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What makes dual core better than quad core for gaming?

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October 15, 2008 5:19:39 PM

I've heard people say that dual core is better than quad core for gaming. But they are usually comparing the Q6600 and the E8400. But the E8400 has better specs, so this seems obvious. If the specs were equal would the dual core still be better? If you compared the E8400 to the Q9650, wouldn't the Q9650 be at least as good as the E8400 in games? Or is there another reason why dual cores are better for gaming?
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October 15, 2008 5:34:54 PM

A few games can use more than two cores, like FSX and supreme commander. Those games will benefit from a quad.

If the price were the same, a Q9650 3.0 would be at least as good as a E8400 3.0.
But... the price is not the same, it is three times more.

Also, the 65nm parts, like the Q6600 are missing some minor enhancements that are found in the 45nm cpu's. The 45nm cpu's will be a bit better, clock for clock.

The Q6600 fans say that overclocking mitigates the clock speed loss, but the 45nm duo's can be overclocked even higher.

In the end, if your game is not quad optimized, any 3.0 duo or quad can drive the fastest vga card acceptably.
October 15, 2008 6:34:27 PM

Well put geofelt.

Yep...it's all about if the software is optimized for multiple cores. If it isn't, then the speed of 2 cores will definitely shine (especially at so much cheaper a price).
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October 15, 2008 7:04:05 PM

Ya, unless your into benchmarking, it is really pointless to have a 3ghz+ CPU, whether it be a dual or quad. I like the Q6600, because it is easily overclocked past 3ghz (eliminating bottlenecks), and its a quad (duh), so its more future proof than a dual.
Makes sense to me.

My advice is if you don't overclock, get a dual, due to the fact that you can get a 3ghz dual for the price of a 2.4ghz quad. Otherwise quad is effing sick.
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October 15, 2008 7:51:36 PM

huron said:
Well put geofelt.

Yep...it's all about if the software is optimized for multiple cores. If it isn't, then the speed of 2 cores will definitely shine (especially at so much cheaper a price).


Wrong, in theory, a 3.0 Quad = 3.0 Duo if a game uses only two cores. However, thanks to the extra cores, some work is taken off of Windows processes, so a 3.0 Quad > 3.0 Duo. Duo's tend to clock higher though.

If your willing to get a Q9550 or above, then thats the way to go. You should be able to milk a decent quad for the next 3-5 years or so before an upgrade will truly benifit performance in gaming.
October 15, 2008 8:13:16 PM

doomturkey said:
Ya, unless your into benchmarking, it is really pointless to have a 3ghz+ CPU, whether it be a dual or quad. I like the Q6600, because it is easily overclocked past 3ghz (eliminating bottlenecks), and its a quad (duh), so its more future proof than a dual.
Makes sense to me.

My advice is if you don't overclock, get a dual, due to the fact that you can get a 3ghz dual for the price of a 2.4ghz quad. Otherwise quad is effing sick.

I disagree... stats show that new Vid cards profit greatly from processor speeds upto 3.4GHZ. I notice on my machine (2.83ghz stock) a significant difference when OC'd to 3.4

Clock for Clock quads are better.
A 3ghz quad vs. a 3ghz dual core = quad is better as the 2 remaining unused cores can run other apps like music or anything else.

Sure a e8400 is faster then a q6600 in 99.9% of games... its clocked 600MHZ higher.
October 15, 2008 8:17:20 PM

I think the best way to determine what CPU is best for a certain game or gaming in general is to just find benchmarks comparing the two configurations. There will be pros and cons with either setup.
October 15, 2008 8:20:54 PM

Comparing an e8400 to a q6600 is not proper in my opinion...This comparison is based solely on money.

Let’s compare an e6600 to a q9650...same thing and completely unrealistic.

Comparisons should be based on speeds, not price….Of course this is entirely just my opinion.

Quad to dual comparison is E8400 VS. Q9650… yes there is a large price difference however we are comparing 2 cores to 4 cores where there should be a price difference.
October 15, 2008 8:44:56 PM

http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/desktop-cpu-charts-q...

Judging from Tom's new CPU chart, I'd say that dual is no way perform better than quads in games under the criteria of same architecture, same clock speed and same cache structure per core.

However, the price/performance tells otherwise. E8400 definitely is the king of P/P for now. While AMD Phenoms don't perform as good in Crysis (which uses only two cores), two more cores still bring some advantage taking care of business at background.

Supreme Commander proved otherwise. In that case, Quad > Dual. Even 9150e or other AMD tri-cores perform just as good, if not better, than Intel C2D. Future games will be benefit from multi-core, since AI, physics, game rule and graphics-related codes will run in separate threads, which actually make programming easier.
October 15, 2008 9:04:41 PM

Please read the article in the link below. To summarize; dual core @ 3ghz is less then quad core @ 3ghz and is roughly = to quad core @ 2.4ghz. The article uses the GTX280 but there is also an article based on the 4870 x 2.

@ 1600 x 1080 it really doesn't matter which, dual or quad core. Anything higher and a dual core cannot max out the GPU except in rare circumstances.

http://www.legionhardware.com/document.php?id=775
October 15, 2008 9:06:15 PM

Okay, so we all know that quad core doesn't make a significant difference in most of today's games. So, what are quads good for? I mean have an actual noticeable difference.
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October 15, 2008 9:17:07 PM

Dougx1317 said:
Okay, so we all know that quad core doesn't make a significant difference in most of today's games. So, what are quads good for? I mean have an actual noticeable difference.

Quads are very good for multitasking, particularly with cpu heavy applications. Some applications are multi core optimized. Folding would be good for a quad.
Even with a non-quad optimized game running, the extra cores can reduce the interference caused by anti virus scans starting, or incoming e-mail. How noticeable? Your mileage will vary.
October 15, 2008 9:58:14 PM

you video encode? you get quad.
February 5, 2009 9:07:51 PM

i can say that in my experience the quad core is better, even at a lower clock speed.

i recently upgraded a athalon 64 x2 5600 2.9ghz to a phenom 9600 2.3ghz and there is a noticible difference in game play on my fav game, the latest NFS. to check confirm my findings i took a look at windows task manager while playing the game and the dual core was maxed out on the quad core all four cores were being used at about 80-90%

fyi, vista 64 listed the dual core as a 5.5 and the quad at a 5.9
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February 5, 2009 9:34:52 PM

Go back to Tom's systembuilder marathons- Oct. and Nov. 2008.

They built a $1250 machine with an E8500, OC'd to 4.25GHz. They built a $4500 machine with a Q9650, OC'd to 4.1GHz. In their itunes encode benchmark the 2 machines ran dead even. In their Crysis benchmark the quad ran 6% faster. (This does not even begin to scratch the surface for comparing the 2 machines.)

The 6% increase was probably not worth the extra $3250, and any differences were probably due to different GPU configuration and not so much due to different CPU's.
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May 30, 2011 12:32:02 PM

This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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