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What's better, more cores less frequency or vice versa?

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September 10, 2011 7:54:33 PM

I have been deciding over two processors to get in my budget "gaming" rig.
The one I really want is an AMD Athlon II x4 645 at 3.2GHz, which will cost me an extra 50 bucks, or I can get an E5800 dual core at 3.20GHz for 50 cheaper. OR, I can get an AMD Athlon II X2 220 at 2.80GHz.

BLEH BLEH BLEH, aside from all that, I just really want to know is it worth it to get a quad core with less GHz, or a dual-core with more GHz?
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September 10, 2011 8:01:03 PM

Id go with quad-core (AMD Athlon II x4 645), dual-core's seem to be struggling to keep up in terms of gaming recently and with more games being directed at quad-core CPU's it make's sense to follow the trend.
September 10, 2011 8:01:36 PM

As more and more software programs begin to utilize multiple threaded CPUs, I would go ahead with less frequency and more cores. You can always oc the lower frequency CPU, and it is great for multi-tasking.

Multi threaded CPUs are more future proof.
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September 10, 2011 8:03:00 PM

Maksym said:
Multi threaded CPUs are more future proof.


This too :D 
September 10, 2011 9:45:34 PM

^I believe not. And all those who say that "it's great for multi-tasking", multi-tasking is just showoff.

Just do a little research about E.P.I.C, the arch that Itaniums are using. (albeit that the later ones have 4-8 cores)
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September 11, 2011 2:50:12 PM

Depends on what you'll be doing. Anyone who says quad cores are better than dual cores no matter what, is just falling victim to marketing hype. If you're running single threaded apps, then fewer cores at a higher clock will perform better. If you're running multithreaded apps, then slightly slower cores & more of them will run better.
September 11, 2011 8:25:34 PM

^you have a point man! there is a "multi-core frenzy" these years. Its all meshed up nowadays..
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September 11, 2011 8:32:00 PM

Not to hijack his thread But its something I've been thinking about too. For gaming what is better high frequency/less cores such as the 4 core I7? Or something like the Phenoms that have six cores but aren't as fast? I have a AMD Phenom now and its six cores. I'm doing a new build and I don't know why but I feel like going to the I7 with only 4 cores is a down grade not an upgrade.
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September 11, 2011 8:55:52 PM

Most games uses two cores. Based on an Anandtech article I've read some time ago concerning games that can take advantage of more than just two cores, going with a 3 core CPU on average give around a 26% increase in performance. However, going from 3 cores to 4 cores yielded only around 7% more performance on average.

If course you also need to take CPU architecture into consideration since a dual core i3-2100 can easily beat a quad core Phenom II X4 955 BE in games. The only instance where I saw the i3-2100 loose to the X4 955 BE was in Mafia II. Based on the test rigs used The X4 955 BE managed to get a maximum of 89.9 FPS were as the i3-2100 "only" maxed out at 89.0 FPS.

There is no reason to buy a Core i7 over a Core i5. The primary difference between an i7-2600k and i5-2500k is Hyper Threading (HT). Since games are not programed to use HT, then HT provides no benefits. The secondary difference is an increase of 100MHz in clock speed. So for a gaming only rig, the extra ~$100 will give you an extra 100MHz. Of course, if you are going to be using programs that you know can make use of HT, then that's a different story.
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September 11, 2011 9:25:00 PM

JakeDogg777 said:
I have been deciding over two processors to get in my budget "gaming" rig.
The one I really want is an AMD Athlon II x4 645 at 3.2GHz, which will cost me an extra 50 bucks, or I can get an E5800 dual core at 3.20GHz for 50 cheaper. OR, I can get an AMD Athlon II X2 220 at 2.80GHz.

BLEH BLEH BLEH, aside from all that, I just really want to know is it worth it to get a quad core with less GHz, or a dual-core with more GHz?


Ah, the age-old question- fewer higher-clocked cores or more lower-clocked ones. Games today very commonly use 2-3 threads, so you will see an advantage in having a triple or quad-core CPU compared to a dual-core CPU as long as the clock speeds of the triple or quad aren't drastically lower than the dual's. There is little benefit currently to having more than 3-4 cores strictly from a gaming perspective. However, games are becoming considerably more multithreaded as time goes on and I'd bet that games a year or two from now will support 4-6 threads and thus run poorly on a dual-core CPU compared to a quad.

Of the CPUs you list, the Athlon II X4 645 makes the most sense as it's a modern quad-core CPU with a decent clock rate. The Pentium E5800 is two generations old on a socket/platform that's also two generations old. A better competitor from Intel than the E5800 would be one of the i3 Sandy Bridges as those are current-generation dual-cores that overall perform moderately better than the old Wolfdale variants.

@RDS1220
Stick with your Phenom II X6. You won't get much if any difference in game playability in going to even a highly-overclocked i7-2600K as the Phenom II X6 is more than enough CPU to give you very playable framerates in modern games, as long as it's paired up with an appropriate GPU. It will be plenty of CPU to play games for at least a couple of years. You'd be much better off in getting a newer, faster GPU if you really are having problems with unplayably low (<30 fps) framerates.

@jaguarskx
There is another benefit of the i7-2600K over the i5-2500K other than 100 MHz and HyperThreading. The i7 has the full 8 MB of cache available for use, compared to the i5-2500K having only 6 MB left enabled. The extra cache improves performance slightly in some usage scenarios.
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September 12, 2011 5:39:37 AM

MU_Engineer said:

@jaguarskx
There is another benefit of the i7-2600K over the i5-2500K other than 100 MHz and HyperThreading. The i7 has the full 8 MB of cache available for use, compared to the i5-2500K having only 6 MB left enabled. The extra cache improves performance slightly in some usage scenarios.


But the question is if the extra cache and 100MHz for the slight performance increase worth the extra ~$100? And as you stated, the extra cache would be useful in only certain scenarios, not all scenarios.
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October 4, 2011 12:06:05 AM

Now that I ordered all my parts I was going through all the threads I had asked quesions in to make sure I was ready to put the computer together. I came across this one and thought I would respond back since I forgot about it. As said I started the new build this weekend I ordred all the parts and they'll hopefully be here soon. I ended up going with the I5 2500K with a Gigabyte Z68 mobo and an Gigabyte Radeon 6970 video card. That was the huge killer $360 for a video card. I hope to get another one for crossfire but it might take a little while at prices like that.
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