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  • Curious about multi cores.

    Hi guys I was just sitting around today bored and was taking a browse at various computer components and was wondering if any one can explain to me a little about duo cores and quad cores.

    Firstly is a 2.4ghz duo core exactly 2x better than a 2.4ghz single core (remember big noob your speaking to) ?

    Second question, do you have to put much work into these multi cores, or is it all behind the scenes like. If I had a duo core and wanted each core to run a different part of a game (to share the load) would I have to program it to do this, or would it instictively pick this up and from the set off and start sharing applications between the two cores?

    I guess my last question is would a duo core make much difference on the performance of older generation games like CSS and BF2, or is it only these newer titles that make the most of this technology ?

    Sorry I know these must sound pretty basic questions, and i hope some one can give me some easily understood answers.



    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    Winston Churchill

  • #2
    Re: Curious about multi cores.

    I'm no expert, but as I understand it, for an application to take advantage of both cores it has to be coded to do such, which most games aren't. I think a few are though (UT3 if I'm not mistaken?). The advantage of dual cores supposedly comes during multitasking, for example, if you were batch processing photos in photoshop one core could handle it and playing BF2 the other core could handle it. I think.

    Someone else can answer this way better than I can I'm sure.
    "No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country.
    He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country."

    - Attributed to General George Patton, Jr.

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    • #3
      Re: Curious about multi cores.

      1. It's not exactly 2x better. It's just twice the number of logical processors.
      2. Since it's two processors, you can do two things at once. However, games have to be programmed to take advantage of it. Otherwise, it's running on one processor. Newer games will be focusing on taking advantage though as multi-core systems become the standard in desktops.
      3. Older games can still take advantage. Even though it'll use one processor, the other one can handle other programs running in the background. The processor that the game is running on will give more attention to the game. On top of that, it's an old game running on newer hardware. It'll be a performance boost just from that alone.

      If you still aren't quite clear about how it works, think of a group project for school. Each team member is a processor and can do several things just like a computer processor. The problem is getting two people to do one task. You'd think it's faster but it isn't unless some agreement (software design) between the two people (the processors) can make the job (the game) more efficient.

      - It's who you game with.

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      • #4
        Re: Curious about multi cores.

        So say would it be possible to with a duo core to say have Obivion running on one core and all the minial task a computer runs on the other? If so how would this be accomplished?

        Thank you for your help in explaining this to me.



        "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
        Winston Churchill

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        • #5
          Re: Curious about multi cores.

          Originally posted by † Disciple † View Post
          Hi guys I was just sitting around today bored and was taking a browse at various computer components and was wondering if any one can explain to me a little about duo cores and quad cores.

          Firstly is a 2.4ghz duo core exactly 2x better than a 2.4ghz single core (remember big noob your speaking to) ?

          It would only be 2X better if the program/app was written to use all cores. An example of this is DVD Shrink and Crysis. When I play Crysis, I can watch my Core usage monitor in my 2nd display, and all 4 cores are running at about 65%. If I was on a dual core or a single core, it would me maxed out at 100%.
          When I play BF though, there is usually 1 core that is running like 75%, and the others are at like 20%.
          Lots of people poopoo quads and constantly point out that most games don't support quads, and that is true, but only for now. It is a chicken and egg thing all over. There are not many multithreaded programs because there are not many multi-core systems, and there are not many multi-core systems because there are not many multi-threaded programs.
          THAT IS CHANGING!!
          Since Intel put out the q6600 at such a cheap price, and it is selling so well, there is finally some change in the chicken and egg problem, with tons of multi-core systems now out there, which means developers know there is an installed base to take advantage of their extra work in multi-threading a program.
          YEAH!!!!!!!!!
          Also, while BF doesn't use but 1 core now, I can do anything else with my computer I want, while still playing the game. The biggest bottleneck now for me is my harddrives. They can only access so much data at once. But for example, I regularly keep Teamspeak, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Fraps, Steam, X-fire, and BF2 (actually Reality Mod, which is a bigger resource hog than vanilla) and what ever else I want all running at the same time.
          I love being able to alt-tab out of game while I am waiting to respawn and check my e-mail or to see if there are any new posts on Engadget.com, etc. BF


          Second question, do you have to put much work into these multi cores, or is it all behind the scenes like. If I had a duo core and wanted each core to run a different part of a game (to share the load) would I have to program it to do this, or would it instinctively pick this up and from the set off and start sharing applications between the two cores?
          Right now, the program pretty much does it all for you. You can't pick what seperate parts of a game go to which core.
          But that is about to change some. For instance, there is a new game called Alan Wake, that looks absolutely stunning, and really needs a quad core to run all the eye candy. This is because it was written by the devs to use the different cores for seperate elements of the game. So the AI runs from 1 core, the weather effects from another, the textures and lighting from another, etc. That is not the exact set up, but just from what I can recall from a demo from like E3 show last year.
          EDIT: FOUND THE VIDEO, really good, check this link
          http://www.gamescheatcodes.co.uk/Mov...elquadcore.htm
          More and more devs are going to start doing this. Dual cores have been out for what, like 2-3 years now, so the install base for at least those is huge


          I guess my last question is would a duo core make much difference on the performance of older generation games like CSS and BF2, or is it only these newer titles that make the most of this technology ?
          Kind of answered that above.

          Sorry I know these must sound pretty basic questions, and i hope some one can give me some easily understood answers.
          Not a problem. The only way you learn is by asking.
          Here are some really good links from my bookmarks:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_Core_2
          Read the short part in the Kentsfield section, but here is a snip
          "Furthermore, multi-threaded games (see Crysis and Gears of War) benefit from the quad-core CPUs[30], because — as Cervat Yerli of Crytek said — four cores will make for better frame rates and gameplay since audio, physics and AI and other things are all offloaded to separate cores."

          Here is a good thread on what games can use quads (I am glad someone there finally mentioned GRAW2. I had a Ventrillo arguement with an old sqad mate about it being multithreaded, and he kept swearing about the devs never saying it was, I kept looking over at my usage meter and it showing all 4 cores running at 60% while in game.
          http://forums.overclockers.co.uk/sho...4#post10984224

          Finally, here are 2 excllent articles over at tweakguides.com that are worth a read
          The Future of PC Gaming
          http://forums.tweakguides.com/showth...=multithreaded

          Why multithreaded games are so rare?
          http://forums.tweakguides.com/showth...=multithreaded

          Notice though that the 2 articles posted above started a long time ago, in 2006, for one of them, which is ancient compared to what has happened in those 2 years.

          Anyway, hope that answers some questions.
          Good news is the new quads from Intel are due next month or early April, and are going to stay the same price but get a bump in power while still using less power and running cooler. That is called a win-win-win in my book. :) :) :)

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          • #6
            Re: Curious about multi cores.

            Originally posted by † Disciple † View Post
            So say would it be possible to with a duo core to say have Obivion running on one core and all the minial task a computer runs on the other? If so how would this be accomplished?
            Typically it's done behind the scenes for you. You don't have to mess with it at all. If you wanted to, open the Windows Taskmanager, select the process, right click and choose "set affinity". Here you can assign how many cores a process should be allowed to use.

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            • #7
              Re: Curious about multi cores.

              I just ordered ArmA: Gold edition on Friday, and was just looking up some stuff on ArmA 2 that is supposed to be out this year, and saw this:

              "Dual core / multi core optimizations

              The advent of multiple cores means a real challenge for any developer. We identify this as one of the main possible areas to achieve a higher frame rate in our engine but we also know this is not going to be a walk in the park.

              The switch to dual / multi core technology is a very big change, hardly comparable to anything computers have gone through during the last ten years. While some parallel technologies were already developed even some 30 years ago, it never became part of mainstream practice and the whole development chain is completely unprepared for it (including programmers education). Still, we are confident ArmA 2 will be able to bring significant improvement in this area. We are aiming for a mix of fine-grained and coarse-grained parallelism, similar to the way most other game developers seem to do. What we would like to see is better frame rate, smarter AI, and more units, however it is too soon to be able to really promise anything in this respect until the technology is implemented and well tested. "

              LINKS

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              Stoop and you'll be stepped on; stand tall and you'll be shot at.

              -Carlos A. Urbizo-

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              • #8
                Re: Curious about multi cores.

                Well thank you guys for answering my questions, I'll be reading through those links Bamboo, Cheers.



                "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
                Winston Churchill

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Curious about multi cores.

                  Originally posted by Iamthefallen View Post
                  Typically it's done behind the scenes for you. You don't have to mess with it at all. If you wanted to, open the Windows Taskmanager, select the process, right click and choose "set affinity". Here you can assign how many cores a process should be allowed to use.
                  Just remember that some apps will crash if you set core affinity to 1, so those apps will need to be on both (or quad) cores.
                  |TG-18th| Acreo Aeneas
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                  • #10
                    Re: Curious about multi cores.

                    Originally posted by Bamboo View Post
                    ArmA 2 that is supposed to be out this year, and saw this:

                    "Dual core / multi core optimizations

                    The advent of multiple cores means a real challenge for any developer. We identify this as one of the main possible areas to achieve a higher frame rate in our engine but we also know this is not going to be a walk in the park.

                    . "
                    Read: Be ready for a slew of patches again :madsmile: Not knocking them as they have stayed very dedicated to their community. I have never seen a game get that many patches that wasn't a mod to an existing game. Arma 2 has huge potential but is going to need tonns of optimization to run well. The game is just so massive that it makes some computers cry :row__738:

                    Back on topic I'm still a little hesitant with my next upgrade to go with quad core. I don't have a large budget and so need to spend wisely. Everything I have read so far shows that clock for clock a faster dual core will perform better then a quad for games (not including the quad optimised games). I know one day quad core will be utilised in the main stream I just don't know if this upcoming build will need it or not?

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                    • #11
                      Re: Curious about multi cores.

                      That is true, but I bought my quad CPU in the hopes of only upgrading in about 3 years. I went 5 years on my last system with just memory and graf. card upgrades.
                      If I can pull something like that off again, 2-3 years from now chances are pretty much all good programs with be multithreaded.

                      Also, in the clock for clock battle, 2 things to consider.
                      1. CPUs are not the bottleneck right now with pretty much all games. I have posted many links here that show up to a point, you will get the same FPS no matter what CPU you use because games need graf. card horsepower. Pretty much all good CPUs above $200-$300 will run a game with the same FPS as a $1000 CPU.
                      To test this they turn the graf. setting down so the graf. card is not the issue, then run tests. All the CPUs come out pretty much even, with something like the e6600 like maybe 5-10 FPS difference than an Intel Extreme.
                      But in the future having those 2 extra cores will allow your system to run a quad designed game more smoothly, with less CPU usage.

                      2. I know a lot of people are scared of overclocking, afraid of hurting their investment, and i will admit I was too before I tried it. Truth is though the new intel's over the last year plus (since the core2duo and core2quad) are so good and so stable, that as long as you have good airflow in your case and you don't try anything too crazy, you can get an extra 25%-50% free power from your CPU.
                      Example is my quad6600 which is stock @2.4. I decided to try out overclocking because there are so many guides and information in forums just like this. Realized it was as simple as changing 1 number in the BIOS (the FSB, which I changed from like 266MHz up to 333MHz) and when I did that my quad now runs @3.01. It could easily go higher, but i don't see the point since all the games I play don't really even tax the CPU at stock, so there is no need. (that may change, since ArmA is on the way from Newegg, and will have to see how that runs :) )
                      And it is completely safe for my CPU and system because
                      1. Didn't increase my voltage
                      2. My CPU temps are the same as stock (that is how I know I could go higher) and I have good airflow in my computer case
                      3. I read up on the subject and followed directions and didn't do anything too crazy. Started small, tested, and worked up.

                      So point is, if you are on a budget like I was, you can get the cheapest quad core at about $269 and turn it into the Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6850 Kentsfield 3.0GHz that costs $979. I am sure that will beat out any stock dual core you may have been considering.
                      Of course you could go even higher with a duel core, like buy a 3.0GHz and overclock it to 3.6GHz for example, but again, that just seems like overkill, and when multi-threaded apps become the norm, I would rather have the 2 extra cores.

                      Anyway, to each is own. I just woke up when I started writing this and realized I rambled on, but just the way I planed out my purchase for the long haul.
                      I really wish I could have held off 6 months and gotten the new quads coming from Intel at the end of March or early April, but my old computer choked at the mention of the word Crysis, and wasn't happy with BF2 for that matter.

                      As a side note the Intel roadmap got leaked last week, and they are saying new 6 core chips may be out this summer, to go along with the 8 core chips at the end of the year or very early 2009.
                      Now that might be overkill :)
                      Think of playing Crysis with everything on max and your CPU is splitting up the CPU usage so it is running each core at like 20%.

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                      Stoop and you'll be stepped on; stand tall and you'll be shot at.

                      -Carlos A. Urbizo-

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                      • #12
                        Re: Curious about multi cores.

                        water cooling is where its at! and you can now get a p4 duo core for 200 bucks, barebones system.
                        Bf2142-TOOmuchMcLovin
                        America's Army- -=No.Ob=-McLovin
                        Bf2-TOOmuchSEX

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                        • #13
                          Re: Curious about multi cores.

                          you can get a solid low wattage single core cpu for about 60 bucks that will not limit your fps in most games that are popular now and for the next 2 years.

                          My overclocked single core amd gives me game performance comparable to a dual core cpu that is more than twice its price. I am holding off on dual core until the games I play have good support for it.

                          “Up, sluggard, and waste not life; in the grave will be sleeping enough!” Benjamin Franklin

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                          • #14
                            Re: Curious about multi cores.

                            I'm sorry sc1ence, while I respect your point of view and the decision you made for your own rig, I still have to disagree.

                            While you probably could get away with your processor if you ran a game like BF2 but with a very good graf. card, you are going to be having it running at 100% usage full time in game, and that is pretty much the only thing you are going to be able to do. And there are some really exciting games coming out this year like FarCry2 that are going to bring a single core to it's knees.
                            Like I said, until recently I did have a single core CPU, and if I wanted to alt tab out of BF2 to look up like the password for the TG server on Password night, it would take FOREVER to do. And you are not going to have everything maxed out with FPS at rock solid 100, even though someother program starts up in the back ground.
                            Also, now I load a new map in 10-15 sec., compared to before where I would not get in game till after all the squads had filled up. Last night for instance a TG-X squadmate of mine that has a very old system wasn't able to get into any good squads and ended up being in one he complained about none stop on teamspeak because they sucked so bad. Thing is, I remember those days all too well.
                            I all the time on comms hear people get pissed because their anti-virus does something in the back ground and causes their game to turn into a slide show. Why would you want that? It sucks, and the difference in it happening and not happening is buying a little better components.
                            I do understand where you are coming from becuase you wanted to build a system for your daughter too, and I do understand budgets (I saved for about a year for my computer, tucking away extra $$ here and there), but I wanted a system that I didn't get annoyed when stupid little things in the back ground happened.

                            And you also just made my point about upgrading when your games support it. You will in the long run end up spending the same as a person that went ahead and bought a good dual core to begin with, when you consider the price of the 2 chips you will buy.
                            The difference being the person that went with the one duel core didn't have any drawbacks while running a single core.

                            Please don't think I am trying to flame you here, just speaking my piece and I do know people in other forums that are actually all about taking the cheapest parts they can find an then showing people how much they can overclock it to the limits. And I know the family thing takes a lot of play money and turns it into necessity money. I am actually looking forward to seeing what you did for your daughters case and hope you post pics of the pink case. I actually like seeing modded cases.
                            I just don't want the hassle and would rather spend my time effortlessly playing my games, hoping out to check my e-mail (or the latest tracking from UPS.com for my package) and having anti-virus run at the same time, all because instead of just going out and buying a.s.a.p., I saved up for an extra month so I could afford better.

                            LINKS

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                            Stoop and you'll be stepped on; stand tall and you'll be shot at.

                            -Carlos A. Urbizo-

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                            • #15
                              Re: Curious about multi cores.

                              Originally posted by Bamboo View Post
                              I wanted a system that I didn't get annoyed when stupid little things in the back ground happened.
                              This is really the single biggest reason why it's worth the extra money.

                              The difference at work where I went from a 3.something GHz P4 to a C2D E6600 is huge. I run SQL Server, several Visual Studio instances, Outlook, Word, Firefox, Excel, Fireworks etc at the same time and it just doesn't slow down unless I run performance testing. Everything remains responsive.

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