Building PC / Have Questions

Shawn

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I'm currently looking up parts for a computer I'm planning on building this week hopefully.

My first issue is deciding between dual or quad core CPUs. For similar prices I can either get the Intel dual core E8400 at 3GHz or the Intel quad core Q9300 at 2.4GHz.

I've been looking at comparisons online and they mostly recommend the quad core mainly just for future proofing your system. Now, when I built my last PC I went with an AMD64 processor because everyone told me 64-bit was the future, yet most people are still computing in 32-bit four years down the line.

So should I sacrifice 600MHz for future proofing or should I get the faster dual core? I'm not planning to overclock since this will sit by my TV in an HTPC case, so I don't want excessive heat or noise.

I will use it mainly for games and watching videos (SD and HD), not so much things like video encoding and pro apps.
 

db2450

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Unless I'm completely mistaken, the dual core would be 2cores@3.0Ghz and the quad would be 4cores@2.4Ghz so in overal performence wouldn't the quad core perform much better (be faster) as long as the software you use will accept 4 cores?
 

Davetouch

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Yeah. You've got a choice between total 6GHz or 9.6GHz...

I'd go for the Quad. Especially if you are touching HD, the Dual would be fine, but you'd better be safe.
 

Shawn

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But for things that will only take advantage of two cores (most current games and apps from what I'm told) I would have 2x2.5GHz (total 5) with the quad, whereas I'd get 2x3GHz (total 6) with the dual core.

Or I might be totally mistaken. Someone please enlighten me.

Also, the price difference is actually $75... the older quad cores are similar in prices to the E8400.
 

Vette Boss

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Unless you're planning to do things the quad is specifically optimised for, you're better off with the dual. Quad core is more future proof, but that doesn't really make sense to me. Buy for the here and now, not for years down the road, when you upgrade again.
 

Shawn

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^ Argh, this is what kills me... opinion on this matter seems to be split right down the middle. I keeping reading up on it and can't decide on dual or quad cores.

I've read that the E8400 performs better than the quad Q9300, unless you overclock the quad, in which case it will perform only slightly better than the stock dual core for apps that can't use 4 cores.
 

Vette Boss

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^ The way I think of it, you need the performance now or you wouldn't consider upgrading. That's why future-proofing computers doesn't make sense.
 

argatoga

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You don't need a quad core system, most applications now a days struggle to take advantage of two cores. Buy the duel core, the faster speed will make it more future proof than the additional two cores which will rarely be used.

If you run a lot of big applications at once or use a specialized multi-threaded app (if you don't know you aren't) than go quad otherwise it will be a waste.

Also whomever told you to buy a 64bit system for the sake of future proofing was either ill informed or trying to sell you something. 64bit is only needed for systems with more than 4GB of ram (and even then not necessarily).
 
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Shawn

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Alright guys, I will most probably go for the Core2Duo then. Would there be any benefits in quad core in watching 1080 videos and stuff like that?

Here's my next question: For the same price as a retail E8400 with a HSF, I can buy the chip with an OZC HSF. Should I go for the stock since I'm not OCing?
 

argatoga

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Alright guys, I will most probably go for the Core2Duo then. Would there be any benefits in quad core in watching 1080 videos and stuff like that?
Speed is more important for video. The codecs aren't exactly super multithreaded.


Here's my next question: For the same price as a retail E8400 with a HSF, I can buy the chip with an OZC HSF. Should I go for the stock since I'm not OCing?
If you aren't overclocking there is no reason, unless the OZC one is super silent and that is a concern. Though from my experience the stock Intel heatsink isn't loud at all.
 

cvrefugee

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Save your money instead of attempting to "future proof" a new computer is my advice. I've generally spent around $200 each for my last three CPUs, never more, never less.
 

awdrifter

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From your description of what you use your comp for, definitely go with the dual core. I know you're not planning to overclock, but when your computer gets older, and games gets more demanding, it's nice to know that you can oc the E8400 to around 4ghz. The Q9300's multi is too low, it's very hard to overclock. And so far, there's not many games that uses 4 cores. For HD videos, just get a video card with HD capabilities. (Like the HD3870 or the 9600GT) then you're set.
 

MadCow809

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If you are thinking of overclocking... then Quad core will be your best choice, since its running on 7.5x on 333 fsb. change the fsb to 400 and you will have 3ghz without any hassle.

Quad Core 3ghz > Dual core 3Ghz, especially if its overclocked, plus it has more cache.


But if you are not gonna mess around with your pc and risk the chance of fucking things up then Dual Core is the one you should go for. At stock form, 3ghz is pretty invincible anyway, you will have no problem with games or HD movies.


Besides, almost no games support the use of 4 cores, only a few games actually fully use the advantage of a dualcore cpu, let alone quadcore. The biggest difference you will see in performance is video encoding with the use of quad core.

It all depends what you want to do with your pc. and what OS you are running.

I will use it mainly for games and watching videos (SD and HD), not so much things like video encoding and pro apps.
In that case, dual core sounds like the better option to me.


Here's my next question: For the same price as a retail E8400 with a HSF, I can buy the chip with an OZC HSF. Should I go for the stock since I'm not OCing?
If you are not gonna OC, intel stock fan will do the job quite fine. Those new 45nm processors runs pretty cool even with the crappy intel fan.

If you are paranoid, you can always spend like $25 bucks and get a really good fan like this

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103031

It's quite cheap, and it does the job really well. Even Tomshardware recommend it over some of the $50 variants.

But for things that will only take advantage of two cores (most current games and apps from what I'm told) I would have 2x2.5GHz (total 5) with the quad, whereas I'd get 2x3GHz (total 6) with the dual core.
It doesn't work like this.

I've read that the E8400 performs better than the quad Q9300, unless you overclock the quad, in which case it will perform only slightly better than the stock dual core for apps that can't use 4 cores.
When both running the same speed, quad core is going to be slightly faster than dual core, regardless the application. Main reason is that quad core has more cache to play. But this will be irrelevant to you, seeing as you are not overclocking. Besides, the performance difference will be marginal, hardly noticeable in the real world. It only matters to pc fanatics that live on statstics and benchmark results.

E8400 is a strong cpu even at stock form, it will kill almost all the AMD rivals out there pretty easily. Heck, it should even take my cpu down without too much trouble, and mine is juiced up to the max performance.
 
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otispunkmeyer

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im not 100% sure on quad core, id probably go for the dual core.

for starters the majority of major apps are still single threaded and those that are multithreaded barely utilize 2 cores properly, and after that.... well its diminishing returns. (ie for the same clock 4 cores wont be twice as quick as 2 cores )

if your playing games i'd be tempted simply to go for the faster cpu.

failing that, im pretty sure you could clock the 4 core up to around 2.8 maybe more. get some decent ram, tweak the cpu voltage and away you go. saying that you could do the same with the C2D

IMPORTANT BIT !!!

about video playback.. well with 1080P on my macbook pro which is 2.4ghz C2D, it was just fine, no hiccups. however.....


you say yor gaming, so i presume you are getting a new card. now im not sure about the higher league radeons (the lower ones have this feature im going to tell u about) but i think all the Nvidia Geforce 8/9 range carry the Pure Video Processor 2...... in most models i believe this processor almost completely offloads video play back off the CPU. it really is a great feature and means you dont even have to have a particularly stout CPU to cope with full 1080p, encoded in the best quality
 
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Shawn

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Thanks all for your replies. I decided to go with the dual core and save some dough. I will +rep you guys when I'm less lazy.

For the last few hours I've been looking at cases. I want an HTPC case, but one that supports ATX and other stuff a full tower would be able to fit. I came across the SilverStone LaScala cases which fit my requirements, but I read mixed reviews on it.

A lot of people complain about the lack of space inside... this is to be expected from a ATX HTPC case, but it seems in this instance it's because of bad design. Plus the EVGA 9800GTX card I'm looking at is longer than normal so I need to keep that in mind.

So any case recommendations?
 

jeffy777

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I'm late to the thread, but good choice on the dual core :thumbup:

I usually skimp when it comes to the case, so you probably don't want my advice in that department if you are in to looks.
 

der_jackal

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for starters the majority of major apps are still single threaded and those that are multithreaded barely utilize 2 cores properly, and after that.... well its diminishing returns. (ie for the same clock 4 cores wont be twice as quick as 2 cores )
Sorry, but this is one of my semantics pet peeves.

No they aren't. You are incredibly hard pressed to find any commercially available application that only uses one thread to do all its work.

The majority of applications are mutlithreaded, but they are not optimized for SMP / Multicore systems. They are weighted threading models, and tend to have highly inefficient synchronization and resource management which can stall other threads in that process space from running in parallel.
 
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otispunkmeyer

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Sorry, but this is one of my semantics pet peeves.

No they aren't. You are incredibly hard pressed to find any commercially available application that only uses one thread to do all its work.

The majority of applications are mutlithreaded, but they are not optimized for SMP / Multicore systems. They are weighted threading models, and tend to have highly inefficient synchronization and resource management which can stall other threads in that process space from running in parallel.
i admit i dont know enough about these things to really comment..... but thats what i meant. i know programs execute things with many more than one thread, but because the cpu can only do one at a time they are all jimmied up and run in a sequence.

but yeah i meant most programs dont use the cores properly because theyre not designed to even though they could certainly do it.

we're getting there though..... couple of games out now make good use of 2 cores, i think theres only a small handful, possibly only enough to count on one hand, of games that can use 4 cores, but you dont really see much of a return.

still, i reckon the faster CPU combined with a geforce 8/9 gpu will be the best choice. by the time games require 4 cores for definate, he'll be ready to upgrade again and the graphics card should be able to sort him out with HD content for a good long while

plus theres the ability to pop a second card in, and soon.... thanks to nvidias CUDA and recent purchase of Ageia we could be seeing nvidia cards (the unified shader ones) being able to offload physics processing as well.

case choices.... well my personal preference is Antec and one of their P-series cases. or if you want more rich mans..... silverstone cases.

for SFF, i'd go for the shuttles, the latest intel shuttles are pretty neat and you can fit a whole lot of high powered hardware in them despite their relatively meager powersupplies. you still gotta be careful with heat and power draw though, but i have seen systems running dual graphics cards and top end core duos.

ive been out of the loop for a while now, but the last case i bought was the Antec P160 and its a great case, old, but good. the antec p180 is even better, if a little large.
 
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