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What part of a processor is relavent to gaming?

ghost_master2000ghost_master2000 Registered User regular
So I'm looking to upgrade my current processor. I have a Pentium D 930. It's 3.0GHz stock, but I have it OCed to 3.3GHz (the highest I could get it without exceeding safe temperatures.) I didn't get much out of it with the OC, so I figure it's either my ram (667MHz DDR2) or my processsor that's limiting performance.

What shoudl I look for in a processor for gaming? FSB frequency? L2 cache size? what is important?

ghost_master2000 on

Posts

  • Q_PrimeQ_Prime Registered User
    edited October 2008
    pretty much every part i would recommend getting the best one you can afford. actually if you don't mind holding off i believe intel is switching socket type so you'd be better off waiting for the new one so you have an upgrade path, or buying the 775 after the new one is released because it'll be cheaper.

    edit: oh wait you're on 775 right now. if you wait a couple months Nehalem will be released and 775 procs will get cheaper.

  • bashbash Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    Everything on the CPU is going to affect game performance in some way. Depending on your motherboard, RAM, and PSU you might be able to upgrade to something like a QX6850 or QX6700, both of which would give you a nice performance increase over your current CPU. Keep in mind that the NetBurth Intel CPUs (Pentium D) don't really compare clock for clock with Core 2 CPUs. Even though a QX6700 has a lower clock speed than your current 930, it's a lot more powerful clock for clock. It's also got two more cores than your current CPU.

    You didn't get much out of overclocking your current CPU because the NetBurst architecture performance doesn't scale linearly with clock speed because it has such deep pipelines. Your 10% overclock probably only netted you a 2-4% performance gain when it is even measurable.

    Not every game takes good advantage of multithreading but Windows does. Even if your game is decidedly single threaded Windows will schedule other processes to use the rest of your CPUs.

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  • ghost_master2000ghost_master2000 Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    yeah I think I'm going to stick with a 775 socket cpu.

    my power supply is only 430W. think that might bottleneck anything?

    so pretty much any core 2 duo will probably be better than what I have?

  • Q_PrimeQ_Prime Registered User
    edited October 2008
    much, but if you can get a q6600 or higher. i got a nice speed boost over my low end c2d. also make sure your on xp sp3 or vista, those are optimized for dual/quad machines.

  • Lucky CynicLucky Cynic Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    I'd like to just throw in the fact that DDR2 ram these days is dirt cheap. Getting 4 gigs of ram can be had for like, $50 from Newegg. While ram only does so much for games, it really does help the entire system out just to have that headroom.

  • Nakatomi2010Nakatomi2010 Registered User
    edited October 2008
    Just about any 775 processor should be faster than a Pentium D... The Pentium D's were designed as a quick answer the AMDs announcement of making a dual core chip, essentially they ducked taped two P4s together...

    CloseD.jpg

    While the Core 2s are two actual processors on the same chip, similar to AMD

    intel-core2duo-diagram-440x370.jpg


    See, the inefficiency comes from the fact that on a Pentium D the two processors can't communicate together AND with the system bus at the same time, and both processors couldn't talk to the system bus at the same time, essentially the bus had to go back and forth from one core, then back to the station, then out again to the second core, and so on and so forth.... Witht he Core 2 design they built a huge interstate with several off ramps for the busses to take, thus increasing efficiency...


    I use a Pentium D in my server, but my Gaming and HTPC are both Q6700s (YAY Intel Retail Edge, 250 bundle, and YAY Intel Conference and contests....)

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  • GrimReaperGrimReaper Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    Just about any 775 processor should be faster than a Pentium D... The Pentium D's were designed as a quick answer the AMDs announcement of making a dual core chip, essentially they ducked taped two P4s together...

    http://img.hexus.net/v2/processors/intel/lga775/840XE/CloseD.jpg

    While the Core 2s are two actual processors on the same chip, similar to AMD

    http://www.zdnet.com.au/shared/images/products/intel-core2duo-diagram-440x370.jpg


    See, the inefficiency comes from the fact that on a Pentium D the two processors can't communicate together AND with the system bus at the same time, and both processors couldn't talk to the system bus at the same time, essentially the bus had to go back and forth from one core, then back to the station, then out again to the second core, and so on and so forth.... Witht he Core 2 design they built a huge interstate with several off ramps for the busses to take, thus increasing efficiency...

    I use a Pentium D in my server, but my Gaming and HTPC are both Q6700s (YAY Intel Retail Edge, 250 bundle, and YAY Intel Conference and contests....)

    Just as an addition to that, that's also how current Intel quad core processors work. They're two dual core processors duct taped together. (essentially)

    Whilst the AMD quad core processors are true quad core, so no needing to communicate on the bus.

    Of course, at the moment Intel processors simply have raw speed over AMD's efficiency.

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  • Nakatomi2010Nakatomi2010 Registered User
    edited October 2008
    Hence why Intel is not planning on changing their design.... AMDs edge is going to be if they can pull off this Fusion thing properly... I believe their plans were to get a graphics processor right into the central processor, hence you could buy like a tri core+single GPU on a single chip....

    Check out me building my HTPC (NSF56K) (Updated 1-10-08)
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  • GrimReaperGrimReaper Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    Hence why Intel is not planning on changing their design.... AMDs edge is going to be if they can pull off this Fusion thing properly... I believe their plans were to get a graphics processor right into the central processor, hence you could buy like a tri core+single GPU on a single chip....

    For gamers pointless, but as an IT Manager I see it being good for business If you can get everything into a single chip you reduce costs by quite a lot.

    When I buy parts to build machines at work I don't go for the absolute cheapest but I do go for quite cheap.

    I'm now in the process of doing a transition to dual core machines at work. If I can get a machine that is say tri-core with one of those cores being a graphics processor then cool, it'll likely cost less than a dual-core+onboard gpu.

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  • DaedalusDaedalus Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    Just about any 775 processor should be faster than a Pentium D... The Pentium D's were designed as a quick answer the AMDs announcement of making a dual core chip, essentially they ducked taped two P4s together...

    CloseD.jpgWhile the Core 2s are two actual processors on the same chip, similar to AMDintel-core2duo-diagram-440x370.jpgSee, the inefficiency comes from the fact that on a Pentium D the two processors can't communicate together AND with the system bus at the same time, and both processors couldn't talk to the system bus at the same time, essentially the bus had to go back and forth from one core, then back to the station, then out again to the second core, and so on and so forth....   Witht he Core 2 design they built a huge interstate with several off ramps for the busses to take, thus increasing efficiency...


I use a Pentium D in my server, but my Gaming and HTPC are both Q6700s (YAY Intel Retail Edge, 250 bundle, and YAY Intel Conference and contests....)

    The inefficiencies also come from the fact that the Pentium D (and the Pentium 4 it was based on) had a really shitty architecture that was designed to have a high clock speed number (basically for PR) rather than actually have high performance. The Pentium 4/D would take as many as twenty clock cycles to perform some instructions that would take a Pentium 3/Athlon 64 about five.

    When Intel designed the Core and Core 2 series, they basically threw the P4 work in the garbage and based them on the Pentium 3 and Pentium M.

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  • ghost_master2000ghost_master2000 Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    so woudl I be better off with a core 2 quad 6600 or core 2 duo e8500?

  • DeadOnArrivalDeadOnArrival Registered User
    edited October 2008
    so woudl I be better off with a core 2 quad 6600 or core 2 duo e8500?

    The way I understand it, the Q6600 is more future proof, but the e8400/e8500 are better for today's software because not a lot outside of work-based applications (ie not games) make use of 4 cores. Basically, the e8's offer instant gratification and performance, whilst the Q6's will have less instant performance (but still decent) but will be better suited for tomorrow's applications and games.

    Toms Hardware recently did a test of an Athlon 64 4000+ (single core) chip vs an Athlon X2 4200+ (dual core), the 4000+ actually having a slightly better clock speed. On older games and applications, the single core outperformed the dual core by a slight margin, but on newer games and applications (notably Crysis) the dual core, despite it's lower clock speed, had as much as a 50% advantage.

    Basically, if you're set on getting a new proc now, I'd say go for the Q6600. Intel is changing socket type soon as said before so no matter what you get your upgrade options beyond that are basically limited to what is on the market now. Therefore, I'd say future proof as much as possible to hold off the next upgrade as long as possible.

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  • DaedalusDaedalus Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    Benchmarks. Find some comparative benchmarks, because that's the only way to figure out what processor is better than another one.

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  • ghost_master2000ghost_master2000 Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    looks like the e8500 is the winner. If I need to upgrade in the future that's fine, but it won't be for a while.

    how soon is intel switching away from socket 775? I want to know if I should bother waiting for the price drop or just get it now.

  • DeadOnArrivalDeadOnArrival Registered User
    edited October 2008
    I think the first Core i7 CPUs will be going on sale in November.

    2zz3vp4.jpg
  • Lucky CynicLucky Cynic Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    I think the first Core i7 CPUs will be going on sale in November.

    And they use Socket 775, right?

  • ScrubletScrublet Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    No. Core i7 is going to LGA1366, primarily because of memory bandwidth I'm told.

    Honestly, I see the world in black and white on the subject. You either:
    A) Save money cause you're really cheap. Buy the current generation now before its inventories are sold out, as price cuts probably won't be too much more than they already are, and the longer you wait the more chance people sell out of their stock in anticipation of the next gen.
    B) Buy next-gen because you're not cheap.

    I'm not being negative towards cheapness here. I'm just saying that if you're not specifically trying to build a cheap computer, I don't understand buying RIGHT before a major architecture change like this.

    Edit: to address the OP further...FSB frequency and L2 caching will both help gaming. However, FSB frequency will be MUCH more noticeable in gaming than normal day-to-day activities. However, larger L2 caches will help EVERYTHING, as being able to cache more things will give performance gains on normal applications. Usually your normal activities will be more limited by disk access than by your memory access.

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  • LittleBootsLittleBoots Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    The butt.

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  • ghost_master2000ghost_master2000 Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    well I'm a poor college student (at least until may of next year) so I am very cheap.

    I'll probably pick up the e8500 just so I can play games without lag.

  • DeadOnArrivalDeadOnArrival Registered User
    edited October 2008
    I hear the e8400 is both cheaper and can be overclocked to e8500 level with the stock cooler.

    Just food for thought. I don't overclock myself.

    2zz3vp4.jpg
  • wasted pixelswasted pixels Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    I hear the e8400 is both cheaper and can be overclocked to e8500 level with the stock cooler.

    Pretty much. The stock E8500 runs at 3.1GHz, and while ymmv, you can expect to get about 3.6GHz out of the E8400 on stock air (and probably even stock voltage). The scary, hardcore guys have been hitting 4.2GHz and 4.4GHz (sweet merciful fuck) with the E8400 without resorting to water cooling, which is amazing -- I thought 50% overclocks were a thing of the past.

    So I'm saying bumping the E8400 up to E8500 levels will be a cakewalk. There might literally be cake.

    BTW, I got a message from Obs that equated installing OS X on a PC with car theft, murder and rape. Is he normally like that?
  • DaedalusDaedalus Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    the E7200 can be easily overclocked way past e8500 levels too. I've done it myself.

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  • L*2*G*XL*2*G*X Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    They're not planning to drop prices at all. The relevant processors (high end) will be dropped out of production in december. Intell will have a huge gap in their lineup, but they count on people buying a new platform choosing Nehalem rather than AMD.

    Again, there's no mid or lower level Nehalem coming soon.

    The replacement of processors like the q6600 (65nm) with 45nm sucessors is generally being done with less performant (nerfed) processors. This might be because of lack of competition from AMD, or because they don't want to bring out stron competition for Nehalem.
    So there's no good mid or lower level core2 coming neither.

    No sense in waiting...

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