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. Yea, I agreed with that article as well. Though I can say that a dual core has helped a lot when I want to burn a dvd and do something else at same time.
    I cant really justify to myself to get a quad. Just a waste of money for me at the moment. It seems most people buy quads to up their benchmark scores more than anything else.
    Kinda a waste of money IMO unless you actually do something that needs a quad.
    Heavy photo editing
    3D Rendering
    On a side note if I had oodles of money laying around I would get a quad or two or three to fold or something. At least it would be doing something beneficial.
    If it can do twice as much folding, I think it's worth it for that alone. It'd probably be useful for people using them in HTPC systems for video encoding, too.
    petteyg359
    If it can do twice as much folding, I think it's worth it for that alone. It'd probably be useful for people using them in HTPC systems for video encoding, too.

    I definitely agree with the article..people who dont know anything about computers should not get a quad..let alone people who do know what a computer is but dont know that most programs today do not support 2+ cores. I use many adobe apps..including a video, audio, and special effects(whatever you want to call After Effects lol) which when rendering..my 3.6ghz quad eats it up for breakfast...it was funny to see the difference in after effects rendering between my old dual opteron 165 and this q6600...theres no going back..but the problem i think most have when they hear "4 cores is better than 2" is that most programs dont support quad yet..sooo...yea...some reasons to get a quad
    -Mega multitasker(GO THIDERAS!)
    -audio,video,autocad rendering..stuff like that
    -servers
    I do all of these...i multitask very nicely, i use adobe apps that use all 4 cores, and i sometimes host a teamspeak server if my clans goes down..works well..ok ill shut up..im talking too much..
    I went with a quad because the price differnce was not that great for a "comparable" dual core cpu. the 6850 was only 10 dollars cheaper.
    As for me thogh... quad is definitly useful 10% of the time. Most of the time my pc sits and does little. However when I need the power (and since my gaming PC is also my home server and HTPC) its very useful. I can convert DVDs to AVI while playing neverwinternights and not experience one hiccup if I set affinity, plus once I get a tuner I will be converting a lot more video then I do presently.
    Quad for me was an investment in the future as I dont expect to upgrade again for at least a year.
    SETI, and perhaps a bit more SETI :)
    The workunit production on the Q6600 compared to a 3.4Ghz Prescott: Rac of 3,398 for the quad (and still rising), and Rac of 683 for the prescot.
    If you look at space consumed, these two rigs would be equal, but production is 497% higher on the quad.
    So 5 Prescot 3.4Ghz pc's to equal one Q6600 (GO stepping), thus a significant savings of space, electricity, and heat production.
    Yes the Quad does make sense, for users who can take 4 cores to 100% load and keep it there. :)
    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.
    My PC is a File Server/Web Server/Gaming Machine/HTPC all built into one, and I'm an extremely good multitasker at the same time. Does all that stuff require 100% 24/7? Of course not, but when it does, I'm glad I have the 4 cores.
    If you want a Dual for other reasons like power consumption and heat, then fine. But it isn't like you have to go out and spend $800 to jump into the Quad realm like some here would have you believe is the case.
    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.
    My PC is a File Server/Web Server/Gaming Machine/HTPC all built into one, and I'm an extremely good multitasker at the same time. Does all that stuff require 100% 24/7? Of course not, but when it does, I'm glad I have the 4 cores.
    If you want a Dual for other reasons like power consumption and heat, then fine. But it isn't like you have to go out and spend $800 to jump into the Quad realm like some here would have you believe is the case.

    The price is usually more than just the chip. For AMD users its the chip, new board, new memory etc etc etc. Hard to justify $500+ just for another two cores that dont get used with much.
    CGR
    The price is usually more than just the chip. For AMD users its the chip, new board, new memory etc etc etc. Hard to justify $500+ just for another two cores that dont get used with much.

    When I can get a quad with the same clocks as a dual core, at the same price, I'll buy one. Secondary concerns are heat and power consumption, but when it was time to buy a CPU, the E6750 was around $220, and Q6600 around $300 or so, while running slower.. For me, it was an easy decision.
    Edit: oops, meant to quote the post above that.
    CGR
    The price is usually more than just the chip. For AMD users its the chip, new board, new memory etc etc etc. Hard to justify $500+ just for another two cores that dont get used with much.

    Well, that's if you are upgrading "just" the CPU. Any "real" upgrade or perhaps a new build doesn't have these problems.
    ratbuddy
    When I can get a quad with the same clocks as a dual core, at the same price, I'll buy one. Secondary concerns are heat and power consumption, but when it was time to buy a CPU, the E6750 was around $220, and Q6600 around $300 or so, while running slower.. For me, it was an easy decision.
    Edit: oops, meant to quote the post above that.

    Why are you on these forums if you are just going to stick with the stock clock ? :santa:
    One of the first uses that comes to mind for me would be for compiling code faster on linux, or compile things under linux while playing a game. As another user mentioned, folding at home. Also, it would be neat to learn how to program multithreaded apps to make use of a 4 core system, which is easier to do if you have a test system.
    There really truely are not alot of users that would benifit at all from a quad core right now. I think alot of people would want one for the 3dmark06 bonus points; however, I think that this inflates your score more than the actual benifit. For real gaming performance, you'd be better off getting the two core to a higher clock speed.
    as you can tell from my sig, im a firm believer that architecture>raw clockspeed>number of cores when it comes to gaming.oh and that includes supreme commander as it only uses 2.5 cores.
    CGR
    The price is usually more than just the chip. For AMD users its the chip, new board, new memory etc etc etc. Hard to justify $500+ just for another two cores that dont get used with much.

    Not for AM2 users :)
    Just if you want the improved feature set of the new motherboards...which is pretty amazing.
    3 reasons in this order:
    FEA -------------\
    Between this and the more ram I need, cuts down on times huge!
    Math Programming/
    Games- ever since I got the three extra cores, I've noticed a huge improvement in my fps and my fragging has improved three-fold! On a side note, the size of my **** decreased three fold??? :beer: :confused:
    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.
    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 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