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Is hyperthreading in gaming a BIG difference?

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December 9, 2011 3:53:17 AM

I am arguing with some friends at the moment who believe that hyperthreading is a night and day difference in your frames when it is enable. I've done research and noticed that there is normally only a 3-4 fps difference (and sometimes little to none).. Am I wrong or are they right?
a c 479 à CPUs
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December 9, 2011 4:25:55 AM

Zero difference in nearly all games. There was one game that could take a little advantage of HT, but it got really poor reviews.
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December 9, 2011 4:46:52 AM

All depends on how the game was optimized for using HT, but it was soon found that physical cores far exceed virtual ones in games though, so HT is more or less useless. Helps for multiple apps and programs open at once when needed though, so it's not at all dead, just not viable for games.
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a c 186 à CPUs
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December 9, 2011 5:21:41 AM

nope.avi
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a c 479 à CPUs
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December 9, 2011 5:24:59 AM

Don't worry about HT 'cause even quad core CPUs are not being effectively used by games that are capable of using 4 cores.

There was an article I read on Anandtech earlier this year that focused on CPU scaling in games which are capable of using 4 cores. The average performance increase going from 2 cores to 3 cores was around 27%. The average performance increase going from 3 cores to 4 cores was around 6%. That basically means that programers are still struggling to program games that can effectively use 4 cores.

There's no point in trying to program games to use HT if the programers can't even program games to efficiently use 4 cores. It also doesn't benefit all gamers since AMD CPUs do not have HT. Although if games did support HT effectively, then many gamers would be abandon AMD in favor of Intel.
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December 9, 2011 8:42:43 AM

I am going with the popular opinion that HT technology in games is probably unnoticeable and at times going to have a negitive impact more than a positive impact. Where I disagree is with the line of thought that HT technology is useless and that it doesn't match up to physical core performance. Obviously it is not as good as a physical core, but its results are clear enough when you consider across the board that the 2600/2700K are better than the 2500K, and I say that as a owner of a 2500K, that for all purposes the i7's have better performance than the i5 and somewhere along the line HT has something to do with that or Intel would have discontinued it. It also has a lot to do with the reason the i3 does so well out performing certain quads and hex cores.
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December 9, 2011 11:20:22 AM

Quote:
There was an article I read on Anandtech earlier this year that focused on CPU scaling in games which are capable of using 4 cores. The average performance increase going from 2 cores to 3 cores was around 27%. The average performance increase going from 3 cores to 4 cores was around 6%. That basically means that programers are still struggling to program games that can effectively use 4 cores.


Which makes sense. Games typically only have one or two really heavy workloads going at one time, so its expected that scaling drops off a cliff beyond that. Aside from the main program loop, the graphics thread, and AI, what else is really left to do that is significantly taxing to a CPU?

Games are using 50+ threads at any one time [open Task Manager, add "threads", and see for yourself], but most of those are low-workload tasks. Only one or two heavy duty items are being done at any one time, so you have limited scaling beyond 2-3 cores.
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a c 87 à CPUs
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December 9, 2011 11:37:59 AM

Quote:
There was an article I read on Anandtech earlier this year that focused on CPU scaling in games which are capable of using 4 cores. The average performance increase going from 2 cores to 3 cores was around 27%. The average performance increase going from 3 cores to 4 cores was around 6%. That basically means that programers are still struggling to program games that can effectively use 4 cores.


I think it depends on what chips you are looking at. Most will tell you to ignore the 2600K because the HT it offers doesn't help when you compare it to the 2500K. But this is because they both already can process 4 threads. I think if you look at the lower dual core but HT so they can process 4 thread i3s, then you'll see HT pay off. Basically if you have a 4core/thread CPU already, it won't matter if you have HT or not. If you have only 2 cores, then you'll want HT for sure.
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December 9, 2011 11:54:57 AM

I've actually seen examples of HT hurting performance in games. I overclock my 920 i7 from 2.66 GHz to 3.8GHz and disabled the HT for heat and game performance conerns. 4 cores is all you need buddy....for now :) 
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December 9, 2011 6:30:36 PM

HT is pointless in gaming. The benchmarks show at most a 1fps difference, sometimes favouring disabled HT. I also suggest any OCer disabling HT as is will add about 8-10C of heat. Obviously restricting your CPU's potential wall.

Also with the current BF3 sofware micro stutter issues, it's been found by a lot of users running sli/crossfire that disabling HT sometimes stop the microstuttering. However, this did not work for me as I still stutter in BF3
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December 9, 2011 6:36:19 PM

ht sucks in gaming
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a c 190 à CPUs
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December 9, 2011 6:49:42 PM

In most cases Hyper-threading won't make much of a difference in games. but depending on the processor it may have more value on one processor than another. The Intel® Core™ i3-2100 does find some advantages from HT in some games. On the other hand the Intel Core i7-2600K show much use in game with its hyper-threading.

Christain Wood
Intel Enthusiast Team
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December 9, 2011 7:01:58 PM

I don’t think that hyperthreading matters much in most games, but I don’ think that it’s because programmers are struggling to write applications that take advantage of multiple threads. For instance, look at GPU’s they work off of huge numbers of cores all processing simultaneously to produce each frame. The game itself however is core limited because it’s constantly waiting for user input to proceed. Frames can be pre-rendered and broken down into discrete portions on very small time scales for easy processing by multiple cores while the main game thread is more linear and dependent upon humanly accessible time scales.

This is also the same reason that most of today’s games can be run on older processors if the GPU is semi-modern, they’re far more graphic intensive rather than CPU math intensive.

Hopefully that made at least a bit of sense.
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a c 387 à CPUs
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December 10, 2011 1:23:12 AM

I have to agree with the Intel guy about the i3-2100 using HT. I have built a number of Budget builds for others all with the i3-2100. Testing them with my selection of games, I can say the i3's HT is amazing. It keeps up with my Phenom II X4 980BE, all else being equal.
Maybe when one gets into the quad cores w/HT it's not as important. But with a dual core, it's night and day.
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