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The Dual-Core vs. Quad-Core debate

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April 9, 2008 12:21:14 AM

I've read so many reviews about dual vs. quad-core and seen so many benchmarks (example) but I see one major problem: All the major reviews neglect multi-tasking.

Why are all the tests carried out with one application/game at a time? Obviously if you run an application using a dual and run the same application using a quad, then the cpu with higher clock speed will win unless the application is written with multi-processors in mind.

What will happen if I run a 3D game like crysis, run an anti-virus in the background, do some video encoding in the back, watch a movie on second monitor, listen to mp3s, have microsoft word and Firefox/IE7 running in the back (not that I need to do this but because I chose to leave them running and was taking a break)... which CPU would be better???

Here is a video of a guy doing-multi-tasking using Q6600:
http://www.metacafe.com/watch/767032/quad_core_multitas...

I want to see a comparison like that. Can the dual-cores do this as well??? I want to keep my PC responsive instead of seeing a comparison on an application to application or game to game basis.

I am in a dilemma between Q9300 and E8500 (cos it's similarly priced.. i can easily opt for E8400 for a bargain with little performance difference than E8500). I won't be upgrading for 5 or 6 years. Which one would be better with the scenario I described above?
April 9, 2008 12:48:36 AM

You answered your own question.
April 9, 2008 1:02:45 AM

Some people like to keep it simple, so a dual core is fine for them. So if you multi-task, obviously more cores is the way to go.

Edit: Typo...
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April 9, 2008 1:03:03 AM

Evilonigiri said:
Some people like to keep it simple, so a dual core is fine for them. So if you multi-task, obviously more cores is the way to go.

Need to see proof how they compare with multi-tasking.
a b à CPUs
April 9, 2008 1:15:10 AM

^ Check out benches. Generally if you use video editing software, Photoshop,etc you will benefit from extra cores. If you are a gamer you will mostly benefit from raw speed. I say go for the Quad core.
April 9, 2008 1:42:33 AM

I have a quad, so ill give ya my first hand experiences. I can run (and have in the past ) 2 games at once, have a firewall going, a voice client, movie, and surfing the web, i notice no diffrence switching around the apps, and it runs the same as if i was doing nothing at all, a hint though, if you only go with 2 gigs of ram, and plan to multitask as much as you claim, you will be disappointed with the performance, i would suggest getting 4 gigs.
a b à CPUs
April 9, 2008 1:49:53 AM

^ Agreed on 4GB and also depends on OS. If Vista multitasking like said above is pretty hard even with 4GB RAM. Vista itself uses up almost 1GB.I say get XP x64 if planing to do heavy multi tasking.
April 9, 2008 1:51:20 AM

Thanks for the info blacksci.

Now can anyone give a first hand experience with dualcore (something like e8400 or e8500) and how their system responds when they have multiple system hungry applications running (similar to what blacksci described or what you see in the video link I posted).

BTW, that video is obviously not mine, but its interestinng to see that he's only using 2GB on vista and its running smooth.
April 9, 2008 2:14:55 AM

If you are planning to keep your system for 5-6 years then you would be a fool to get a dual core. Especially if you want to do the multitasking that you indicated in your initial post. Just get the quad and move on. If you need proof then learn to use Google.
April 9, 2008 2:34:56 AM

For almost everyone on this site,for gamers,for small company networks...nobody has any gain over 2 cores with 4.

Hardly any games use more than one core.
The advantage of dual cores here is that neither core tends to run at 100%.
Four cores at this point in time is both false economy and a fools game for the most commen usages.
You are best served by RAW speed.

The same goes with 4GB + of RAM in a home computer and Vista.
Vista can -never- run things -as fast- as XP,and it can -never- use less RAM to do anything as XP.
Subjective opinions from new/high end build users aside...benchmark after benchmark shows this to be true.

RAM speed (DDR1-2-3) is yet another issue.
My DDR1-500 with a small 10Mhz OC still scores 1K points higher in Everest memory benchmarks in Read/Write/Copy over the -fastest- DDR2 RAM sold.
April 9, 2008 2:40:54 AM

conquerz said:
I've read so many reviews about dual vs. quad-core and seen so many benchmarks but I see one major problem: All the major reviews neglect multi-tasking.

Why are all the tests carried out with one application/game at a time? Obviously if you run an application using a dual and run the same application using a quad, then the cpu with higher clock speed will win unless the application is written with multi-processors in mind.

What will happen if I run a 3D game like crysis, run an anti-virus in the background, do some video encoding in the back, watch a movie on second monitor, listen to mp3s, have microsoft word and Firefox/IE7 running in the back (not that I need to do this but because I chose to leave them running and was taking a break)... which CPU would be better???

Here is a video of a guy doing-multi-tasking using Q6600:
http://www.metacafe.com/watch/767032/quad_core_multitas...

I want to see a comparison like that. Can the dual-cores do this as well??? I want to keep my PC responsive instead of seeing a comparison on an application to application or game to game basis.

I am in a dilemma between E8500 or the Q9300. I won't be upgrading for 5 or 6 years. Which one would be better with the scenario I described above?



above was main argument why amd single core cpu's where inferior to intel pentium - all tests are single or maybe dual app

try running 4-6 apps

q6600 is 3.6ghz is sweet set up, if can not get your system faster then 3.6 with dual core why waster your time. as far as the q9300 it is faster then a q6600

quad core is must for future proofing

i got banned for posting this, this video clearly shows 2 games running with all the background programs

Note to DS: You got "sidelined" for repeatedly posting links to your "store", after being warned by several Moderators (violation of ToS), and for being belligerent in your replies. Stop complaining about being banned for anything other than inappropriate advertising.
April 9, 2008 2:48:23 AM

ZOldDude said:
For almost everyone on this site,for gamers,for small company networks...nobody has any gain over 2 cores with 4.

Hardly any games use more than one core.
The advantage of dual cores here is that neither core tends to run at 100%.
Four cores at this point in time is both false economy and a fools game for the most commen usages.
You are best served by RAW speed.
Uh, he's planning on keeping his system for 4-6 years. Does that affect your recommendation? I sure hope so.
April 9, 2008 2:48:25 AM

Zorg said:
If you are planning to keep your system for 5-6 years then you would be a fool to get a dual core. Especially if you want to do the multitasking that you indicated in your initial post. Just get the quad and move on. If you need proof then learn to use Google.

A dual core with higher Mhz still serves you better...the fact is is alot less than 2X's the cost of a quad is just frosting on the cake.

See my post a few up that I was editing while you posted.
RAW CPU speed even with one core for almost all programs still wins.
DDR!-500 still beats the fastest DDR2 in Read/Write/Copy benchmarks.

I have been around from the early 1980's.
With all the "new" 32/64 bit CPU computers and the fact that I run the main computer (now one of seven on my home game LAN) 24/7/365....I have -never- had the main computers MB/PSU last more than two years with one excepton...PC Power & Cooling PSU's do in fact hold up.

Yes I still have a few "older" systems that are even still "alive" on the old AMD 500MHZ CPU...but they don't have that many -hours- on them.
It is the amount of hours a MB/PSU is running that dictates how many years they run....the caps in them dry out and the system goes down.

Some MB makers are now building MB's with "soild caps"...and charging a premium for them while in fact they cost less to build.
In any event they would outlive in usage hours a so called "normal" cap'ed MB.
April 9, 2008 2:56:05 AM

I don't believe that is the norm. Maybe we should start a poll. I know plenty of people that are running systems that are 5-6 years old. Granted they are boat anchors but they are still their primary systems. Most people change their computers because they are dog slow in comparison to what's out there today and they want something fresh.

Multi-threaded apps/games are starting to take off and buying a dual core that you intend to keep as long as it lasts is just foolish.
April 9, 2008 3:02:17 AM

Zorg said:
I don't believe that is the norm. Maybe we should start a poll. I know plenty of people that are running systems that are 5-6 years old. Granted they are boat anchors but they are still their primary systems. Most people change their computers because they are dog slow in comparison to what's out there today and they want something fresh.

Multi-threaded apps/games are starting to take off and buying a dual core that you intend to keep as long as it lasts is just foolish.

Yeah you do that...start a Poll.
Forget what every benchmark ever made so far shows and ask opinion from the mass's.

My old 1 core server CPU's and DDR1 RAM still run rings around most of todays air cooled builds...and my dual core's best them.
Going to even todays fastest quads is TON's of cash down the drain...at this point in time.
Perhaps when the day comes that home office software and games USE 2-whatever cores comes to be then...and only then....will things change.
Untill then grab the fastest dual core you can get for the lowest price.
a b à CPUs
April 9, 2008 3:08:33 AM

I just went from a single core to a dual core within the last two months ( P4 631 to an e2200). Overall, I have notice a huge difference. Photoshop CS2 is much more responsive. I can run AVG and Windows Defender at the same time while running Power DVD. My advice is for a system to last longer than 3 years, I would go with a quad and probably 8GB of RAM, but at least 4GB.
April 9, 2008 3:14:11 AM

I have to agree with Zorg, there are only a few games, but actually alot more apps out there that will take full advantage of 4 cores. Higher Mhz is nice for games that can use the extra speed, but there is a point of diminishing returns where that wont even benefit you. Once we see multithreaded games coming out, then 4 cores will rear its head and show that dual core was just a transitional phase, and people will start going quad even more then they were, because now they will have 2 cores getting used all the times, while us quad folks will still have 2 in reserve to run out background tasks, and anything else you would use. As for vista, it runs great on my computer, and as a guy who uses a dual boot OS I can say that I never see the diffrence between the 2. Sure benchmarks will show the diffrence, but they will also show the 50 mhz gain if i overclock my videocard, while not affecting what im visually seeing at all. If your going to run a Vista system, get a usb flashdrive, it offloads simple programs onto it, and thus frees up more ram. Although when running 4 gigs with a 32 bit version of vista, i never see my ram usuage past 23 %.

As a side note: Zolddude your a fool to base your opinion only on benchmarks, real life experiences will show you the harsh truth that a benchmark cannot. Most people use them only as a refrence, not as hard proven fact that this is the best thing out there, hate to say it but your sticking your foot in your mouth when you keep bringing that up. Also the e8400 that he is looking at is around the same price of a quad, he would be foolish to pass up more cpu power unless he wishes to overclock in a extreme fashion. My quad runs at 3.2 and i dont have a game yet that taxes it.
April 9, 2008 3:22:13 AM

The E8500 is ~$280.00 and the Q9300 is ~$290.00. I'm sure you could squeeze a better OC out of the E8500 but not enough. In 5-6 years the even the quad cores will be anemic.

If one was going to upgrade in a year or so and use it strictly for gaming then you would have a point, but not 5-6 years with heavy multitasking.
April 9, 2008 3:30:06 AM

Well Vista with 4GB of system RAM uses almost 1 full GB of RAM for the OS...all by it's self.
Then you have the "nasty" built in DRM and other things that slow it down (you will not notice on a modern/new high end build).

On XP Home OEM (I own a builders 2 disk set and used it from a month after XP was for sale)...
I can run all four (4) of my security programs (one blocks 1,163,367,835 IP #'s from connecting to my network),run 6 torrents and PLAY Frontlines:Fuel of War in the highest settings at the same time and NEVER use more than 59% of 2GB of ram all without lag.

That 59% of RAM @ 2GB's is just a bit over what Vista uses to RUN if you have 4GB of RAM.

I can say that my new dual cores also run -everything- far faster than the fastest quad @ over $1k can....and I paid $111 USD for them.

If your upgrade'n today and plan to upgrade in 3-5 years take the wasted $900 on that top end quad and put it into a CD untill then.
April 9, 2008 3:44:44 AM

There are 3 types of people who "pimp" quad cores....

Those that have them as an upgrade from an old system and are truely stuned buy the preformance over the old/outdated system they had.

Next you have the masses who simply pariot what others say and have no real clue based on own use.

Lastly you have the Company Pimp who's job it is to visit every website/forum they can as often as they can and post enless BS about how much better things are if you just listen to them and spend 10X's the cost for a CPU than what you need or what any benchmark running "common" programs can benifite from.

My builds and those people that pay me to build for them kick ass without killing your bank account.
April 9, 2008 3:46:12 AM

Uh, he's not buying a QX CPU for $1000. Look at the prices in my post to the two CPUs he wants, there is a $10 difference.
a c 126 à CPUs
April 9, 2008 3:51:04 AM

conquerz said:
I've read so many reviews about dual vs. quad-core and seen so many benchmarks but I see one major problem: All the major reviews neglect multi-tasking.

Why are all the tests carried out with one application/game at a time? Obviously if you run an application using a dual and run the same application using a quad, then the cpu with higher clock speed will win unless the application is written with multi-processors in mind.

What will happen if I run a 3D game like crysis, run an anti-virus in the background, do some video encoding in the back, watch a movie on second monitor, listen to mp3s, have microsoft word and Firefox/IE7 running in the back (not that I need to do this but because I chose to leave them running and was taking a break)... which CPU would be better???

Here is a video of a guy doing-multi-tasking using Q6600:
http://www.metacafe.com/watch/767032/quad_core_multitas...

I want to see a comparison like that. Can the dual-cores do this as well??? I want to keep my PC responsive instead of seeing a comparison on an application to application or game to game basis.

I am in a dilemma between E8500 or the Q9300. I won't be upgrading for 5 or 6 years. Which one would be better with the scenario I described above?


Ok from experience I can tell you I have done that. I have ran about 5 different MMORPG's with antivirus going, WMP playing music, a video going and about 7 IE7's at the same time. Funny thing is that It barely would make the CPU come out of the SpeedStep of a 6x multiplier. Thats all on a Q6600 @ 3GHz. I don't know if a dual core will do that though. I doubt it as after a few programs that use the CPU it might get bogged down but need someone to test it really.

Now if you are going to be keeping this for 5-6 years and you do multitask then get the quad core. It will keep your rig good until then so that you can build a new one by then. Dual core will be more of the low end by that time period and we will have 32+ cores per CPU (that is if Sandy Bridge does go to 32 cores like Intel plans and whatever AMD plans does too).

Oh and Shadow703793, I did all that on Vista 32 when I had 2GB of ram. Vista preloads the programs you use the most so they load faster. But multitasking in Vista has been the same for me as in XP soo far.
a b à CPUs
April 9, 2008 3:53:51 AM

Ive used a P4 3.0Ghz Prescott single core 478 socket cpu for nearly 5 years and used an Asus P4C800-E Deluxe motherboard. It was powered on 98% of the time and never failed me. I decided to go dual core with an AMD 6000+ system and wow, there was a big difference.

I sold that P4 CPU and mobo for 200.00 on ebay. Not a bad recovery for such a long useage.

I prematurely decided to go with the Q6600 CPU and the EVGA 780i motherboard. I plan to make this rig my next 5 year system so I am holding nothing back to get good quality parts for this setup.

I would almost bet that I can get 30-40% of my money back on ebay then as well for my next system.

I have to say that if your systems are only lasting for 2 years or less it has to be due to lack of cooling or lower quality parts. Things can break and thats no doubt but if you can never get a system to last more than two years you need to check one of the two issues I mentioned.

Being a user of single core, dual core and quad cores cpus I do recommend going to quad core now if you are planning to make your rig last for the next 5-6 years like I plan to do...
a c 126 à CPUs
April 9, 2008 3:56:07 AM

Shadow703793 said:
^ Agreed on 4GB and also depends on OS. If Vista multitasking like said above is pretty hard even with 4GB RAM. Vista itself uses up almost 1GB.I say get XP x64 if planing to do heavy multi tasking.


ZOldDude said:
Well Vista with 4GB of system RAM uses almost 1 full GB of RAM for the OS...all by it's self.
Then you have the "nasty" built in DRM and other things that slow it down (you will not notice on a modern/new high end build).

On XP Home OEM (I own a builders 2 disk set and used it from a month after XP was for sale)...
I can run all four (4) of my security programs (one blocks 1,163,367,835 IP #'s from connecting to my network),run 6 torrents and PLAY Frontlines:Fuel of War in the highest settings at the same time and NEVER use more than 59% of 2GB of ram all without lag.

That 59% of RAM @ 2GB's is just a bit over what Vista uses to RUN if you have 4GB of RAM.

I can say that my new dual cores also run -everything- far faster than the fastest quad @ over $1k can....and I paid $111 USD for them.

If your upgrade'n today and plan to upgrade in 3-5 years take the wasted $900 on that top end quad and put it into a CD untill then.


Really.... is that so? So why is it that Vista only uses(when I close out the programs I have set to load on startup) 20% of my 4GB of ram? Kinda makes no sense to me if you say one thing but my PC say another and I am using Vista where as you are using XP.

Oh and BTW with Steam loaded and my Creative Labs Sound Card stuff loaded and my G15 gaming keyboard loaded and IE7 up its using 30% of my 4GB.
April 9, 2008 4:02:54 AM

Zorg said:
Uh, he's not buying a QX CPU for $1000. Look at the prices in my post to the two CPUs he wants, there is a $10 difference.

Based on that the E8500 is the better deal...a E8400 is a MUCH better deal @ $89 USD less for .16Ghz slow stock speed.
Both will do 3.8-4Ghz on stock volts given the MB and PSU.
The extra $89.99/90 USD saved pays for half of most high end MB's or $90 off a proper PSU (PC P&C 610 w/49 Amps on the 12Volt railfor $119 dirrect from them).

To be frank most of the MB/CPU combo's I have put together all reach the same OC as you can find in any report -but- I don't need to raise voltages becuse I use PC Power & Cooling PSU's which are far better built and regulated.
April 9, 2008 4:10:17 AM

Quote:
So why is it that Vista only uses(when I close out the programs I have set to load on startup) 20% of my 4GB of ram?

Eh...because 20 % of 4GB is 40% of 2GB and my XP system runs all 4 security programs (one blocks 1,163,367,835 IP #'s),six (6) torrents AND plays Frontlines:Fuel of War WHILE running Ausus Probe II to see that it is using -less than- 19% over what Vista uses to -sit idle on desktop- with 4GB's of ram (under 59% of 2GB of RAM).

It all has to do with Vista's built in DRM and wanting to load the whole OS into RAM even the parts you will never be using....just so it's there IF you ever want to use it.
Very wasteful RAM usage and the reasons Vista can never be as fast as XP....even more so if you have Vista 64 bit as it "slows down" to emulate any 32 bit program it runs and gives up any 64 bit security in doing so (see www.grc.com Security Now podcasts for the reasons why).
April 9, 2008 4:18:06 AM

So far no one in this thread has agreed with you, but you enjoy your dual core. Tell me how it fairs 3-4 years from now.
April 9, 2008 4:33:13 AM

Lol, sure vista is slower, it has to reallocate the ram you use to whatever app your running, that takes time. 23 % of ram usage from a total of 3.5 gigs is actually less then the gig you are claiming it uses, and thats on my quad core. Also if you think that people just run around getting paid by intel to spout off about the great benefits of the quad, your on crack. Intel doesnt have to pay anyone to say that, we have the core ourselves, and speak from first hand experience, please get real here, intel has far better marketing strategies then to pay people to falsely blog about there proccessors. Also if you build a new system, i guess thats "top end" but not really, its what people are upgrading to now. I understand the need to justify the fact that you are unwilling to upgrade, are cheap, and cant truly understand the performance diffrence, thats your perogative. But please, for the love of god, stop trying to fool everyone else also. BTW you are the parrot here, you base your opinion off of other opinons and benchmarks, i think that says enought by itself.
April 9, 2008 4:39:35 AM

Zorg said:
So far no one in this thread has agreed with you, but you enjoy your dual core. Tell me how it fairs 3-4 years from now.

Nobody has to agree with me....nobody at all.
I just state the facts as every security site/benchmark program and my decades of working with -and building my own circuts- of computter hardware show.

I -must- be wrong and your correct is what your saying?
Whatever.
I know for a fact what works and what does not work and I am paid by people who want that "bang-per-buck-" so I really don't give a rat's-pink-ass what the mass's think if they can't read tech reports or follow 5th grade logic.

As far as the TOP end system no matter the cost 5 years from now vrs a system of that day and time it will be....5 years behind the time.
But I bet it will still -at least- meet any "min specs" for any game made....becuase software companies want the product to run on as many systems (customers) as possible.

@blacksci....
If your trying to say something try putting it in english and get to the point rather than rant.
April 9, 2008 4:53:04 AM

Zorg said:
Uh, he's not buying a QX CPU for $1000. Look at the prices in my post to the two CPUs he wants, there is a $10 difference.

Actually there is very little difference around here in UK. The E8500 and Q9300 (the ones I'm interested in) are almost exactly the same price wherver I've looked. This is the cheapest price I could find without looking much:

Q9300 £179.47
E8500 £178.42
April 9, 2008 5:00:25 AM

IMHO, a quad core is a good idea if you multitask. Now, I can't see playing a game and watching a movie, but I can see burning a data DVD, bittorrents and background apps while playing a game.

The only reason I'm not running out and getting a B3 like I originally wanted to, is that Deneb should be so much better and I can wait till December. Until then, a dual core will suffice.

If I had not built an Athlon X2 system in 2007, and if I were still stuck with a P4 2.8 Northwood, then I would skip dual core and go quad this spring. Anyone stuck with a P4, Pentium D, or Athlon 64 system who's considering a new build should do research beyond simple game benchmarks and try to guesstimate when a quad will really be needed during the expected life of their system. Anyone with a C2D or an Athlon X2 needs to decide whether now, or next spring, is the ideal time to go quad core.

If you upgrade CPU every year to keep up with the jones and overclock like crazy, then a faster dual core might be all you need right now. If you keep a CPU for 3 or more years, then I recommend a quad core, but wait for the better Intel Penryns over Q6600. It's a harder decision with AMD as the B3's aren't that much better than the B2's and Deneb will bring so much more to the table.
a b à CPUs
April 9, 2008 5:01:06 AM

Step 1. Shop around and get a GO Q6600 for a good price.
Step 2. Overlock to a modest 3GHZ
Step 3. Enjoy.
Step 4. LOL @ people saying single and simlar clocked dual cores are better
April 9, 2008 5:15:18 AM

conquerz said:
Actually there is very little difference around here in UK. The E8500 and Q9300 (the ones I'm interested in) are almost exactly the same price wherver I've looked. This is the cheapest price I could find without looking much:

Q9300 £179.47
E8500 £178.42

Yeah thats the bitch about buying parts.
The prices change both by local and even the day of the week.

@ $180-189 UK that is ALOT more than US yet may be a good deal in your economy over other part near it.

IE: A Q6600 is $176'ish in the US....if the price was the same in the UK it -should be- about $90'ish UK give or take...odds are it is not.
Just becuase your LB is worth more than a Dollar does not work out the same in buying power if the item is imported.

Yeah I know it's sucks and life cheats us one and all.
April 9, 2008 5:15:43 AM

By the time a software is optimised for quads, it would be sensible to assume that the current quads wont even be sold anymore.
April 9, 2008 5:23:42 AM

scyle said:
By the time a software is optimised for quads, it would be sensible to assume that the current quads wont even be sold anymore.
The question is, when they are fully optimized for quad cores would you rather have a dual core or a quad core?
April 9, 2008 5:30:19 AM

ZOldDude said:
Nobody has to agree with me....nobody at all.
I don't want to get in a battle with you, I really don't give a crap. I have a Q6600 @ 3G/1333 and that's all I need. I don't even care if the OP understands, I personally think he answered his own question anyway. If he doesn't know what to get by now, then he never will.

Use what you want.

Enjoy.
April 9, 2008 5:37:54 AM

scyle said:
By the time a software is optimised for quads, it would be sensible to assume that the current quads wont even be sold anymore.

I agree with you that most software and games aren't optimised for quadcores yet.

But lets make a "package" that's multi-core. In this package, we have couple of resource hungry games and couple of resource hungry applications. Lets run this "package". So would this package perform better on a dualcore or quadcore? That is the real debate in this thread.
April 9, 2008 5:38:33 AM

There is a big difference between multi-processing and multi-tasking.

Having multiple programs open at once that you switch between is multi-tasking. They will use up memory, but only the active one will actually be using the CPU. This is like having Excel running and then switching over to Word or IE. Excel won't be doing anything when it is not the active application. Most windows programs are event driven, which means that they only go into action when an event occurs, like when you type something or use the mouse. Multiple CPUs does not help much here. Wouldn't Crysis stop processing when it was no longer the active program?

Having multiple programs open where at least one is performing a task is different. If you start a virus scan, play music with Windows Media Player, and then start using Word, you are multi-processing. Also, multi-processing can occur within a single application that uses more than one thread at a time (like how Word uses a background thread to for its autospell check). In these situations, multiple CPUs will really help, but multi-threaded applications need to use various syncing and locking techniques to avoid data clashes.

However, there still are snags. If more than one process (or thread) attempts to access the hard drive, the OS will have to ensure they don't clash and cause corruption. So running anti-virus while doing something else that uses the HD (like encoding a 500MB file or reading a music file) will still cause slow downs, unless it is scanning drive C: while the encoding is accessing drive D:. RAID can help, but then you really need hardware RAID with miltiple hard drives to make a noticeable difference.

The mainframe world is much more advanced with these concepts. PCs are still pretty much made for doing one thing at a time. The biggest exception is a server that can use multiple PCs and hard drive clusters to spread out the work.

So, quads perform best with applications that make use of multiple threads to perform a lengthy process, like Photoshop filters on large images and video encoding. Using multiple threads in a game is limited because of the syncing and locking issues, and the fact that they basically need to do a lot of work in a very short amount of time (once every 30th of a second in a 30 FPS game).

The PC bus architecture needs a redesign. PCI 2.0 slots were added, but the benefits are non existent because of some other bottleneck. Memory speeds increase, but with little noticeable difference. The HD is still the slowest component in the system, and SSDs will get faster and cheaper.

Trying to prepare for the future and "future-proof" your next PC is kinda fruitless right now (IMHO). AMD and Intel are working on new architectures. I believe that the PC will go through dramatic changes in the next 4 years. So, get what you think is necessary for the applications you want to run now, but do so knowing you will likely want an entire new PC in 4 years.

I am planning to use Photoshop for digital photography and Visual Studio 2008 and SQL Server for programming. THerefore I am waiting for the Q9450/Q9550 to become available. Meanwhile I am plugging away on my P4 3.0 Northwood system that I built 3 years ago... :bounce: 
April 9, 2008 6:07:24 AM

Thanks DXRick. That was informative. I think right now I need a dualcore E8400/E8500 but for future proof I need a quadcore Q6600/Q9300. I am trying to figures out when the performance overlap between dualcore and quadcore will happen (i.e. when quadcores will overtake dualcores in most activities). If it's more than 2.5 years, then its not worth getting the quadcores yet since 2.5 later (i.e. 5 years from now), I can get an even better quadcore or even an eight-core when I really need it!

Thanks to everyone else too for their input in this thread.
April 9, 2008 6:16:12 AM

People have their Office apps open, are encoding video, with 2 games running, 3 HD videos playing, while browsing the web, video conferencing and listening to music.

Makes for an interesting tech demo but it's just plain silly.
April 9, 2008 6:16:17 AM

@ Zolddude, umm, last time i checked, i speak english fine, im just answering to mutilple points in your mutilple threads, sorry its too much for you to understand. So here i go again....
1.benchmarks are made for refrence, not to reflect a actual user experience, i.e. a os can only run so fast, and regardless of what speed your runnin your proccessor at, its only going to run so fast, not so hard to understand. should be pretty easy to understand.
Next time up your game to highschool to college level, thats where most of us are at, and why you arent getting the point everyone is trying to convey to you.

@Maximus
yeah i know its ridiculous, the point here was to show the apps you can have open and still get a good user experience, not that we actually run like that all the time, ok im guilty of opening 2 games at once, but hey thats how i roll, since i can.

@ DXrick even if you arent actively running that app at that precise moement doesnt mean it is not using the cpu, when i alt+tab out of multiplie items as i before mentioned my cpu usage is still the same, unfortunately it isnt as cut and dry as im not using the program, so there is nothing to process, it still is processing the app for when you alt+tab into the app, or else it would simply lock up on you.
April 9, 2008 6:37:25 AM

Just my 2c.

I have a Q6600 currently clocked at 3.5ghz, 4GB Ram, Vista 64, 8800gt. I currently use it for Microsoft Flight Sim X mostly. Very CPU intensive game and multithreaded. Maxes out all cores for extended periods during gameplay, and without question is the better way to go for this game.

So I'd say it really depends on which games/apps you are wanting to use.

Also, for future proofing, it is pretty clear that any decent developer who is going to push the envelope, is going to take the fact that multi cores are becoming more and more prevalent, and is going to get the extra hardware performance they need by writing multithreaded apps. I would be very surprised to see games from 2009 coming out without multithread capable code, and in that case, it is clear that an equivalently clocked quad core is going to provide substantially better performance.
April 9, 2008 7:03:08 AM

Shadow703793 said:
^ Agreed on 4GB and also depends on OS. If Vista multitasking like said above is pretty hard even with 4GB RAM. Vista itself uses up almost 1GB.I say get XP x64 if planing to do heavy multi tasking.



Dude, you need to check some xp vs Vista multitasking benchies.

Vista handles multiple open programs a lot better than xp. With a lot of the Creative Sweet apps open on xp, there were some delays in switching, but vista 32 bit seems to run smoother, and i saw some benchies to back it up, 4gb here. You guys do know that most of vistas extra ram usage is superfetch right? as soon as you open up some ram hogging apps, vista makes room by clearing the superfetch cache.
if i can find the benchies ill post them.

I know i know, proof or it never happened.

4gb Q6600 oc'd to 3.1 ghz here. After Effects is like butter on vista.
April 9, 2008 7:05:50 AM

anton said:
Just my 2c.

I have a Q6600 currently clocked at 3.5ghz, 4GB Ram, Vista 64, 8800gt. I currently use it for Microsoft Flight Sim X mostly. Very CPU intensive game and multithreaded. Maxes out all cores for extended periods during gameplay, and without question is the better way to go for this game.

So I'd say it really depends on which games/apps you are wanting to use.

Also, for future proofing, it is pretty clear that any decent developer who is going to push the envelope, is going to take the fact that multi cores are becoming more and more prevalent, and is going to get the extra hardware performance they need by writing multithreaded apps. I would be very surprised to see games from 2009 coming out without multithread capable code, and in that case, it is clear that an equivalently clocked quad core is going to provide substantially better performance.



hey what are your settings on that overclock.

i have a G0 stepping and i can't get past 3.1 on my Gigabyte DS3. I have a Scythe Ninja with 3 120mm fans, my temps are great. I have DDr800 ram. So my devider is 2.5 i think, but if i drop it to 2.0 so i can boost the fsb i get errors, even with propor voltage increased to 1.4. can''t figure this thing out. like a fsb 400 wall or something.
April 9, 2008 8:13:25 AM

Its too early to really see the benefits of quads. Only if youre running certain apps do you see improvement. And those are rare. MS and Intel got a huge write up awhilr ago about investing 20 million USD for the advancement on multithreading. Thats pathetic. What it all comes down to is money. The extra 90 to 100 bucks can be used elsewhere. The benches show that a higher clocked cpu is by far the best way to go. Hope for the future for multitthreading, with a 20 million dollar investment. Disappointing. I see people recommend a quad killer diller that hardly benefits the average user. I see cpu companies heading that way, yet I see very little for true usage. Granted, at the same price points a quad is better if you dont want the best speeds. A sacrifice, which others seem to just let go as if its nothing, here on an enthusiast site. Unbelievable. OK, NOT having the fastest rig is desirable? Im not talking pie in the sky, someday 5 to 6 years maybe down the raod. Im talking currently here. Everyone here knows theres no such thing as future proofing, yet here we are, again, slower, hardly truly usable in todays real world usage, more expensive, slower in most gaming scenarios, a dead end of life in at least one manufacturer, more heat, more power usage, and all hinged on a promise of the future. Man.....
April 9, 2008 9:32:41 AM

Two very good points above:

Extra heat output, extra power input of the quads. Present issues being waved in favour of (distant) future promises.
April 9, 2008 9:42:11 AM

JAYDEEJOHN said:
Granted, at the same price points a quad is better if you dont want the best speeds. A sacrifice, which others seem to just let go as if its nothing, here on an enthusiast site. Unbelievable. OK, NOT having the fastest rig is desirable?


Like I tried to point out many times (but probably failed), fastest is relative. Bragging rights for the best overclock, go dual core. That certainly helps in games. For those who do more than games, then a quad that's clocked slower can still be faster.

My wife's an example. I can still put a B3 quad or triple core on her ASUS 690G and she'll see benefits immediately because she uses 3D modelling and other graphics programs that use more than two cores. She often uses those programs while also downloading anime torrents. When she takes a break, she'll play Morrowind, HOMM 3, 4 or 5 or Fate (her game requirements aren't as vigorous as mine).

I'm not sure I'll see benefits since I mostly play LOTR Online, The Witcher, Oblivion, some Morrowind and the same Heroes of Might and Magic games she plays. I'll sometimes burn a data DVD or download anime to my system too, but she's the one with several terabytes of space for video files, not me.

If I played Supreme Commander, or Microsoft Flight Simulator X, then I'd benefit from a quad core. It would be faster than many higher clocked dual cores. I've often said that games that benefit from 3 or 4 cores will be out between December 2008 and December 2009, but that's based on hopes that Spore, the next Elder Scrolls, Fallout 3 or the next Might and Magic or HOMM will be optimized to benefit from quads. I've also assumed that newer FPS that other people play will use more cores in 9 months when Nehalem and Deneb arrive.

My assumptions on when games will benefit directly from quad cores might be off by a year, it might not happen till December 2010, but I still think that if anyone wants a system to last for the next 3 years, then a quad core is the best choice, unless they really only play games and don't do much in the background. Then, I still think they'll benefit from a quad in 2 years, so their fast dual core now will not only be no longer fast, it will be lagging during it's last year of use because it doesn't have those two extra cores.

As is, I don't think even a Q6600, 9750 or 9850, let alone the Penryns, will lag as much as even a 3.0 Wolfie in 3 years. If I'm wrong, then I'll be surprised that developers are so lazy that they won't take advantage of what's becoming a large segment of the PC market (and not just enthusiast market either).

Maximus_Delta said:
Two very good points above:

Extra heat output, extra power input of the quads. Present issues being waved in favour of (distant) future promises.


Granted, B3's are 125 watts, and Q6600's are either 105 or 95 watts, but what's 95 watts vs. 65 in a real world situation? What's the thermals for Penryn? As is, if someone does a temporary dual core build today, and then goes Deneb or Nehalem this time next year, I think they'll both be in the 65 watt range. We really are in a transition period, where quads are delivering performance and not just showing a future promise -- except in most games out now that started development 3 years or more ago.

April 9, 2008 10:04:53 AM

ZOldDude said:
For almost everyone on this site,for gamers,for small company networks...nobody has any gain over 2 cores with 4.


I'm one of the few that would happily use 16 cores right now!




There are games coming out in the near future that run over 3 threads IIRC, the names might be mentioned in the tri-core threads - anyway, in that case, a quad would run better than a dual.



I agree with you that, when running one solitary (average) desktop program in isolation, a higher clocked dual will get you more than a lower clocked quad. If you want to do any sort of multi-tasking, like encode/rip video while gaming, a quad is def the way to go.


AMD's overdrive does raise an interesting possibility though - you can clock up 1 of your cores for gaming, while dropping the rest off to reduce the heat needing dissipated. Although Phenoms cannot currently match up to higher clocked core2 quads.
April 9, 2008 10:24:43 AM

The reason I posted above was because alot of people go around talking all this "less power, better performance" stuff, then they turn around and recommend a quad for gaming. Sure, we can hope the future holds for better optimisation of multi threading in games, but currently it just isnt true. And sure theres folks out there that use multi threaded apps, and for them, obviously a quad is mostly a better config. But most people here use their rigs for gaming, and as of now , I can name more games that benefit from a higher clocked, cooler, more ocable cpu than a quad. And by putting the saved monies by buying a dual, you have more options of a better gpu. And, as I mentioned above, the current quads are EOL anyways, so even for a 5 to 6 years situation, its close to dead end anyways. Maybe save the money and go with the newer arches coming out (Nehalem,Deneb) To me theres alot more to a answer than in most circumstances the band aid answer of just to get a quad to future proof yourself
a b à CPUs
April 9, 2008 11:17:48 AM

bobloadmire said:
Dude, you need to check some xp vs Vista multitasking benchies.

Vista handles multiple open programs a lot better than xp. With a lot of the Creative Sweet apps open on xp, there were some delays in switching, but vista 32 bit seems to run smoother, and i saw some benchies to back it up, 4gb here. You guys do know that most of vistas extra ram usage is superfetch right? as soon as you open up some ram hogging apps, vista makes room by clearing the superfetch cache.
if i can find the benchies ill post them.

I know i know, proof or it never happened.

4gb Q6600 oc'd to 3.1 ghz here. After Effects is like butter on vista.

Yeah, apparently the new Adobe Photoshop etc are becoming optimized for Vista x64:
http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,144126/article.html

!