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General discussion

Software Switch to Quad-core

by CardsFan29 / April 4, 2008 1:52 PM PDT

In my research to get a new custom desktop, I have noticed that some of the Core 2 Duo processors (E8400 and up it seems) seem to run faster than some of the Quads currently because of the fact that most of the software out there is optimized for 2 cores. My question is when might the switch happen where the majority of the new software coming out is optimized for 4 cores? Have any predictions been made on this? I'm thinking of sticking with my choice of going with a Q9450 because of the potential future-proofing aspect of it, but if the software switch still won't be happening for a good period of time (2 or more + years), then I might go with a E8000 series to tide me over.

Any word on this matter?

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This is a forum conversation about dual core processors made
by Dango517 / April 4, 2008 8:18 PM PDT
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dual cores have higher clock speeds
by ramarc / April 5, 2008 10:05 AM PDT

that's why they're faster in some software even if it's multi-threaded. even the extra cores in a quad core can't overcome the 25% speed difference especially when I/O comes into play. for example, while transcoding video, the hard drive's read/write speed can become a bottleneck. likewise, in gaming the GPU becomes a bottleneck.

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by CardsFan29 / April 5, 2008 10:54 AM PDT

Do you think Core 2 Duos will be the main CPU of choice for the next 5 years or so?

I guess the big choice for me is Q9450 or E8500...

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nothing today will be current in 5 years
by ramarc / April 6, 2008 4:39 AM PDT
In reply to: so...

get what you can afford. it will be superseded/obsoleted in 18 months.

personally, i think a q6600 ($235) with a good 3rd party (arctic cooling freezer 7, $30) heatpipe cooler is still the best choice now. it can be almost instantly overclocked by any mobo based on p35,x38, or i700 series motherboard by manually selecting 1333mhz FSB.

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I'm not terribly interested in overclocking
by CardsFan29 / April 6, 2008 11:27 AM PDT

That's the main reason I want to go with the Q9450. It seems to be a nice middle ground between performance and price.

Out of curiosity though, what about the X48 chipset and overclocking? I was looking to get a fairly high-end motherboard and was initially going to get the Intel X38, but then I noticed the Intel X48 has released and I'm switching my choice to that.

I'm rather unsure that Quads will be obsoleted in 18 months. I'm not a huge gamer. My main purpose for the computer would be programming work with Visual Studio and Access/Oracle. Some gaming sure, but that's what the console systems are for. Happy

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if you're not going to overclock...
by ramarc / April 7, 2008 5:10 AM PDT

...there's no reason to get an x38/x48 based motherboard. the x48 has official support for 1600mhz FSB (vs 1333mhz FSB for p35 and x38). performance of either the x38 or x48 will be within 1% of a good p35 based motherboard.

any CPU you buy now will either be superseded (faster, cheaper alternative) or obsoleted (new processor family) by 2009. the e8000 series (penryn) already supersedes and obsoletes the e6000 series (conroe) since a) it's cheaper at every speed grade (3ghz e8400 < 3ghz e6850) and b) many mobos that support e6000 can't support e8000. likewise, intel's next processor family, nehalem, will be available for the desktop by 2009 and will use a different socket. nehalem will obsolete the entire core2duo and core2quad lineup.

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by CardsFan29 / April 9, 2008 10:44 AM PDT

I realize that what I purchase now won't be the bleeding edge top of the line in 3-5 years, but it'll still be a good, competent system.

Do you think that in general the X48 motherboards and DDR3 are stable enough to use? If they are considered too unstable (too many bugs still, etc..) Would the good P35 be the good combination of maybe not bleeding edge fast, but fast enough, and stable enough to maybe have outgrown the initial Tech problems? Would the Q9450 still work with a P35 board?

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yes x38/x48 are stable enough to use
by ramarc / April 9, 2008 11:11 PM PDT
In reply to: re:

p35 mobos can run all core2duo/core2quad cpus including q9450. some p35 mobos also support ddr3. performance between x38/x48 and p35 will be indistinguishable.

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What about DDR3?
by CardsFan29 / April 10, 2008 11:13 AM PDT

I ask because when I went to a local brick and mortar store to price out some components, the guy mentioned that DDR3 memory is too unstable right now.

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Unstable for those that build their own.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 10, 2008 12:28 PM PDT
In reply to: What about DDR3?

Look at the mess for build you owns. I can't count how many builders when I quiz them didn't know you had to check your memory stick supply voltages and see if the BIOS got it right.

Is that a reason to call it unstable?

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(NT) nope ddr3 is stable... but super expensive
by ramarc / April 11, 2008 1:36 AM PDT
In reply to: What about DDR3?
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Go dual-core
by 3rdalbum / April 13, 2008 10:15 PM PDT

Most programs basically use a single core. It's true that you could run four intensive programs at the same time on a quad-core CPU, but is it likely?

There is an argument that a quad-core CPU is good for times when you want to do two intensive tasks in the background AND surf the web at the same time, but my dual-core does that fine too (using Linux, which is good at multitasking, but I guess Windows is also good at it).

I also have the advantage of having two powerful cores, rather than four weak cores. Anything I want to do that uses a single thread will be fast.

Finally, I believe there's a bottleneck somewhere in current computer systems, because I find it difficult to fill up both my cores to absolute 100% capacity. You might find that the rest of your system, or the nature of the tasks you are performing, are limiting the rate of data to your processor. If there's not enough data to fill two good cores, there certainly isn't enough to fill four weak cores!

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