb1517 said:
why spend $1000+ on a quad core cpu?


If quad core cpus still cost $1000+ then you would be entirely correct. However when you can get a quad core for $270 -ish later this month, the question really becomes "why not?"
July 11, 2007 9:02:41 PM

Sorry, I was referring to the QX series which is pretty close to $1000. And even the Q6600 is $480 on newegg.
July 11, 2007 9:05:47 PM

quad and more cores can effectively used on servers and scientific supercomputers. for todays gamer dual core, and in most games single core is enough
July 11, 2007 9:11:56 PM

Valdis said:
quad and more cores can effectively used on servers and scientific supercomputers. for todays gamer dual core, and in most games single core is enough


Thank you, that's what I thought. So basically, gamers have much more money to spend these days than I do. :cry: 
July 11, 2007 9:32:05 PM

turpit said:
As of right now, with the entry level quad cores less than $400 and soon to drop below $300, its more of a gamble on clock speed vs core #.


You've hit the nail on the head. Typically people are hitting better clocks with c2d than c2q. I've been eyeing the new steppings and price cuts on the q6600 with the thought of maybe upgrading my e6600. My hesitation has nothing to do with cost but rather the reality that I could end up dropping performance on most games.

July 11, 2007 10:12:12 PM

MooseMuffin said:
If quad core cpus still cost $1000+ then you would be entirely correct. However when you can get a quad core for $270 -ish later this month, the question really becomes "why not?"


For some apps, quads are slower than duals in the same price range. Quads use more electricity and generate more heat than some dual cores that perform just as well for many apps. If you need the quad advantages, by all means go for it. I don't think of it as future proofing just yet because the flux in the CPU market is so fast right now. It really gets down to buying what you need now averaged in with where you think your needs will be in 18 to 24 months - because within 2 years, the landscape will be hugely different.
a c 472 à CPUs
July 11, 2007 11:06:03 PM

Ultimately it depends on what you want your computer to.

I am considering getting a Penryn quad core next year. But not it's for gaming. Yes, I will play games on it, but the main purpose will be to encode video to DivX and more likely H.264.

DivX 6.6 does support multiple core (up to 4 only) and SSE 4. H.264 encoding requires even more processing power than DivX, but provides better quality videos and based on preliminary research the codec does support multiple cores.

July 11, 2007 11:49:59 PM

jeb1517 said:
Alright I see all these people making dream game machines with the QX6xxx. But then I also see discussions on how it's so hard to program software to take advantage of multiple cores. My question focuses more on gaming but I guess it could apply to any software. If software developers are having trouble taking advantage of multiple cores, why spend $1000+ on a quad core cpu? :pfff: 

Or am I completely wrong and software has caught up to hardware? :sarcastic: 

For new games to have a good long sales life they must push current hardware to their limits. IF new games don't push systems to the limit then they are easily replaced by next more feature rich game. The problems with programming games for multiply cores will be done and soon game may even be in head of core count on consumer based PC's.

So which is more important more cores or higher GHz. The answer is more cores because at best higher GHz will yield about a 30% increase. Doubling the cores on the other hand yields more around 80%. Lets look at a benchmark which highlights this advantage.

http://www.behardware.com/articles/660-3/supreme-comman...

Note the chart and what happens to FPS when moving from 2 cores to 3 cores. Near doubling the FPS with only 1 core. If you look at the third chart you will note that even a OC'ed C2D at 3.5GHz doesn't average the score of the 2.67GHz quad.
July 12, 2007 12:28:19 AM

Bragging rights dude! Bragging rights.... :bounce: 
July 12, 2007 12:44:09 AM

Of course they will make more cores benefit us because they want us to buy them. Don't forget all of those single core cpu's out there. Those are not going to be going away any time soon so software will need to be flexible for single, double, and quad cores. elbert I am not that impressed with that game (supreme commander) it looks like warcraf III or C&C III If games are going to start using all of my computers resources they better knock my sox off. :ouch: 
a c 309 à CPUs
July 12, 2007 1:33:43 AM

Additional cores will help to maintain consistency of response time. Looking at the task list, you will see many tasks, most will be higher priority than your game. If one needs to start up, the game will be deferred for a moment. What could that be? One obvious task is the start of a virus scan. Others might be e-mail, media center looking for an updated program guide, ...etc. On occasion, I see this while playing a game with two cores. I suspect some started task, but it is over so quickly that I can't be certain. Two cores was a vast improvement ofer one core. Quad might be some what of an over kill, but it can't hurt. Actually, I think Three cores would be about right for me.
a b à CPUs
July 12, 2007 5:21:19 AM

elbert said:

So which is more important more cores or higher GHz. The answer is more cores because at best higher GHz will yield about a 30% increase. Doubling the cores on the other hand yields more around 80%.


But of course software scaling would play a very big part in this, but that's for developers to fix up. Also the performance increase is never guranteed with increasing core count, a very good example is mp3 encoding. When I did encode on my dual-core machine in almost every case it took around 7 seconds longer versus using only one core. As of now, more cores does not gurantee performance but GHz does; but this could change drastically by next year.

Quote:
I don't think I like this new forum format. What do ya'll think 'bout it?


Yeah, it takes a lot of getting used to. I liked it better when the buttons were text-based, now I usually have to look at the tooltips.
July 12, 2007 6:50:15 AM

jeb1517 said:
Alright I see all these people making dream game machines with the QX6xxx. But then I also see discussions on how it's so hard to program software to take advantage of multiple cores. My question focuses more on gaming but I guess it could apply to any software. If software developers are having trouble taking advantage of multiple cores, why spend $1000+ on a quad core cpu? :pfff: 

Or am I completely wrong and software has caught up to hardware? :sarcastic: 


Quake 4 and Crysis are rumored to support Quad core processors.
There are more Multithreaded Games/Apps that take advantage or will take advantage of 4 or more cores.
If you have to ask this question you don't need a quad, not all computing is game related.
Photoshop uses 4 cores quite well.
OCers buy the $1000+ X6xxx and Qx6xxx processors because they have a unlocked multiplier.
BTW in a few weeks You will be able to get a q6600 for less than $300.
July 12, 2007 6:56:31 AM

Valdis said:
quad and more cores can effectively used on servers and scientific supercomputers. for todays gamer dual core, and in most games single core is enough


A gamer building a new computer does not look at todays games to base his/her hardware on. Future proofing a gaming computer is hard enough to do, that is why todays fastest processors and video cards are used and upgrades are made often (3 to 6 months). It is not a cheap hobby.
July 12, 2007 7:42:44 AM

caamsa said:
Bragging rights dude! Bragging rights.... :bounce: 
I was going to say epenis, but forget it now. :pfff: 

It appears that most people are in agreement. With the Q6600 dropping to a tray price of $266 and a P35 mobo, you are pretty much set for what comes your way down the road. Also, even though apps may be single threaded, if you have 4+ running at once you will see benefits. Multitasking man multitasking. As far as your comment about the fact that you were referring to the QX series, well that is strictly epenis.
July 12, 2007 8:11:33 AM

Gh0stDrag0n said:
A gamer building a new computer does not look at todays games to base his/her hardware on. Future proofing a gaming computer is hard enough to do, that is why todays fastest processors and video cards are used and upgrades are made often (3 to 6 months). It is not a cheap hobby.


how fast is the dual core adopted in games/ do you really think quad core adoption in games is going to be soon? i think that when that happens q6600 will cost 80$
July 12, 2007 9:28:09 AM

Trust me once games start taking advantage of more processor cores you will see a lot more of them. Blockbuster multithreaded games are just around the corner. Devs will be forced into multithread support just like they are being forced into DX10. It is a slow and painful process but it is the future. So far Devs have been slow to adapt but it only takes 1 steller game to change all of that (hopefully Crysis), the consumer will also demand it.
In case you havn't noticed single core processors are being phased out by both Intel and AMD. And once M$ stops 32 bit support we will all move to 64, it is called progress. I don't think anything like this happens overnight but once it does it hits hard and fast.
My point is developers are coding for quad core support now, If you are building a new gaming pc <$300 for a Quad that will somewhat future proof your rig is a smart choice.
July 12, 2007 12:34:39 PM

I myself am getting quad for programming purposes, it will be so nice to have Visual Studio, 3ds max and Photoshop all running really well @ once.

though, games towards end of year are coming multi threaded so you will be better off with quad for that reason alone.
July 12, 2007 8:10:58 PM

It seems that the people actually using their quad cores are the ones that do things other than gaming. Photoshop video encoding and stuff like that. People keep saying that crysis WILL have multi core support or so and so game is RUMORED to have support. Well, then the question still remains, if you're getting a gaming PC why not just wait till those games are actually released to buy the quad cores cuz we all know how fast CPU prices are dropping these days.

I see quad core as a viable option for the people that are actually using them. But gamers....congratulations on your $1000 bragging rights I guess.
July 12, 2007 8:53:11 PM

darkangelism said:
its not just more cores for individual programs, its more overall cores, so you can run more apps at once.



Yeah so you can run 2 virus scans at the same time and finish in half the time wohoo...... lol.


or


Play a game, scan for virus, have 500,000 ie pages open, burn a movie, listen to music , edit pictures all at the same time ................... you know your everyday chores.

I have been waiting for multi threaded ever since some fool told me to buy the x2 3800 because the games were around the corner.
July 12, 2007 9:03:00 PM

icbluscrn said:


I have been waiting for multi threaded ever since some fool told me to buy the x2 3800 because the games were around the corner.

exactly my point about quad cores :wahoo: 
July 12, 2007 9:25:09 PM

Quote:
I don't think I like this new forum format. What do ya'll think 'bout it?


Yeah, it sucks from the user perspective. Maybe it's got better security / is easier to maintain.
July 12, 2007 9:25:26 PM

jeb1517 said:
congratulations on your $1000 bragging rights I guess.


At the very least, can we stop associating quad core with $1000? It makes as much sense as me associating dual core with $500.

At the moment my computer is powered by a single core A64 3700 and to be honest, I really don't play any games that it can't handle. The only times that I've found myself wishing for more cpu power are a ps2 emulator (pcsx2) that uses 2 cores, and video transcoding. I have an xbox 360 and it can stream movies from my PC, but only certain formats. There's software that will transcode your non-supported formats but my cpu isn't nearly fast enough to do that in real time. Again, this software supports multiple cores. I've overclocked my processor but incremental speed boosts aren't even close to the amount of power that would be available from additional cores. Also keep in mind that PC gamers will be seeing more ports of games that were originally designed for the multi-core ps3 and xbox 360 consoles.

My general strategy when it comes to computer upgrades is to only upgrade when I run into something my current hardware can't handle. Obviously your own financial circumstances will vary, but $266 is a reasonable amount for me to spend on a processor and I'll bet anything that spending it on the quad core q6600 will last me significantly longer than the equivalently priced, higher clocked, dual core e6850.
July 13, 2007 1:21:33 AM

Valdis said:
how fast is the dual core adopted in games/ do you really think quad core adoption in games is going to be soon? i think that when that happens q6600 will cost 80$


Programming doesn't work like that. That would be sloppy. The take up hasn't been quick I agree, but how many engines have been released since the multi core took off? Most games licence engines, and the engine is what makes it tick. If you are going to re-design the whole engine you would just write your own from scratch.

A good design will use as many cores as possible, its not a case of if( cores == 2 ) run more threads.
It's a design thing, you can't just make something multithreaded. I think games will get better. Let's see what Carmack can come up with :) 
July 14, 2007 11:01:14 AM

QC offers better experience compared to DC, just as DC offers better experience than SC.

I dont really need high clockspeed and resulting thread performance, I just like to have many threads being worked on.
July 14, 2007 1:41:26 PM

Quad makes working with computer smoother (mutitasking) and future proof (all A level games coming out in the end of this year will be multithreaded, encoding and similar tasks already are).

Most popular choices in a few weeks will be E6850 vs. Q6600 for the same price - 260$. First is on average 5% faster than second in non-multithreaded apps (who would notice 5% anyway?), second is up to 80% faster in mutithreaded (anyone wouldnt notice that? ;) ) Both are good, but IMO it makes more sense to go for quad.
July 14, 2007 2:31:01 PM

Seems there were similiar discussions and view points regarding dual vs. single core processors not too long ago. Who now is arguing we should go back to single core? I personally wouldn't dump a decent dual core to get a quad at this point but if someone is upgrading it would be a worthwhile consideration depending needs and service life.

As to the new format...I am getting used to it and starting to like it more despite the all the ads.

Ever notice how resistant people are to change? I used to think it was only an oldies problem but... my, my, the kiddies are just as bad! LOL
July 15, 2007 8:19:30 AM

WTH- all of my posts disappeared!
!