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Do current games take full advantage of multi-core cpus?

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December 1, 2009 6:13:19 PM

In reality how valid is a multi-core processor in gaming? Specifically comparing a dual core to a high end quad core. Am I gonna really see and high performance gains switching from a dual core core processor to a (perhaps) i5/i7? Do games even utilize all the cores on a processor? I just want some info to justify buying a quad core i7.
December 1, 2009 6:28:17 PM

a lot.. specially if u want to run more than 1 game client at a time. Its more in the loading and cpu speed than the graphics fps.
December 1, 2009 6:50:14 PM

I mostly play L4Dead and will be playing the newer L4D2, but I don't understand how/what running more than 1 game client is... I mean I run steam if that is considered a game client, but thats about it! but I found somewhat of an answer here
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a b à CPUs
December 1, 2009 7:51:32 PM
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Yes... Single Cores are now expired for gaming.

Dual cores are the new standard... Tri Cores are the best balance and some of the latest games can take advantage of a quad.

It's only a matter of time till dual cores have a harder time running games.

Also if you have a quad... Alt tabbing between your videogames, outlook, excel, firefox, world of warcraft that one never closes and so on will be quite a bit faster.

I wouldn't go for anything less then quad specially considering an Athlon630 @ 2.8 is available for only 122$

But that's just me... some can argue that the 720BE is better due to l3 cash and so on...
December 1, 2009 7:54:25 PM

Thank you everyone for the replys.
a c 83 à CPUs
December 1, 2009 8:45:41 PM

Dual core can handle most games without a problem still, but a number of titles are showing benefit with quad cores, L4D2 included. Than there are a select number of games like GTA4 and other ports that struggle to maintain over 30fps on a dual core.
a b à CPUs
December 1, 2009 9:14:38 PM

If you're planning to build a new gaming computer, I personally wouldn't do less than Quad Core. Simply because that's where things are definitely heading. Buying a good Dual-Core for now is fine, however by next year (or so) you could potentially find yourself wishing you'd put a Quad Core in to begin with.

Doing a quad core now should theoretically keep you from upgrading as soon in the future.
a b à CPUs
December 2, 2009 4:36:06 AM

I remember last year watching thread wars over dual and quad cores, at that time duals were plenty and it could be argued either way. These days it does make better sense to go quad. I did and I'm glad of it. My old dual core system still works fine but I prefer to game on the quad.

Go quad. It may be a few more bucks but its worth it IMO...
December 2, 2009 6:22:29 AM

englandr753 said:
I remember last year watching thread wars over dual and quad cores, at that time duals were plenty and it could be argued either way. These days it does make better sense to go quad. I did and I'm glad of it. My old dual core system still works fine but I prefer to game on the quad.

Go quad. It may be a few more bucks but its worth it IMO...


This isn't really a direct replay to your post. I'm just ranting. As people often do on this particular forum. (But people often get mad if you point out they are ranting.)

Kind of off topic: I remember back when I built a 2 CPU Pentium III machine. (@1Gzh). It was wonderful. People on forums told me I was wasting my time and money on building a two physical CPU machine for home and gaming use. "Those are only good for servers."

Back at that time I generally only upgraded when I got to the point that a new game needed more than what I had. But the interesting thing was that that 2 CPU @1Ghz Pentium III machine worked just fine on games up until about the point that games needed about a single CPU of 2.4Ghz Pentium IV.

BTW: That machine is still running just fine as a server...

Sadly I have to admit that back in the day I didn't monitor heat or frequency. My 3rd party heatsinks worked fine, but at some point the thermal paste I used dried up and I discovered that the machine had been downclocking automatically. I don't know how long it ran at less than full speed until I put new thermal paste onto the chips. (An old friend that is a FreeBSD fanatic laughed his butt off at me. "You get all that great hardware and then screw up something so simple...")

That happened about 2000-2001. Back then it wasn't the Intel vs AMD wars. But we dual CPU "fanatics" had lots of people telling us that running more than one CPU was pointless, stupid and wasteful. Of course I listened to them about as much as I now listen to people that tell me that a CPU that requires tricks and gimmicks to "win the crown" in benchmarks is better than a more basic CPU that has no problem keeping up without those types of things. Go figure. Oh well.

And then on forums people honestly still don't understand why some people would prefer using chips that don't use more complicated architectures to "compete" or "win the crown". How about EXPERIENCE. Sure... it's not the same. But... in the long run... it all is the same. But you fanatics go ahead and keep trying to "teach me" that I'm wrong.

Back at that time people kept telling us faster single CPU machines were "better" than slower dual core machines that had no problems keeping up with much faster chips.

Things on forums haven't changed. Only the semantics and what people consider to be "the truth". Back then the "faster single core" people couldn't even relate to someone that preferred a dual core. NOW on forums some people with dynamic overclocking and hyperthreading can't understand why some people prefer a chip that can compete without using those things.

But to answer the OP: As more and more times goes by you will find that at some point everything will require more and more cores. And apparently lots of GPU also. But even if a game only uses 2 cores a quad core machine will still be beneficial. Those extra cores can run the bloated services that keep being added to operating systems. Just like back when my dual core Pentium III machine could run single threaded games better than faster single CPU machines. (And yes that was often not something you could benchmark. But now most people would no longer argue that point. Back then they did. "You have no actual proof other than your opinion.")


EDIT: I might also add.. about two years ago someone told me that I wasn't an "enthusiast" because I don't believe in overclocking. (Except for playing around with benchmarking.) Raise your hand if you've replaced DIP ram chips by desoldering and then resoldering new ones into place. Bonus points if you put in sockets "just in case".
a c 448 à CPUs
December 2, 2009 7:23:35 AM

The only game that I know of that really needs a Quad Core is GTA IV.

But that's only because it is such a poorly ported console game.
a b à CPUs
December 2, 2009 7:27:52 AM

Supreme Commander, GTA4 (though to me it is just unoptimized), Left 4 Dead, Left 4 Dead 2, Dragon Age:o rigins.
a b à CPUs
December 2, 2009 7:51:02 AM

keithlm said:
Things on forums haven't changed. Only the semantics and what people consider to be "the truth". Back then the "faster single core" people couldn't even relate to someone that preferred a dual core. NOW on forums some people with dynamic overclocking and hyperthreading can't understand why some people prefer a chip that can compete without using those things.


Each technology/concept/idea has its supporters and detractors. It just so happens that new technology isn't always immediately adopted because it might not be compatible with what they need or it performs slower than they require.

a c 131 à CPUs
December 2, 2009 3:48:38 PM

C00lIT said:
Yes... Single Cores are now expired for gaming.

Dual cores are the new standard... Tri Cores are the best balance and some of the latest games can take advantage of a quad.

It's only a matter of time till dual cores have a harder time running games.

Also if you have a quad... Alt tabbing between your videogames, outlook, excel, firefox, world of warcraft that one never closes and so on will be quite a bit faster.

I wouldn't go for anything less then quad specially considering an Athlon630 @ 2.8 is available for only 122$

But that's just me... some can argue that the 720BE is better due to l3 cash and so on...



^Best answer^ I completely agree.
December 2, 2009 5:08:02 PM

There are two good articles in Articles > CPU > under the titles "How Many CPU Cores Do You Need?" and "Part 2: How Many CPU Cores Do You Need?" that shows what happens when you increase the number of cores you are using. I highly recommend that you read these articles.
December 2, 2009 5:19:57 PM

Everyone, thanks for the replies!!!
!