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Dual core @4.6ghz or Quad @4ghz better for gaming?

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April 5, 2012 6:46:19 AM

Hi, I recently dusted off an old system of mine which had on an I3-530 CPU, 8gigs of ram and a single hd5850 videocard.

So I found myself with a second Hd5850 in my hands lately (which was what caused me to dust of my old PC) and I'm asking:

Would it be better to crossfire the 5850s and overclock the i3 @ 4.6ghz (it's a great clocker that particular chip) or should I toss it for an i5 750 (which IIRC can only reach 4ghz on air)?

My primary fear is that my 5850s would be bottlenecked by the CPU (if I'm to use the i3) but at the same time I do not have much money to throw for a new CPU and i would not if its not *absolutely necessary*. So a greatly clocked dualie would be enough, right? Right?

Oh also, I game at 1080p with high AA and AF, so the CPU *should* not come much in play anyway, correct?

Thanks.

April 5, 2012 7:24:30 AM

I have an i7-960 on my laptop clocked at 3.66 aircooled. On most games cpu 3 and 4 are still hardly working.

I say OC your setup with Crossfire and see if the performance and stability are to your satisfaction.

i.e. To some , like me , playing any game below 60 fps isnt acceptable.
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April 5, 2012 7:46:30 AM

i3 is great but 750 is definitely better.i3 will not "bottleneck" but 750 @4ghz will do better.if you can,then go with 750.4ghz is a good overclock.anything above hardly matters.
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April 5, 2012 7:49:58 AM

hellfire24 said:
i3 is great but 750 is definitely better.i3 will not "bottleneck" but 750 @4ghz will do better.if you can,then go with 750.4ghz is a good overclock.anything above hardly matters.

Yeah I know that the quad is probably better, it's only that I do not want to pay 100 pounds extra just to get 3 or 4 more FPS.
Also at the resolution (and settings) I'm gaming would you think that CPU would make that much difference?

The real question should had been "how *far* better a quad is from an insanely clocked dualie?"
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April 5, 2012 7:52:50 AM

as i said i3 is good but i5 is better.but you are right,it's not worth 100 pounds extra for few more fps.if gaming is high priority then i3 and if you are going to use multithreaded apps then i5.take your pick.
April 5, 2012 7:53:43 AM

Try with the i3 first - if you are happy, you're fine, if not - go for the Quad Core :) 

I remember having a i3 530 at 4.4 Ghz with HD5770 Crossfire like 2-3 month after that stuff came out... I was really happy and I had no issues with games.

But games like BF3 loves a quad core, but still the HT on an i3 helps a bit
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April 5, 2012 7:56:54 AM

newer games run better on a quad core.but i3 is a powerful dual core.don't underestimate it.
April 5, 2012 8:23:23 AM

hellfire24 said:
as i said i3 is good but i5 is better.but you are right,it's not worth 100 pounds extra for few more fps.if gaming is high priority then i3 and if you are going to use multithreaded apps then i5.take your pick.

See, I'm going to use this PC for gaming alone, I have another for work upon which I have installed a bulky quad core (soon to become hexa core), so I wouldn't worry about that.

What really does worry me is that my 5850s are actually clocked at HD5870 levels and my crossfire setup *should* perform a bit better than a HD 5970 (which is not bad at all for 2 year old cheap hardware), but I fear that it would be bottlenecked by my i3 despite it's insane overclock... sadly I can't make tests yet because I haven't got the second HD 5850 in hand yet, so I was thinking in the meanwhile to ask you guys about what I should do about/with my i3 (sell it and buy i5 or keep it and o/c the cr*p out of it).

'Till now the consensus seems to be "keep it", which was/is what I wish to do as well, but first I want to be sure. If anyone ever has/had a system like mine, his opinion would be more than welcome...
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April 5, 2012 8:29:23 AM

Steven81 said:
See, I'm going to use this PC for gaming alone, I have another for work upon which I have installed a bulky quad core (soon to become hexa core), so I wouldn't worry about that.

What really does worry me is that my 5850s are actually clocked at HD5870 levels and my crossfire setup *should* perform a bit better than a HD 5970 (which is not bad at all for 2 year old cheap hardware), but I fear that it would be bottlenecked by my i3 despite it's insane overclock... sadly I can't make tests yet because I haven't got the second HD 5850 in hand yet, so I was thinking in the meanwhile to ask you guys about what I should do about/with my i3 (sell it and buy i5 or keep it and o/c the cr*p out of it).

'Till now the consensus seems to be "keep it", which was/is what I wish to do as well, but first I want to be sure. If anyone ever has/had a system like mine, his opinion would be more than welcome...


if gaming is high priority than go with i3.my dad has a 2100(with MSi hd 5770) and it runs cpu intensive games fine(gta4 mainly).i want to say your i3 will not "bottleneck" your 5850s at least on 1080p.
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April 5, 2012 9:30:48 AM

Depends on the game! Most games still use 2 or less cores, those will perform better depending on how GPU-bound they are.

Either way, neither setup will bottleneck your cards. Maybe in CPU heavy multi-core games you'll have less performance, but you shouldn't be below playable rates on any settings.

The best answer is to try it out. Luckily you don't lose anything by buying a 2nd GPU.

Overall the 750 will be better, however I have a feeling you'll have no trouble in most games with the i3.
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April 5, 2012 9:38:37 AM

you'd want to get the i5. The i3 even at 4.6 should be considered a bit light for 2 5850s.

Really depends on the games tho.
April 5, 2012 11:22:55 AM

esrever said:
you'd want to get the i5. The i3 even at 4.6 should be considered a bit light for 2 5850s.

Really depends on the games tho.

To be fair the i3 @ 4.6ghz performs like the i5 @ stock when there is perfect multicore (quad support), in everything else it destroys it (at stock settings). So it's not a wimp, at least at the clocks I'm running it.

Having said that -yeah- I'm afraid you may be right and that I should have a quad overclocked instead... does anyone have any conclusive benchmarks comparing the two in a crossfire setup (or at least any dual vs quad CPU)? Everything I found was quite old (at least 2-3 years old) so they do not offer much assistance :( 
April 6, 2012 10:08:33 PM

If your playing games like BF3 and Metro 2033 a lot then you will see a much higher FPS as they are very intensive, but you could easily sell the i3 used for £50, then spend £55 on the better i5.
April 7, 2012 5:46:44 AM

The i5 would be at least £100 more because I would need to change the PSU as well...
The battlefield at least doesn't seem to need more than 2 cores: http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/2011/11/10/battlefield...

And I suspect most games don't use more than 3 cores at the same time (which is alleviated by my dual's high clocks).
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April 7, 2012 7:48:57 AM

^+1 true!
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April 7, 2012 8:34:28 PM

Steven81 said:
The i5 would be at least £100 more because I would need to change the PSU as well...
The battlefield at least doesn't seem to need more than 2 cores: http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/2011/11/10/battlefield...

And I suspect most games don't use more than 3 cores at the same time (which is alleviated by my dual's high clocks).

the watt difference between cpus are rarely ever enough to warren a psu change, the difference between an 4 ghz i5 and that 4.6ghz i3 isn't going to be much. BF3 will use cores in multiplayer but not single player. Most tests online have been using timed single player runs. it can use up to 6 cores. There will be a lot of stuttering with a dual core in multiplayer.
April 10, 2012 8:18:54 AM

esrever said:
the watt difference between cpus are rarely ever enough to warren a psu change, the difference between an 4 ghz i5 and that 4.6ghz i3 isn't going to be much. BF3 will use cores in multiplayer but not single player. Most tests online have been using timed single player runs. it can use up to 6 cores. There will be a lot of stuttering with a dual core in multiplayer.


You're right, I had forgotten about that, but multiplayer is not much of a priority for the time being so I'll pass.

As for the PSU thingie, unfortunately my system as it is maxes out my PSU (at least theoretically) so I'm afraid that putting two more cores it would be "the single drop which would make the glass overfill itself and spill" (in other words putting even the slightest bit more pressure on my PSU would probably kill it, it's a single 12v+ rail @ 32A that one).
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