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Six and Eight core processors and gaming?

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September 15, 2010 3:10:04 AM

There is only ONE PC game which fully utilizes a quad core processor due to a poorly coded port from consoles to PC, GTA4. Most other games use 2-3 CPU cores. Is it really necessary to have a Six or even Eight core "Bulldozer" or "Sandy Bridge" processor if you're building a hardcore gaming rig?

I heard that Crysis 2 will be programmed to use Eight CPU cores, as well as 16 threads, although this is just something somebody said on this forum.

Did I act too soon by buying my Core i7 930? Or should I have waited until 2011 until the octo-core processors come out from both Intel and AMD?

I can't imagine any PC game requiring that much CPU power, not even Crysis 2.

What developers should do is program software which allows dynamic allocation of threads based on availability of system resources and application CPU performance demand, instead of a fixed allocation of multi-threading.

More about : core processors gaming

a b à CPUs
September 15, 2010 3:28:16 AM

There are other games that show benefits from having a quad core.
Just keep your eye out for sites that examine new games cpu scaling. I can think of a few lately. IMO- The quad core is going to be the sweet spot for at least a few years.
Battlefied BC2
Mafia II

notice the AMD 2-3-4 core results all running at 3.4


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a c 126 à CPUs
September 15, 2010 3:33:07 AM

There are more games that utilize more cores. GTA 4 is a bad example because the game was coded with 3 cores in mind.

But L4D/L4D2 and TF2 all can utilize 4 cores.

As for 6 and 8, only FSX will be able to really use those since it can use up to 16 I believe.
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a b à CPUs
September 15, 2010 3:40:00 AM

I agree that a quad core isn't necessary for gaming, but it doesn't hurt. Its great for multitasking and I don't know too many gamers that only use their pc for gaming. Then its just a glorified console.

The 6-8 core CPU's show increases for multitasking but not gaming, yet. But it will happen eventually. For now, I don't think anyone needs to regret purchasing a quad core. Or probably for the next two years at least.
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a c 126 à CPUs
September 15, 2010 5:09:02 AM

buzznut said:
I agree that a quad core isn't necessary for gaming, but it doesn't hurt. Its great for multitasking and I don't know too many gamers that only use their pc for gaming. Then its just a glorified console.

The 6-8 core CPU's show increases for multitasking but not gaming, yet. But it will happen eventually. For now, I don't think anyone needs to regret purchasing a quad core. Or probably for the next two years at least.


Never refer to the PC as a glorified console. Without the advancement of PC technology, consoles wouldn't be anywhere near their capabilities.

I use mine mainly for gaming and movies due to the higher quality. Plus current PC technology is way ahead of anything the consoles have and will be for a while.
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a b à CPUs
September 15, 2010 5:37:57 AM

Don't worry about your quad . . . unless you want to run GTA4 and Crysis 2 . . . simultaneously.
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a b à CPUs
September 15, 2010 5:50:03 AM

Actually, the PC is hardly a glorified console. If you look on the stats posted of the 360 on newegg (didn't check out the PS3 cause i have one) The specs of a PC vs a console. The PC is probably 500000x better. PC's can run games at so much better quality than consoles (saweeet) Also, (not that it matters) console games I guess only use 10mb of video ram. Because a 360's ATI card only has 10mbs of video ram and 512mb total ram.

Anywho, not saying intel sucks or anything, even with the Octo-core for Intel/AMD coming out... I think the only affordable one would be AMD. Clearly Intel's is going to be an Extreme series Octo-core, and like the 980X it's going to be 1000$+
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September 15, 2010 11:31:50 AM

BFBC2 uses Four CPU cores?

My guess this is because of the physics engine?
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a b à CPUs
September 15, 2010 1:36:52 PM

ambam said:
BFBC2 uses Four CPU cores?

My guess this is because of the physics engine?


DA:o  uses 4 cores as well; physics has nothing to do with it, just how work is offloaded to each CPU.

Heck, every major game I've brought in the past year or so shows scaling across multiple cores; again, its NOT THAT HARD to do. Then again, theres the downside of a single bottleneck on a single core slowing down the entire process.

Hence why I find this entire argument silly; theres no need to offload work to more cpu cores unless there is a gain in doing so, as the more cores you use, the more of a chance of a significant bottleneck. I've worked on many CPU systems before, and its a well known fact in my field that beyond a certain point, more CPU's/Cores becomes a significant detriment simply due to the fact you increase the chance of a bottleneck on a specific CPU/core.

As such, I could care less about how many cores a game uses, as its totally meaningless in most situations. I'd rather the devs simply focus on performance, and make their design choices accordingly.
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a b à CPUs
September 15, 2010 5:33:27 PM

I've no doubt gamerk316 is technically correct, but it reminds me of arguments I myself have made over the years.

- Early 2000s, saying 2-card SLI would never achieve the 90% scaling nVidia claimed possible . . .

- Mid-1980's saying the complexity of installing a network made "sneaker-net" using floppy disks a more attractive solution . . .

- Late 1960's . . . when "teleprocessing" really meant the IBM Rep, the Telco guy, and you standing in the computer room discussing why it didn't work at 2,000 bps.

My only point is eventually there will be gaming gains using more cores. After all, if you have an 8-core cpu, a 6-core game, and *all* you run in 6 cores is that game . . . it will run faster than on a 4-core cpu.
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a b à CPUs
September 15, 2010 9:17:19 PM

ambam said:
There is only ONE PC game which fully utilizes a quad core processor due to a poorly coded port from consoles to PC, GTA4. Most other games use 2-3 CPU cores. Is it really necessary to have a Six or even Eight core "Bulldozer" or "Sandy Bridge" processor if you're building a hardcore gaming rig?

I heard that Crysis 2 will be programmed to use Eight CPU cores, as well as 16 threads, although this is just something somebody said on this forum.

Did I act too soon by buying my Core i7 930? Or should I have waited until 2011 until the octo-core processors come out from both Intel and AMD?

I can't imagine any PC game requiring that much CPU power, not even Crysis 2.

What developers should do is program software which allows dynamic allocation of threads based on availability of system resources and application CPU performance demand, instead of a fixed allocation of multi-threading.


Even if a game can use lets say only two cores, a quad core will mean better performance either way, because two cores can handle the OS, background processes, applications, and services, while the other two cores can be dedicated to just the game you are running. If you have a dual core then the CPU must handle the game and everything in the background on top of that.
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a b à CPUs
September 16, 2010 11:51:40 AM

Quote:
Even if a game can use lets say only two cores, a quad core will mean better performance either way, because two cores can handle the OS, background processes, applications, and services, while the other two cores can be dedicated to just the game you are running. If you have a dual core then the CPU must handle the game and everything in the background on top of that.


That would be true, except for the fact the Windows Scheduler, at least in non-server version of windows, loves to default every thread on CPU 0 by default, regardless of how much work it is doing. [Of course, thats partially due to the way Windows is designed; a DLL architecture isn't exactly the most multiprocessing-friendly way to go and design an OS to begin with...]
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September 16, 2010 12:13:08 PM

It will be interesting to see the CPU Requirements of future games, since Intel and AMD want to add more cores every year. Developers must realize that many of us can't afford a new CPU everytime Intel or AMD add 2 more cores. If they can keep using Quad Core for another 2-3 years, that would really help us mainstream gamers.
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a b à CPUs
September 16, 2010 12:28:09 PM

Well games aren't hex or octo threaded yet. It'll still be a while for everything to be quad threaded.
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September 16, 2010 12:46:50 PM

...I didn't move up in the core count until there was a healthy gain in Mhz 3.0 GHz to 3.4 GHz / 3.2 GHz with turbo...double whammy...more cores and more speed... 3.0 Octo-core hmmmm! think I'd leave that one on the shelf...at 3.6 plus turbo...would start to think about it....
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a b à CPUs
September 16, 2010 12:50:14 PM

Core count isn't really important today. Many games are still single threaded. Many cores are most useful in HPC and video editing/encoding activities. You'd probably be able to clock a dual-core higher than a hexy. That'd be faster than the hexy in most games.
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a c 131 à CPUs
September 16, 2010 2:04:19 PM

amdfangirl said:
Core count isn't really important today. Many games are still single threaded. Many cores are most useful in HPC and video editing/encoding activities. You'd probably be able to clock a dual-core higher than a hexy. That'd be faster than the hexy in most games.

Stop living in early 2005. 2-core gaming has been common for at least 5 years. 3 cores becoming the norm due mainly to console ports with many modern games today utilizing 4 or more cores.

I heard that Crysis 2 will be programmed to use Eight CPU cores, as well as 16 threads, although this is just something somebody said on this forum.
That doesn't make much sense to me. It can make use of hyperthreading up to 16 threads so on an 8-core with hyperthreading it will run 16 threads but if it's run on a 16-core without hyperthreading it suddenly defaults to 8 threads?
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a b à CPUs
September 16, 2010 2:11:26 PM

I'm just saying. Hardly anything is hexy optimised.

There are some quad-optimised games.

Just really, the most important part is still the GPU when it comes to fps.
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September 16, 2010 2:35:15 PM

...I have to disagree with you here too amdfangirl...I have both the 965 and the 1090T in very similar configs and the 1090 runs 200MHz slower...but even in real world software I am seeing a gain in peformance...AMD have definitely tweaked the achitecture in the move to Thurban...I wouldn't exactly rush out to replace a Phenom II quad for a Thurban hexa-core...but the improvement can be noticed..the more modern the software is the more noticeable it is...in 3D vantage for example the Thurban pulls over a thousand points more...for a slower cpu..that's not a bad achievement...maybe you are right and the turbo kicked in..as it can jump up to 3600MHz..but even so it shows a gain to Thurban over the 965 heavily threaded app or not...
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a b à CPUs
September 16, 2010 5:20:04 PM

amdfangirl said:
Well games aren't hex or octo threaded yet. It'll still be a while for everything to be quad threaded.


*sigh* Cores != Threads. Every single game in existence runs on more then one thread, regardless of how many CPU's are utilized. Of course, these threads may not be totally independent (another reason not to use more CPU core's then necessary...). Likewise, there is no reason programmers can automatically scale their programs for more then a set number of cores (Server programs have done this for decades now...)

I partially blame the way Windows is degined, mainly its use of dynamic link libraries, as the reason for lack of use of extra CPU resources. Since everything with a GUI inherets the same base windows graphical properties, and since the scheduler likes to put threads that use related content on the same core (As swapping CPU resources around between cores is not efficent at all), you get 99% of all tasks put on Core 0 if no programmer action is taken. You'd THINK the Windows Scheduler could be updated to at least manage at the process level...(I staticlly link every program I write for this very reason; its not like anyones going to miss the few hundred killibytes of memory overhead...)
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a b à CPUs
September 16, 2010 10:26:19 PM

Like Harna there is some performance increase in going with more cores, sure GPU is more of the role in FPS, but if you think about it, once a game is single threaded, your still running background apps. Like say folding. With 6 cores, you could fold on 3 cores and still get results while game on the other 3 and get good results. Also if you don't fold, things like AV software and OS still run in the backround and the more cores it'd be useful just to have it for multi tasking.
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a b à CPUs
September 16, 2010 10:54:45 PM

amdfangirl said:
I'm just saying. Hardly anything is hexy optimised.

There are some quad-optimised games.

Just really, the most important part is still the GPU when it comes to fps.


I disagree, it really depends on the application, or in this case Game, to determine which hardware (CPU vs GPU) would provide most benefit. Not only that, but different graphics technologies/settings also differ, some use the GPU more intensively, while others use the CPU. Also, if your CPU is too weak, it can bottleneck a higher end graphics configuration, and the bottom line is, the CPU is the brain and heart of computer and it provides the fundamental processing power for...EVERYTHING! So you can't just say that a single piece of hardware is the most important, it depends on the application a lot.
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September 17, 2010 9:57:57 AM

harna said:
...I have to disagree with you here too amdfangirl...I have both the 965 and the 1090T in very similar configs and the 1090 runs 200MHz slower...but even in real world software I am seeing a gain in peformance...AMD have definitely tweaked the achitecture in the move to Thurban...I wouldn't exactly rush out to replace a Phenom II quad for a Thurban hexa-core...but the improvement can be noticed..the more modern the software is the more noticeable it is...in 3D vantage for example the Thurban pulls over a thousand points more...for a slower cpu..that's not a bad achievement...maybe you are right and the turbo kicked in..as it can jump up to 3600MHz..but even so it shows a gain to Thurban over the 965 heavily threaded app or not...


I think it's just the turbo.
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