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Quad Core vs Dual Core for Gaming

by just2great / February 7, 2008 10:29 PM PST

My current system setup is:

CPU: Pentium D 2.8 gHz
PSU: CoolMax 500w
Vid Card: xfx 7900 GS 256mb - Upgraded to: eVGA 8800 GT 512 MB
RAM: Corsair X2 3gigs
HD: 500gb SATA 7200 rpm
Case: CM690

I am considering upgrading my CPU to a Quad Core but what I want to know is if that's better for gaming? Now when I say gaming I'm not talking just World of Warcraft. I mean high intensity gaming with particles flying everywhere and high definition (First Person Shooters). Also does my current Pentium D hinder my 8800 GT from performing at it's best (I have not tried the 8800 GT yet)? The choices are:

Intel Core 2 Duo Processor E6550 (891191) - $219
? 2.33GHz processing
? 1333MHz front side bus
? 4MB L2 cache

Intel Core 2 Quad Processor Q6600 (BX80562Q6600) - $319
? 2.4GHz processing
? 1066MHz front side bus
? 8MB L2 cache

Intel Core 2 Duo Processor E6850 (BX80557E6850SLA9U) - $319
? 3GHz processing
? 1333MHz front side bus
? 4MB L2 cache

Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

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does my current Pentium D hinder my 8800 GT
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 7, 2008 10:32 PM PST

My kid's machine is a dual core P4 socket 775 at 2.8GHz and even with a lowly Nvidia 6600 on PCIE he can play it all save the newer games like Bioshock. So I'll write no.


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8800 GT be held back?
by just2great / February 7, 2008 11:21 PM PST

Hey, thanks for you quick response. So I don't NEED to upgrade for the games but will my 8800 GT be held back by Pentium D from performing at it's full potential.

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Sorry if I was unclear.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 7, 2008 11:23 PM PST
In reply to: 8800 GT be held back?

Since BIOSHOCK and those new games will sap even the fastest Quad Core today then the answer is YES, it's held back for those sorts of games. For WOW? Doubtful.


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by just2great / February 8, 2008 12:16 AM PST

Ok so my PD 2.8 gHz IS holding my 8800 GT back, so I should upgrade to a Quad Core? Or is it that even with a Quad Core the 8800 GT will be held back? If that is the case what CPU should I get?

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yes your cpu can hinder the 8800gt
by ramarc / February 8, 2008 1:08 AM PST
the pentium-d will perform no better than a x2-4000. so you can see from these benchmarks that even the 6550 will a noticeable increase in gaming performance.

only a few games can take advantage of quad cores. world in conflict and supreme commander are two that i know of.

also, i don't know where you're getting your pricing from, but the 2.66ghz e6750 should also be on your list since it's about $200USD while the 2.33ghz e6550 is $180USD.
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by just2great / February 8, 2008 1:32 AM PST

Ok so where did you get those prices cause I'll head over there and purchase from there instead of where I got my prices.

Ok so I SHOULD upgrade from the PenD to a higher end Dual Core like the E6600 but I don't NEED to go as high as a Quad Core?

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(NT) newegg.com
by ramarc / February 8, 2008 1:39 AM PST
In reply to: Prices
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Dual core is paying off here
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 8, 2008 1:47 AM PST

Even on non dual core capable games. Why is that?

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all the benchmarked processors were dual core
by ramarc / February 8, 2008 4:04 AM PST

so the only payoff is from faster CPU performance. the original poster has a dual core pentium d which will be spanked by all but the bottom cpu on that list.

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So why is that?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 8, 2008 8:51 AM PST

I wondered why dual core still improves game play. I had hoped to read your answer.

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by froasier / February 23, 2008 1:47 AM PST
In reply to: So why is that?

Dual core improves game play in games that support it because it allows more to be processed at once.

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prices e6600 and e8400
by just2great / February 8, 2008 2:13 AM PST

hey thanks for the info. the e8400 at $243 is a good buy right? cause it's 3gHz, 6m L2 cache and 1333 FSB. Now if I get a 1333 FSB CPU I'm gonna have to upgrade my board as the p5nsli only supports up to 1066mHz what would be a good SLI board w/out breaking the bank.

Could a 1333 cpu run on a 1066 board, but just not at the full 1333 but the board max of 1066?

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check with asus
by ramarc / February 8, 2008 4:06 AM PST
In reply to: prices e6600 and e8400

i don't think the nvidia 600 chipset can handle an e8000 series dual core. i know they don't work with the q9000 quad cores at all.

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by Tufelhunden / February 21, 2008 4:05 AM PST
In reply to: prices e6600 and e8400

You will have to get a board which can handle the 45nm process of that chip, E8400. For Nvidia chipsets it's the 750 and 780 IIRC. Not sure about the other chipsets. And keep in mind the 1333MHz fsb. Happy

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by clacka / February 24, 2008 3:25 AM PST
In reply to: prices e6600 and e8400

i have this board myself updated bios will except new 1333fsb chip.

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About the D
by Dango517 / February 22, 2008 1:36 PM PST

These are the minimum hardware requirement for the GeForce/Nvidia/Evga 8000 series GPUs:


Owning a D 820 I would advise some additional case cooling if you upgrade. The Ds run hot! A slot fan is what I run between my 8600GT and Ethernet adapter. It pulls the additional heat produced by these two components out of the system before it can effect the CPU temperature. They look like this:


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he's not upgrading to a D
by froasier / February 23, 2008 1:50 AM PST
In reply to: About the D

I'm pretty sure the Core Duos run cooler.

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Core2Duos Temperatures
by Tufelhunden / February 23, 2008 3:01 AM PST

The core2duos do run substantially cooler. I currently have my E6300 1.86 GHz running at 2.63GHz and I still only hit 45C with a cpu intensive program, prime95 two instances at the same time, running for hours. Stock it ran at 35C so not much increase.

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I was responding to this
by Dango517 / February 23, 2008 7:31 AM PST
In reply to: About the D

"Also does my current Pentium D hinder my 8800 GT from performing at it's best (I have not tried the 8800 GT yet)?"

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About the D
by longhorn00767 / February 23, 2008 9:47 AM PST

Your Pentium D should have little effect on the 8800GT's performance. The card uses its own GPU & memory to handle almost all the video operations on the PC. Try plugging in that new card and you'll see a big boost in performance and quality in whatever you run.

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by froasier / February 23, 2008 2:25 AM PST

Definitely go dual core--Quad core is useless for most purposes, especially at the increased price. The 3.0-GHz looks good, but make sure your motherboard is compatible, and you will want your RAM speed to match the FSB ideally.

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Get the E6850
by 3rdalbum / February 23, 2008 11:15 AM PST

The reason why games run faster on dual-core processors even if they don't have a sticker on them that says "optimised for dual-core" is because games use multiple threads, and the operating system assigns different threads to different cores.

The E6850 (3GHz Core 2 Duo) is a powerhouse of a processor. It has greater performance-per-core than the same-priced Core 2 Quad, so individual threads will be able to run faster (a thread CANNOT be split up amongst multiple cores!). You'll find that your games will run well along with the 8800 graphics card, plus any other single-thread tasks that you do with your computer will be noticably faster than the Q6600 or your Pentium D.

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use this to decide the processor you want
by Dango517 / February 23, 2008 5:14 PM PST
In reply to: Get the E6850

This tool compares various CPUs using bench mark testing of performance. Choose the criterion you want and two processors and get a result. Sometimes long bars are good, sometimes short. Costs are not included. The E6600 is very good. Note the quads are very good. They should be they do twice as much and cost four times as much. Happy
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by AdamJ34 / February 25, 2008 5:34 AM PST

I would go with a Core 2 Duo for sure. I have an 8800gt and moved from a Pentium D to a C2D and noticed a huge difference! Not just in games, but in everyday application as well. If I were you, I'd go with the e8400. It looks like your mobo supports it (the link below shows CPU support) and you should be able to get it for around $200 which is a pretty good deal.


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Take special note of your mother board specifications
by Dango517 / February 25, 2008 6:04 AM PST
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Quad Core vs Dual Core for Gaming
by meerasatyan / February 25, 2008 11:01 PM PST

your pentium D is sufficient for high end gaming. just add a 512 MB graphics card and u will find it giving u the best performance.

quad core with higher L2 cache is best for engineering and server based applications where load on processor is high, whenever any intense analysis is performed.

the RAM u have is more than required. in your case the best option would be to add a graphics card.




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by philips14c / April 30, 2008 10:47 PM PDT

"your pentium D is sufficient for high end gaming". Are you joking? I have a core duo + 8800GT and I have some problems with high quality settings/high resolution on latest games! Just enable antialiasing and see what I mean!

CPU is very important for games! Just look at these benchmarks:


With the same video card but different cpu you can see improvement in fps up to 40%!

BTW: Just for you to know Athlon 64 X2 is a lot better than Pentium D!

Intel E8400 is a very good CPU! I wish to buy one! E8500 doesn't worth the extra money, a simple overclock should take care of the problem!

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