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Quesiton about L2 cache

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August 17, 2008 6:57:47 AM

Is having the highest L2 cache the best for performance on a gaming machine or is it more hype than needed. I was looking at the E8600 and it has 6MB L2 cache and the Q9550 has 12MB L2 cache. I know the GPU is most important but was curious. I'm debating either the E8600 or Q9550 and now I see the Q family are getting new editions. WOuld a Penryn Yorkfield with 3.0GHZ be more favorable? However Ive seen the charts and I see the E8500 beats the Yorkfields. Im curious what the E8600 does?

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a b 4 Gaming
August 17, 2008 7:02:40 AM

For gaming a higher clocked dual core will be better than a quad core with more cache. In video editing a quad core will easily make mince meat out of a dual core.

So if you plan on gaming I would get th E8600 as I have heard they OC very high on the stock voltage on air.
August 17, 2008 7:44:15 AM

The cache is the amount of data that the cpu reserves for itself. The L2 cache is the second fastest cache, slower then the L1 cache and faster then the L3. Your processor moves chunks of data from your paging files, to your RAM, and to the cache of your cpu as it process pieces of information necessary to run your system. There is a point though were it there becomes simply enough cpu power, especially in games. Right now for gaming that seems to be in all processors with a cpu cache great then 3mb, as E7200 seems to do well in any game I've seen overclocked past 3ghz. Quad cores have the added advantage of being able to handle multithreading (a coding type that distributes data into smaller process to get more work out of all the cores) more efficiently then the dual cores. They also have much larger cache, however, in gaming, this means little. Even in games that have been coded to utilize this more powerful hardware. This is probably because any core2duo processor is easily powerful enough to play any game and the quad cores are vast overkill.

Jimmy is right, for games it makes little sense to purchase a quad core. They are harder to keep cool and need more wattage to operate. The difference between a E8500 a and a core2extreme at the same clock speed is usually only about 2-5 frame rates. This will likely change in the future although not any time soon. I would suggest the E8500 for a processor, even if you have the money for a E8600, because benefits in clock speed even become minimal somewhere after the 3.5ghz mark. The E8500 will hit 3.8ghz on air with no v core bump which should be more then fast enough for any system. It will also go to 4ghz with ease.

If you have your heart set on a quad core, then the 9550 is priced the best at the moment. I would get the E8500, and spend the money saved on a better GPU or maybe a high res monitor. If you plan on using processor intensive programs then a quad core might be a better choice, although the core2's can usually handle most anything out there at least as well, if not better, then a lower clocked quad core (depending on the program).
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August 17, 2008 8:58:18 AM

Heh "best performance" and "more hype than needed" are generally the same thing, don't you think? Yes, more cache may perform better, but not by much, if really anything, and it's a case by case issue of it mattering at all to begin with.

All the 45nm Core 2s, including the new cheaper ones that are coming at the end of the month, have enough to keep it from hurting them.

The E2000s have only 1MB, and it hurts them in some cases (for example, look at Supreme Commander on the CPU chart at Tom's Hardware and compare the E2000s to the E4000s), but beyond that, it likely stops being much of a "bottleneck."

Keep in mind that Intel quad cores don't literally just have twice as much L2 cache at their disposal as a dual core. It's not an apples to apples comparison. Core 2 Quads are basically just two dual cores stuck together, so it's two pairs with the same size for each one to draw from as normal, not a collective amount that's twice as large.
August 18, 2008 7:21:01 AM

Thanx guys. Jimmy and E3210: I just play games on my system (including FSX), no video editing or graphic intensive programs. Just games. Im looking to get Star Trek Online when it's released. I've never overclocked and part of me still doesn't want to, but theres a small part that does. I just don;t want to buy the E8600, overclock it, and it dies. That's my biggest fear. Oh actually that and my mother-in-law deciding to live with us lol. If O'Cing is as easy as going to the Bios screen, changing a number from 1 to 2, then that's why I think about overclocking. If it's a few steps, I don;t know if I want to chance it.

I am looking at the Saphire 4870 (eyeing the 4870x2 as well or just waiting for the 4870's to drop in price and get another 4870 and crossfire them. I've had the Saphire x1900xtx and have had no problems with it and if I ever had or thought I had an issue, Saphire was quick to email me back.

Right now I have the Viewsonic VX922 19" LCD monitor. Will my monitor be a problem?
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a b 4 Gaming
August 18, 2008 8:49:44 AM

If you play FSX, go for a quad. The 9550 is a great choice since the price drops.
August 18, 2008 10:21:33 AM

E3210 said:
The cache is the amount of data that the cpu reserves for itself. The L2 cache is the second fastest cache, slower then the L1 cache and faster then the L3. Your processor moves chunks of data from your paging files, to your RAM, and to the cache of your cpu as it process pieces of information necessary to run your system. There is a point though were it there becomes simply enough cpu power, especially in games. Right now for gaming that seems to be in all processors with a cpu cache great then 3mb, as E7200 seems to do well in any game I've seen overclocked past 3ghz. Quad cores have the added advantage of being able to handle multithreading (a coding type that distributes data into smaller process to get more work out of all the cores) more efficiently then the dual cores. They also have much larger cache, however, in gaming, this means little. Even in games that have been coded to utilize this more powerful hardware. This is probably because any core2duo processor is easily powerful enough to play any game and the quad cores are vast overkill.

Jimmy is right, for games it makes little sense to purchase a quad core. They are harder to keep cool and need more wattage to operate. The difference between a E8500 a and a core2extreme at the same clock speed is usually only about 2-5 frame rates. This will likely change in the future although not any time soon. I would suggest the E8500 for a processor, even if you have the money for a E8600, because benefits in clock speed even become minimal somewhere after the 3.5ghz mark. The E8500 will hit 3.8ghz on air with no v core bump which should be more then fast enough for any system. It will also go to 4ghz with ease.

If you have your heart set on a quad core, then the 9550 is priced the best at the moment. I would get the E8500, and spend the money saved on a better GPU or maybe a high res monitor. If you plan on using processor intensive programs then a quad core might be a better choice, although the core2's can usually handle most anything out there at least as well, if not better, then a lower clocked quad core (depending on the program).


I can confirm that this is a fairly accurate statement.
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a b 4 Gaming
August 18, 2008 12:09:10 PM

Again though, while a faster clocked Core2 will usually beat a slower clocked Quad, most games are being designed in a multithreaded way now. Next year, that lower clocked quad will beat up on the faster clocked Duo.

Hence the catch 22: if you get the Qaud, you overpay. If you get the Duo, everything starts using quads. :D 
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a b 4 Gaming
August 18, 2008 3:50:19 PM

gamerk316 said:
Again though, while a faster clocked Core2 will usually beat a slower clocked Quad, most games are being designed in a multithreaded way now. Next year, that lower clocked quad will beat up on the faster clocked Duo.

Hence the catch 22: if you get the Qaud, you overpay. If you get the Duo, everything starts using quads. :D 

This is true about most games, but FSX was specifically mentioned, and it can use many, many threads (I can't remember the number, but it's >16). It's also fairly heavily CPU limited. Because of that, a quad is the best choice.
August 19, 2008 5:31:55 AM

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/cpu-gpu-upgrade,192...

That benchmarks a little old, but it shows well that the difference between quad cores and dual cores is small at the core2duo level. A E8500 is significantly faster and more powerful then any of the core2duo cpu's tested in this benchmark.

http://enthusiast.hardocp.com/image.html?image=MTE2OTI1...

This is another example where where playable framerates were found at very high resolutions with some settings adjusted downward (an 8800gt, the cards used in sli for this test, are not that powerful. Besides, sli yielded little gains here). More food for thought.
August 20, 2008 2:24:18 AM

Thanx guys for ll the info.
!