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Worth upgrading?

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Old June 16th 10, 07:44 AM posted to comp.sys.intel
Yousuf Khan[_2_]
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Posts: 1,225
Default Worth upgrading?

On 6/16/2010 3:43 AM, Nate Edel wrote:
There are often enough badly-written tasks that sit at 100% utilization that
with a regular 2-core/1-thread-per-core CPU you're back to essentially
having a single-threaded CPU for everything else.

It seems reasonably unusual to have two of those at once, and my intuition
is that a dual-core/2-threads-per-core (ie i3/i5 model) will do nearly as
well as a real quad-core for most people.

I had an Athlon X2 which was often hammered by a locked up application
taking 100% on a full core. Sometimes that 100% would lock up disk
resources too, so even the other core would have to wait.

I replaced that with a Phenom II X3 (which I was hoping to "over-core"
it to 4 cores, but alas it was not to be). The number of lockups due to
those badly written programs has gone done significantly.

Tasks that run 2 or more threads at 100% for real work will want more than 2
physical cores; my main experience with that is video encoding.

I assume games might require real cores too, rather than virtual cores.
I keep hearing conflicting information about how many simultaneous cores
games can fully utilize. Some say you don't need any more than 2 cores,
others have said 3 is the absolute maximum, if the games are
multi-threaded, then they should be able to use all cores present as
they need it.

I'm not sure whether the extra thread per core makes much difference on quad
core systems, with one exception: virtualbox runs a LOT better on my work
system (Xeon W3565, 4 cores/8 threads, 3.2ghz, 12gb) than my home system
(Q9550 overclocked at 3.15ghz, 8gb) but more memory, more cache and the
newer core (including better VT?) makes it hard to compare directly even
with the clock speeds relatively close.

Virtualization kills my machine. I got Windows XP virtualized under
Windows 7 now, and it's horrid, I won't even begin trying to virtualize
Ubuntu under it yet. It feels like I have a single-core machine again.
Here I think if I had more than 3 physical cores I would've been safe.

Yousuf Khan

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