The Dual-Core vs. Quad-Core debate

conquerz

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I've read so many reviews about dual vs. quad-core and seen so many benchmarks (example) but I see one major problem: All the major reviews neglect multi-tasking.

Why are all the tests carried out with one application/game at a time? Obviously if you run an application using a dual and run the same application using a quad, then the cpu with higher clock speed will win unless the application is written with multi-processors in mind.

What will happen if I run a 3D game like crysis, run an anti-virus in the background, do some video encoding in the back, watch a movie on second monitor, listen to mp3s, have microsoft word and Firefox/IE7 running in the back (not that I need to do this but because I chose to leave them running and was taking a break)... which CPU would be better???

Here is a video of a guy doing-multi-tasking using Q6600:
http://www.metacafe.com/watch/767032/quad_core_multitasking_monster/

I want to see a comparison like that. Can the dual-cores do this as well??? I want to keep my PC responsive instead of seeing a comparison on an application to application or game to game basis.

I am in a dilemma between Q9300 and E8500 (cos it's similarly priced.. i can easily opt for E8400 for a bargain with little performance difference than E8500). I won't be upgrading for 5 or 6 years. Which one would be better with the scenario I described above?
 

conquerz

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Need to see proof how they compare with multi-tasking.
 
^ Check out benches. Generally if you use video editing software, Photoshop,etc you will benefit from extra cores. If you are a gamer you will mostly benefit from raw speed. I say go for the Quad core.
 

blacksci

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I have a quad, so ill give ya my first hand experiences. I can run (and have in the past ) 2 games at once, have a firewall going, a voice client, movie, and surfing the web, i notice no diffrence switching around the apps, and it runs the same as if i was doing nothing at all, a hint though, if you only go with 2 gigs of ram, and plan to multitask as much as you claim, you will be disappointed with the performance, i would suggest getting 4 gigs.
 

conquerz

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Thanks for the info blacksci.

Now can anyone give a first hand experience with dualcore (something like e8400 or e8500) and how their system responds when they have multiple system hungry applications running (similar to what blacksci described or what you see in the video link I posted).

BTW, that video is obviously not mine, but its interestinng to see that he's only using 2GB on vista and its running smooth.
 

Zorg

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If you are planning to keep your system for 5-6 years then you would be a fool to get a dual core. Especially if you want to do the multitasking that you indicated in your initial post. Just get the quad and move on. If you need proof then learn to use Google.
 

ZOldDude

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For almost everyone on this site,for gamers,for small company networks...nobody has any gain over 2 cores with 4.

Hardly any games use more than one core.
The advantage of dual cores here is that neither core tends to run at 100%.
Four cores at this point in time is both false economy and a fools game for the most commen usages.
You are best served by RAW speed.

The same goes with 4GB + of RAM in a home computer and Vista.
Vista can -never- run things -as fast- as XP,and it can -never- use less RAM to do anything as XP.
Subjective opinions from new/high end build users aside...benchmark after benchmark shows this to be true.

RAM speed (DDR1-2-3) is yet another issue.
My DDR1-500 with a small 10Mhz OC still scores 1K points higher in Everest memory benchmarks in Read/Write/Copy over the -fastest- DDR2 RAM sold.
 

dragonsprayer

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above was main argument why amd single core cpu's where inferior to intel pentium - all tests are single or maybe dual app

try running 4-6 apps

q6600 is 3.6ghz is sweet set up, if can not get your system faster then 3.6 with dual core why waster your time. as far as the q9300 it is faster then a q6600

quad core is must for future proofing

[strike]i got banned for posting this[/strike], this video clearly shows 2 games running with all the background programs

Note to DS: You got "sidelined" for repeatedly posting links to your "store", after being warned by several Moderators (violation of ToS), and for being belligerent in your replies. Stop complaining about being banned for anything other than inappropriate advertising.
 

Zorg

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Uh, he's planning on keeping his system for 4-6 years. Does that affect your recommendation? I sure hope so.
 

ZOldDude

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A dual core with higher Mhz still serves you better...the fact is is alot less than 2X's the cost of a quad is just frosting on the cake.

See my post a few up that I was editing while you posted.
RAW CPU speed even with one core for almost all programs still wins.
DDR!-500 still beats the fastest DDR2 in Read/Write/Copy benchmarks.

I have been around from the early 1980's.
With all the "new" 32/64 bit CPU computers and the fact that I run the main computer (now one of seven on my home game LAN) 24/7/365....I have -never- had the main computers MB/PSU last more than two years with one excepton...PC Power & Cooling PSU's do in fact hold up.

Yes I still have a few "older" systems that are even still "alive" on the old AMD 500MHZ CPU...but they don't have that many -hours- on them.
It is the amount of hours a MB/PSU is running that dictates how many years they run....the caps in them dry out and the system goes down.

Some MB makers are now building MB's with "soild caps"...and charging a premium for them while in fact they cost less to build.
In any event they would outlive in usage hours a so called "normal" cap'ed MB.
 

Zorg

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I don't believe that is the norm. Maybe we should start a poll. I know plenty of people that are running systems that are 5-6 years old. Granted they are boat anchors but they are still their primary systems. Most people change their computers because they are dog slow in comparison to what's out there today and they want something fresh.

Multi-threaded apps/games are starting to take off and buying a dual core that you intend to keep as long as it lasts is just foolish.
 

ZOldDude

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Yeah you do that...start a Poll.
Forget what every benchmark ever made so far shows and ask opinion from the mass's.

My old 1 core server CPU's and DDR1 RAM still run rings around most of todays air cooled builds...and my dual core's best them.
Going to even todays fastest quads is TON's of cash down the drain...at this point in time.
Perhaps when the day comes that home office software and games USE 2-whatever cores comes to be then...and only then....will things change.
Untill then grab the fastest dual core you can get for the lowest price.
 

runswindows95

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I just went from a single core to a dual core within the last two months ( P4 631 to an e2200). Overall, I have notice a huge difference. Photoshop CS2 is much more responsive. I can run AVG and Windows Defender at the same time while running Power DVD. My advice is for a system to last longer than 3 years, I would go with a quad and probably 8GB of RAM, but at least 4GB.
 

blacksci

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I have to agree with Zorg, there are only a few games, but actually alot more apps out there that will take full advantage of 4 cores. Higher Mhz is nice for games that can use the extra speed, but there is a point of diminishing returns where that wont even benefit you. Once we see multithreaded games coming out, then 4 cores will rear its head and show that dual core was just a transitional phase, and people will start going quad even more then they were, because now they will have 2 cores getting used all the times, while us quad folks will still have 2 in reserve to run out background tasks, and anything else you would use. As for vista, it runs great on my computer, and as a guy who uses a dual boot OS I can say that I never see the diffrence between the 2. Sure benchmarks will show the diffrence, but they will also show the 50 mhz gain if i overclock my videocard, while not affecting what im visually seeing at all. If your going to run a Vista system, get a usb flashdrive, it offloads simple programs onto it, and thus frees up more ram. Although when running 4 gigs with a 32 bit version of vista, i never see my ram usuage past 23 %.

As a side note: Zolddude your a fool to base your opinion only on benchmarks, real life experiences will show you the harsh truth that a benchmark cannot. Most people use them only as a refrence, not as hard proven fact that this is the best thing out there, hate to say it but your sticking your foot in your mouth when you keep bringing that up. Also the e8400 that he is looking at is around the same price of a quad, he would be foolish to pass up more cpu power unless he wishes to overclock in a extreme fashion. My quad runs at 3.2 and i dont have a game yet that taxes it.
 

Zorg

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The E8500 is ~$280.00 and the Q9300 is ~$290.00. I'm sure you could squeeze a better OC out of the E8500 but not enough. In 5-6 years the even the quad cores will be anemic.

If one was going to upgrade in a year or so and use it strictly for gaming then you would have a point, but not 5-6 years with heavy multitasking.
 

ZOldDude

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Well Vista with 4GB of system RAM uses almost 1 full GB of RAM for the OS...all by it's self.
Then you have the "nasty" built in DRM and other things that slow it down (you will not notice on a modern/new high end build).

On XP Home OEM (I own a builders 2 disk set and used it from a month after XP was for sale)...
I can run all four (4) of my security programs (one blocks 1,163,367,835 IP #'s from connecting to my network),run 6 torrents and PLAY Frontlines:Fuel of War in the highest settings at the same time and NEVER use more than 59% of 2GB of ram all without lag.

That 59% of RAM @ 2GB's is just a bit over what Vista uses to RUN if you have 4GB of RAM.

I can say that my new dual cores also run -everything- far faster than the fastest quad @ over $1k can....and I paid $111 USD for them.

If your upgrade'n today and plan to upgrade in 3-5 years take the wasted $900 on that top end quad and put it into a CD untill then.
 

ZOldDude

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There are 3 types of people who "pimp" quad cores....

Those that have them as an upgrade from an old system and are truely stuned buy the preformance over the old/outdated system they had.

Next you have the masses who simply pariot what others say and have no real clue based on own use.

Lastly you have the Company Pimp who's job it is to visit every website/forum they can as often as they can and post enless BS about how much better things are if you just listen to them and spend 10X's the cost for a CPU than what you need or what any benchmark running "common" programs can benifite from.

My builds and those people that pay me to build for them kick ass without killing your bank account.
 

jimmysmitty

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Ok from experience I can tell you I have done that. I have ran about 5 different MMORPG's with antivirus going, WMP playing music, a video going and about 7 IE7's at the same time. Funny thing is that It barely would make the CPU come out of the SpeedStep of a 6x multiplier. Thats all on a Q6600 @ 3GHz. I don't know if a dual core will do that though. I doubt it as after a few programs that use the CPU it might get bogged down but need someone to test it really.

Now if you are going to be keeping this for 5-6 years and you do multitask then get the quad core. It will keep your rig good until then so that you can build a new one by then. Dual core will be more of the low end by that time period and we will have 32+ cores per CPU (that is if Sandy Bridge does go to 32 cores like Intel plans and whatever AMD plans does too).

Oh and Shadow703793, I did all that on Vista 32 when I had 2GB of ram. Vista preloads the programs you use the most so they load faster. But multitasking in Vista has been the same for me as in XP soo far.
 

englandr753

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Ive used a P4 3.0Ghz Prescott single core 478 socket cpu for nearly 5 years and used an Asus P4C800-E Deluxe motherboard. It was powered on 98% of the time and never failed me. I decided to go dual core with an AMD 6000+ system and wow, there was a big difference.

I sold that P4 CPU and mobo for 200.00 on ebay. Not a bad recovery for such a long useage.

I prematurely decided to go with the Q6600 CPU and the EVGA 780i motherboard. I plan to make this rig my next 5 year system so I am holding nothing back to get good quality parts for this setup.

I would almost bet that I can get 30-40% of my money back on ebay then as well for my next system.

I have to say that if your systems are only lasting for 2 years or less it has to be due to lack of cooling or lower quality parts. Things can break and thats no doubt but if you can never get a system to last more than two years you need to check one of the two issues I mentioned.

Being a user of single core, dual core and quad cores cpus I do recommend going to quad core now if you are planning to make your rig last for the next 5-6 years like I plan to do...
 

jimmysmitty

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Really.... is that so? So why is it that Vista only uses(when I close out the programs I have set to load on startup) 20% of my 4GB of ram? Kinda makes no sense to me if you say one thing but my PC say another and I am using Vista where as you are using XP.

Oh and BTW with Steam loaded and my Creative Labs Sound Card stuff loaded and my G15 gaming keyboard loaded and IE7 up its using 30% of my 4GB.
 

ZOldDude

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Based on that the E8500 is the better deal...a E8400 is a MUCH better deal @ $89 USD less for .16Ghz slow stock speed.
Both will do 3.8-4Ghz on stock volts given the MB and PSU.
The extra $89.99/90 USD saved pays for half of most high end MB's or $90 off a proper PSU (PC P&C 610 w/49 Amps on the 12Volt railfor $119 dirrect from them).

To be frank most of the MB/CPU combo's I have put together all reach the same OC as you can find in any report -but- I don't need to raise voltages becuse I use PC Power & Cooling PSU's which are far better built and regulated.
 

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