Confused about processor speeds

I'm probably asking dumb questions but after what seems like an eternity on the internet, I'm getting a headache! I'm a middle aged gamer who loves CoD, F.E.A.R., Half Life 2 etc, but can't get on with consoles.

A few years ago I built a cheap gaming PC around an Athlon 2600+. Unfortunately it's showing its age and I can't play the new stuff. So I've got my eye on a new PC. I've tried reading up on the new processors but I think I'm at the limit of my understanding.

Problem is this.

For example CoD 5 calls for a P4 3Ghz or better. What is "better" when talking dual and quad cores? I mean I don't expect a 2.5 GHz quad to be equivalent to 10Ghz single core, but is there a rule of thumb for how a multi core processor compares with a single core? Does the processor core speed even mean anything these days? I've got my eye on an Acer quad core Q8300 at 2.5Ghz (Sold as a gaming PC) but I'm not sure if this will do the trick. I'm sure it's "better" than a P4 3GHz, but does the clock speed still matter when looking at software specs?

Sorry if this is simple stuff but even though I've read loads of articles, I can't really find anything that answers the question in this simple way.

Any help appreciated.
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More about confused processor speeds
  1. normaly any quad core pc over 2.2 gig or even 2 gig even a dual core cpu will run any game today but its also to do with GPU
    CoD, F.E.A.R., Half Life 2
    but the Acer quad core Q8300 at 2.5Ghz will run any of those fine
    what graphics card it come with?
  2. Thanks. Appreciate GPU is important too. The rig I'm looking at ships with an ATI Radeon HD 4650 - not familiar with ATI cards, and I haven't researched this yet. I've always gone with NVidia based cards in my other PCs. But at least the GPU can be replaced fairly easily I guess if it's not much good.

    I'm not sure if the mobo will allow overclocking on this Acer, but then I'm not sure if I want to get into that anyway - knowing my luck I'd fry it!!
  3. Whats more important than dual or quad core is what brand it is. Pentium4/D were very poor performers, hence why Intel cranked them clear up to near 4Ghz to be competitive.

    So, a Pentium 4 @ 3.7Ghz = Athlon64@2.6 = Core2@1.9Ghz. <--This is just a rough guess, Im sure someone here has a better analogy, this is just something I dug up from a launch piece on the Core2.
  4. As long as I can play the rest of the Call of Duty series (Got W at W on the Wii - can't get on with it at all), FEAR 2 and Half Life 2 Episode 3 (when it finally arrives), that's good enough for me!! It sounds like I've little to worry about. :D
  5. according to
    u should be able to play them
    but also meeb look abit better card maybey a HD4850 or 9800GT above really up to u
  6. 2.5gz Intel Quad is just screaming for a better GPU than a 4650.
    Look for something in the 4800 series. They don't cost much more, and will be much better match for your CPU, and gaming.
  7. Get at least HD4770 video card. For better price get dual core for longer life get quad
  8. if you want to play the latest games get a core i5 pc or laptop with at least 2.5 Ghz and 2 or 3 gb graphic card ..... the quad core 2.4 Ghz is equal to the core i 5 processor 1.8 Ghz ..... N if u really want to game u need to get core i5 bcz core i3 does come very rare with graphic card..... processor speed matters alot when gaming because u need a good clock speed to run the latest and heavy applications + good graphic card to fulfill HD requirements
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