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I5 vs. i7 for future titles

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February 5, 2013 8:38:17 AM

I'm looking to upgrade my CPU from an ivy-bridge i3 to an ivy-bridge i5 or i7, as my i3 bottlenecks my 660 slightly in games that are programmed to take full advantage of four physical cores, such as BF3, and I assume, Crysis 3. Since socket 1155 is being phased out with the introduction of Haswell, I want to be able to sufficiently future-proof my rig to avoid changing my motherboard. As we all know, the Core i7 offers a negligible advantage over the i5 in today's games. But is there any reason to believe that HT on the i7 will make a major difference in future titles? Maybe someone knows if games are starting to be programmed to utilize more than four cores? Or is that years and years down the line? I'm just thinking that maybe the HT on the i7 will give me an extra year or two before I have to build an entirely new computer. Your thoughts? Thanks.


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More about : future titles

February 5, 2013 8:40:28 AM

TL;DR version: Will the i7 offer a significant advantage over the i5 at any time in the next four to five years?
a b à CPUs
February 5, 2013 10:10:58 AM

No. Buy what is reasonable now (3570k/3470). By the time more than 4 threads are needed a better cpu than the 3770k will be out. Look at how the 990x has aged. Ivy bridge i5's beat the nehalem hexacores in every game and are ~1/5 the cost.
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February 5, 2013 10:24:59 AM

wanderer11 said:
No. Buy what is reasonable now (3570k/3470). By the time more than 4 threads are needed a better cpu than the 3770k will be out. Look at how the 990x has aged. Ivy bridge i5's beat the nehalem hexacores in every game and are ~1/5 the cost.


Obviously there will be a better CPU than the 3770k in the next few years. But in order to upgrade my CPU when the time comes, I would need to swap my motherboard as Haswell is using a different socket. Swapping my motherboard would not only cost another $100+, but it would require me to have to practically rebuild my computer. You didn't really answer the question.
a c 105 à CPUs
February 5, 2013 10:25:42 AM

budget and country of origin?

a b à CPUs
February 5, 2013 10:34:03 AM

Go for the i7. Games are already taking advantage of up to 6 threads, even if only in multiplayer, and things will only go more that way in the future. Both the next Xbox and PS3 will be able to handle 8 threads, so games will very likely become more multithreaded over the next several years.

If you're anywhere near a Microcenter, you can save almost $100 on a Core i7-3770K and you'll be set for 5 years or so.
a b à CPUs
February 5, 2013 11:27:03 AM

jessterman21 said:
GBoth the next Xbox and PS3 will be able to handle 8 threads, so games will very likely become more multithreaded over the next several years.



both the xbox 2 and PS3 are currently multithreaded and current dual cores can run through their games like crap through a goose so lets look at that statement in perspective. while it's true both new consoles claim to be using CPUs with 8 cores, they will running at 1.5-1.6ghz and be based on tablet/cell phone CPUs not desktop/laptop CPUs. Modern quad core CPUs will be viable gaming CPUs for some time (kind of like an OC Q6600 has been viable for six + years now)
a b à CPUs
February 5, 2013 6:08:18 PM

dirtyferret said:
both the xbox 2 and PS3 are currently multithreaded and current dual cores can run through their games like crap through a goose so lets look at that statement in perspective. while it's true both new consoles claim to be using CPUs with 8 cores, they will running at 1.5-1.6ghz and be based on tablet/cell phone CPUs not desktop/laptop CPUs. Modern quad core CPUs will be viable gaming CPUs for some time (kind of like an OC Q6600 has been viable for six + years now)

You're probably right. Buying a 4-thread capable CPU now is not a bad idea by a long shot. Maybe next cycle they'll have some viable 6-8 core gaming CPUs. Well, the FX-8350 is decent, but something enthusiast-grade.
a b à CPUs
February 5, 2013 6:11:24 PM

I find it unlikely that HT will help enough in the future to be worthwhile. I'd bet the i7 won't give you a month much less a year or two.
a b à CPUs
February 5, 2013 6:25:06 PM

next 4- 5 years? get the i7.. i see activity in more than 4 threads on my i7 when playing bf3
a b à CPUs
February 5, 2013 6:27:17 PM

hyperthreading has been around for a decade and we still arent seeing advantages in games
February 5, 2013 6:55:04 PM

neon neophyte said:
hyperthreading has been around for a decade and we still arent seeing advantages in games


Thats because through the entire time CPUs have been increasing in GHZ as well as Single Thread performance.
We hit the road block on GHZ, Single Thread isn't far behind. Which has lead developers to see other cores as potiential avenues to get more stuff done at the same time.
a b à CPUs
February 5, 2013 7:00:14 PM

programming games to run on multiple cores isnt nearly as easy as you seem to think it is.

games used to use 1 core, then 2, now 4. given time im sure theyll use 6-8 but dont go expecting the leap to 16 cores suddenly.

by the time games are using 6-8 cores much nicer processors will be out with that many physical cores, hyperthreading will still go unused and you will still be sitting there with your same argument.
February 5, 2013 7:07:53 PM

neon neophyte said:
programming games to run on multiple cores isnt nearly as easy as you seem to think it is.

games used to use 1 core, then 2, now 4. given time im sure theyll use 6-8 but dont go expecting the leap to 16 cores suddenly.

by the time games are using 6-8 cores much nicer processors will be out with that many physical cores, hyperthreading will still go unused and you will still be sitting there with your same argument.


What made you think that I underestimated the difficulty of programming games to run on multiple cores. The truth is I don't know enough about it and I'm fairly sure you don't know enough to make this sort of call either (even if you know a lot). There's a lot of difficult things. When Larry Page and Sergey Brin developed PageRank, that was hard. It didn't mean it didn't happen. We actually do see an increase in performance with hyperthreading in games. Each thread is roughly 30% the performance of a physical core, as long as the game is programmed to utilize the extra cores. My question isn't if hyperthreading will go unused, because I know the answer to that. My question is, will games utilize 5-8 cores in the next, and I know I said four-five, but let's say three years. Keep in mind that Ivy-Bridge CPUs may not age as much as the Nehalems. Sandy-Bridge was revolutionary, and the increase from generation to generation typically is nowhere near that high.
a b à CPUs
February 5, 2013 7:13:17 PM

The problem is each thread is not "roughly 30% the performance of a physical core", that's literally the best case scenario. AFAIK the best case scenario is only achieved in very specific kind of problems and certainly not games due to their semi-random nature. You have to realize the implementation of HT is simply not well suited for gaming workloads, it's a solution for workstations. There have even been reports of disabling HT to get better performance in games!
February 5, 2013 7:26:05 PM

FinneousPJ said:
The problem is each thread is not "roughly 30% the performance of a physical core", that's literally the best case scenario. AFAIK the best case scenario is only achieved in very specific kind of problems and certainly not games due to their semi-random nature. You have to realize the implementation of HT is simply not well suited for gaming workloads, it's a solution for workstations. There have even been reports of disabling HT to get better performance in games!


You definitely seem to know what you're talking about, but I don't know if what you're saying is 100% accurate. Let's take for example the Pentium G vs. the Core i3 in Battlefield 3. The processors are exactly the same, except that the i3 has HT and the Pentium doesn't. I don't have any empirical data, but the i3 performs much better than the Pentium, and clearly HT is the reason. I believe if a game was programmed to utilize eight cores in the same way that BF3 is programmed to utilize four cores we would see the same difference between the i5 and the i7. Perhaps I'm missing something, but I'd just like you to respond to that.
a b à CPUs
February 5, 2013 7:32:47 PM

hyperthreading is not clearly the reason. i3 processors perform better in tasks which only require 2 cores
a b à CPUs
February 5, 2013 7:39:10 PM

those benchmarks dont really reflect anything other than all those cpus have enough muscle to drive whatever gpu is being used.

throw more gpu muscle into the equation and that benchmark would take a very different outlook.
a b à CPUs
February 5, 2013 7:50:59 PM

also that benchmark was done in single player. i highly doubt an overclocked i5-2500k only averages 1 fps better than a pentium g630 in a 50+ multiplayer game.
a c 105 à CPUs
February 5, 2013 8:10:18 PM

i7 right here.

a b à CPUs
February 5, 2013 8:13:20 PM

your member configuration says i5 2500 (non-k)

time for an update =]
a c 105 à CPUs
February 5, 2013 8:18:47 PM

no i meant i recommand an i7 for future titles.

i owna i5 2500 but plan on upgrading to steamroller or prob haswell tbh.

a b à CPUs
February 5, 2013 8:46:27 PM

If you have the money to burn go for the i7. Price vrs the performance increase would make the i5-3570K the best buy. The Intel Haswell will be out in June and that will be a LGA1150. I don't think Intel will be doing much more for the 1155 socket. If you are willing to wait and upgrade your motherboard and perhaps your RAM I'd wait for the Haswell. If you don't want to wait and want the best bang for the buck get the i5-3570K, if you just want the most power you can get right now get the i7-3770K.
a b à CPUs
February 5, 2013 8:54:06 PM

even if hyperthreading did help at some point in the future it could be argued that saving 100 bucks on your processor for what works now and putting that 100 bucks into getting something better down the line would work out better
a b à CPUs
February 5, 2013 8:57:33 PM

Hyperthreading definitely helps in games. Being able to handle 4 threads simultaneously helps it meet or beat last-gen quads in games. There is definitely a difference between a dual-core and an i3.
a b à CPUs
February 5, 2013 9:03:21 PM


>> Far Cry 2 (Playback Ranch Demo) << - 1920 x 1080 - High detail preset - no AA - DX9

Minimum framerate (frames per second - higher is better)

Q6600 ------------------- 37
i3 530 HT on -------------- 42
i3 530 HT off ------------- 40

Average framerate (frames per second - higher is better)

Q6600 ------------------- 50
i3 530 HT on -------------- 54
i3 530 HT off ------------- 52


>> DiRT 2 (built in benchmark) << - 1920 x 1080 - High detail preset - no AA - DX9

Minimum framerate (frames per second - higher is better)

Q6600 ----------------- 29
i3 530 HT on -------------- 36
i3 530 HT off ------------ 32
Core i3 530 hyperthreading benchmarks

Average framerate (frames per second - higher is better)

Q6600 ----------------- 39
i3 530 HT on -------------- 43
i3 530 HT off ------------ 40

as you can see, largely the performance increase over previous generations is the fact that it is using a different architecture. hyperthreading does help some, but not nearly to the degree as the new architecture does.

saying hyperthreading is wholey or even mostly the reason why i3s are better than previous quadcores is just plainly false.
a c 105 à CPUs
February 5, 2013 10:21:37 PM

ya sorry poor excuse, i5 wins here.
a b à CPUs
February 5, 2013 10:56:44 PM

jessterman21 said:
Hyperthreading definitely helps in games. Being able to handle 4 threads simultaneously helps it meet or beat last-gen quads in games. There is definitely a difference between a dual-core and an i3.


HT may help in some games and I don't know what kind of gaming support it will have in the future but there is one clear advantage I have seen from processors with HT and that is running the OS and other programs that run in background while gaming.
a c 105 à CPUs
February 5, 2013 11:02:45 PM

ht helps i3s def, but with i5s doesnt do much tbh.

February 7, 2013 4:36:52 AM

Are these two comparisons analogous?

Pentium G vs. i3

i5 vs. i7

It seems as though both pairs have one difference: Hyperthreading. My hypothesis is that the reason we don't see much of a difference between the i5 and i7 is that the games don't utilize more than four cores, but when that does happen, an ivy-bridge i7 will have the same increase in performance that we see from the i3 over the Pentium G. Does this not make sense? Why does it not make sense? Thanks.
a b à CPUs
February 7, 2013 4:40:05 AM

we dont see much of a difference between an i3 with hyperthreading on or off either. few fps
a b à CPUs
February 7, 2013 7:41:30 AM

seanpull said:
Are these two comparisons analogous?

Pentium G vs. i3

i5 vs. i7

It seems as though both pairs have one difference: Hyperthreading. My hypothesis is that the reason we don't see much of a difference between the i5 and i7 is that the games don't utilize more than four cores, but when that does happen, an ivy-bridge i7 will have the same increase in performance that we see from the i3 over the Pentium G. Does this not make sense? Why does it not make sense? Thanks.

Well first I'd like to see the supposed increase in performance from the Pentium to an i3.
a c 105 à CPUs
February 7, 2013 9:53:00 AM

easy in games u wont see any difference between i5 and i7. simply because games arent taking advantage of ht and arent coded properly to take advantage of it.

only way ht gonna be good for gaming if its embeded in the game and coded to support such features.

hyper-threading atm actually can give negative performance versus more in gaming, and its best to turn it off via the bios.

February 7, 2013 9:57:06 AM

Go with an i5,cut down wherever you can.
a c 105 à CPUs
February 7, 2013 9:58:52 AM

depends if u can afford a 3770k go for it, if not a 3570k is b.e.a.s.t.
a b à CPUs
February 7, 2013 3:22:57 PM

That's interesting and one of the only cases I've seen. Note however that the i5 is actually fastest and beats even 12-threaded i7s, pretty much settling the debate.
a b à CPUs
February 7, 2013 3:28:26 PM

could quadcore i7s hyperthreading help it in the future compared quadcore i5s? sure, might help for a few extra frames at some point in the future.

is it worth a 100 dollar investment now? not even close.
a b à CPUs
February 7, 2013 5:03:55 PM

jessterman21 said:
Go for the i7. Games are already taking advantage of up to 6 threads, even if only in multiplayer, and things will only go more that way in the future. Both the next Xbox and PS3 will be able to handle 8 threads, so games will very likely become more multithreaded over the next several years.

If you're anywhere near a Microcenter, you can save almost $100 on a Core i7-3770K and you'll be set for 5 years or so.

Said who? They pretty much both went down to the same quad core APU and a 6670.
a b à CPUs
February 7, 2013 5:07:04 PM

computernewb said:
next 4- 5 years? get the i7.. i see activity in more than 4 threads on my i7 when playing bf3

I see pretty much 8 cores running BF3 on my 8120 but the thing is that most things are going on on 1 or 2 cores. Either way it's been proven that i'll guess around an %8 difference between the i5 and the i7 on BF3. It's better to spend money on better things like a nice power supply if anyone wants it to last long. Or even better, actually spend money on games.
a c 105 à CPUs
February 8, 2013 12:27:04 AM

future games might take advantage of ht. who knows.

May 7, 2013 1:29:56 PM

i know this is an old post and im sure you have made your decision already but id like to give my opinion anyway
IMO the reason why we dont see many difference between i5 3570K and i7 3770K is not because 'games dont use HT' but because neither of these will bottleneck a powerful card . In other words both are so good that offer enough power for gaming . When it comes to pentium vs i3 difference is really noticable . Take a look here , tests are all done with a 7970 . http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/ivy-bridge-wolfdale-yorkf...
And HT DOES HELP since it may take care of background tasks while the 2 phycical cores are used purely for the game .
a b à CPUs
May 7, 2013 6:17:14 PM

Games are oriented around a certain amount of cores, too little cores will hurt cross thread performance, too many cores can't be used. So, the performance of the i7 comes from 8 core optimized games being able to properly utilize multiple threads. Threads in game programming aren't free, the actually cost performance, if you can actually utilize them then they are worth it. This is why I suspect the difference between Pentiums and i3s. If you have 4 threads and don't have 4 threads on your PC it crams them together and multiple threads on 1 CPU thread will really hurt those two threads.
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