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Old September 10, 2010, 04:38 AM
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Question Quad-core CPU: do I really need one?

Today most of new gaming computers come with quad core CPU. Those are some power hungry devices and are quite expensive. My doubt is that if all PC games really make any use of quad cores or even dual cores. Not many games do, no?
But for Crossfire or SLI pcs with 2 or more GPUs, does it have some use? or a fast 3200Mhz dual core can do the job, for less money and power? Should I think into upgrading toa quad core CPU, and if do so, what's the gain?
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Old September 10, 2010, 04:41 AM
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Not really needed and neither is overclocking. I still run an E6300 and a 8800GTX in my main PC.

If you have the cash and want all the bells and whistles then go QUad, etc.. but otherwise dual will do fine.
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Old September 10, 2010, 04:55 AM
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Go out and buy a Phenom X2 555 and any AMD Mobo that supports ACC or core unlocking and unlock that baby to a Quad for the price of a dual. Very simple to do and if you're lucky and get a good CPU it'll run stable as a quad. Worst case you have one of the better dual cores out there at 3.2GHz. Can't go wrong and you can do so if you're on a budget.
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Old September 10, 2010, 05:00 AM
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So a quad core has any use? Or only it's for "Eh look at mah rig, it has six triliion cores, and its overclocked to 1 GHZ!" .
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Old September 10, 2010, 05:15 AM
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Some applications are now making good use of quad cores, however the majority don't. If you're going to be encoding video, yes, you will benefit from extra cores, same goes for heavy image manipulation.

Personally, rather than focussing on individual apps, I see multi-cores being more useful for the way folks are using their PCs these days.... Multi-tasking can benefit from the extra cores, but again, much of that depends on how cpu intensive those tasks are. If you want to encode video in the background while still being able to perform all your normal PC functions, you might benefit from quad vrs dual.

We had this exact same discussion when dual cores first came out.... and it did take a few years for PC apps to universally start taking advantage of the exra core, but eventually they did. OTOH, coding apps for multi-cores is not as simple as saying "use more cores", and as such, there is an upper limit to the benefits for 95% of apps.
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Old September 10, 2010, 06:48 AM
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There also might be a reduced performance hit in real world settings where we typically have crap running in the background. So if you have a quad, and your game is optimized for dual, then you'll have two spare cores managing your MSN, or anti-virus nonsense. Then again that's still a minor advantage, a highly clocked dual core wouldn't really stutter much in that scenario either.
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Old September 10, 2010, 07:07 AM
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When I built a quad core earlier in the year, I was quite surprised to find that several old applications were using all 4 cores - in particular, Bryce 3D an old 3D rendering program, will use as much processing power as it can get.

I wondered about that and found out that Windows 7 was programmed to make use multiple cores. There's also Open Source programs like Apophysis (fractal rendering) that will use all cores. And of course F@H is specifically geared for multi-core. But some programs won't or don't need it, so you won't see a significant boost.

So yes - if you have Windows 7, it will take advantage of multiple cores.
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Old September 10, 2010, 07:15 AM
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OK. But do you think that a dual core CPU can handle multiple GPUs?
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Old September 10, 2010, 08:43 AM
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My main rig used to be a e8400 at 4.5 with two GTX 260's in SLI and I thought moving to a quad core i7 would not really help at all. I eventually did and I saw added FPS in the games I like to play. ie Dirt2, BFBC2 etc. I was very surprised to see the increase and happy to say the least. I am now using two 470's in SLi and would not install them into a dual core rig.

IMO I would not build a new gaming rig without a quad core especially if multiple gpus are going to be used.
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Old September 10, 2010, 11:03 AM
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generally speaking? not needed. gaming wise? save a title or two(at the present moment) not really.
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