Dual Core realism question

I’ll be putting together a new PC this winter and have been looking at new processors. I’m thinking about the fx-57, but I’m also considering dual core. Now, the reason I’d consider the dual core is the reports that there will actually be games and applications that support the two cores within the year.

So, the question is: anyone really think there WILL be dual core apps out within the next year? If so, I’ll completely buy a X2 64 4600+ instead of the fx-57, no problems, but if it’s actually not going to be useful to have the two cores, what’s the point.

Anyway, just a curiosity. I would love to hear from the fantastic Mr. Loyd Case on this one.

You don’t need special “dual core” apps; in fact, such beasts do not exist. You just need either multiple processes running at the same time or a single multithreaded process. Threads are automatically mapped to different cores by the operating system, there’s no need for any special dual-core support.

Considering that Windows is always running a ton of processes with a squared ton of threads, the effects of a dual-core (or hyperthreaded, or dual-processor) system is immediately noticeable in the responsiveness to user input.

However, if you’re asking whether some specific, single game or application will run noticeable faster while the rest of the system is more or less idle… well, that depends on whether and how well that application support multithreading. Many games already use multiple threads; an RTS game might get slightly smarter unit behaviour and/or slightly better graphics on a dual-core system, for example.

Well, I have a multithreaded cpu at current in my laptop and desktop. The reason I was asking about the core thing is that I read somewhere that there was going to start being games specifically developed for dual core usage, so the point of having a very fast single cpu like the fx57 won’t do as well as a dual core cpu running almost as fast.

A hyperthreaded CPU, you mean? I bet those games that are “specifically developed for dual core” are really just games that are more heavily multithreaded than usually. Sure they’d run faster on a dual-core CPU than on a single-core CPU at the same clock speed, but they’d probably also run faster on a regular dual-CPU system.

I suppose it’s possible that the developers turn on an optimization flag that tunes the thread and memory usage of their games to such systems. Perhaps they would supply two executables for single- and dual-core systems. But such fine-tuning seems problematic regarding possible meddling by the Windows scheduler, and also regarding possible architectural differences between different multi-core CPUs.

Multi-threaded apps really should run faster on dual-core systems without such tricks. If they don’t I’d say the CPU and chipset designers have their work cut out for them.

Hm, so is it worth it to go with the fx57 or the x2 4600 at that point? Decisions decisions.

According this http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=2397&p=18 article from Anandtech,

“On average, the Athlon 64 X2 4400+ provides around 90% of the gaming performance of the single core FX-55, while being cheaper and offering all of the benefits of a dual core CPU. The choice at this price point, even for gamers, is obvious.”

So it would seem the X2 4600 would be even spiffier?

Not sure about that, the 4400+ has a meg of L2 cache to offset the 200mHz gain of the 4600+. I personally wouldn’t consider anything but the 4400+ or 4800+, myself.

I would bet that for the life of the current X2 CPU’s, as a top dog contenders, there won’t be any games that take advantage of the dual core. Non-gaming apps would benefit, but w/ games as the criteria you’ll see no substantial advantages, if any.

I couldn’t find any specific reviews targeting the X2 4600+, but the 4800+ seems to hold its own against the FX-55 and FX-57. If you’re willing to consider the FX-57, the priciest CPU in the AMD lineup, I’d either get it or the X2 4800+, which I believe has the same price point. I don’t expect any games a year from now will sneak the 4600+ past the FX-57 as a result of dual core optimization.

Yeah I would stick with that 4400 or 4800.

From what the Anandtech article showed, for gaming, the 3800+ is a better bang for the buck, too, though perhaps not as future-proof.

Yeah, this one is going for super-stupid future proof. It’s coming down to a hidden war that Xaroc and I have to see who can spend the most money that makes our spouses sad each year. I think if I get this, I can outstrip him for the win.

GO GO RECKLESS SPENDING!!

I am setting up a computer cluster that will find the next prime number, cure cancer, and attain self awareness in the next 2 years. Not to mention it is going to use technology that is not available to the public yet. It is going to cost me the GNP of Costa Rica. Good luck catching up now tough guy!

– Xaroc

Oh, I didn’t mention that this fx-57 machine is just going to be my firewall box to the “big computer”? oh, my bad.