4 Is More Than 2 . . .

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(Somewhat affordable) Penryns will be upon us beginning January 20.

OK, the prices aren’t going to be that bad, but there’s no point in wasting money, especially if you don’t have a ton to spend to begin with.

Most attention, too much attention, has been focused on quad-core processors. Yet if you asked most people why they wanted/needed a quadcore, their answer would boil down to “Because 4 is more than 2.”

This isn’t a very good reason. If some auto maker began offering two engines in their cars rather than one, would that be an auto buy, too?

In both cases, you ought to have a real answer to the question, “What good does it do me?” before you buy.

When the Penryn quads show up, I’ll put together a system containing one shortly thereafter for someone. He’s going to use the system for professional audio editing. He wants four cores, in fact, he’s looking enviously at eight-core systems.

But at least his main program is designed to use up to eight cores, so it’s not a matter of blind faith.

Now if you use programs that really take advantage of four cores (and I don’t mean benchmark programs), then God bless you and go for it.

But if you buy four cores on a hope and a prayer that someday, somehow, it might do you some good, you’ve likely made a $100 charitable contribution to either AMD or Intel, a $100 you could have spent making a non-charitable contribution to the GPU or memory maker of your choice.

Quads are not going to become mainstream in 2008. Intel’s roadmaps show Yorkfields very quickly replacing Kentfields, but the proportion of quads in Intel’s total production will barely change, going from about 5% now to 7% a year from now.

Overclockers ought to also keep in mind that there’s a pretty good chance a Wolfdale dual-core will overclock a bit more than a Yorkfield due to heat, if nothing else, especially in cooling-limited conditions.

Those with a bit more patience and willingness to give up a little performance for less cash outlay may find the Wolfdale E5000 series coming around April to their liking.

None of this is to say that quads are always a waste of money, that would be as silly as saying that they never would be. If you have a reason to buy a quad, certainly do so.

But before you buy, get yourself a reason, not a rationalization.

Ed


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Discussion
  1. Mr.Guvernment
    GFX work

    Audio Work

    Video work

    will all eat quad cores for breakfast.


    Amen.

    I've been doing alot of the above and it has REALLY come in handy.

    Folding is a large part of the equation for me aswell.

    ~ Gos
    Ghast
    The way I look at it, it's an investment in the future. The way quads are so cheap now, they are almost the same price as a C2D and since you can OC them relatively easy, there's really no reason not to get one.

    w00t 1st post.


    i agree. i find it is best to buy the best components you can afford to have maximum useful life out of them
    I have a dual right now, but that was more of a budget constraint (and the fact that the E2xxx series overclock so damn well) I'll be moving to quad in the future because I'd rather have the extra cores and not need them, than need them and not have them.....
    Zerix01
    My girl friend just got a Laptop with a 1.8GHz Athlon X2 1GB RAM and Windows Vista Home. Between Vista and her massive multi tasking, at least three IM clients open at once + steam and Firefox and so on, she brings that thing down to a crawl. More memory will help but I'm sure two more cores couldn't hurt...... Damn you Vista....


    its the ram cpu wont do as much as 2g or more would.
    The way I look at it, it's an investment in the future. The way quads are so cheap now, they are almost the same price as a C2D and since you can OC them relatively easy, there's really no reason not to get one.

    w00t 1st post.
    Well what can I say with this. I'd love a quad core, surely I can use it in some cases with games on my home PC and some 3D renderings I do here and there. Overall though with the new 45nms out I was going to get a Quad, then I reconsidered what I was thinking about. Overall all I do is game and some 3D stuff breifly, so having a Quad might help in some cases but definatly not all, so I concluded getting a Dual Core, saving a little bit of power/heat and getting another faster Dually would be more than enough for me.

    I agree though most people will just buy more cores because oh more is powerful, but think everyone I talk to before they buy a system I try matching there needs of what to get. 98% of the time I say dual core though, and why I don't even mention single core, really whats the point anymore? Dual core and software does use it, and its more responsive under loads hence the reasoning.

    Now for work... I can't wait for my Dual Quad Core system hopefully in the next few months :) Yummm
    I'd have to say that this all depends on what kind of purchase we are talking about.

    If you're talking about someone who currently has a well speced dual-core upgrading to a quad core just for fun, then it may be a waste. However, for someone who is finally retiring an old single core box, or for someone who's let the magic smoke out of their dual core rig, why would you not get a quad? At time of writing, Newegg lists both the E6850 and the Q6600 for $279.99(there's an OEM Q6600 for $260, but no OEM Duos). If I had to build a completely new rig from the ground up today, I'd choose the 2.4GHz quad over the 3Ghz dual. The dual might be faster today, but for anyone who will keep a PC for more then a year, the quad has a good shot at being a useful gaming platform at this time in 2010.

    Maverick0984
    We said the same thing when it was Single Core Hyper Threaded vs. Dual Core...

    You can try to explain it away as much as you want, but CPU's like the Q6600 mentioned a billion times on this forum, are not in anyway, "more expensive" then a comparative Dual Core.

    E6850 vs Q6600 are essentially the same price.


    I was about to say the same thing. Two years ago this thread would have been a discussion of high-clock single core Athlon 64s vs lower-clocked Athlon 64 X2s. The arguments where the same; six packs don't need the power, and power users will want higher clocks. Thankfully I bought the dual core back in April of '06 and I'm happily steaming along on a two year old 175. As long as games continue to be GPU limited, I figure I can get another year out of this chip. If I'd bought the high-clocked single core back then I seriously doubt I could say the same thing.

    So while I certainly won't be upgrading to a quad until this dual is actually maxed out, if this machine gets hit by lightning tonight I'm not going to waste money on another dual.
    My girl friend just got a Laptop with a 1.8GHz Athlon X2 1GB RAM and Windows Vista Home. Between Vista and her massive multi tasking, at least three IM clients open at once + steam and Firefox and so on, she brings that thing down to a crawl. More memory will help but I'm sure two more cores couldn't hurt...... Damn you Vista....
    There's one problem with Ed's opinion, it doesn't take into account future software design. With virtualization taking off and the amount of resources being used by modern OS'es, I want as many cores as I can get.
    I went with a dual-core just because I don't have the cash for a quad (as my sig shows, I have a budget PC). I could see myself taking advantage of a quad though. I'm often rip/burning/encoding audio files while play games, while having hundreds of different firefox windows open and listening to music plus moving files around on my hdd (plus F@H running in the background). I would think that with a quad I would see some benefit.
    I went with a quad because i knew i could get her to atleast 3ghz. And the price was the same as the E6850 so i just opped for the Q6600 since i play a lot of games and i could use the 2 extra cores down the road.

    i did it to be on the safe side and get ready for games that require quad cores "if they come out any time soon." thant and the "i have a quad core at 4ghz bling"
    Neur0mancer
    Well I eneded up downgrading to a dual core from a quad.

    Gotta say games were MUCH smoother on the quad. I notice little hiccups and catches in games that were gone with the quad. I do mean high end games either... im specifically talking about Civilization 4 BTS

    Also im not used to seeing 25% CPU usage when upscaling video to 1080i.

    I was going to dump intel for AMD because of an absolute hardware nightmare over the last 6 months... but they are taking so long, once I have the money.. im getting another Q6600 and runnign that.


    One of the reasons I got a new CPU was for Civ3. "Just a couple more turns", eh?

    Sadly Civ3 wants a faster HDD speed and doesn't use more than 40% of my dualie :/
    Well I eneded up downgrading to a dual core from a quad.

    Gotta say games were MUCH smoother on the quad. I notice little hiccups and catches in games that were gone with the quad. I do mean high end games either... im specifically talking about Civilization 4 BTS

    Also im not used to seeing 25% CPU usage when upscaling video to 1080i.

    I was going to dump intel for AMD because of an absolute hardware nightmare over the last 6 months... but they are taking so long, once I have the money.. im getting another Q6600 and runnign that.
    i would say that will work for many, going quad core right now is a safe future proof for most everyday users and some just abnove it for a good 3+ years.

    considering how many people still own PIII or lw end 2gh p4's
    I bought it for Sup Com and future proofing.

    I had a 2140 which just didnt cut it. The cost of upgrading to a fast dual wasnt that different than upgrading to a Q6600, so getting a faster dualy, to then get a fast quad in 18 months didnt sit well.

    That being said, I'll sit with my Q6600 for three years, I was using a Northwood till recently
    I concur with him, that was one of the reason why I switched to Intel very fast duals vs slow quads is simple. FPS is determined by the video thread and highspeed dual just own lowspeed quads with one core at max 3 other just doing some this and that.

    Gonna take a while till this is going to change, so I am sitting still on duals till nehalem.