A PC surely can have 8 cores, and more, but you're going to pay for it. I imagine you mean you have an E6600, which is the dual core Core 2 with a 1066Mhz FSB. A cheaper alternative would be to purchase a 1366 motherboard and wait for Gulftown chips to mature a little, those are 6 core processors with HT, so 12 threads when it's needed. That would be more efficient in my opinion, but that's just what it is.
What's your budget? You could always build a beast with a dual socket board and two (or more) Opterons or Xeons if you have the cash.
Next month, the PC will have the ability to have 24-cores.
EVGA X58 Classified SR2 with two Intel i7 980X's. This will give you 12-cores but with HT, it can act like 24-cores. This will be the top of the line at a price of roughly $2,600 for the CPU's and MOBO alone, not counting the rest of the system.
Thank you guys so much for your replies! Well, my budget is whatever I can scratch together, plus whatever I may feel like going without depending on my excitement level for the upgrades
The dual socket is definitely the way I wanna go. One thing I do know, is I can't afford, nor will the slight performance improvements by the top-of-the-line chips and mobo's be worth the extra cost in my opinion over the slightly lesser fare.
With that said, what would a good option be for getting the most bang for my buck? As stated before, I do video editing with heavy After Effects work, the more cores for rendering, the better. So maybe my question might be rephrased as, how can I get the most cores for the least cash?
We've got a UNIX server where I work with 32-cores - it's an 8-quad-core setup Cost about $250k though, so no, you're probably not gonna get a PC with that kinda power... hehe.
But... you can go Intel Skulltrail now and have dual quad-core xeons on the same board. I think the mobo is like, 800 bucks though? Definitely not cheap.
I went the Core i7 route - it's quad core but hyper-threaded, so you get 8 hardware cores. I am a software developer and focus primarily on distributed computing systems, and I still don't NEED as much processing power as I have. I put my whole system together with the following specs for under 1500 last March:
Core i7 920 chip (2.67 GHz), never overclocked
12 GB G-Skill RAM
EVGA X58 3x SLI Mobo
EVGA 9800 GT 1GB gfx cards (dual, in SLI)
Dual 1.5TB WD Green Hard Drives in RAID1
Antec Signature Series 850W PSU
That's what I'd go with too prod. A good chunk of RAM, ideally 12, and an i7. It's a beast of a chip, and if the need ever strikes you for more juice, a decent HSF and a little free time will get you +1Ghz or so.
How about a 256 socket 2048 core 4096 thread behemoth?
Xeon Blade using Westmere.
The days of supercomputing are quickly drawing to a close. With the advent of cloud and grid computing the need for massive centralized hardware is over.
Don't be suprised if within 10 years this same trend finds its way into our homes. If we are to maintain Moore's Law then at some point we'll have to depart from the more is better line of thought. We're already reaching a point where die size has reached its limits. 32nm has proven to be leagues and bounds more difficult to manufacture than 45nm. 28 and 22 nm will be exponentially more difficult.
Decentralization will happen. Instead of asking how many cores our pc's have, we'll be asking how many drones are in our hive. We'll stop depending on our own hardware, but the hardware of the collective. It's a fascinating evolution in computing.