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Trying to figure out whether I want a dual-core or a quad-core...

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June 20, 2008 2:00:56 AM

Dual-Core Contender: E8400
Quad-Core Contenders: Q6600 and Q9450

Benefits of Dual Core:
- Slightly better gaming performance
- Generally cost less!
- Good for applications that are not heavily multi-threaded
- Overclocks higher, generates less heat

Benefits of Quad Core:
- Better multitasking performance
- It's more powerful and fast in most applications
- Does better in multi-threaded applications
- Cooler overall. :sol: 

So basically... I'm at a loss. I know that I'll likely be happy with whatever I pick, but I cannot for the life of me decide whether I really want a quad-core, or if I should just get a dual-core. My build will be heavily based on gaming, and admittedly, I don't really use a lot of heavy multitasking applications. I may use this new PC to get into Photoshop or another application like it though, so I wonder if a quad would be a better choice...

I know there are probably about a million topics about this already, but I'm having a really tough time deciding. If I go with a cheaper dual-core, I'll have more money to possibly add a RAID 0 setup, a nice G5 mouse, or some other little goodies. However, if I go with a more expensive quad-core, I won't have much leftover cash, but I'll probably have an overall speedier and more powerful PC. But I probably won't even utilize all that processing power!

What should I do? Could I get a solid argument either way from somebody?
June 20, 2008 2:22:53 AM

If you want your rig to last a while, get quad. Multi-threading is the future, and that goes for gaming as well. Dual just won't measure up against octocore Nehalem. A quad will at least stand some chance.
June 20, 2008 2:22:57 AM

Gaming is probably the only application where performance is really critical. If you don't do any 3D rendering or video editing then you probably wouldn't hardly notice having a quad core. Even if you might decide to take up Photoshop later I would say the E8400 is the best bang for the buck.

And I recommend the G9 over the G5, especially the first-generation silver G5 with the gimped wheel. Upgraded and have been so happy with the dual-mode wheel :)  I think I got it for 50 something after rebate at Newegg
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June 20, 2008 2:31:57 AM

Lets say someone ran Most of the adobe suite for graphic design, would a quad suit that better?
June 20, 2008 2:38:49 AM

Hmm, maybe I should consider the Q6600 instead of the Q9450. It really doesn't cost that much more than the E8400, and it would give me the benefit of having a quad-core. However, I remember reading that the E8400 beat it in a lot of benchmarks... >_> Bah. Still stuck.
June 20, 2008 2:44:03 AM

Think of it this way.

E8400 allows you to play some game at X more FPS than the Q6600
Q6600 allows you to apply those filters Y% faster than the E8400

Do you value the few extra frames per second in your favorite game, allowing you to crank up the graphics a little bit more? Or would you rather spend less time waiting on your computer to render a scene or a filter on an image?
June 20, 2008 2:46:01 AM

I'd rather spend less time waiting, since I'll have dual HD 4870s in Crossfire as my GPU. No worry about frames-per-second here. :)  Hmm, I like that. Definitely makes sense. Looks like I should take another look at the Q6600 then, if the Q9450 costs about $100 more. But just to be sure, does anybody know what the gains are of the Q9450 over the Q6600? A percentage would be good.
June 20, 2008 3:26:02 AM

nerr said:
I'd rather spend less time waiting, since I'll have dual HD 4870s in Crossfire as my GPU. No worry about frames-per-second here. :)  Hmm, I like that. Definitely makes sense. Looks like I should take another look at the Q6600 then, if the Q9450 costs about $100 more. But just to be sure, does anybody know what the gains are of the Q9450 over the Q6600? A percentage would be good.

http://www.hardwarezone.com/articles/view.php?id=2521&c...

All benchmarks done at stock speeds. There are multiple pages for different applications, look through them.
June 20, 2008 3:30:02 AM

q9450 has more l2 cache, based on the 45nm, runs cooler than the q6600, so its not as warm, but not as tolerant on vtt as the 65nm counterpart. Plus the Q9450 is clocked at 2.66 instead of 2.4 for q6600
June 20, 2008 5:45:34 AM

Quad core all the way!
June 20, 2008 7:25:38 AM

Q6600 or Q6700 IMO. Esp since they can be overclocked very well with only a few extra bucks spent on cooling with a decent motherboard. You can see 3Ghz+ on air without breaking a sweat. That said, the best chip price/performance wise is definitely the Q6600/6700 Since they cost about the same now. Just make sure you get the GO Stepping if you go with the Q6600. Q6700 comes stock.
June 22, 2008 3:34:12 PM

Go dual core. There's nothing on the horizon that really benefits quads. Even several of the most widely used video encoding applications are not coded for more than two threads. Once massive multithreading applications are widely available, the current generation of quad cores will be so out of date that the only folks who'll want them are the people like me who don't upgrade their motherboards for 6 years.
June 22, 2008 5:35:37 PM

joefriday said:
Go dual core. There's nothing on the horizon that really benefits quads. Even several of the most widely used video encoding applications are not coded for more than two threads. Once massive multithreading applications are widely available, the current generation of quad cores will be so out of date that the only folks who'll want them are the people like me who don't upgrade their motherboards for 6 years.

Benchmark for lower clocked quads vs higher clocked duals on older non-quad optimized games.
http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cpu/display/core2quad-...
a c 114 à CPUs
June 23, 2008 7:53:03 PM

+1 for the e8400

From Tom's CPU Charts

Quake IV
THG Timedemo (1280x1024 @ 32 bit)


e8400 = 137 fps
q6600 = 110 fps

Prey
THG-Demo (1280x1024 @ 32 bit)


e8400 = 125 fps
q6600 = 113 fps

Supreme Commander
Benchmark: real 60 second game (1024x768 default Video Quality)


e8400 = 51 fps
q6600 = 49 fps

Serious Sam 2
Demo: Greendale (1024x768 @ 32 bit)


e8400 = 180 fps
q6600 = 137 fps

Unreal Tournament 2004
UMark: 2.0.0 / Bots: 16 / High Image Quality (1280x1024 @ 32 bit)


e8400 = 99 fps
q6600 = 93 fps

Warhammer Mark of Chaos
Demo: THG Timedemo (1280x1024 default Video Quality)


e8400 = 49 fps
q6600 = 41 fps



And lol at the e6850/q6600 quad/dual game benches (above post) at 1024x768 with no AAAF (not to mention the 'heat' of that 3.6GHz q6600 at load - see page 5 - 86c-86c-75c-75c)
a c 478 à CPUs
June 24, 2008 4:34:48 AM

For gaming and other mundane stuff, C2D.

Multimedia stuff (especially video) go C2Q.
June 24, 2008 6:10:14 AM

Quad is less efficient in cf/sli solutions. Look it up
June 24, 2008 2:27:06 PM

@wisecracker.. You need to list the speed of the quad. Looking at toms charts, you are listing stock speeds. Q6600 are running at 2.4ghz, vs 3.0 ghz on the E8400. The real question is, can you really see/feel the difference when the fps is 110 vs 136? A simple slight OC can even help the Quad match the E8400. If you want 4ghz speeds, well then its more obvious for the price to get the E8400.

And as far as heat is concerned, my 8800GTS produces more heat then my Q6600, and runs just as cool as my E4400.

@OP

You really can't go wrong either way. If budget means more, so you can get more stuff, then its best to get what your money can get you now, if you don't want to wait on saving.

And if your going to think about not being able to really use all 4 cores, then you might as well think about the whole platform. I mean, XP only needs roughly 2gb, but some people get 4gb, then find out they only can use 3gb. Some people end up getting 500-700GB-1TB of HD space, but use less then 10 percent of the drive.

I still find Vista 64bit tends to use my Quad more efficiently then XP. I had my doubts before getting the Quad, and Vista 64bit, but after getting used to it, its actually awesome. But you don't have to take my word for it.

If anything, I'd think its mainly going to be your budget that will be the main factor in what you want.
a c 114 à CPUs
June 25, 2008 12:57:53 PM

Grimmy said:
@wisecracker.. You need to list the speed of the quad. Looking at toms charts, you are listing stock speeds. Q6600 are running at 2.4ghz, vs 3.0 ghz on the E8400. The real question is, can you really see/feel the difference when the fps is 110 vs 136? A simple slight OC can even help the Quad match the E8400. If you want 4ghz speeds, well then its more obvious for the price to get the E8400. ~~~snip~~~

If anything, I'd think its mainly going to be your budget that will be the main factor in what you want.


I don't disagree a bit. Generally I think the OP would be better off with an e7200 or a faster clocked AMD unless he is specifically using software (i.e. - Premiere, Vegas, MainConcept encoders, etc) that will run parallel threads across those four cores.

Even the OP admitted the cash - $70 / $100 - can go a long way toward upgrading the mobo, ram, disk I/0, etc., even provide cash for software.

And yeah, this fps thing is rather silly. As long as your minimum frame rates are up around 40-50 with an average over 60-70 everything's good (hardcore gamers fire away! :kaola:  )


June 26, 2008 6:23:35 AM

Depends on the resolution, the game, and the speed of the cpu as well as the performance of the gpu. For gaiming, Ghz from the cpu is king. Benefits from multithreading in games is minimal, and seldom used. The physics being used in games today are mostly cpu oriented, but thats about to change as well . If you do video transcoding, thats soon to be taken over by the gpu as well. So to me, when someone comes here wanting to know whats best for gaming, its almost all about the Ghz, as the new gpus show cpu bottlenecks under 3.6Ghz, and the more you require cpu in game, the more important that 3.6 becomes. Theres a few games currently out that dont give great fps, and they show great improvements with cpu oc. Theres more coming out this fall that will require more of both the cpu and the gpu, but multithreading isnt going to play much a part in them. Its too early. These games often take years to make, and cant be so forward looking as to be taking advantage of such multithreading advancements. By the time theyre in vogue, there wont be a Penryn made worth using. Get the best you can now is sort of a gaming mantra, cause tomorrow is always on the horizon, and yesterday is obsolete
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