June 18th, 2006, 04:49 AM
This sort of relates to the comments TheDuck and I were having about the relative development stages of hardware and software.
A 64 bit dual core is faster than a 32 bit single core, but there isn't much that really takes full advantage of the technology.
I guess you need to ask yourself when you are going to go to Vista, and, more importantly, what flavour of Vista? If your answer is "sooner" rather than "later" then you need to buy with that in mind.
You would really need to look at the detailed requirements of the types of games you like to play.
There are four basic factors:
1. RAM quantity and speed
2. Video card (particularly frame rate)
Some games are more memory intensive, whilst others are video intensive. In this respect also bear in mind that RAM is an easy upgrade whilst the video is not, as you will be left with an old card with little second user value.
I read a review a few months back (in a magazine) that compared various options for gaming. Their conclusion was that the processor was the least significant factor in performance once you had crossed the threshold level for the particular game ( that's the "recommended" not the "minimum" ).
Also, don't forget the screen and screen resolution/refresh. A good video card is a waste of money unless you have a display that supports it.
The problem with laptops is that the screen is a limiting factor, particularly as they tend to have an optimum setting. This will tend to be reflected in the video card options you are offered.
I guess that when it comes to gaming, laptops still have a way to go to match desktop equipment that is available.
June 18th, 2006, 05:06 AM
And to add to nihil's monitor comments... When gaming with an LCD make sure the response time is no more then 12ms. I'd say 8ms is prefered though. Refresh rate means nothing if your LCD reponse time is 20ms...
I'd also say the FSB is a major factor in high performance systems. On a well balanced high end system, the FSB is the only real bottleneck...
June 18th, 2006, 11:27 AM
Yes, it definatly effects performance.
Does this seriously affect performance that much, or is it not noticeable?
I'm running an AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core 3800+ which has a clock speed of 2 GHz (not as fast as many processors out there) and I have noted a big difference in performance, particularly with multitasking. I am able to perform heavy load operations (ie resizing 100's of pics or video encoding) and the overall performance of the machine is effected very little.
So, if you use heavy applications or many applications at once, dual core is definatly a big help.
Like others have said, it mainly depends on your requirements - it seems that Intel are better for laptops and AMD are better for desktops. I have something to add to this however - it is not just a choice of "do I want a laptop or a desktop", it also depends on what applications you will mainly be using. I believe in some cases for pure video encoding Intel tend to come out slightly ahead?
And price aside, which is "better" (irrelevant to company preference )?
On an additional note - I have noticed that some software (usualy games) do not like using 2 cores AT ALL and simply freezes at some point. With these I have found that just limiting the program to a single core tends to sort things out.
In any case - judging by the majority of literature I have read that the AMD CPUs are the better choice for desktops, particularly when price IS taken into consideration (and I expect that there are very few people who can choose to ignore price).
\"Clouds are not spheres, mountains are not cones, coastlines are not circles, and bark is not smooth,
nor does lightning travel in a straight line.\" -Benoit Mandelbrot
June 18th, 2006, 12:18 PM
Actually omin you have raised some of issues that I had missed.
1. I think that we agree that a dual core processor will outperform a single core one, provided that you have the workload/application requirements that need it.
2. As for the difference between laptops and desktops, no-one has mentioned the power supply? I was fixing one with an Intel 3.2Ghz the other day, and noticed that it was running at 1.8Ghz. This is part of the powersaving regime, and I was running it off the battery rather than mains supply.
3. We have already mentioned that 64 bit is rather a waste if you only have 32 bit applications, but can be justified in some scenarios, generally because of the dual core.
4. The OP actually mentioned twin processors as well a dual core. To effectively make use of multiple processors you really do need applications that are designed to take advantage of them.
I must admit that I have never heard of multiple processors causing a problem (unlike dual cores) but if your software doesn't understand them, you will have a lot of redundant resource (read "wasted money")
Other points to consider: (I am arguing "balance" here)
1. RAM type and speed
2. Video capabilities
3. L1 & L2 cache size. Generally the bigger the cache, the more powerful the processor, as opposed to raw clockspeed. I am sure that some will remember the old PIII Xeons that would walk all over a P4...........but they did cost £3,250 a pop
What I am trying to propose that a single component should not be an issue when you are considering a complete system. Rather think of balance, future proofing and upgradability.
I forgot to say that in an ideal situation the usage requirement should dictate the performance requirement, which will dictate the price...........another one of those "eternal balancing triangles"
Here is a new acronym: WYPFIWYG "What You Pay For Is What You Get"
June 18th, 2006, 12:19 PM
Hmm... Dual core cpu's definitely increase multi tasking performance but regardless of what people say, in order for applications to take full advantage of dual core cpu's they need to be developed with dual core in mind. This is the reason why the performance of games have not increased much with dual core... Or most applications for that matter unless your multi tasking...