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Physical Cores or Logical Cores?

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Hyperthreading (Virtual cores) or more physical cores?

Total: 6 votes

  • Virtual Cores FTW!
  • 0 %
  • I like to know my cores intimately, physical cores only!
  • 86 %
  • What's a CPU?
  • 15 %
October 9, 2013 10:06:17 AM

So, I'm considering a new build, and I've been going over processor types. On one hand, I could get an AMD FX eight-core processor (Which, I might add, is far cheaper than Intel), or I could get an Intel Core i7 with 4 physical processors and 4 logical processors. My question is this, why would it be better to get a Core i7 instead of an FX processor, or vice-verse? Would the extra physical cores generate more heat? Also, AMD processors seem to have inanely high bus speeds compared to their tiered Intel counterparts. Why is this? Could intel increase their base clock speeds too? And if so, why not?
October 9, 2013 10:30:51 AM

Well, in my opinion I would go for Intel, but AMD processors are very nice as well, when comparing AMD vs iItel processors it can be very confusing, the first thing to take in mind is the fact that you cant directly compare the processors clock speeds of AMD to Intel (like AMD at 3.8 ghz vs Intel 3.4 ghz). The AMD processors might look better with 8 cores but when you get the Intel i7 processors the 4 physical cores and then there are the 4 logical cores (or threaded cores), so basically they are both in a way 8 core processors. but go with what you want.. i still recommend the intel processors vover amd.
a b À AMD
a c 210 à CPUs
October 9, 2013 10:48:21 AM

Fluxriflex said:
So, I'm considering a new build, and I've been going over processor types. On one hand, I could get an AMD FX eight-core processor (Which, I might add, is far cheaper than Intel), or I could get an Intel Core i7 with 4 physical processors and 4 logical processors. My question is this, why would it be better to get a Core i7 instead of an FX processor, or vice-verse? Would the extra physical cores generate more heat? Also, AMD processors seem to have inanely high bus speeds compared to their tiered Intel counterparts. Why is this? Could intel increase their base clock speeds too? And if so, why not?


It depends on what you're doing...however, things are going toward more threads currently. Based on that, AMD will ultimately have the advantage there, look at the BF4 beta benchmarks for an example.

AMD has higher bus speeds because they have Hyper Transport. Intel could use it too, but then they would be supporting an AMD technology and they basically refuse to do that...(outside of AMD64 since Itanium failed so miserably).

Honestly, in terms of raw performance, physical cores are better than virtual cores. All the i7 gets over the i5 is an extra register stack per core, no additional resources to use to run that thread. It does allow the core to work on that thread when it's not running the main thread; however, you're using resources from the core that the main thread could be using, and now cannot.
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a c 111 À AMD
a c 110 å Intel
a c 446 à CPUs
October 9, 2013 11:32:40 AM

In general, I prefer Intel CPUs because they have higher IPC; meaning they can execute more instructions per clock than AMD CPU can. That mean an Intel with a lower clockspeed can be just as powerful or more powerful as an AMD CPU with a higher clock speed.

From a practical point of view having 8 physical cores is better than having 4 physical and 4 logical cores (Hyper Threading). However, it depends if those cores (physical and logical) can be taken advantage of. At the moment Battlefield 4 is the only game that can really take advantage of 8 core and Hyper Threading (HT). More games will come out that can likely take advantage of that as well. But most games will still use only 2 core for the near future. The number of games that can actually use 4 cores is but a fraction of all games released.

However, what's more important is what are the games you want to play. For example, I'm pretty sure if there was ever going to be another Barbie PC game released it would likely only use one or two cores, not 4 or more. But I'm pretty sure a Barbie PC game is not going to be on your must play list.

Based on BF4 Beta multiplayer benchmarks, the FX-8350 and the Sandy Bridge i7-2600k both provided the same performance (the FX might have scored 1 FPS higher). Ivy Bridge and Haswell CPUs were not part of the benchmarks I am referring to. The i5-2500k lagged behind by around 7 FPS I think so the updated Frostbite Engine can definitely take advantage of the extra 4 physical cores and Hyper Threading. The FX-6300 lagged be the i5-2500k, but I don't think it was very bad (unless my memory is bad... a bottle of scotch can fix that...).

Note that the use of all 8 cores and Hyper Threading applies only to multiplayer. While I have not seen any single player campaign benchmarks, I would that only 2 cores will be used (like in BF 3); maybe 3. This is just one game though and it also does not take into consideration what other types of programs you will be running on the PC.

October 9, 2013 5:01:30 PM

Well, I think a high number of cores might be good for me. Generally, I tend to not have other programs running while I'm gaming; however, I can see myself doing so if i had a cpu with 4+ cores. For example, some games tend to have poor voicechat options, so I would want to be able to run Skype or some other voicechat program simultaneously. In addition, I may have steam running, music playing (for games like minecraft, garry's mod, etc.), or even something like fraps or bandicam. Do you think that a 4+ core cpu would be worth it then?
a c 111 À AMD
a c 110 å Intel
a c 446 à CPUs
October 9, 2013 5:20:58 PM

Well, in general, recording gameplay can be taxing on the CPU so having more core would come in handy. I have also read of some video capture software that can take advantage of Quick Sync which basically means all or most of the encoding is offloaded to the iGPU and based on various reviews of Quick Sync encoding (not video capture) it is very fast and it does provide good quality video. There were some quality issues with the Intel HD 3000 during the initial release of Quick Sync, but that has been taken care of with the release of the Ivy Bridge CPUs.

The safe bet would be the FX-8350 unless you want to go digging around for more info on video capture software using Quick Sync. I don't use Skype or any voice chat programs so I don't know how much or little CPU load they will make. If the load is somewhat high or too high for your liking, then again, the FX-8350 would be the safe choice. You could also do research to see if nay of the voice chat software you use can make use of Hyper Threading.
a b À AMD
a c 210 à CPUs
October 10, 2013 10:09:39 AM

TeamSpeak and Ventrillo are not terribly taxing, Skype on the other hand is very system resource intensive (a bandwidth hog particularly).
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