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The CPU War

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March 28, 2008 3:44:10 AM

I was thinking about the CPU war, you know between Intel and AMD. Most benchmarks are on games and what not that are not multi-core aware. Why don’t we get some multi threaded applications and run some tests on Intel and AMD chips at the same speeds?


Just a thought. Also don't make this an Intel/AMD fanboy expose. Thanks!

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March 28, 2008 4:31:37 AM

I'd love to see it, but the problem is that there really aren't that many multithreaded applications out there, and more importantly, there are very few the the average user will actually run. I for one don't really care how a processor performs in a benchmark for a program that I'm never going to use. However, it seems that there is a big push at universities to teach students how to write multithreaded programs so maybe we'll see this kind of software become more mainstream in the coming years.
March 28, 2008 4:55:26 AM

Multithreaded appliations do not concern 90% of the average users. Those that require it most likely are in the field of software developers and graphic designers. From my prespective, I would not buy a quadcore just for the sake of having 4cores. I mainly use my pc for emails, chatting, music and movies, and GAMING. There are only 2 or 3 games that utilize quadcores and those games quite frankly suck. I would not hesitate to buy an E6750 over Q6600 or X2 6400 over any phenom.

Some choose amd, most choose intel and they have the right to do what ever they want. My reason for AMD is that the AM2\AM2+ platform is good for future upgrades.
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March 28, 2008 2:38:27 PM

Then why do we continue to scale up in the amount of cores we are using if the applications we are running aren't designed to take advantage?

Seems like we are all falling prey to the industry hype to by these quad core monsters that aren't really going to benefit us.

Grats!
March 28, 2008 3:04:16 PM

retro77 said:
I was thinking about the CPU war, you know between Intel and AMD. Most benchmarks are on games and what not that are not multi-core aware. Why don’t we get some multi threaded applications and run some tests on Intel and AMD chips at the same speeds?

Just a thought. Also don't make this an Intel/AMD fanboy expose. Thanks!


There are such tests in all of the Reviews.
They tend to be the Multimedia ones, WinRar, etc....

The ones that support it are obvious in that those are the ones in which the lead switches from the Duals to the Quads.

http://anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=3272&p=...
March 28, 2008 3:08:50 PM

Your cpu takes on a load from USB devices, onboard audio, some network controllers, some raid controllers, and certainly the drivers to drive those devices. having 4 cores instead of 2 ensures the load of those devices doesn't hinder performance of other apps. more cores means you can run more things in the background, and/or just run the same things more efficiently. Windows handles the driver game through API's and does a relatively effective job of it.

The Asus vs Creative article http://www.tomshardware.com/2008/03/27/asus_and_creativ...
has a rundown of the onboard audio gaming features requiring cpu features for eax emulation that creates a load on the cpu instead of a discrete audio cpu. Processors are fast enough to not need the discrete anymore as long as the output is clean (free of interference)
March 28, 2008 3:50:11 PM

There are plenty of typical applications that are multithreaded. Maybe not games, but here's a list off the top of my head:

DVD shrink: I'm sure quite a few of us have used this program. It favors intel CPUs, with Pentium Ds having a surprisingly strong showing, relative to their typically abysmal performance.

Windows Movie Maker: Pretty standard for any you-tube content generation. Takes advantage of two cores, 4 cores not so much. Once again Intel favored, and once again Pentium Ds do outstandingly well.

Excel 2007: Multithreaded that comes in handy for the rare few of us that deal with large tables of data (not me). Seems strong with both AMD and Core 2 CPUs, Pentium D is weak.

LC3 codec (MP3 ripping codec in Windows Media Player 10). I was surprised to see this was multithreaded, but is works pretty well with about 80% usage on both cores.

Flash player 9: Multithreaded (at least dual core capable), comming in handy for some of the atrociously high CPU usage rates inherent in some internet flash video.

Nero Vision Express (and many other DVD authoring programs): So you can make DVDs out of your old VHS home videos, or DVDs from content off your DV camcorder.


Come on guys, it's not 2005 anymore. This list shows that there are multithreaded apps that even a typical person would use on a regular basis.
March 28, 2008 3:55:40 PM

Awesome! Thanks for the responses guys.

I wonder why the Pentium D is so favored on some of those. So having dual cores is worth while while the quad core advantage has yet to be really seen.

Another ponder: Do we invest now in quad core technology or wait until it matures more. Kind of a double edge sword. If we dont buy it, then software companies wont develop quad core software as much. Kind of the same problems with drivers and 64-bit OSes.
March 28, 2008 4:06:32 PM

Why the Pentium D does well probably has to do with how the app was coded. When I say that Intel is favored, I mean they do better than they usually do against AMD's CPUs, and when I say that the Pentium D does well, I mean that it performs much better than it usually does (e.g. a Pentium D 805 (2.66 GHz) in DVD shrink is almost as fast as an AMD X2 3800 (2.0 GHz); typically a Pentium D 830 or 840 (3.0 and 3.2 GHz respectively) is needed to match the performance of an X2 3800). Pentium D's are still inferior to the Core 2 line, even in those apps where the Pentium D does outstandiingly well, while they (the Pentium Ds) become quite competitive with the AMD X2 line of CPUs in those benchmarks.

I for one am holding out on the quadcore technology. As you said, not enough gain for most people, especially with typical applications, to warrant the cost. Once apps mature to take advantage of quads, we'll have even better quads (or like 6 or 8 core CPUs), making today's quads old and less desirable.
March 28, 2008 4:27:19 PM

Also if your running Windows [XP or Vista] it supports up to 4 CPUs on the current license. Lets see how Windows scales to more than 4 CPUs....interesting.
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March 28, 2008 5:19:29 PM

retro77 said:
Then why do we continue to scale up in the amount of cores we are using if the applications we are running aren't designed to take advantage?

Seems like we are all falling prey to the industry hype to by these quad core monsters that aren't really going to benefit us.

Grats!

Desktop operating systems, starting with WindowsXP, are becoming multi-processor compatible. Take Vista for instance, it's such a resource hog that you practically need at least a dual core in order to have it run somewhat smoothly.

Also, it was realized a few years back that gighertz is not an reliable/accurate indicator of performance. The Athlon runs 500-1000MHz slower than a comparible P4 and the P4 gets spanked. As a result, everyone realized it was the uArch that makes the differences with how well a cpu performs as well as having more cores making multi-tasking more efficient and effective.

Quad cores are not entirely hype, just as dual core were not entirely hype when they were first released. Just like everyone aasking what they needed two cores for, some folks are now asking what they need 4 cores for. What are these folks gonna say when Intel and AMD release an 8 core processor with discreet GPU built in. Think about it though, you can get a quad core Phenom for less than $200, so why not buy a quad core.

If anything, having the choice of 1, 2, 3, or 4 cores allows for system builders and enthusiasts to choose which processor will meet and match their computing needs and habits. I think it's a great time to buy and build a machine given all the various hardware combinations available. You can build a single core sempron or celeron system to power a NAS, a nice E2160 ro 4800+ for a great HTPC or linux box running a firewall and routers services, an E8400 or 5000BE to make a great gaming machine, or either a Q6600 or Phenom as a 3D rendering and A/V editing workstation.

March 28, 2008 5:45:16 PM

Since NT Workstation we have been able to have 1-4 CPUs on a desktop OS.

It would be cool to have the GPU built in. Does limit your upgradablility/customization. But if want to upgrade, slap another CPU in.
March 28, 2008 6:11:43 PM

After you hit 3 Ghz it really does not matter WHO made the CPU in games as long as the GFX card is the same.

Two systems side by side in a "plain brown wraper" blind test and odds that zero out of 10K people can tell you which computer is using what CPU as the eye can't tell...benchmaks may but not the eye.
March 28, 2008 6:17:39 PM

Totally agreeing with you, ZOldDude.
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March 28, 2008 6:19:05 PM

ZOldDude said:
After you hit 3 Ghz it really does not matter WHO made the CPU in games as long as the GFX card is the same.

Two systems side by side in a "plain brown wraper" blind test and odds that zero out of 10K people can tell you which computer is using what CPU as the eye can't tell...benchmaks may but not the eye.

Agreed.
March 28, 2008 6:24:53 PM

ZOldDude said:
After you hit 3 Ghz it really does not matter WHO made the CPU in games as long as the GFX card is the same.

Two systems side by side in a "plain brown wraper" blind test and odds that zero out of 10K people can tell you which computer is using what CPU as the eye can't tell...benchmaks may but not the eye.


That is why I never get folks who need to OC their systems to the limit.
Usually if you crank the CPU down about 200Mhz from the Top OC you will never be able to see the difference.

I know I can't tell the difference from a 1200 vs 1400Mhz OC except it runs quite a bit cooler due to the lower voltage requirement. And I do some intense tasks.
March 28, 2008 6:27:53 PM

ZOldDude said:
... blind test ...
Whats that?
!