Quad core sounds great but is it really usefull or just for bragging rights?

Rob94hawk

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I'm still researching for the best cpu for a new build. Now the new rig will probably run Vista 64/2 Gigs ram/evga 8800GTS 640MB but I'm torn between dual E6750 and quad core Q6600. Oh, and I will be using onboard sound.

Now here is what is going to be running on the rig 24/7: Antivirus, AIM, skype video conferencing, itunes, IE7, and games (SIMS, Dawn of War) all on a 20" Dell 2001FP 1600x1200.

Can't really decide and I need your expertise and insight. Much appreciated.
 
Its can work for both, quads are good for just bragging rights. There is software that can make use of the extra cores, F@H, movie editing software, 3d aminmation and rendering software, there are a few others that I can think of at the moment. I think Crysis when it comes out will be able to utilize a quad core. It really depends on what kinda stuff your using. From what you listed it will probally be more bragging rights then actually useful.
 
Get the Q6600, it's the best bang for your buck right now and definitely not a "bragging right" component. That would be an Ultra 8800, or a triple SLi setup, or a Physx card, etc...
 
It all depends on the person and what they will be using it for... I get the upgrade bug pretty often, but as you can see from my sig, I've managed to resist it relatively well. There are times when I can definitely benefit from a quad core, but far more often than not, my X2 meets my needs. I do encode video every so often, and while it would be nice to have the processing be done in half the time, waiting doesn't bother me. I have several computers, one nearly identical to my main rig, so if I'm busy encoding on one, I can hop on the other and play a game if I wanted to.

Now, when the time comes that my rig cannot play the games I want to play at the settings I want to play them at... I'll upgrade. But yeah, it really is a case by case basis.
 
Get the Q6600, it's the best bang for your buck right now and definitely not a "bragging right" component. That would be an Ultra 8800, or a triple SLi setup, or a Physx card, etc...

It seems like a very good deal. But I also know the new intel 45 nm cpu's will be out next month dropping the prices. I'm very patient so it's no big deal.

Thanx for the help guys.
 
Actually though, your rig is pretty good already. You could just upgrade your ram and video card and you'll be set.
 
My Q6600 is no quicker than my old X2 4600+ for general Vista use (browsing web etc) But is much faster and more responsive for gaming. I would go with the E6750 personally and save yourself £50 or $100
 
I do not think it is just for bragging rights(well not the q6600). If found it very useful in photoshop...
 
For development, compiling, intensive database stuffs, virtual PC, etc (heavy work related activities), I find it useful. For general browsing, ms office, that kinda crap, any old CPU from 5+ years ago works just fine.
 
There are games that are coming out soon that are taking advantage of Quad Cores, such as UT3
 
Q6600 is just future upgrading/ value minded computer building.

Bragging would be doing what I did and getting a XEON x3220 just so all your benchmarks looks sweet.
 
If you do any sort of multi tasking the first time your quad hits 51% you'll be glad you have it
 
It also depends a lot on your upgrade cycle. If you upgrade every year a quad might not be worth it now (though I'd prob get it anyone bang/buck) and you might wait for the next cpus to come out.

If you upgrade every few years, they are definately worth it, as more and more apps will take advantage of 2+ cores. Also having 4 cores means you can do things that require 2-3 and something else that doesn't require much (web / folder browsing) and not notice any slowdowns. (EG: Photoshop batch processes, rendering, (un)raring, etc).
 
Now here is what is going to be running on the rig 24/7: Antivirus, AIM, skype video conferencing, itunes, IE7, and games (SIMS, Dawn of War) all on a 20" Dell 2001FP 1600x1200.

None of those will have any advantage from a quadcore whatsoever.
Future games *might* take advantage from quadcores, but we still don't know when and by how much. For instance, if a quadcore is about 20-25% faster than a dualcore of the same clockspeed, then a Q6600 and E6850 would still be pretty much tied.

It's also hard to give the 'future-proof' argument. Yes, it's very likely that eventually we will all be using 4 cores or more, and that software will all be aimed at such platforms aswell...
But when will this happen? You may have upgraded your system long before that ever happens.
I'd like to compare it to the 386 era. The 386 has been around since the mid 80s, but by the time 32-bit software became mainstream, most people had long upgraded to a 486 or even a Pentium... So most 386 CPUs have never actually seen any 32-bit code at all (including my own... by the time the first games became 32-bit, such as the original Doom, my 386 was already too slow and I had to get a 486).
Or more recently, the Athlon64. Like the 386, its primary feature should have been the 64-bit mode, but a lot of people here have probably already upgraded their Athlon64 at least once, without ever running any 64-bit code at all.

For me personally it's different. If I had to buy a CPU now, I'd go for the Q6600. I have plenty of uses for it.
Thing is, I bought an E6600, about a year ago... and back then the Q6600 was still way more expensive. You pay less for a Q6600 now than what I paid for my E6600 back then.

But for most people? Nah... I don't think most people would take advantage of more than two cores. It's a common misconception that running many applications requires many cores. Even a single core is perfectly capable of handling many applications, as long as all applications combined don't max out the resources. The only difference with a quadcore is that you have more resources. But you'd have to be able to max them out, and things like IE, Skype, AIM, AV or whatever don't. They are limited by various resources, such as memory speed, harddisk speed, network speed... but not CPU speed.

Things that DO take advantage are video encoding, audio processing, 3d rendering, various server/database tasks... Basically applications that aren't done 'instantly', but have to take time to process their jobs (and then only when they're optimized for multithreaded processing, or when you run multiple tasks at the same time... but that's the most common scenario these days)
 
None of those will have any advantage from a quadcore whatsoever.
Future games *might* take advantage from quadcores, but we still don't know when and by how much. For instance, if a quadcore is about 20-25% faster than a dualcore of the same clockspeed, then a Q6600 and E6850 would still be pretty much tied.

It's also hard to give the 'future-proof' argument. Yes, it's very likely that eventually we will all be using 4 cores or more, and that software will all be aimed at such platforms aswell...
But when will this happen? You may have upgraded your system long before that ever happens.
I'd like to compare it to the 386 era. The 386 has been around since the mid 80s, but by the time 32-bit software became mainstream, most people had long upgraded to a 486 or even a Pentium... So most 386 CPUs have never actually seen any 32-bit code at all (including my own... by the time the first games became 32-bit, such as the original Doom, my 386 was already too slow and I had to get a 486).
Or more recently, the Athlon64. Like the 386, its primary feature should have been the 64-bit mode, but a lot of people here have probably already upgraded their Athlon64 at least once, without ever running any 64-bit code at all.

For me personally it's different. If I had to buy a CPU now, I'd go for the Q6600. I have plenty of uses for it.
Thing is, I bought an E6600, about a year ago... and back then the Q6600 was still way more expensive. You pay less for a Q6600 now than what I paid for my E6600 back then.

But for most people? Nah... I don't think most people would take advantage of more than two cores. It's a common misconception that running many applications requires many cores. Even a single core is perfectly capable of handling many applications, as long as all applications combined don't max out the resources. The only difference with a quadcore is that you have more resources. But you'd have to be able to max them out, and things like IE, Skype, AIM, AV or whatever don't. They are limited by various resources, such as memory speed, harddisk speed, network speed... but not CPU speed.

Things that DO take advantage are video encoding, audio processing, 3d rendering, various server/database tasks... Basically applications that aren't done 'instantly', but have to take time to process their jobs (and then only when they're optimized for multithreaded processing, or when you run multiple tasks at the same time... but that's the most common scenario these days)

Games already use multi core as well as apps. If you want to run them and burn a dvd, virus scan, etc, well you can with a quad core. ;)
The price difference isnt that great so really why not? I will be upgrading in january proably and it will be a quad core. I like overkill that way I know I have enough. :p
 
Games already use multi core as well as apps.

I know, that's what I said, didn't I?
The point I was making was that there isn't much to gain with more than two cores, even if you do have multithreaded applications.

If you want to run them and burn a dvd, virus scan, etc, well you can with a quad core. ;)

You can do that with a single-core aswell. While dualcores do have some advantage over singlecores because for example interrupt-handling can be done in parallel with other applications, quadcores don't offer much more. Dualcores already have very smooth multitasking (even single-cores with HT do, for the same reason), quadcores don't improve that much, if at all.
Again, read my point about people thinking that multitasking == multicore, while we have been multitasking for decades with single cores. DVD burning, virusscanning etc aren't very CPU-intensive. As long as you have one core to handle the hardware interrupts, and one core to run your user applications, you're fine.
A quadcore won't be useful until you actually saturate both cores, which you won't with things like DVD burning or virusscanning, because they simply aren't CPU-intensive. They're I/O intensive, so you're better off with the I/O equivalent of multicore, like say a raid harddisk system, and dualchannel memory and such.

Again, as I say, there are very good reasons for using quadcores, but I just see all the wrong reasons being stated over and over again (DVD burning, virusscanning, IE, Skype etc).
 
True enough that harddrive virusscaning is very disk intensive and not very CPU intensive.

But peeps with Quads now have all sorts of processing power going to waste, so people have been trying to get active per-incoming packet viruscanning on their machines. Sort of like a super SPI or a firewall appliance with some hardware antivirus capability before the packet or file is effectively used or even touches the harddrive.
 
Scali2 is correct.Unless you do a lot of video editing,photoshop,3d rendering,dont bother with a quad.I do a ton of multi tasking,and quite a bit of video editing and encoding.

I find that my system is far more responsive with four cores then with two given the software I use.I did a lot of testing with different hardware,and found that for me,a quad with a Raptor and another large drive for storage was best.
 
There is a common misconception about multi-core systems when people say you can "do a virus scan, burn a dvd and play a game at the same time"

Simply having a dual or quad core processor isn't enough. Your hard drive configuration will have just a severe an impact as the amount of processing power you've got. You can have an 8 core processor, but if you're burning a DVD, doing a virus scan and playing a game all on the same hard drive, your game won't be very playable.
 
Unreal Tournament 3 demo with my new Q6600 is over 50 fps all the time.
Crysis beta with my old P4 3.6 was about 8fps with all options off.
I get over 40fps with every setting maxed with the Q6600.

When I bought my 8800GTS, I thought it was the best computer purchase I had ever made... Then I got the Q6600... :D
 
I know, that's what I said, didn't I?
The point I was making was that there isn't much to game with more than two cores, even if you do have multithreaded applications.



You can do that with a single-core aswell. While dualcores do have some advantage over singlecores because for example interrupt-handling can be done in parallel with other applications, quadcores don't offer much more. Dualcores already have very smooth multitasking (even single-cores with HT do, for the same reason), quadcores don't improve that much, if at all.
Again, read my point about people thinking that multitasking == multicore, while we have been multitasking for decades with single cores. DVD burning, virusscanning etc aren't very CPU-intensive. As long as you have one core to handle the hardware interrupts, and one core to run your user applications, you're fine.
A quadcore won't be useful until you actually saturate both cores, which you won't with things like DVD burning or virusscanning, because they simply aren't CPU-intensive. They're I/O intensive, so you're better off with the I/O equivalent of multicore, like say a raid harddisk system, and dualchannel memory and such.

Again, as I say, there are very good reasons for using quadcores, but I just see all the wrong reasons being stated over and over again (DVD burning, virusscanning, IE, Skype etc).

If the person has the money why not get something that can be overclocked and more future proof then a dual core?
This way if you do plan to use more cores, your not kicking yourself in the ass later.
I added 2 more 2g's of memory and all i do is game and browse because the memory was cheap. But now if I do plan on doing any photoshop stuff or video encoding, it will run better.
But people opinion of course vary. I cant wait for my quad core!
 
If all you do is games and surf the intertubes a dual core is better. the games will run faster on the core its using.
If you are creative or like to encode videos, the quad is better.
 
Unreal Tournament 3 demo with my new Q6600 is over 50 fps all the time.
Crysis beta with my old P4 3.6 was about 8fps with all options off.
I get over 40fps with every setting maxed with the Q6600.

When I bought my 8800GTS, I thought it was the best computer purchase I had ever made... Then I got the Q6600... :D

While there is no doubt at all that a Q6600 is many times power powerful than any P4, lets compare apples to apples... Either compare Crysis beta on both setups or UT3 with both setups... UT3 runs a lot better on my sytem than Crysis beta does, so that comparison is hardly an accurate depiction of the benefits of quad core in gaming. Not only are you comparing different games, but two completely different architectures as well.
 
Unreal Tournament 3 demo with my new Q6600 is over 50 fps all the time.
Crysis beta with my old P4 3.6 was about 8fps with all options off.
I get over 40fps with every setting maxed with the Q6600.

Yea, but you're comparing an ancient single-core architecture with the latest quadcore.
What you should be comparing is E6600 vs Q6600. Then the only difference is two extra cores. Everything else in the system is exactly the same. And you'll see that the E6600 will do over 50 fps all the time aswell. So the quadcore doesn't really add anything extra.
 
If the person has the money why not get something that can be overclocked and more future proof then a dual core?
This way if you do plan to use more cores, your not kicking yourself in the ass later.

This goes both ways.
What if you upgrade your system every 2-3 years, and in the next 2-3 years you won't be using enough software that takes advantage of a quadcore to make it worth the investment?
In that case you'd be better off with a dualcore, because they use less power, run less hot, and can generally be overclocked higher than their quadcore cousins.
You can always buy a quadcore next time you upgrade, and still be future-proof enough.

That's my point. It depends a lot on what kind of software you use. For me personally a quadcore would be a good investment, but for most people who just game, watch movies, burn some DVDs, surf the web etc... it isn't, and it probably won't be in the near future.
It's funny how people have these high hopes about quadcore gaming, while the current state of affairs is that 9 out of 10 games are still not even optimized for multicore at all. And the 10th game gains very little from two or more cores, even though it is optimized for it. I should know, I optimize software for multicore myself. I've posted one of my routines here a while ago: http://www.hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1149750
You'll see that it gains quite a bit from a second core (or even hyperthreading), but going to 4 cores, it's nowhere near as spectacular... especially if you factor in that dualcores can usually run a few hundred MHz higher than quadcores. This means that the maximum performance of a dualcore and quadcore in this multithreaded routine is pretty much equal. They just achieve it differently. One gets the extra performance from using more threads at a time, the other from running the threads faster.

And this routine is a relatively good case for multithreading. Most games are not as parallelizable as this routine.
 
My sig system is doing 62 fps cap in UT3 demo with everything max at res 1600x1200.

Since Gamespot is not offering Crysis Beta, I have no way to test it. Does anyone know approximately what frame rate will I get in Crysis Beta with everything max (probably not everything to max, just reasonably high) at res 1600x1200? I will be happy if I can get over 60 fps in Crysis.
 
Since Gamespot is not offering Crysis Beta, I have no way to test it. Does anyone know approximately what frame rate will I get in Crysis Beta with everything max (probably not everything to max, just reasonably high) at res 1600x1200? I will be happy if I can get over 60 fps in Crysis.

Not a chance, I guess. On my E6600@6850 with 8800GTS I get about 25-30 fps in 1280x1024 with high detail and no AA.
The retail version may be a bit quicker, but 60+ fps in 1600x1200 just seems out of reach with today's hardware.
 
I just moved to quad from a 3200+venice for the value. My biggest surprise was in the newest version of dbPowramp Music Converter and seeing it use all 4 cores at once. Converting a CD from FLAC to ALAC use to take 10 minutes now it takes 00:1:30.
 
I wanted bragging rights, and a cool name, so I got the X3210. Just sounds cool: X-minus... 3... 2... 1... 0! BlastOff!

-bZj
 
None of those will have any advantage from a quadcore whatsoever.
Future games *might* take advantage from quadcores, but we still don't know when and by how much. For instance, if a quadcore is about 20-25% faster than a dualcore of the same clockspeed, then a Q6600 and E6850 would still be pretty much tied.

This is especially ironic as I am using Winrar at this very moment, and earlier I was playing the Crysis Beta. In the last hour I've used all 4 cores simultaneously several times for several reasons. But yeah, it might be useful in the future.:rolleyes: Oh yeah, I played some World in Conflict earlier as well.

(Not to mention that I can run my quad at 3.2ghz with only 1.18v and it runs about as cool at that speed as an E6400 at 3.2ghz with 1.45v. This won't be the result of everyone, but most G0's run lower voltages than their dual core counterparts and can run nearly as cool in some extreme cases).
 
I love my Q6600, for the first time since my 486 in '94 I finally have a computer that for pretty much everything I want to do says "oh, is that all you want to do?", and at 3.3GHz I figure it's roughly 3x faster than my old Athlon 64 X2 4200+ @ 2.75GHz
 
This is especially ironic as I am using Winrar at this very moment, and earlier I was playing the Crysis Beta. In the last hour I've used all 4 cores simultaneously several times for several reasons. But yeah, it might be useful in the future.:rolleyes: Oh yeah, I played some World in Conflict earlier as well.

(Not to mention that I can run my quad at 3.2ghz with only 1.18v and it runs about as cool at that speed as an E6400 at 3.2ghz with 1.45v. This won't be the result of everyone, but most G0's run lower voltages than their dual core counterparts and can run nearly as cool in some extreme cases).

I've heard G0's are the ones to get but it's a crap shoot trying to get one.
 
This is especially ironic as I am using Winrar at this very moment, and earlier I was playing the Crysis Beta

Oh really?
I have two things to say to that:
1) Winrar is mostly limited by I/O, not CPU. It may be able to use 4 threads on a quadcore, but it won't be much faster unless you have extremely fast memory and harddisks, see also here:
http://www.tomshardware.com/2007/10/08/parallel_processing/page6.html
As you can see, the quadcore is only fractionally faster than the dualcore at the same speed. A dualcore at 2.66 GHz would be cheaper AND faster in winrar.
The difference between singlecore and dualcore is much larger, but it can't scale much further without faster I/O

2) It's common knowledge that the Crysis beta doesn't take advantage of more than two cores. The final might, but still you have the same issue as winrar... How much do you actually gain, and wouldn't a faster dualcore be better value for money?

In the last hour I've used all 4 cores simultaneously several times for several reasons.

Yes, but that's not the point, is it?
Obviously when you have 4 or more threads running at the same time (which you often do), you will be using all 4 cores on a quadcore processor.
This however means nothing.
If all cores are used at 50% or less, then a dualcore would have been able to handle the same workload without a problem.
What you fail to understand is that using an extra core is not the same as getting more performance.

Perhaps the problem is that most people upgrade from an X2 or Pentium 4/D to a quadcore. Sure it is a lot faster then... but a fast Core2 Duo is an incredible deal faster than any other singlecore or dualcore aswell. You would really have to try both to see how little quadcores actually do currently.
 
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