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Do games/often used programs use dual cpus?

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Goo Kenson

Member
Joined
Sep 17, 2002
Are there many programs that utilize 2 cpus in a system? I reccommended a dual AMD rig to the guy building a cpu who posted asking at both this forum and the Intel forum. One of the Intel guys said that for gaming, dual cpus would rarely be used. How often are both cpus used for running games? Do many games use both threads?
 
OP
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Goo Kenson

Member
Joined
Sep 17, 2002
Some guy in, I think the thread about Kunaak building a comp for that guy, someone said that he has a kickass AMD duallie. I was wondering how good it could be if most games don't use duals. Heh. Oh well, no dreaming :(
 

cmcquistion

IT Director Senior
Joined
Oct 15, 2001
Location
Tennessee
I have several duallies. My main rig, that I game on, is dual XP1600's @ 1800 MHz. It is the fastest computer I have ever used, period. Faster than my P4 @ 2.4 GHz with RDRAM. (Not necessarily faster in benchmarks, but much faster in actual USE.)

What you're asking is if games utilize both processors 100%. The simple answer is, no. For an application that needs 100% of your CPU power, it gets 50% of EACH processor. The bad thing about that is, you're not getting more CPU power than you would on a single-CPU system. The good thing is, you've got CPU cycles to spare. So, when some other application wants to run, it doesn't have to wait for CPU cycles. It gets them when it wants them. In some instances, this helps game load time and programs that have several executables that have to be run.

The key word here is "multitasking". Dual processors rock for multitasking. Even simple multitasking like burning a CD, while downloading a file, and playing a game. With dual processors, your system never feels bogged down (at least mine never have.) You know how there are some applications that use so much power that you can't even open Internet Explorer without it crawling? With dual CPU's, you don't have that problem.

Gaming, for me, is far more pleasurable, because I don't have to wait for one process to finish, before another one can load. I can leave a dozen programs running and still play games with no noticable slowdown. Game hosting and such improves GREATLY!

There are a few games that are programmed for SMP (symmetric multi processing, aka multiple CPU's), but 99% of games aren't. To my knowledge, although the Q3 engine is SMP capable, it doesn't work. It only worked for a few super-dedicated programming people to do some benchmarking and stuff. It's very finicky and games based on the Q3 engine won't run if you try to switch SMP on. I've tried, they just crash.
 
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Goo Kenson

Member
Joined
Sep 17, 2002
cmcquistion said:
I have several duallies. My main rig, that I game on, is dual XP1600's @ 1800 MHz. It is the fastest computer I have ever used, period.

What you're asking is if games utilize both processors 100%. The simple answer is, no. For an application that needs 100% of your CPU power, it gets 50% of EACH processor. The bad thing about that is, you're not getting more CPU power than you would on a single-CPU system. The good thing is, you've got CPU cycles to spare. So, when some other application wants to run, it doesn't have to wait for CPU cycles. It gets them when it wants them. In some instances, this helps game load time and programs that have several executables that have to be run.

The key word here is "multitasking". Dual processors rock for multitasking. Even simple multitasking like burning a CD, while downloading a file, and playing a game. With dual processors, your system never feels bogged down (at least mine never have.) You know how there are some applications that use so much power that you can't even open Internet Explorer without it crawling? With dual CPU's, you don't have that problem.

Gaming, for me, is far more pleasurable, because I don't have to wait for one process to finish, before another one can load. I can leave a dozen programs running and still play games with no noticable slowdown. Game hosting and such improves GREATLY!

To my knowledge, although the Q3 engine is SMP capable, it doesn't work. It only worked for a few super-dedicated programming people to do some benchmarking and stuff. It's very finicky and games based on the Q3 engine won't run if you try to switch SMP on. I've tried, they just crash.

What mobo do you use? I think my next system might be a dual, although I won't be building it for perhaps a year :)
 

cmcquistion

IT Director Senior
Joined
Oct 15, 2001
Location
Tennessee
My favorite motherboard of all time and space is the MSI K7D Master. It has Vcore, Multiplier, and FSB control (the only dual AMD motherboard that has all three.) It also has tons of tweaking options and is just very, very fast and more stable than most single CPU systems I have used.

After I got my first K7D Master, I fell in love. With it, and with SMP systems. I now have three K7D's and one dual Tyan motherboard, a Tiger MP.

There are two types of this motherboard, the K7D Master and the KD Master -L. The -L has integrated LAN. It costs $30-40 more, but it frees up a PCI slot, which can be useful.

P.S. This isn't a cheap motherboard, but it is the best dual processor board on the market. The CPU's are cheap, though. This system cost me less than my P4 system w/ RDRAM.
 

Robbie

Member
Joined
May 9, 2001
Location
A hot spot in Ca
Probably depends on the OS. I'm sure there are some games out there that will use BOTH cpu's. I'm sure if you run a server for a game it would use BOTH?!?!??! Though I could be wrong.
Rob
 

cmcquistion

IT Director Senior
Joined
Oct 15, 2001
Location
Tennessee
I use good-old cheap XP1600's from Newegg. My main rig is daul XP1600 AROIA cores @ 1800 MHz (watercooled.) My file server at work is dual XP1800's, AGOIA stepping. They will do 1733 MHz, but it's not overclocked, since I can't afford to have system problems (servicing 50 users.) My wife' rig is dual Newegg XP1600's AGOIA stepping. They will do 1733 MHz, but at a noise level that I don't care for. I have them at 1533 MHz and 1.55 Vcore.

BTW, I use SVC GC68 heatsinks with Panaflo L1A fans (24 CFM @ 21 dBA) on the file server and my wife's computer. $6 for the heatsink, $7 for the fan. The heatsink comes with a fan rated for 32 CFM @ 28 dBA which is pretty quiet, but I'm incredibly picky about noise, so now they'er inaudible with the Panaflo's.

Robbie, you need an SMP-aware operating system like WinNT, Win2K, or Windows XP Pro (not Home Edition) to use both processors. As I said before, though, you're always using both processors when you game, you're just not using 100% of both processors. The only time you will use 100% of both processor is, either by running multiple applications, or by using a program that was programmed for SMP (even then, you probably won't be at 100% on both.) Adobe, for instance, programs all their stuff for SMP, so if you're using Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Premiere, you will use both processors.
Programs have to be written specifically for SMP because the program has to have instructions to send to both processors and it has to know when to expect data from the processors, and on and on and on. It's very complicated to program, so most companies don't do it.
If a program was not written for SMP, then it gets split between the processors. It's not always 50-50, sometime it's 70-30 or 60-40, but it gets split. It only gets as many CPU cycles as one of your processors.

As I said before, there are a FEW games that are programmed for SMP, but most (99%) aren't.