General Question

8lightminutesaway's avatar

Quad Core or Dual Core?

Asked by 8lightminutesaway (1413points) February 20th, 2008

I’ll be building a computer this summer, focused on performance. I can’t decide between quad or dual core cpu because I don’t know anyone who has a quad core, and I can’t find much help in other forums. What do you think are the advantages/disadvantages of quad cores? Are they worth the extra cost?

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14 Answers

glial's avatar

Just set up a webserver with (2) Dual Quad Cores. Amazing performance.

As far as a desktop machine goes, I’m sure it would rock on given applications.

aaronblohowiak's avatar

what kind of computing tasks?

how price sensitive are you?

8lightminutesaway's avatar

glial, I’m not sure what you mean about setting up a webserver like that, I’ve never heard of anything like that.

aaron, the machine would be used for 3D graphics like autoCAD and high end gaming, and normal desktop activities. I’m lookin at $1500 tops for the whole system, excluding mouse/keyboard, though I do need a monitor. So I expected around $300 for a nice cpu, but I wasn’t sure if the step up to quad core was worth the extra expense. I’d like the machine to last quite a while before an upgrade was necessary.

Dine, thanks, that machine looks sweet, but I’m sticking with a custom PC because thats what I know best.

chaosrob's avatar

Quad, definitely. Especially since a lot of the gaming engines have moved to multithreading. I put in an Intel Core 2 Quad 6550, and I have yet to completely max it out. Best $200 chip I’ve ever run.

aaronblohowiak's avatar

8lightminutesaway, I’m a screen real estate junkie. I’d go for a 24” widescreen from dell (same glass as apple, different casing and backlight or so i’ve read) instead of putting that money into the cpu. i suggest not buying the most expensive cpu you can afford, but the best value “sweet spot” for the cpu in your price range, and putting the extra money into screen size. especially for cad and gaming.

One of the concerns that I have with quad cores is memory bus.. sure your cpus might be able to handle a lot of operations, but if you dont have the capacity to get and store data from memory, then you will also have delays. Disclaimer: it has been a while since i’ve been “into” hardware and the start of the art may have cool solutions to bus width problems.

chaosrob: what is the bottleneck in your system?

8lightminutesaway's avatar

Thats a good point aaron. I was planning on a getting a 20”-22” monitor but I’m not looking forward to that part of my buying because I don’t know much about monitors and what brands are good. For example, I looked up the dell 24” and it was about $400 and then right under was another dell 24” for $700 and I didn’t know what I was missing.

Anyway, I think I’ve narrowed the cpu choice down to 2, but I’m open to others. Its either the Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 G0 Kentsfield 2.40GHz 8MB L2 (FSB 1066 MHz)
or the Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz 6MB L2 (FSB 1333MHz).
My friend just got the wolfdale dual core and loves it. Theres about a $30 difference between the 2, so maybe the quad is worth it? I don’t want to have to upgrade the cpu for a long time, so I’m going kinda high end.

I did some estimations, and it looks like I can get a pretty sweet system for $1500 or sacrifice a little and get it down to $1250.

glial's avatar

Should have said that “I” just setup a webserver….

The server has 2 Quad-Core Intel Xeon processors. My point was that I have never tried Quads in a desktop machine but I have in a server and they are very fast.

8lightminutesaway's avatar

ah yes, now it makes. Sometimes, I can’t read.

aaronblohowiak's avatar

@8mins.. the difference is probably in the contrast ratio.. not really a concern. you can search for the dell part numbers on c|net and find reasonable reviews. just note what cnet has the price as (it will prolly be different cause cnet reviews them when they are new..)

the difference between 20 and 24 inch widescreen displays is huge. i think between 24–27 is kind of a no-mans land. once you get up to 30, you get into another ballgame. At that point, it is usually more cost effective to have 2×24” widescreens.

i think i just creamed my pants.


iceblu's avatar

So what about AMD…Is everyone here an Intel Fan? The AMD Phenom is going to blow the intel quad core away, and its gonna be the best bang for the buck. $1500, you can do ALOT with that, a 22inch acer flat screen, 2 GB of Ram, Nice branded Mobo, Asus, MSI, Abit, ect. Case is you choice, i really like building with antec tho. The HDD’s you should have x2 500GB’s w/ 16MB Cache @ RAID 1, And if your doing CAD, i would get a ATI 3870…And to power it all, a power supply with at least 650 to 700W’s.

8lightminutesaway's avatar

I got anxious since I’d been doin all my research early and bought everything already :p Heres my setup if your interested
EVGA 780i, EVGA nvidia 9600 ssc, 2×1Gb DDR2 1200, Seagate 250Gb w/ 16Mb cache, OCZ 700@ psu, Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 (should be able to OC well over 3Ghz, haven’t tried yet so its at 2.4. ppl been getting up to 3.6 and the highest I’ve seen was 4.4 I think) , Samsung 2253BW.
Getting the mobo RMAed because it crashes games in winXP and doesn’t run the memory at 1200 Mhz. thought it runs games fine usually in vista? Didn’t end up spending 1500 either :p

charybdys's avatar

@8mins.: pretty decent choice. I was going to buy a dual-core myself, but with the new CPU’s recently I might go quad. For games, I’d rather a fast dual than a slower quad, because many still don’t know what to do with more than 2 cores ,and some are still single threaded. Therefore a high clock speed is better. But future games will almost certainly play better on quads, in the future. The quad thread programming isn’t trivial, so don’t expect it overnight.

@iceblu: I personally don’t own any intel chips, but I may soon buy one. The Phenom hasn’t been so awesome last time I checked. Has that changed recently?

iceblu's avatar

@charybdys Yes, they fixed the glitch problem they were having, so your actually getting what you pay for now, but i hate to say, you can still get an intel chip cheaper that performs better then AMD for cost vs. quality.

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