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Numsgil

Multi core processor ratings

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When you see a quad core intel chip advertised at 3.2 GHZ, does that mean that the four cores are each running at 3.2 GHZ, each running at 800 MHZ, or somewhere between using some random benchmarking values for Amdahl's Law to make up the composite speed? I'm thinking of getting a new computer, but I have some single threaded, CPU intensive simulation type games that aren't going to benefit much from running on multiple cores. So I still need to be able to run my single threaded apps at or faster than my present P4 to make it worth it.

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Quote:
Original post by Numsgil
When you see a quad core intel chip advertised at 3.2 GHZ, does that mean that the four cores are each running at 3.2 GHZ, each running at 800 MHZ, or somewhere between using some random benchmarking values for Amdahl's Law to make up the composite speed? I'm thinking of getting a new computer, but I have some single threaded, CPU intensive simulation type games that aren't going to benefit much from running on multiple cores. So I still need to be able to run my single threaded apps at or faster than my present P4 to make it worth it.

The ghz rating means each core runs at that rating. So, in your example, each core would be running at 3.2 ghz.
However, to be quite honest, intels latest architecture more than beats the p4's. Actually, the athlon 64's beat the p4's by a large margin, and the core 2 duo's beat the althon 64's by a good margin, so that right there tells you something.
However, even if all of your apps are single threaded you more than likely multitask enough with separate apps to make use of a dual core at the very least. So you would still benefit.
I'd say its a well worth upgrade.

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I was running a P4 at 1.8ZGhz(it was a 2.53Ghz Processor, but hp's MOBO limited it to 1.8) and when I bought this laptop I'm using now, I was amazed at the speed increase even with single threaded processes. I'm using a 1.6 Core 2 Duo in this machine. So though the actual clock speed is slower, more is still getting done at a faster rate. Wait until the new ones come out around the last few months this year. They are called Nahalem chips or something like that and apparently wil be available with 8 cores(and hyperthreading on each one). I wonder what clock speeds they will get, though as we see between P4 and Core processors that clock speed isn't all that matters.

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Processor clock speed means something in the same range (eg: comparing Core 2s), but basically nothing otherwise. You're better off looking at real-world benchmarks relating to the sort of application you are going to be running on it.

I'm going to presume that intel is a core 2 quad, in which case each one of those cores would be many times faster than your P4. Exact amounts will depend on the speed of your P4, what you are doing, etc.

If budget is an issue and your don't need massive multithreading, a considerably cheaper core 2 duo might be an idea. For a smaller budget, you could get a faster 2 core processor, that would be better for most current applications (ie: those that use 1 or 2 cores). Bear in mind that multithreading is becoming far more common, and is very extensively used already in many applications.

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If you are going to 'future proof', a higher clocked dual core is going to do better for the next few years than a similarly priced quad core (at a far lower clock speed). Best option is likely to get a fast dual core, and then switch to a quad core in a year or two when they are cheaper/faster and there are more applications that can make use of them.


This is of course not useful if you are getting one for a dev system to make use of a quad core.

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My current computer has lasted me (with upgrades to the memory (1GB right now) and video card (6800 GT right now)) for 5 years, so if I buy a new computer, I'm looking for one that can handle everything my current computer can, and last for another 5 years at least, and have a great deal of upgrade potential during that time. Probably I'll just buy a bare bones computer from something like this, cannibalize as much of my existing computer as I can, and buy new parts if/when I need them.

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Eight months ago (or was it a year? Time moves quickly), the C2D E6850 (dual-core, 3.0 GHz) edged out the Q6600 (quad-core, 2.4 GHz) at the same price point for me.

However, since then, new CPUs have come out, and if I were to build a new computer today, I would likely get a quad core. The Q9450 is right at the knee of the price curve right now, and likely what I'd choose.

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