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How necessary is a quad-core for future proofing?

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October 2, 2007 1:29:08 PM

I'm planning on making a new computer (mostly for gaming) sometime around early 2008. I want to use a G9X for my video card (assuming it's 500 or less) but I'm trying to decide on processors.


Is a quad-core going to be pretty much necessary to get the most performance out of my video card? Dual core isn't very future proof? If i were to make a comp now I would have to chose between a Conroe 3.0ghz and a Quad 2.4ghz kenfield.


Opinions?
October 2, 2007 2:06:01 PM

I'm also planning on upgrading my rig at that time. Personally, I'm gonna go with a Skulltrail mobo as the base for my rig to allow for maximum upgrade options in the future, and then drop in a mid priced quad core with a mild overclock. This will allow me to drop in another processor in the future, if needs must.

As we've moved away from the gigahertz race and towards a core-scaleable architecture hardware wise, programmers have begun to follow suit. They are now optimising programs (especially games) for more cores, rather than speed.

I'd go for a quad-core in Q1,2008. Currently, a dual core xtreme just about beats the fastest quad core and has slightly more overclocking potential in the latest games. But as programmers optimise for more cores, you've theoretically got double the power (like for like) stored in a quad core.
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October 2, 2007 2:30:22 PM

If you're waiting until Early 2008, then take advantage of the Penryn processors scheduled for release in Jan 2008. The Core 2 Quads: Q9550, Q9450 and Q9300 should be out about the time you're looking to build.

-Wolf sends
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October 2, 2007 2:41:08 PM

I'm upgrading to a Q6600 G0 now, and will wait for Nehalem.
October 2, 2007 3:23:17 PM

If I don't plan to OC, is the stock cooler/heatsink for the Quads okay? I hear mixed things.
October 2, 2007 4:37:04 PM

At the moment, games will run on any dual core (in fact I'm still running a single core and don't have any problems)... what will happen over the next 6 months is anyones guess... I predict that a decent (or decently overclocked) dual core will be enough for at least a year to come.

However I also predict that a Q6600 will come in to it's own after that time and will continue to be a perfectly acceptable CPU for gaming for around 3 years from now.

From all the information around at the moment, games will start to make use of a quad core, but I don't think they'll max one out for a looong time yet.

@ericvpi: the stock cooler is fine if you're not overclocking, it runs warmer than a dualcore obviously, but well within spec.
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October 2, 2007 4:39:43 PM

Crysis will know how to use a quad core properly. I'd get a quad, for future-proofing. I did get a Q6600 recently, in fact.
October 2, 2007 5:25:31 PM

aevm said:
Crysis will know how to use a quad core properly. I'd get a quad, for future-proofing. I did get a Q6600 recently, in fact.


Not trying to step on anyones shoes but do you honestly think Crysis would max out a mid to high level duel core. I for one don't at all so I feel like sighting Crysis as being a reason to get a quad core is a little misleading.
October 2, 2007 5:43:34 PM

I ordered a Q660 for future proof. Because it is a good quad-core from what i have seen. and i dont want to spend money on a quad-core after getting a dual-core so i just got a Q6600 for Future gaming and apps. and i belive i made a good choice.
October 2, 2007 6:02:23 PM

I'm waiting for my computer to crash and burn before getting my next cpu.
- There is nothing important on it.
- I tinker.
And I believe I made a good choice too.

"Future proof" is a bad measure in deciding what cpu to get. Anything you get will be obsolete next week. Five years from now, there is a very good chance the cpu will still run anything.
October 2, 2007 6:18:26 PM

This is where most people will get crysis wrong, it may need tons of GPU stats yes but the CPU makes up for it, so now high end graphics isnt just GPU's its a ton mroe to do with teh CPU aswell.
October 2, 2007 6:49:13 PM

future proofing? wasnt that the mantra of AMD X2's? wasnt that the bandwagon that everyone was hoping on 3 years ago when dual core came out?

lets break this down into what you are asking and what you are really wanting to know. technically, yes, someday programmers will find a way to integrate multi-threaded programs into our daily lives on a continual basis. as it sits now, unless you encode or video edit or something along those lines, a single core works great. barring the occasional program and crysis, there is not a program out there that takes advantage of dual core let alone quad core. you can browse the internet, type letters to grandma in word and watch pr0n with wmp the same as those 'fools' with 'only' one core. the advantages today of quadcores over single core or dual cores are in the architecture and not in the cores. oblivion doesnt care if you have dual or triple or quad, the architecture is such that it has been optimized over last years greatest.

now does a dual or quad core perhaps allow you to multi-task better? sure, set the affinity. does it allow windows to perhaps, randomly, offload tasks to another core thus allowing the primary program to access the other core unobstructed? sure. but let us not confuse the issue here, it is advances in architecture and NOT more cores that allow for better performance in games and other such single threaded programs.

[/my $.02]
October 2, 2007 7:57:49 PM

Someone told me that even a quad 2.4 will have a CPu bottleneck for gaming unless overclocked to at least 3.0 ghz (assuming you're using a 8800 gtz or something)...is that true?
October 2, 2007 8:08:12 PM

Maybe if the game uses only 1thread I guess...
October 2, 2007 8:18:01 PM

And don't 95% of games out right nwo only use one thread?
October 2, 2007 8:34:13 PM

By the time most software makes use of a quad core cpu, the quad cores available today will be outdated. there is no future-proofing.

If you have a paticular need for more cores and have software which has been developed or want to run multiple programs at the same time then a multiple core will make a difference.

One thing which is not being discussed much is with multiple cores performing multiple tasks becomes complicated when the cores all share the same memory, video, and buses. IMO if you need to do that much processing use a second computer ran from a central consol.

October 2, 2007 8:47:02 PM

Okay, so a 2 core proc should be more than enough for gaming for the couple of years?

If that's the case I will probably get a penryn core 2 duo instead of the quad version...
October 2, 2007 9:39:59 PM

If you want full enjoyment out of the game at full settings get the quad.
October 2, 2007 10:03:39 PM

EricVPI said:
Someone told me that even a quad 2.4 will have a CPu bottleneck for gaming unless overclocked to at least 3.0 ghz (assuming you're using a 8800 gtz or something)...is that true?


Absolutely not.

For 8800GTS comment, its also not true. Q6600 basically performs on-par with its dual core counterpart E6600. Unless you game at low resolution (1280x1024 ~ 1024x768), CPU's performance is a non-factor.
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October 3, 2007 12:00:38 AM

derek2006 said:
If you want full enjoyment out of the game at full settings get the quad.


What a load of crap.

I admit I'm considering a quad core for myself, but it will not be for gaming purposes. A dual core is enough to enjoy any game. You just need a very fast video card.

Yeah, yeah Crysis and Alan Wake will "take advantage" of quad core, but how well will they effectively use it?
October 3, 2007 12:22:19 AM

Hi ericvpi, I'm glad you posted this board!! I'm with the same dilemea as you.

I want and need a new computer, but I'm not sure to buy one now, or be patient and wait until early 2008 for Penryns to be released. I've thought long and heard and tried to figure out the solution, so maybe you and I can find the answer together.

Looking at the specs, a Quad 6850 barely beats a Duo in any game. When you see multithreaded applications, the Quad pulls ahead by a nice little cushion. Now, I'm a gamer for sure, but I tend to play my old favorites a lot, besides some of the newest releases, and something like Crysis is quite intimidating looking. And like you, I have been stuck between the 3.0GHZ Duo or the 2.4 Quad, and for me, it's a price issue; it sounds like it may be the same for you! It's a very, very tough choice to make, especially since the 2.4Quad is a lower bus then the duo (1333 to 1066 respectively).

So, there are two good options I believe feasible for you, my long-sought friend: Either purchase a Duo and stick it out gaming and hence forth for as long as you can (which may be quite a long while!) and purchase a nice new Quad Penryn when prices drop in the future when you need one, which may not be to 2009 (if you're not too disgusted with some supercharged Nephram processor or such). Or, you can purchase the 2.4GHZ Quad, and be safe-guarded against the full use of SLI graphics, and if you're like me, like to have multiple applications running while I play a game on occasion, or want a computer for the purposes of longevity (4 years+) and want to make full use of those future games that are quad-expectable.

So if you don't want to have to waste a perfectly good Duo in the future of upgrading, and want to squeeze the longest life out of your upcoming computer, I've dissected it's probably best to go with a Quad 2.4, even with the lower bus, and lower core speed.

I hope I've helped. Good luck my friend, let me know what you decide!!
October 3, 2007 1:38:44 AM

jaguarskx said:
What a load of crap.

I admit I'm considering a quad core for myself, but it will not be for gaming purposes. A dual core is enough to enjoy any game. You just need a very fast video card.

Yeah, yeah Crysis and Alan Wake will "take advantage" of quad core, but how well will they effectively use it?

Quad core will benefit by running multiple tasks in parallel. In game, there are numerous tasks that needed to be taken care of: environment rendering, AI, physics..... In the old single core days, these tasks must be lined up through the pipeline of the processor. In quad cores, these tasks can be split to four cores, and work simultaneously. You'll see a boost in performance in some resources intensive game.

http://extreme.pcgameshardware.de/showthread.php?t=2197

Quote:
So far most game engines have exploited task parallelism to take advantage of multiple cores. Separate tasks are identified and executed on different cores. Typically the game engine is considered a pipeline and this pipeline is broken up into multiple steps/tasks, where each step runs on a different core. For example QUAKE 4 breaks the pipeline into two steps:

1. game code + renderer front end
2. renderer back end

Going to three cores you can split the pipeline further:

1. game code
2. renderer front end
3. renderer back end

Going to even more cores the pipeline can be broken up further, or other parts of the code can be split off and run in parallel:

1. AI code
2. effect physics
3. game code
4. texture streaming & de-re-compression
5. sound engine
6. renderer
October 3, 2007 2:01:08 AM

'Future proofing' is an oxymoron.
October 3, 2007 2:10:15 AM

Next couple of years forget about CPU cores or highend graphics cards for flinging sh*t at the fan.
It's going to boil down to OS or lack of too few programs running native 64. Newer games are just going to be loving using half a Gig or even a gig of video memory, add to that large complex programs and they going to be running out of available RAM to use in 32. Years time a fair few of games are going to be swapping stuff in and out of RAM all the time. Roll on the death of 32 bit OS's
Didn't MS initialy say there next OS was going to be just 64 bit then retract that??? I seem to remember soemone from MS saying there would be 32 bit after the the only 64 speech.
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a c 355 U Graphics card
October 3, 2007 2:12:51 AM

yomamafor1 said:
Quad core will benefit by running multiple tasks in parallel. In game, there are numerous tasks that needed to be taken care of: environment rendering, AI, physics..... In the old single core days, these tasks must be lined up through the pipeline of the processor. In quad cores, these tasks can be split to four cores, and work simultaneously. You'll see a boost in performance in some resources intensive game.


It will take time for games to be optimized for for quad cores.

Oblivion is an example of a game designed to take advantage of dual core CPUs, but at best a dual core only improved performance over a comparable single core CPU by less than 10%.

Will games someday be optimized to use all four cores? Yes, someday, but I really doubt that day will come within the next two years. Most games aren't really optimized for dual core CPUs today.
October 3, 2007 2:29:05 AM

I don't know about bottlenecking, but IN FACT my E6600 @ stock gets less FPS in any game than @ 3.6. The 3.0 number is correct. You can test it in games and also in 3dMark. If you overclock from 2.4 to 3.0, if you have a 8800 card you will get about 20% more fps. From 3.0 on, the differences are minimal, video card wise. You obtain higher fps in that case only if you use CPU intensive games, like FSX.

If you go here:

http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cpu/display/core2quad-q6600_8.html#sect0

you will find a great review about the E6850 vs. Q6600 G0. And the Q6600 will perform like a E6600 depending on the OC you get with it. According to that review it performs the same, or better than a E6850 @ 3.85Ghz. And we know that those chips overclock like beasts.

FSX, Supreme Commander, Crysis, are just a few examples of games optimized for 4 cores.



October 3, 2007 3:08:11 AM

jaguarskx said:
It will take time for games to be optimized for for quad cores.

Oblivion is an example of a game designed to take advantage of dual core CPUs, but at best a dual core only improved performance over a comparable single core CPU by less than 10%.

Will games someday be optimized to use all four cores? Yes, someday, but I really doubt that day will come within the next two years. Most games aren't really optimized for dual core CPUs today.


I would respectfully disagree with you. Since game developers are working on their own pace, disregard of hardware developers. As a result, we'll see inconsistent adoption of multi-core optimization. The last game that tried to adopt multicore was Supreme Commander. However, as far as I know, Quake engine, Crysis engine, and Unreal engine all adopted multi-core support. That being said, I would say we'll see mass adoption of multi-core optimized game engines being pushed onto the market.
October 3, 2007 3:15:30 AM

Supreme commander don't use four cores. And as for optimised!!!
Does ok with two cores, third does about nothing( a bit of sound processing i believe) and the fourth does zip.
October 3, 2007 3:36:54 AM

Belinda said:
Supreme commander don't use four cores. And as for optimised!!!
Does ok with two cores, third does about nothing( a bit of sound processing i believe) and the fourth does zip.


My bad. Lost Planet is the one.
October 3, 2007 3:59:42 AM

Maybe not, haven't tested myself, but if uses the 3rd core for anything and taking into consideration that it has larger cache (also the article linked by me shows it) it should run more efficiently. And that chart shows the Q6600 @ stock. Quoting the article in the conclusion page:

"According to our tests and numerous overclockers’ reports online, quad-core Core 2 Quad Q6600 processors can overclock up to 3.6GHz with proper air-cooling. In this case they can perform better than Core 2 Duo CPUs overclocked to their maximum."

"They defeat their rivals not only thanks to twice as many computational cores, but also thanks to twice as large L2 cache."
October 3, 2007 2:55:31 PM

yomamafor1 said:
humm...this is not what the number says...
http://www23.tomshardware.com/cpu_2007.html?modelx=33&m...


That link just shows that newer/better CPU is better.
Says nothing about optimised or how many cores the game is using.
I think we seeing the usage of the word optimised differently. You are using it for a game that uses four cores. I'm using more from the point of view of i'd not call some patch added later by some SC fan that can get a core to flicker as showing it was doing something now and again hardly optimised.
October 3, 2007 4:03:19 PM

Belinda said:
That link just shows that newer/better CPU is better.
Says nothing about optimised or how many cores the game is using.
I think we seeing the usage of the word optimised differently. You are using it for a game that uses four cores. I'm using more from the point of view of i'd not call some patch added later by some SC fan that can get a core to flicker as showing it was doing something now and again hardly optimised.


....are you calling Q6600 a newer, better processor than E6600?

True, Q6600 was released later than E6600. True it has double the core count, but both of them are sharing exactly the same core.

Yet Q6600 runs about 9FPS faster than E6600. There was no "flicker on the fourth core in windows manager". This is hard number.

How is "using it for a game that uses four cores", different from "patch added later by some SC fan"?
Supreme Commander was optimized for multicore from the get go. There was no patch to "enable" the multicore support.

http://enthusiast.hardocp.com/article.html?art=MTMwNiwx...
Quote:

There are several games planned this year that will utilize multi-core CPUs and one of those games was just recently released, Supreme Commander. Supreme Commander, a real time strategy (RTS) game, is one of the first games that fully supports out of the box dual and quad-core CPUs. This is taken directly from the readme file:

Dual Core and Performance - Supreme Commander will utilize your dual and quad core processor natively and automatically. Running a dual or quad core processor is one of the best ways to improve performance in Supreme Commander.
October 3, 2007 4:57:03 PM

EricVPI said:
I'm planning on making a new computer (mostly for gaming) sometime around early 2008. I want to use a G9X for my video card (assuming it's 500 or less) but I'm trying to decide on processors.


Is a quad-core going to be pretty much necessary to get the most performance out of my video card? Dual core isn't very future proof? If i were to make a comp now I would have to chose between a Conroe 3.0ghz and a Quad 2.4ghz kenfield.


Opinions?


Get a Yorkfield. It will be out in just over a month. Much faster for applications that use SSE4.
For just games, any C2D is good enough. No games yet can even use quad core. Games that can use quad will be more common in late 2008 I expect. (Crysis is one of the first).

Speak the Mantra of Future Proof and Truth!
October 3, 2007 5:25:41 PM

I think Anandtech has a good set of benmarks showing the use of 4 cores on SupCom vs 2.

But anyway, I wanted to add to the point about the FSB speed on the Q6600 being 1066. If you get a p35 or X38 motherboard, which has FSB of 1333, you will basically get a "free" 25% overlock out of the Q6600 (by increasing the Q6600's FSB to 1333, which is 3.0GHz). This is done without having to increase volts or tweak anything aside from the bus speed in bios.

Jusrt some food for thought!
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October 3, 2007 5:58:37 PM

Some interesting posts regarding whether to go with quad or dual core for "futureproofing". I agree that futureproofing is an oxymoron. Any enthusiast that proudly cvalls himself an enthusiast usually upgrades and swaps out parts every couple/few years, if not sooner. Granted that Penryn/Nehalem are Skt775 all the news states that P35 and X38 will support it, the jury is still out if mobos can fully support it with only a BIOS update. Next gen and future quad cores may still require a new mobo and/or chipset due to power requirements and to fully support new features and functionality.

So, with that said, I believe the question of "future proof" not to be a question of quad versus dual core but more a question of what socket, chipset, and platform will realize the greatest longevity. Right now, I'd have to say that a Skt775 mobo with an X38 chipset that supports DDR3 has the best upgrade options and will last at least 2-3 years before it needs to be taken the old computer's home.

I've adopted the mantra of, "buy the best I can afford today with an eye on the best upgrade path".

October 3, 2007 6:19:45 PM

yomamafor1 said:
....are you calling Q6600 a newer, better processor than E6600?

True, Q6600 was released later than E6600. True it has double the core count, but both of them are sharing exactly the same core.

Yet Q6600 runs about 9FPS faster than E6600. There was no "flicker on the fourth core in windows manager". This is hard number.

How is "using it for a game that uses four cores", different from "patch added later by some SC fan"?
Supreme Commander was optimized for multicore from the get go. There was no patch to "enable" the multicore support.

http://enthusiast.hardocp.com/article.html?art=MTMwNiwx...
Quote:

There are several games planned this year that will utilize multi-core CPUs and one of those games was just recently released, Supreme Commander. Supreme Commander, a real time strategy (RTS) game, is one of the first games that fully supports out of the box dual and quad-core CPUs. This is taken directly from the readme file:

Dual Core and Performance - Supreme Commander will utilize your dual and quad core processor natively and automatically. Running a dual or quad core processor is one of the best ways to improve performance in Supreme Commander.


Good article that link.
Notice on the CPU usage page the XP task manager shot, thats what i was talking about. Seems Vista manages better with quad.
And by flicker i meant flicker of activity.


October 3, 2007 7:06:02 PM

Belinda said:
Good article that link.
Notice on the CPU usage page the XP task manager shot, thats what i was talking about. Seems Vista manages better with quad.
And by flicker i meant flicker of activity.


Vista does manage quad core better than XP, but that doesn't mean XP cannot take advantage of multi-core.


Image courtesy of [H]ardOCP.com

Quote:

Overall performance is noticeably higher in Windows XP versus Windows Vista. What stays the same however is a clear result that quad-core is faster than dual-core and dual-core is faster than single-core in Supreme Commander. However, under Windows XP the differences between quad-core and dual-core are somewhat less defined.


You still see greater performance from quad core than dual core under XP.
October 3, 2007 7:25:29 PM

jaguarskx said:
What a load of crap.

I admit I'm considering a quad core for myself, but it will not be for gaming purposes. A dual core is enough to enjoy any game. You just need a very fast video card.

Yeah, yeah Crysis and Alan Wake will "take advantage" of quad core, but how well will they effectively use it?

I dont have chance to try qcore yet, but for mine dualcore i am already utilizing it to 100% most of time iam doing anything more then just browsing web or listening mp3.
I did tryed run Bioshock and Tabula rasa with 1 core or both cores asigned and TR can take huge advantage of more cores (42% more fps with 2 cores over one) in bioshock diference is much lower but still over 20% and i can bet its my dualcore whitch is limiting performance with 8800GTX in tabula rasa as i am geting less fps then ppl with same system and 4 cores.
Also if you want to run more apllication and same time play newest game more cores will be also better.
I did once tryet to watch my CPU usage over day and i can say from 8-16h i am working on PC its utilizing CPU fully most of this time and around 20% CPU average when i am not near PC.

I am planing to get quatcore opteron or its desktop version probably in january as it can underclock 1 and turn off 3 remaining cores when not used. I know many ppl will say intel have more raw power, but its not all i want and some barcy features are what i prefer.
October 3, 2007 11:15:52 PM

Ok, how will Pentium D fare with Crysis?
October 3, 2007 11:52:34 PM

I think it's a good idea for future proofing. I doubt the Q6600 will be antiquidated for quite some time being that it doesn't mind being overclocked. I mean how long ago did the E21XX series come out? They are still quite usable.
October 4, 2007 12:55:17 AM

biorhythm said:
I'm also planning on upgrading my rig at that time. Personally, I'm gonna go with a Skulltrail mobo as the base for my rig to allow for maximum upgrade options in the future, and then drop in a mid priced quad core with a mild overclock. This will allow me to drop in another processor in the future, if needs must.



Hate bust your bubble but skulltrail will only accept special Quad Extreme processors in pairs. It will also continue to use pricey and slow FB memory. In other words unless you have a ton of money it will wont be for you.

Also there is no such thing as future proofing. My 8800 GTX is the closest thing I've seen to this mythical term in some time. Got it in week one of the release and still about the fastest card out there sorry to all the ATI/AMD naysayers.
October 4, 2007 2:22:03 AM

Bydesign, the Skulltrail motherboard supports any of the Xeon processors that our currently out and or soon to come out. If you want to do overclocking on the system then you must use matched processors.

You do not need Xeon Extreme processors to overclock. They will just help out.

I agree FBDIMM's will cost you and cooling this monster is going to be as bad as the AMD's Dual socket enthusiast platform.
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October 4, 2007 2:53:24 AM

pausert20 said:
Bydesign, the Skulltrail motherboard supports any of the Xeon processors that our currently out and or soon to come out. If you want to do overclocking on the system then you must use matched processors.

You do not need Xeon Extreme processors to overclock. They will just help out.

I agree FBDIMM's will cost you and cooling this monster is going to be as bad as the AMD's Dual socket enthusiast platform.

Uh no, I don't believe so. Skulltrail cpu's are an animal unto themselves. From Anandtech.


SkullTrail features two LGA-771 sockets, accepting a pair of special unlocked Penryn processors that use the Xeon socket but have the same core as the desktop
processors. According to Intel, with the Core 2 based processors there
are slight differences in the hardware prefetchers in Xeon vs. desktop
Core 2 parts and thus it is important to distinguish the SkullTrail
CPUs as being Yorkfield based (desktop Penryn) and not Harpertown
(server Penryn). said:


SkullTrail features two LGA-771 sockets, accepting a pair of special unlocked Penryn processors that use the Xeon socket but have the same core as the desktop
processors. According to Intel, with the Core 2 based processors there
are slight differences in the hardware prefetchers in Xeon vs. desktop
Core 2 parts and thus it is important to distinguish the SkullTrail
CPUs as being Yorkfield based (desktop Penryn) and not Harpertown
(server Penryn).
I have not read any news or articles stating that exising Xeons can just be dropped into a Skulltrial mobo. If you have, please provide links as it might change my opinion on the cost and practicality of Skulltrail.

October 4, 2007 3:04:48 AM

Well, then. I guess your right. Only special unlocked Penryn Processors can be used in the motherboard. But let me point out it does not say Skull Trail can't use regular Xeon processors.

Please take what I say with whatever size chunk of salt you like. I'm getting my information from my bud who works at Intel.

Just remember when the board launches if I was full of it or not. :D 
October 4, 2007 11:45:16 PM

Some interesting posts regarding whether to go with quad or dual core for "futureproofing". I agree that futureproofing is an oxymoron. Any enthusiast that proudly cvalls himself an enthusiast usually upgrades and swaps out parts every couple/few years, if not sooner. Granted that Penryn/Nehalem are Skt775 all the news states that P35 and X38 will support it, the jury is still out if mobos can fully support it with only a BIOS update. Next gen and future quad cores may still require a new mobo and/or chipset due to power requirements and to fully support new features and functionality.

So, with that said, I believe the question of "future proof" not to be a question of quad versus dual core but more a question of what socket, chipset, and platform will realize the greatest longevity. Right now, I'd have to say that a Skt775 mobo with an X38 chipset that supports DDR3 has the best upgrade options and will last at least 2-3 years before it needs to be taken the old computer's home.

I've adopted the mantra of, "buy the best I can afford today with an eye on the best upgrade path said:
Some interesting posts regarding whether to go with quad or dual core for "futureproofing". I agree that futureproofing is an oxymoron. Any enthusiast that proudly cvalls himself an enthusiast usually upgrades and swaps out parts every couple/few years, if not sooner. Granted that Penryn/Nehalem are Skt775 all the news states that P35 and X38 will support it, the jury is still out if mobos can fully support it with only a BIOS update. Next gen and future quad cores may still require a new mobo and/or chipset due to power requirements and to fully support new features and functionality.

So, with that said, I believe the question of "future proof" not to be a question of quad versus dual core but more a question of what socket, chipset, and platform will realize the greatest longevity. Right now, I'd have to say that a Skt775 mobo with an X38 chipset that supports DDR3 has the best upgrade options and will last at least 2-3 years before it needs to be taken the old computer's home.

I've adopted the mantra of, "buy the best I can afford today with an eye on the best upgrade path


My same motto. I found with my last system, $1600 in system, upgrades and all has lasted me 5 years, though I'm pushing the limits of my capabilities severely.

2.4GHZ Pentium 4

9600 Pro ATI

1.5GB RDRAM

I used my best knowledge to future proof myself, though I got on the wrong RAM boat.
!