What do I do?!?!?!? / Computer stuff

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So I'm looking at parts to build a new pc, but I am torn between 2 processors. They are both AMD, one is 1.7 GHZ Dual Core, the other is 1.8 Quad Core. The quad core is $110 more and I am trying not to spend a whole lot of $ at the moment. I can upgrade later to that same cpu for probably less money too. So should I just get the quad core now and not waste $80 on something I'm not going to use in 6 months or Spend the $80 to get what I need for now and drop another $100 later?
So Buy the quad core not or wait and get it later?
Millions of my potential children died on your daughters' face last night.

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You know, you'd have more of a chance of getting good advice if your subject line actually mentioned needing computer help.
She is Da Man, and you better not mess with Da Man,
because she will lay some keepdown on you faster than, well, really fast. ~Billvon

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I dont really see why everyone is getting so worked up over these multi-cored processors. Yeah x64 WILL be a great processor line WHEN you have any applications that support 64 bit operations. Right now there are only a handful of apps that support 64 bit archetecture. So you'll spend extra money to get a 8th wheel for your car when four will do just fine.

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Choosing Dual or Quad Core
I'm a big fan of dual-core systems. I think there's a clear and substantial benefit for all computer users when there are two CPUs waiting to service requests, instead of just one. If nothing else, it lets you gracefully terminate an application that has gone haywire, consuming all available CPU time. It's like having a backup CPU in reserve, waiting to jump in and assist as necessary. But for most software, you hit a point of diminishing returns very rapidly after two cores. In Quad-Core Desktops and Diminishing Returns, I questioned how effectively today's software can really use even four CPU cores, much less the inevitable eight and sixteen CPU cores we'll see a few years from now.

To get a sense of what kind of performance improvement we can expect going from 2 to 4 CPU cores, let's focus on the Core 2 Duo E6600 and Core 2 Quad Q6600 processors. These 2.4 GHz CPUs are identical in every respect, except for the number of cores they bring to the table. In a recent review, Scott Wasson at the always-thorough Tech Report presented a slew of benchmarks that included both of these processors. Here's a quick visual summary of how much you can expect performance to improve when upgrading from 2 to 4 CPU cores:

Task Manager CPU Graph improvement
2 to 4 cores
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion none
Rainbow 6: Vegas none
Supreme Commander none
Valve Source engine particle simulation 1.8 x
Valve VRAD map compilation 1.9 x
3DMark06: Return to Proxycon none
3DMark06: Firefly Forest none
3DMark06: Canyon Flight none
3DMark06: Deep Freeze none
3DMark06: CPU test 1 1.7 x
3DMark06: CPU test 2 1.6 x
The Panorama Factory 1.6 x
picCOLOR 1.4 x
Windows Media Encoder x64 1.6 x
Lame MT MP3 encoder none
Cinebench 1.7 x
POV-Ray 2.0 x
Myrimatch 1.8 x
STARS Euler3D 1.5 x
SiSoft Sandra Mandelbrot 2.0 x

The results seem encouraging, until you take a look at the applications that benefit from quad-core-- the ones that aren't purely synthetic benchmarks are rendering, encoding, or scientific applications . It's the same old story. Beyond encoding and rendering tasks which are naturally amenable to parallelization, the task manager CPU graphs tell the sad tale of software that simply isn't written to exploit more than two CPUs.

Unfortunately, CPU parallelism is inevitable. Clock speed can't increase forever; the physics don't work. Mindlessly ramping clock speed to 10 GHz isn't an option. CPU vendors are forced to deliver more CPU cores running at nearly the same clock speed, or at very small speed bumps. Increasing the number of CPU cores on a die should defeat raw clock speed increases, at least in theory. In the short term, we have to choose between faster dual-core systems, or slower quad-core systems. Today, a quad-core 2.4 GHz CPU costs about the same as a dual-core 3.0 GHz CPU. But which one will provide superior performance? A recent Xbit Labs review performed exactly this comparison:

3.0 GHz
Dual Core 2.4 GHz
Quad Core improvement
2 to 4 cores
PCMark05 9091 8853 -3%
SysMark 2007, E-Learning 167 140 -16%
SysMark 2007, Video Creation 131 151 15%
SysMark 2007, Productivity 152 138 -9%
SysMark 2007, 3D 160 148 -8%
Quake 4 136 117 -15%
F.E.A.R. 123 110 -10%
Company of Heroes 173 161 -7%
Lost Planet 62 54 -12%
Lost Planet "Concurrent Operations" 62 81 30%
DivX 6.6 65 64 0%
Xvid 1.2 43 45 5%
H.264 QuickTime Pro 7.2 189 188 0%
iTunes 7.3 MP3 encoding 110 131 -16%
3ds Max 9 SP2 4.95 6.61 33%
Cinebench 10 5861 8744 49%
Excel 2007 39.9 24.4 63%
WinRAR 3.7 188 180 5%
Photoshop CS3 70 73 -4%
Microsoft Movie Maker 6.0 73 80 -9%

It's mostly what I would expect-- only rendering and encoding tasks exploit parallelism enough to overcome the 25% speed deficit between the dual and quad core CPUs. Outside of that specific niche, performance will actually suffer for most general purpose software if you choose a slower quad-core over a faster dual-core.

However, there were some surprises in here, such as Excel 2007, and the Lost Planet "concurrent operations" setting. It's possible software engineering will eventually advance to the point that clock speed matters less than parallelism. Or eventually it might be irrelevant, if we don't get to make the choice between faster clock speeds and more CPU cores. But in the meantime, clock speed wins most of the time. More CPU cores isn't automatically better. Typical users will be better off with the fastest possible dual-core CPU they can afford.

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What he said ^^^^

Depends on what you need PC for - really. I am upgrading from X2 4200+ to Phenom II 940. For image processing that I do - X2 is just not cutting it anymore. But for everything else, including games it performed just fine. If you want a quad - I say wait a bit - AMD is about to release AM3 socket CPU's and AM2+'s should drop in price in a couple of months.

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I have a AMD Athalon 64X2 dual core 5400+, 2.8 GHz for a socket AM2 in my newest computer, and 2 gigs of RAM. I love it, but they're up to 6000+ now with a 3.1 processor. My old computer has a Athalon XP 3200+ 2.2 GHz single core processor with 1 gig of RAM. If my old computer takes 20 minutes to copy a folder full of pictures from a compact flash card, my new one will take about 3 minutes.
"If it wasn't easy stupid people couldn't do it", Duane.

My momma said I could be anything I wanted when I grew up, so I became an a$$hole.

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If my old computer takes 20 minutes to copy a folder full of pictures from a compact flash card, my new one will take about 3 minutes.

Wow, I got pretty much the same perfomance improvement on my kids eMachine. (Old single Celeron, 256M RAM). Yea, I pulgged in a USB 2.0 card. The on-board was 1.1. ;)
It's your life, live it!
RB#684 "Corcho", ASK#60, Muff#3520, NCB#398, NHDZ#4, C-33989, DG#1

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This machine is intended mostly for deveopling / gaming. What I am on right now is, amd athlon x2 2.2 ghz, but is a socket 939 which is old and still using ddr1 ram with only 2gb.
Due to me being stingy I and the poll showing to wait (HaHa), I went with an am2+ board and got the 2.7 dual core for $78, and 4gb of ddr2 1066 ram. The machine is upgradable for the future though supporting another 4gb of ram and a quad core if I so desire. With my existing nvidia 8800gt video card I should see a significant perfomance increase in this new machine. Also my fsb speed existing is only 1600, new is 2600 :)

Millions of my potential children died on your daughters' face last night.

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