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Do the new dual core Athlons make a difference ?

Discussion in 'PC Gaming & Rigs' started by HMHB, Aug 22, 2005.

  1. HMHB

    HMHB
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    Anyone know what the benefits of the new dual core Athlons are ? Is this the way forward for fast gaming do you reckon ?
     
  2. AML

    AML
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    As far as I know, they dont really make games run any better because games arent designed to run on more than one core.

    However they are good for runing more than one app at the same time. Something Intel used to do better than AMD. Maybe now the playing field is completely even!

    The only way games will benefit in the future is if they are designed to run on more than one core in some way. Also if they are designed to run on 64bit chips too. (Far cry had a patch which enabled 64bit compatibility)

    Its too soon Im guessing. Most people out there still run 32bit single CPU's on a 32bit OS.
    So that is what most applications are designed to run on.

    In the future once more people change to 64bit Computers and 64bit OS's then we will see a change. Same goes for multy core CPUs.

    If you are thinking about how PS3 and the Xbox 360 have multy core cpu's then you are right. But even so one core will handle one task. (ie one for the game itslef, one for something else.)
    It does not mean you will have tripple the CPU performance.
    If the cores are 3.2ghz for example, thats how much speed you will get from the PC. Even if you have 10 cores!

    It just means you can handle more applications at one time without loosing performance.

    So you could run a game at the same time as copy a DVD-R and download music or videos. All runing smoothley.

    Hope this helps!
     
  3. GrahamC

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    For gaming at the moment the only help duel core has is if you have apps running in the background like a virus/spyware app or E-mail checker etc. One core does the game while the other takes care of the OS admin.
     
  4. HMHB

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    So is it in effect like having dual processors, but all in one processor ?
     
  5. GrahamC

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    Yes it is. :thumbsup:
     
  6. Triggaaar

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    If a console has multy core CPUs, surely more than one core will be able to work on the game, or there'd be no point. Presumably the application can send some instructions to one core, and some to another (if the app has been written with mulit core in mind).
     
  7. HMHB

    HMHB
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    I've just seen some prices of dual core AMD chips and it will be a while yet before I get one !
     
  8. AML

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    Im not really sure about these new consoles since they arent even out yet. But it is possibel I guess.
    Still, I beleive we will have one core focusing on the games with another core focusing on another part of the gaming experience like XBox Live.

    Since both apps run at the same time having a dual core would help make the games run better as it would have the full attention of a single core.
    A system does many things at one time so having many cores should help games run better.
    Thats what this generation of consoles is all about.

    Same for the future of PC use. Intel are talking about focusing on multy core processing and less on speed. Having a CPU or 2 with many cores means being able to run lots of apps at one time without loosing perfromance.

    It would mean being able to download stuff like music and video while watching something or playing a game AND being able to record something to DVD-R. And maybe even have all the content on your PC being distributed arround your home network. So you could play a game while in the bath from a remote station.
     
  9. GrahamC

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    It's always been about balance with a computer system. No point in having a super duper CPU and having it choked by low memory and a poxy graphics card. :nono:
     
  10. HMHB

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    I know that but was willing to get a decent graphics card and new motherboard, but for a 4400 dual core you're looking at about £400 and up to £640 for the 4800 dual core :eek:
    Mind you I might be tempted to buy a computer having seen this one - this would be the first time I've not built my own if I did this though and would be a little wary !
     
  11. Triggaaar

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    I can see dual core PC chips being used for seperate tasks, as PCs run so many tasks at the same time. But with a games console, I'd imagine all cores to work on the game, as the processing required for a game is much more than required for live duties. Unless it's cheap for console producers to add another core, and they want the console to do other things while playing games? Anyway, we'll see.
     
  12. AML

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    Well, MS are talking about the new XBox being more than just a games console.
    They want us to share videos and music (i wonder how we will do that without braking a law or two!! :rolleyes: )
    As well as record stuff onto the 360.

    If this is the case then its more than likely we will have more than one app runing at the same time. Hence the need for more than one CPU.
     
  13. cwick

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    That doesn't follow. You don't need more than one CPU to have more than one app (effectively) running at the same time ... it's called preemptive multitasking.

    As for the Xbox 360 - the games will run on multiple cores, along with any other scheduled tasks. It's unlikely there will be more than one 'app' running at a time (it'll be a game, or media player, or whatever), but there'll be a bunch of services running in the background which will require CPU time.

    But really, multiple cores aren't a big deal from an application development point of view. For developers, a multi-core CPU looks no differenent from mutiple CPUs, or a single CPU with hyper-threading ... and we've been dealing with those cases for years already. The OS takes care of task scheduling - so be it multi-core, multi-cpu, hyper threading, or just one CPU - the work is handed out by the OS in such a way to make best use of the available resources.

    Cheers, Carl.
     
  14. colesy

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    Hi John,
    I just thought I would let you know that I currently have a AMD x2 4800+, with two 7800GTX cards in SLI format (all stock at the mo, no overclocking), and have issue running things like Battlefield 2 and 3demark05. Now these issues are things like crashing to the Blue screen of death and most of the time back to the desktop. Maybe it's just new technology that require new drivers which hopefully are on the horizon, but it maybe worth waiting for another few weeks to see how thing progress. I am currently investigating possible solutions.
     
  15. HMHB

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    Thanks for that info mate, I think you are right... it's probably worth me waiting a while to let the drivers catch up with the hardware !
     
  16. Ethics Gradient

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    Its the way the applications ... or in this case games are coded - they are not designed to run on multiple cpu / cores.
    As dual cores become more standard / popular - multiple cpu builds of applications ( and games ) will become more readily available.
     
  17. colesy

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    As regards to Battlefield 2 I have now manually set that to run only on 1 core of the CPU and so far it seems to be ok. But time will tell and hopefully a patch in the future will sort this out for good.
     
  18. Kopite4Ever

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    FYI : F.E.A.R the game will be the first game out specifically coded in mind for Dual Core CPU's :)

    SLi again causing more problems because the games & drivers were never coded with it in mind. there seems to be to many problems and IMO not worth the hassle when one 7800GTX will do near enough the exact same job unless your running a res of 1920x1080 for example or higher. i think this sort of technology will take off with X-fire from ATi because it runs in a totally different way to SLi, from what ive read a more affective way. only time will tell but unless the Hardware can be supported by the Software then there is no point in diving in ala 64bit windows, look at the problems there. the theory behind the technology is what will be the way forward but it needs to give time for the SW to catch up
     
  19. NicolasB

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    I suspect that's an SLI problem rather than a dual-core CPU problem.
     
  20. pragmatic

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    I doubt you'll see many games brought out that support multiple cores properly for a long time, at least until an industry aritecture or a new proramming language that abstracts away from the hardware is developed. Its just to difficult to produce code that works (with bug fixing being almost impossible) and efficently and in time with its self (don't want part of the program to run off into the future while the other stutters away)
     
  21. colesy

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    It was actually a problem with my CPU, it was replaced with a 3200 and everything (not just BF2 but other apllications) works fine. I am waiting for a replacement which I should get tomorrow. Cheers for the reply anyway
     
  22. cwick

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    I guess it's just me that thinks this is a non-issue then. If anyone has any links that explain why games aren't using multi-cores, I'd appreciate if you could post 'em, cos I'm mystified as to what the problem is. I can't recall the last application I wrote that *wasn't* able to take advantage of multiple cores .... in my case it's all enterprise applications or developer tooling, but we already have the abstractions available (threadlng libraries allow us to delegate scheduling on multiple cores / CPUs to the OS; semaphores, mutexes et al provide us with mechanisms to prevent things "running off into the future"). So where's the problem ?

    I suspect the case is that current games are already multi-threaded (I'd hope so, and would be very suprised to hear otherwise) and therefore already using multiple cores ... just, perhaps, that they aren't fully optimised to take full advantage of the available resources, or that re-architecting the software might better utilise the available cores.

    And any games that requires thread-affinity to be set to work on multiple cores / CPUs must already be using threads (otherwise there wouldn't be a problem !) ... suggesting that the developers have broken the golden-rule of multi-threaded programming : if your application might end up running on >1 CPU then you *must* test with >1 CPU to expose timing issues that would not otherwise occur. Looks like some developers have been caught out !

    Cheers, Carl.
     
  23. AML

    AML
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    If games were designed to take advantages of multyple CPUs and GPUs, then why arent we seeing a massive increase in performance when being compare to single CPU and GPU configurations?

    Ive seen SLI being compared to a single card system, as well as a dual core system to a single cpu system and the performace was equal in most games.
    In some games, the performance was even lower than in a single CPU/GPU system.

    How do you explain that?
    These examples are in real world use and they dont impress me one bit.
    Im sure on paper these dual CPU/GPU systems SHOULD be outperforming single systems, but they simply arent.

    Its too early for any of this technology to have any sort of impact. Maybe once Longhorn comes out and we move to 64bit computing, thats when we will se games being made differently and at the same time being made to use multyple cores and GPUs.

    Till then its just expensive technology that doesnt really make much of a difference.

    Remember that most PC users cant afford to stay at the bleeding edge. They will wait till it becomes more affordable. By then, the technology will be tried and tested. (i was going to write "perfected" but decided against it!!)
     
  24. cwick

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    Depends on the tests you've seen. Provide links and we can all share.

    If the performance is equal (relatively), then it seems reasonable to assume the game is (effectively) single-threaded. If it's less, then it's reasonable to assume it's multi-threaded, but has contention between cores on a piece, or pieces, of shared data (i.e. while one core is working on the shared data, the other is idle waiting for the first to finish - CPU utilisation will be low in this example). Either case is sub-optimal.

    But it does depend on the workload. In enterprise applications much of the work is transactional, and easily parallelised. It isn't obvious that that is the case for games, so the opportunities for parallelism are reduced without re-structuring the way the games work. Perhaps that's where we are now ... suprising if so, since I thought game developers where generally way ahead of the curve. Perhaps not in this case ? I guess they've lead a largely single-CPU existence to-date, but now that the next-gen consoles are pretty much all multi-cpu, and PCs are increasingly, things should get better in fairly short order.

    And don't think either Longhorn or 64-bits will help here. Longhorn offers nothing that isn't available now w.r.t. multi-cores (except virtualisation, and that's not interesting in this context), and 64-bit computing is off little use to consumers or games players ... it's slower (around 10% is a good benchmark), and only interesting if you're working with extremely large datasets.
     
  25. pragmatic

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    Games are made to a budget and adding multi processor support increase the time for development but more so testing. Remember that games are often made from ground up if they don't use a standard engine and whens the last time you found a game (not from blizzard) that was bug free? with multi threading bug finding is more difficult and actualy replicating the bug can be a difficulty in itself.

    Games are a different kettle of fish all together to most software and most companies are small, they only deal in what they know, i.e. a company that makes racing games will only make racing games as it can't afford to experiment as if the next game doesn't sell, it will be out of business.

    In the same way few are going to risk learning a new skill set when the majority of users are still using single processor systems (and will be for the next few years) in the same way most games are made so they are at least playable on 6200 grfx card (although this is debabtable), it's all about getting the biggerst market.

    With the new consoles all being multi core things will be different though, if the skills learned from programming multi core consoles can be transfered to the pc platform that is a nother matter.
     
  26. AML

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    You can see reviews of these new CPU's and SLI over at
    [H]ardOCP
    You will have to look them up coz theres more than one review of Multy core CPUs and SLI GPUs in gaming.

    As you said yourself in this last post, games wont run well on these new CPUs because most games are either single threaded or suffers from contention. (whatever that means! :D )
    Let me rephrase that.
    They do run well, but no better than a single thread/core CPU and No SLI.

    So what is the point at this time to go out and spend all that extra money on technology that doesnt increase performance over cheaper existing technology?.
     
  27. Ethics Gradient

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    because you are not just buying a computer soley for the purpose of gameing ?
    because you are 'buying into the future potential'

    they won't benifit everyone and every application at present - if you are running multiple applications then it will. If I am using a word processor and graphics package at the same time to create a document for example.

    You need to look more holistically at the use of the technology - rather than generating a fixed view read direct off a gaming hardware review site.
     
  28. AML

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    I agree that the technology is the way forward.
    But this thread was started to discuss the benefits to gaming. Currently none exist.

    Im sure once this technology is tried and tested and becomes cheaper we will all be using it!
     
  29. pragmatic

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    Is there not the potential for some improved performance by giving a core entirely for a game and then using a second core for everything else, OS and background processes and apps? Maybe the boost would only be small here though as the os and background stuff would probably be reduced to 10% while the game takes the other 90% on a single core system anyway.

    I'm not sure if currently the os makes its scarse when Direct X is initiated but I doubt it.If they weren't so damn expensive i would give it a go.

    Another possibiltiy would be those cards and software that alow two people to control one machine, you get a second keyboard,mouse and monitor connection and also a second version of windows. When they were first brought out it wasn't really possible for one to play games while the other uses office apps or browse although it' would probably be possible now on a recent single core system. Now though as long as the graphics core on shuch a card was decent it would be entirely possible for two people to use a dual core system at the same time to do whatever they wanted.
     
  30. Garrett

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    The was a report on the BBC program Clickonline and it may be repeated somtime on the BBC news channel or here if you want to down load it.
     

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