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The Dual-Core vs. Quad-Core debate

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ZOldDude

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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?
Eh...because 20 % of 4GB is 40% of 2GB and my XP system runs all 4 security programs (one blocks 1,163,367,835 IP #'s),six (6) torrents AND plays Frontlines:Fuel of War WHILE running Ausus Probe II to see that it is using -less than- 19% over what Vista uses to -sit idle on desktop- with 4GB's of ram (under 59% of 2GB of RAM).

It all has to do with Vista's built in DRM and wanting to load the whole OS into RAM even the parts you will never be using....just so it's there IF you ever want to use it.
Very wasteful RAM usage and the reasons Vista can never be as fast as XP....even more so if you have Vista 64 bit as it "slows down" to emulate any 32 bit program it runs and gives up any 64 bit security in doing so (see www.grc.com Security Now podcasts for the reasons why).
 

blacksci

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Lol, sure vista is slower, it has to reallocate the ram you use to whatever app your running, that takes time. 23 % of ram usage from a total of 3.5 gigs is actually less then the gig you are claiming it uses, and thats on my quad core. Also if you think that people just run around getting paid by intel to spout off about the great benefits of the quad, your on crack. Intel doesnt have to pay anyone to say that, we have the core ourselves, and speak from first hand experience, please get real here, intel has far better marketing strategies then to pay people to falsely blog about there proccessors. Also if you build a new system, i guess thats "top end" but not really, its what people are upgrading to now. I understand the need to justify the fact that you are unwilling to upgrade, are cheap, and cant truly understand the performance diffrence, thats your perogative. But please, for the love of god, stop trying to fool everyone else also. BTW you are the parrot here, you base your opinion off of other opinons and benchmarks, i think that says enought by itself.
 

ZOldDude

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Nobody has to agree with me....nobody at all.
I just state the facts as every security site/benchmark program and my decades of working with -and building my own circuts- of computter hardware show.

I -must- be wrong and your correct is what your saying?
Whatever.
I know for a fact what works and what does not work and I am paid by people who want that "bang-per-buck-" so I really don't give a rat's-pink-ass what the mass's think if they can't read tech reports or follow 5th grade logic.

As far as the TOP end system no matter the cost 5 years from now vrs a system of that day and time it will be....5 years behind the time.
But I bet it will still -at least- meet any "min specs" for any game made....becuase software companies want the product to run on as many systems (customers) as possible.

@blacksci....
If your trying to say something try putting it in english and get to the point rather than rant.
 

conquerz

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Actually there is very little difference around here in UK. The E8500 and Q9300 (the ones I'm interested in) are almost exactly the same price wherver I've looked. This is the cheapest price I could find without looking much:

Q9300 £179.47
E8500 £178.42
 

yipsl

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IMHO, a quad core is a good idea if you multitask. Now, I can't see playing a game and watching a movie, but I can see burning a data DVD, bittorrents and background apps while playing a game.

The only reason I'm not running out and getting a B3 like I originally wanted to, is that Deneb should be so much better and I can wait till December. Until then, a dual core will suffice.

If I had not built an Athlon X2 system in 2007, and if I were still stuck with a P4 2.8 Northwood, then I would skip dual core and go quad this spring. Anyone stuck with a P4, Pentium D, or Athlon 64 system who's considering a new build should do research beyond simple game benchmarks and try to guesstimate when a quad will really be needed during the expected life of their system. Anyone with a C2D or an Athlon X2 needs to decide whether now, or next spring, is the ideal time to go quad core.

If you upgrade CPU every year to keep up with the jones and overclock like crazy, then a faster dual core might be all you need right now. If you keep a CPU for 3 or more years, then I recommend a quad core, but wait for the better Intel Penryns over Q6600. It's a harder decision with AMD as the B3's aren't that much better than the B2's and Deneb will bring so much more to the table.
 

someguy7

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Step 1. Shop around and get a GO Q6600 for a good price.
Step 2. Overlock to a modest 3GHZ
Step 3. Enjoy.
Step 4. LOL @ people saying single and simlar clocked dual cores are better
 

ZOldDude

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Yeah thats the bitch about buying parts.
The prices change both by local and even the day of the week.

@ $180-189 UK that is ALOT more than US yet may be a good deal in your economy over other part near it.

IE: A Q6600 is $176'ish in the US....if the price was the same in the UK it -should be- about $90'ish UK give or take...odds are it is not.
Just becuase your LB is worth more than a Dollar does not work out the same in buying power if the item is imported.

Yeah I know it's sucks and life cheats us one and all.
 

scyle

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By the time a software is optimised for quads, it would be sensible to assume that the current quads wont even be sold anymore.
 

Zorg

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The question is, when they are fully optimized for quad cores would you rather have a dual core or a quad core?
 

Zorg

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I don't want to get in a battle with you, I really don't give a crap. I have a Q6600 @ 3G/1333 and that's all I need. I don't even care if the OP understands, I personally think he answered his own question anyway. If he doesn't know what to get by now, then he never will.

Use what you want.

Enjoy.
 

conquerz

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I agree with you that most software and games aren't optimised for quadcores yet.

But lets make a "package" that's multi-core. In this package, we have couple of resource hungry games and couple of resource hungry applications. Lets run this "package". So would this package perform better on a dualcore or quadcore? That is the real debate in this thread.
 

DXRick

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There is a big difference between multi-processing and multi-tasking.

Having multiple programs open at once that you switch between is multi-tasking. They will use up memory, but only the active one will actually be using the CPU. This is like having Excel running and then switching over to Word or IE. Excel won't be doing anything when it is not the active application. Most windows programs are event driven, which means that they only go into action when an event occurs, like when you type something or use the mouse. Multiple CPUs does not help much here. Wouldn't Crysis stop processing when it was no longer the active program?

Having multiple programs open where at least one is performing a task is different. If you start a virus scan, play music with Windows Media Player, and then start using Word, you are multi-processing. Also, multi-processing can occur within a single application that uses more than one thread at a time (like how Word uses a background thread to for its autospell check). In these situations, multiple CPUs will really help, but multi-threaded applications need to use various syncing and locking techniques to avoid data clashes.

However, there still are snags. If more than one process (or thread) attempts to access the hard drive, the OS will have to ensure they don't clash and cause corruption. So running anti-virus while doing something else that uses the HD (like encoding a 500MB file or reading a music file) will still cause slow downs, unless it is scanning drive C: while the encoding is accessing drive D:. RAID can help, but then you really need hardware RAID with miltiple hard drives to make a noticeable difference.

The mainframe world is much more advanced with these concepts. PCs are still pretty much made for doing one thing at a time. The biggest exception is a server that can use multiple PCs and hard drive clusters to spread out the work.

So, quads perform best with applications that make use of multiple threads to perform a lengthy process, like Photoshop filters on large images and video encoding. Using multiple threads in a game is limited because of the syncing and locking issues, and the fact that they basically need to do a lot of work in a very short amount of time (once every 30th of a second in a 30 FPS game).

The PC bus architecture needs a redesign. PCI 2.0 slots were added, but the benefits are non existent because of some other bottleneck. Memory speeds increase, but with little noticeable difference. The HD is still the slowest component in the system, and SSDs will get faster and cheaper.

Trying to prepare for the future and "future-proof" your next PC is kinda fruitless right now (IMHO). AMD and Intel are working on new architectures. I believe that the PC will go through dramatic changes in the next 4 years. So, get what you think is necessary for the applications you want to run now, but do so knowing you will likely want an entire new PC in 4 years.

I am planning to use Photoshop for digital photography and Visual Studio 2008 and SQL Server for programming. THerefore I am waiting for the Q9450/Q9550 to become available. Meanwhile I am plugging away on my P4 3.0 Northwood system that I built 3 years ago... :bounce:
 

conquerz

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Thanks DXRick. That was informative. I think right now I need a dualcore E8400/E8500 but for future proof I need a quadcore Q6600/Q9300. I am trying to figures out when the performance overlap between dualcore and quadcore will happen (i.e. when quadcores will overtake dualcores in most activities). If it's more than 2.5 years, then its not worth getting the quadcores yet since 2.5 later (i.e. 5 years from now), I can get an even better quadcore or even an eight-core when I really need it!

Thanks to everyone else too for their input in this thread.
 

Maximus_Delta

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People have their Office apps open, are encoding video, with 2 games running, 3 HD videos playing, while browsing the web, video conferencing and listening to music.

Makes for an interesting tech demo but it's just plain silly.
 

blacksci

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@ Zolddude, umm, last time i checked, i speak english fine, im just answering to mutilple points in your mutilple threads, sorry its too much for you to understand. So here i go again....
1.benchmarks are made for refrence, not to reflect a actual user experience, i.e. a os can only run so fast, and regardless of what speed your runnin your proccessor at, its only going to run so fast, not so hard to understand. should be pretty easy to understand.
Next time up your game to highschool to college level, thats where most of us are at, and why you arent getting the point everyone is trying to convey to you.

@Maximus
yeah i know its ridiculous, the point here was to show the apps you can have open and still get a good user experience, not that we actually run like that all the time, ok im guilty of opening 2 games at once, but hey thats how i roll, since i can.

@ DXrick even if you arent actively running that app at that precise moement doesnt mean it is not using the cpu, when i alt+tab out of multiplie items as i before mentioned my cpu usage is still the same, unfortunately it isnt as cut and dry as im not using the program, so there is nothing to process, it still is processing the app for when you alt+tab into the app, or else it would simply lock up on you.
 

anton

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Just my 2c.

I have a Q6600 currently clocked at 3.5ghz, 4GB Ram, Vista 64, 8800gt. I currently use it for Microsoft Flight Sim X mostly. Very CPU intensive game and multithreaded. Maxes out all cores for extended periods during gameplay, and without question is the better way to go for this game.

So I'd say it really depends on which games/apps you are wanting to use.

Also, for future proofing, it is pretty clear that any decent developer who is going to push the envelope, is going to take the fact that multi cores are becoming more and more prevalent, and is going to get the extra hardware performance they need by writing multithreaded apps. I would be very surprised to see games from 2009 coming out without multithread capable code, and in that case, it is clear that an equivalently clocked quad core is going to provide substantially better performance.
 

bobloadmire

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Dude, you need to check some xp vs Vista multitasking benchies.

Vista handles multiple open programs a lot better than xp. With a lot of the Creative Sweet apps open on xp, there were some delays in switching, but vista 32 bit seems to run smoother, and i saw some benchies to back it up, 4gb here. You guys do know that most of vistas extra ram usage is superfetch right? as soon as you open up some ram hogging apps, vista makes room by clearing the superfetch cache.
if i can find the benchies ill post them.

I know i know, proof or it never happened.

4gb Q6600 oc'd to 3.1 ghz here. After Effects is like butter on vista.
 

bobloadmire

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hey what are your settings on that overclock.

i have a G0 stepping and i can't get past 3.1 on my Gigabyte DS3. I have a Scythe Ninja with 3 120mm fans, my temps are great. I have DDr800 ram. So my devider is 2.5 i think, but if i drop it to 2.0 so i can boost the fsb i get errors, even with propor voltage increased to 1.4. can''t figure this thing out. like a fsb 400 wall or something.
 

JAYDEEJOHN

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Its too early to really see the benefits of quads. Only if youre running certain apps do you see improvement. And those are rare. MS and Intel got a huge write up awhilr ago about investing 20 million USD for the advancement on multithreading. Thats pathetic. What it all comes down to is money. The extra 90 to 100 bucks can be used elsewhere. The benches show that a higher clocked cpu is by far the best way to go. Hope for the future for multitthreading, with a 20 million dollar investment. Disappointing. I see people recommend a quad killer diller that hardly benefits the average user. I see cpu companies heading that way, yet I see very little for true usage. Granted, at the same price points a quad is better if you dont want the best speeds. A sacrifice, which others seem to just let go as if its nothing, here on an enthusiast site. Unbelievable. OK, NOT having the fastest rig is desirable? Im not talking pie in the sky, someday 5 to 6 years maybe down the raod. Im talking currently here. Everyone here knows theres no such thing as future proofing, yet here we are, again, slower, hardly truly usable in todays real world usage, more expensive, slower in most gaming scenarios, a dead end of life in at least one manufacturer, more heat, more power usage, and all hinged on a promise of the future. Man.....
 

yipsl

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Like I tried to point out many times (but probably failed), fastest is relative. Bragging rights for the best overclock, go dual core. That certainly helps in games. For those who do more than games, then a quad that's clocked slower can still be faster.

My wife's an example. I can still put a B3 quad or triple core on her ASUS 690G and she'll see benefits immediately because she uses 3D modelling and other graphics programs that use more than two cores. She often uses those programs while also downloading anime torrents. When she takes a break, she'll play Morrowind, HOMM 3, 4 or 5 or Fate (her game requirements aren't as vigorous as mine).

I'm not sure I'll see benefits since I mostly play LOTR Online, The Witcher, Oblivion, some Morrowind and the same Heroes of Might and Magic games she plays. I'll sometimes burn a data DVD or download anime to my system too, but she's the one with several terabytes of space for video files, not me.

If I played Supreme Commander, or Microsoft Flight Simulator X, then I'd benefit from a quad core. It would be faster than many higher clocked dual cores. I've often said that games that benefit from 3 or 4 cores will be out between December 2008 and December 2009, but that's based on hopes that Spore, the next Elder Scrolls, Fallout 3 or the next Might and Magic or HOMM will be optimized to benefit from quads. I've also assumed that newer FPS that other people play will use more cores in 9 months when Nehalem and Deneb arrive.

My assumptions on when games will benefit directly from quad cores might be off by a year, it might not happen till December 2010, but I still think that if anyone wants a system to last for the next 3 years, then a quad core is the best choice, unless they really only play games and don't do much in the background. Then, I still think they'll benefit from a quad in 2 years, so their fast dual core now will not only be no longer fast, it will be lagging during it's last year of use because it doesn't have those two extra cores.

As is, I don't think even a Q6600, 9750 or 9850, let alone the Penryns, will lag as much as even a 3.0 Wolfie in 3 years. If I'm wrong, then I'll be surprised that developers are so lazy that they won't take advantage of what's becoming a large segment of the PC market (and not just enthusiast market either).



Granted, B3's are 125 watts, and Q6600's are either 105 or 95 watts, but what's 95 watts vs. 65 in a real world situation? What's the thermals for Penryn? As is, if someone does a temporary dual core build today, and then goes Deneb or Nehalem this time next year, I think they'll both be in the 65 watt range. We really are in a transition period, where quads are delivering performance and not just showing a future promise -- except in most games out now that started development 3 years or more ago.

 

Amiga500

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I'm one of the few that would happily use 16 cores right now!




There are games coming out in the near future that run over 3 threads IIRC, the names might be mentioned in the tri-core threads - anyway, in that case, a quad would run better than a dual.



I agree with you that, when running one solitary (average) desktop program in isolation, a higher clocked dual will get you more than a lower clocked quad. If you want to do any sort of multi-tasking, like encode/rip video while gaming, a quad is def the way to go.


AMD's overdrive does raise an interesting possibility though - you can clock up 1 of your cores for gaming, while dropping the rest off to reduce the heat needing dissipated. Although Phenoms cannot currently match up to higher clocked core2 quads.
 

JAYDEEJOHN

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The reason I posted above was because alot of people go around talking all this "less power, better performance" stuff, then they turn around and recommend a quad for gaming. Sure, we can hope the future holds for better optimisation of multi threading in games, but currently it just isnt true. And sure theres folks out there that use multi threaded apps, and for them, obviously a quad is mostly a better config. But most people here use their rigs for gaming, and as of now , I can name more games that benefit from a higher clocked, cooler, more ocable cpu than a quad. And by putting the saved monies by buying a dual, you have more options of a better gpu. And, as I mentioned above, the current quads are EOL anyways, so even for a 5 to 6 years situation, its close to dead end anyways. Maybe save the money and go with the newer arches coming out (Nehalem,Deneb) To me theres alot more to a answer than in most circumstances the band aid answer of just to get a quad to future proof yourself
 

Yeah, apparently the new Adobe Photoshop etc are becoming optimized for Vista x64:
http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,144126/article.html

 

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