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Is an e6600@3.2 still a viable processor?

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January 10, 2012 11:39:55 PM

Hey folks, I've been out of the loop for quite a while on the cpu front and have a question. How does my old e6600 @3.2 stack up to today's processors for gaming? I built this system back when the Conroe processors first came out and it has served me well but I am beginning to wonder if I would see a BIG difference if I upgraded.

Any thoughts?

More about : e6600 viable processor

a c 93 à CPUs
January 11, 2012 12:13:27 AM

It would depend on which games you play. Even today many games will run just fine on a dual core operating at 3.2GHz, with CPU bottlenecks only popping up in dual GPU configurations or at low resolutions. Some games like GTA IV, Battlefield Bad Company 2, Call of Duty Black Ops, and more recent strategy games like Starcraft 2 or Total War: Shogun 2, don't run that well on a dual core, or show a large improvement with a quad core CPU. And then there is Skyrim, which practically needs a heavily overclocked 2500k to maintain 60FPS in all areas due to the stupid decision to only support 2 cores.

If you are interested in playing some of the more CPU heavy titles, or are considering getting a really high end GPU configuration, you probably will want to upgrade. If not, you could wait a bit longer for Ivy Bridge, or even Haswell if you are really patient.
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January 12, 2012 1:22:13 AM

GTA IV actually runs quite well on a dual core CPU. I have that game installed on my laptop with a dual core i5-2410m running at 2.3GHz and the game runs fine. I disabled Turbo Boost to keep the temps down when playing games.

While the Core architecture is more efficient the C2D architecture, an E6600 @ 3.2GHz is more powerful than the i5-2410m w/o Turbo Boost.
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January 12, 2012 1:40:44 AM

Thanks for the input guys. I know I need to upgrade my old 8800GTS640, but would like to wait on a system upgrade until summer. I just don't want to shell out $200 on a video card and find out my processor was the bottleneck.

Thanks!
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January 12, 2012 2:24:03 AM

I would go so far as to say that most C2D's are obsolete at this point. Most games at least make use of four cores to some extent now, and given IPC improvements over the past few years, C2D's would bottleneck even a single midrange GPU now, let alone SLI/CF configs.
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January 12, 2012 3:04:54 AM

Yes, in short.

The long:
I've got 2 machines running Win7 quite well with Core 2 Duo's. One's an e6600, ones an e6750. The e6750 can run most anything I need to do and games up-unto Moder Warfare 2 and GTA IV. (GTS250 graphics)

Get an i3 2100 and you will notice a decent improvement. Get an i5 (more comparable in a new gen. style to your e6000 core 2). If it's working fine for you, go ahead and give it another year BUT, don't expect much more than that. I've got a Core 2 Quad I love to death but THAT even got demoted with a new Intel build over the summer months.
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January 12, 2012 5:51:47 AM

gamerk316 said:
Most games at least make use of four cores to some extent now...


Really? List the game then.

gamerk316 said:
...and given IPC improvements over the past few years, C2D's would bottleneck even a single midrange GPU now...


False

gamerk316 said:
...let alone SLI/CF configs.


True, if you are talking about the higher end cards like two HD 6870s.
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January 12, 2012 6:17:17 AM

jaguarskx said:
Really? List the game then.


GTA IV
UT3 (the first game to utilise Quads)
SWTOR
WoW
BFBC2
BF3
The Witcher 2
Skyrim (It uses 4 cores, just very badly)
Metro 2033
Crysis 2
Crysis 1
STO
Bioshock 2
Dirt 3
F1 2011
CODMW2+3+BO
Supreme Commander
Warhammer DOW2
Dragon Age Origins + 2

They are only some.


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a c 93 à CPUs
January 12, 2012 6:36:41 AM

deadjon said:
GTA IV
UT3 (the first game to utilise Quads)
SWTOR
WoW
BFBC2
BF3
The Witcher 2
Skyrim (It uses 4 cores, just very badly)
Metro 2033
Crysis 2
Crysis 1
STO
Bioshock 2
Dirt 3
F1 2011
CODMW2+3+BO
Supreme Commander
Warhammer DOW2
Dragon Age Origins + 2

They are only some.


A lot of those games will still run okay on a dual core. The original Crysis cannot use 4 cores, it is restricted to 2, which causes a lot of CPU bottlenecking problems when you pit that game against a high end SLI/Crossfire setup. Crysis 2 does benefit from a quad though. Skyrim can't use 4 cores. The Windows scheduler may spread the load across all 4 cores, but the end result is 50% usage on each core, effectively only giving you the power of a dual core. From personal experience, you aren't going to see a performance boost in Metro 2033 going from a dual core to quad. That game is so heavily GPU bound, that you would only see any improvement on top single GPU cards or SLI/Crossfire setups. BF3 actually runs okay on a dual core CPU in any part of the game that can be reliably benchmarked, though the quad may do better in larger multiplayer matches.

Just because the system requirements recommend a quad, does not necessarily mean that you really need one, or that you will see a large performance boost by switching to one, especially if the GPU in question is quite old.
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January 12, 2012 6:44:50 AM

you don't need a quadcore today but games are starting to use more cores.

I'd say you'd see no difference for 90% of games with a dual core compared with a quad core and then 5% of the games are negligible in term of difference that it wouldn't matter so you'd be left with 5% of games that can take advantage of more than 2 cores effectively.

So its still good now, just depends on the game. Bottlenecking is severely game dependent. I'd say you can put a 6950 with that cpu and still be fine and not worry about bottleneck in 95% of games.
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January 12, 2012 7:09:51 AM

Supernova1138 said:
A lot of those games will still run okay on a dual core. The original Crysis cannot use 4 cores, it is restricted to 2, which causes a lot of CPU bottlenecking problems when you pit that game against a high end SLI/Crossfire setup. Crysis 2 does benefit from a quad though. Skyrim can't use 4 cores. The Windows scheduler may spread the load across all 4 cores, but the end result is 50% usage on each core, effectively only giving you the power of a dual core. From personal experience, you aren't going to see a performance boost in Metro 2033 going from a dual core to quad. That game is so heavily GPU bound, that you would only see any improvement on top single GPU cards or SLI/Crossfire setups. BF3 actually runs okay on a dual core CPU in any part of the game that can be reliably benchmarked, though the quad may do better in larger multiplayer matches.

Just because the system requirements recommend a quad, does not necessarily mean that you really need one, or that you will see a large performance boost by switching to one, especially if the GPU in question is quite old.


As a result of the number of games that can utilise Quads, wether they do it well or not, I cannot reccomend a Dual Core (Other than the Sandy Bridge i3) to anyone.

As a little teaser for you for a performance leap, I recently upgraded from a Quad Core Q6600 @3.4Ghz (It is literally 2 E6600 Conroes glued together, I'm not joking) to a 2500k OC'd to 4.8Ghz - My lowest FPS Skyrim jumped from 20fps to 60fps (Ltd by graphics), and in SWTOR from 22fps to 60fps (Again ltd by graphics). This is from a Quad to a Quad (a 5 Year old quad maybe, but still a quad).
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January 12, 2012 7:12:22 AM

you'd see the same performance if you upgraded to a 4.8 ghz i3 if they made one.
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January 12, 2012 7:17:37 AM

esrever said:
you'd see the same performance if you upgraded to a 4.8 ghz i3 if they made one.


Only because I'm currently GPU bottlenecked - If I had a better GPU setup in any of the games I'd listed I would see a difference between the i3 and the i5.
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January 12, 2012 7:24:04 AM

not really, the i3 if at 4.8 ghz would be able to drive play swtor maxed out even if you upgrade gpu and go for 1600p.

Skyrim only use 2 threads.
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January 12, 2012 7:43:24 AM

well as a gamer i can totally see the need for quads. a lot of games are cpu bound. especially console ports which the majority of new games are.. yes the dual cores will still handle them but at drastically reduced fps... the claims of a dual running gta 4 are exaggerated. any card above a 260 will bottleneck gta 4 on a dual core at any speed, battlefield bad company is another such game... you may get 40 fos but i guarantee your gonna spend most of your time in the low teens and your gpu will only ever get to 50% usage... the fact that quads dont get pushed to 100percent on all cores means nothing. in fact thats what you want. you dont want any core to reach 100percent or the game will just stop till it drops to below 100 percent (this is called a cpu bottleneck). so there is a definite advantage to having more cores and it certainly wont harm game play. add to that the quads have more bandwidth so are less likley to be bottlenecked when you throw a high end gfx card at em...

im lucky i get to test dozens of games per year an i have found that a lot of em are struggling now on dual core setups.

its all well and good saying a dual is fine the game doesnt need more blah blah. but i dont know any1 that just runs the game. they run steam/origin/skype/team speak and multiple other apps along side there games to get the gaming experience they want...

oh and i havent even mentioned online... you go online with a dual and you have the added overhead of the other players on the server... go on to a 64 player map and watch your minimum recommendation dual crumple under the strain...

its all well and good saying this and that benches at , but more often than not there benched either with specific benching programs or there benched in single player because multiplayer adds to much variance.

games today may not absolutely need a quad but theres less chance of a bottleneck if you have 1 even on a slower quad.

oh and just for reference. dual cores can be bottlenecks on todays cards. more so than ever in fact.. my old 4600x2 bottlenecked my 88gt i know this because when i put a 6000x2 in the fps went from 50avg yo 90 avg in the games i was playing at the time...
now dual cores havent been improved that much in the last 4 years but gfx cards have... you try putting a 460 on a dual an you may still get decent fps in some games but a lot will just overwhelm it.
no you want a balanced system and for that to be a reality you need to reduce the expectations of what a dual core can handle gfx wise... i would say anything less than a 260 will be fine. anything more and some games will cause issues and the futher you get from the 260 the bigger the problems will become.


you may not like it or even agree with it, but im talking from experience, that experience is gaming, and that gaming is over 30 years... which is longer than some on here have even been alive. (end of patronizing old man moment, please carry on ;)  )
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a c 112 à CPUs
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January 12, 2012 7:49:41 AM

oh and i almost forgot... 4.8ghz overclocks? who in there rite mind runs a cpu at 4.8ghz... the cooling you need to keep it stable and the cost of it to keep it running go way above the cost of a poultry quad that wouldn't need to be over clocked so it is a moot point and totally irrelevant... not every 1 has the skills to reach such speeds not to mention the bottle to go there... i for 1 would recommend a 3.0 ghz quad over over clocking to such a high degree and risking blowing it up every time i turn it on... really m8 that isnt even relevant to the guys question of is his e6600 relevant to todays games... which to my mind its getting long in the tooth and wont go anywhere near 3.8 ghz never mind 4.8.


the very fact that your having to push the cpu to 4.8 validates my statement that duals are no longer up to the job... you cant just add more speed indefinitely, there is a point where the power you put in outweighs the performance you get out.


feel free to click on the thumb and you will clearly see skyrim runs on 4 cores. if yours is stuck on 2 then you havent been over to the nexus and gotten the cpu optimizations. my version runs at 60 fps max settings x4 fsaa everywhere... i have no fps drops which in windhelm and solitude cripple most systems...
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January 12, 2012 8:05:21 AM

games really only use 2 threads and if you aren't alt tabbing and such you'd see little difference. the amount of cpu needed for steam and origins is negligible and they designed the software to be as light as possible. GTA 4 didn't use more than 2 cores, it was just a poorly coded game and will not run well on any system, independent of core count.

a E6600 will be just as powerful in gaming as a Q6600. comparing more efficient architecture isn't fare. The 4 core i5 2500k beating an c2d isn't really a surprise but compare the i5 compared to the i3 and you'd see almost no difference, the small differences are from the i3 having less cache and less ghz. Architecture and ghz is a lot more important than core count pass 2 cores. a 3.2 ghz dual > a 3.0 ghz quad with the same architecture in 90% of games.

Very few games actually uses more than 2 threads. console ports uses 2 threads because the tri core cpu in the xbox 360 is designed that way, 1 core is in charge of the dashboard and background tasks so tasks on that core would be extremely light and can easily be put onto more powerful 2 cores of a desktop cpu.

you'd notice 2-3 games a year that would be a lot better on a quad core. A dual core with decent clock and architecture does fine, if you have to lower some settings then do it since if you are running a dual core you won't be expecting ultra settings anyways.

I don't see quad cores being needed until the next generation of consoles. They are nice to have but dual cores do fine. I'd have no problem suggesting a gtx 580 with an i3 if you could oc the i3, there would be very little bottleneck due to it being a dual core.
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January 12, 2012 8:14:52 AM

skyrims thread get distributed but the actual performance don't scale much with more cores, the difference is like 2 fps



the i3 could be having its performance dropped from having ht on and having less cache.
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January 12, 2012 8:32:16 AM

lolz your teelling me the only reason im using 4 cores on skyrim is because im alt tabbing? lulz... i can run multi screen if you want and it will show the same results. with the game on 1 and the task manger on the other... the game is poorly coded at release but since the nexus boys got there hands on it they moved the code path over to sse and increased efficiency on the cores. if you notice im also over 2gb memory usage... wich is also a limiting factor in a lot of games. 1s you make the large adress aware you do get a marked improvment...


the point im making with using a quad over a dual is that you have more headroom for badly coded games... which will make a difference between being playable and being annoying.

all that asside you actualy made my point for me... there will be some games (2-3 last year) that will be cpu bound this year and next , be prepared to see that double and the year after that and so on... like i say m8 the time of dual cores is at an end for gaming... if you can upgrade now then do so you certainly will only ever get gains from doing it as i know of no game that actually runs worse on a quad compared to a dual, but i do know a few that will suffer on a dual compared to a quad...
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January 12, 2012 9:34:29 AM

@ HEXiT

Because I'm running it at 4.8Ghz it doesnt mean its like the other CPUs that would fry...this is a 2500k remember? many people run em at 5ghz. And I DO have adequite cooling for that speed.

@ Esrever

You serious? a Q6600 destroys an E6600 in games, as I said, many games utilize Quads now. Skyrim WOULD run quicker on a Q6600, as would all the games I listed, because they are optimized for FOUR THREADS.

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January 12, 2012 10:50:52 AM

deadjon said:
GTA IV
UT3 (the first game to utilise Quads)
SWTOR
WoW
BFBC2
BF3
The Witcher 2
Skyrim (It uses 4 cores, just very badly)
Metro 2033
Crysis 2
Crysis 1
STO
Bioshock 2
Dirt 3
F1 2011
CODMW2+3+BO
Supreme Commander
Warhammer DOW2
Dragon Age Origins + 2

They are only some.


-GTA 4 does not use 4 cores. I currently play it on my quad core Q9450. Task Manager shows that it only uses 2 cores.

-Crysis 1 and 2 do not use 4 cores. Again, Task Manager also shows only 2 core being used. Benchmarks also shows that it does not use more than 2 cores.

-Everything I've read about Skyrim shows that it only uses 2 cores. So I guess you are right it does use 4 cores badly. So bad that it only uses 2 cores.



http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/skyrim-performance-...


-Metro 2033 does not use 4 cores. See below benchmarks and link to review:



http://www.legionhardware.com/articles_pages/metro_2033...


-Battlefield 3 does not use more than 2 cores. See below where the Core i3 and Core i5 CPUs performs the same. Note that the Phenom II X4 out performs the Phenom II X6.



http://www.techspot.com/review/448-battlefield-3-beta-p...

-The Witcher 2, again basically dual core. The Phenom II X4 980 out performs the Phenom II X6 1100T. However, there is minor improvement going from the Phenom II X2 560, Athlon II X3 440 and Athlon II X4 645. But again, the quad core PII X4 980 beats the PII X6 1100T. It would have been nice it they included a Core i3 in the review.



http://www.techspot.com/review/405-the-witcher-2-perfor...

-Wow Cataclysm. The following charts shows that Intel CPUs do not benefit from more than 2 cores. However, AMD CPUs do show some benefits. It could be that the Intel's CPU architecture so much more efficient than AMD's CPU architecture that 2 cores is all that is needed. Therefore, I agree that WoW does use more than 2 cores, but only when dealing with an AMD CPU.



http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/world-of-warcraft-c...



http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/world-of-warcraft-c...

-Dragon Age II. Here we go, yet again another situation where the Phenom II X4 beats the Phenom II X6. Hell, the dual core Phenom II X2 560 performs nearly as well as the PII X6. Also notice that the dual core i3-540 out performs the 6 core PII X6.



http://www.techspot.com/review/374-dragon-age-2-perform...


-Dragon Age Origins.... Hey congratulations!!!! This games does benefit from more than 2 cores. It would have been nice to see the 6 core Phenom II X6 1100T in the mix though.



http://www.pcgameshardware.com/aid,698761/Dragon-Age-Or...

-Unreal Tournament 3... Hey look that that another win for you. I does use more than 2 core. So any game that uses the Unreal Engine 3 from 2004 should also benefit from more than 2 cores.



http://www.anandtech.com/show/2352/4

-Dirt 3... Hey three in a row. It does seem to be able to use more than 2 cores. Again, it would have been nice to see a dual core i3 in the mix.



http://www.techspot.com/review/403-dirt-3-performance/p...

I'll take a break now and comeback for the rest of the games. But so far, of the 12 games above which I have played or researched 9 of the games do not use more than 2 cores where as the remaining 3 does actually benefit.

What game is STO?
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January 12, 2012 10:58:04 AM

^^ Does anyone notice the complete LACK of C2D's on those benchies? Compare a C2D with a C2Q at the same speed with a decent mid-tier GPU, and report back. You will find the C2D being a significant bottleneck.

Secondly, number of cores that are used has NOTHING to do with performance; see the difference between a PII and i3/i5/i7. Thats IPC, which matters as well. Head to head, an i3 would CRUSH a C2D, hence the C2D is a bottleneck.

Thirdly, half those benchies show a CPU bottleneck under the Phenom II line of CPU's, and a GPU bottleneck under the i5/i7 line. You are proving NOTHING with those benchies as a result.
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January 12, 2012 11:18:32 AM

Okay to set this straight, I didnt say more than four cores, I said four cores. I am fully aware that a Hexcore is useless. This is about Dual to Quad.

Quote:
-Battlefield 3 does not use more than 2 cores. See below where the Core i3 and Core i5 CPUs performs the same. Note that the Phenom II X4 out performs the Phenom II X6.

http://static.techspot.com/articles-info/448/bench/CPU_02.png

http://www.techspot.com/review/448-battlefield-3-beta-p...


This is on Beta.

On retail, multiplayer there is a HUGE difference in speed.

Quote:
GTA 4 does not use 4 cores. I currently play it on my quad core Q9450. Task Manager shows that it only uses 2 cores.


How strange - this disagrees.

http://benchmark3d.com/grand-theft-auto-iv-benchmark/2

Quote:
What game is STO?


This is Star Trek Online - It ran across all my cores when I played it.

Quote:
-Dragon Age II. Here we go, yet again another situation where the Phenom II X4 beats the Phenom II X6. Hell, the dual core Phenom II X2 560 performs nearly as well as the PII X6. Also notice that the dual core i3-540 out performs the 6 core PII X6.


Yeah, but there is a notable improvement from going from Dual to Quad, its not big, but its notable.

Quote:
-Crysis 1 and 2 do not use 4 cores. Again, Task Manager also shows only 2 core being used. Benchmarks also shows that it does not use more than 2 cores


I was wrong about Crysis 1, but I know Crysis 2 utilises 4 threads - its part of their engine.

Quote:
-Everything I've read about Skyrim shows that it only uses 2 cores. So I guess you are right it does use 4 cores badly. So bad that it only uses 2 cores.


It performs better on a Quad though. Those with dual cores are getting destroyed in Skyrim.
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January 12, 2012 11:24:51 AM

thats probably because c2ds stopped being used as gaming parts for the most part by the teams that release these benches...
i for 1 would like to see some real world performance benches like they did for bf3 with a x2 and a 580... i cant honestly see any c2d benches that wont be crippled by such a card, or anything over a gtx260 for that matter. over to toms bench team for this 1...
personally id be well happy either way, but i do have a suspicion that the quad core will show overwhelming differences...

also you do see that the difference between the quad and the dual on bf3 is not just 10 fps... its a full 20% more... which is a marked difference...
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January 12, 2012 2:14:30 PM

It would help if reveiw sites would at least bench current CPU's alongside older top-tier CPUs [E8600 and Q9650, for example] as examples to show how well they've held up over the years.

Also, core count is NOT the only factor in performance. Simply showing a i5 does not benifit over an i3 does NOT prove a C2D is not a bottleneck, it just proves the game doesn't scale well. Given IPC improvements, if you benched an i3 against a C2D, you'd find a significant difference in performance.
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January 12, 2012 5:24:47 PM

having more cores don't really matter in most games.

c2d still play most games at 60 fps on medium with a decent gpu.
Most quad cores are clocked a lot lower than the dual core counterparts or are a lot more expensive. When people bought the q6600, they could have bought a E6750 for the same price and have much better performance in games.

having a few games using more than 2 threads effectively does not make 2 cores obsolete.

As to people saying games ran across all cores, it doesn't matter since its just windows assigning the tasks across the cores. The total hardly ever goes above 2 fully loaded cores so the real world difference is miniscule.

skyrim doesn't use much more than 2 threads as shown in the tom's review. All the cpus were clocked at 3ghz and they all showed basically the same fps irrelevant of core count. That could be said for most of the other games that claim to support multicores out there.

I don't see the need of a quad core or higher compared to a dual core unless you are upgrading to a much better architecture.
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January 12, 2012 5:39:40 PM

Quote:
having a few games using more than 2 threads effectively does not make 2 cores obsolete.


You forget to account for IPC, which the C2D is frankly bad at compared to more recent processers. Hence why an i3 would crush a C2D head to head when clocked at hte same speed.

The question from the OP was simple: How big a bottleneck a C2D is. The answer is simple: Its a major one, as other processers are significantly faster.
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January 12, 2012 5:52:37 PM

depends on the gpu and what he considers a major bottleneck.

c2d are still pretty capable chips, they will be able to match a phenom II pretty well in gaming as long as the game isn't too threaded so I think they are still viable.
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January 12, 2012 8:57:34 PM

well this is pretty cool... both sides putting forward there points without resorting to name calling... well played guys... +1 to all.
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January 12, 2012 11:57:58 PM

Thanks for all the different perspectives. I think I'll do the video card and see what happens.
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September 17, 2013 10:51:10 AM

Almost two years after this thread was made and the fact remains that dual core cpu's are just as viable today even though Toms Hardware cpu recommendation may suggest otherwise.The fact remains that a majority of games today are still single threaded or dual threaded but few take advantage of more than 2 cores even 6 years after the introduction of quad core cpu's.This may and proabably will change within the next few years but the fact remains that a modern dual core cpu is still viable for gaming atleast for entry level gaming setups like mine for example.
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