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Hardware How many CPU cores do games need?

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Sifter3000, 5 Jul 2010.

  1. Ergath

    Ergath Giant Zombie Pigeon Photographer

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    Several games seemed to like three cores - could it be that atually they were only using two cores and the benefit of the third is that it picks up all of the Windows background services etc? It would make sense that most game devs are only coding for dual-threading at the mo, on the basis that the proportion of gamers with quads is still comparitively low.
     
  2. wyx087

    wyx087 Homeworld 3 is happening!!

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    nice to see you've settled on perfmon graphs :)

    very nice results, shows that game developers still have untapped power to be had. also busts the common myth that you need a £3000 quad core monster machine to play PC games.

    from the benchmarks, i see a common trend where 4 core machines seem to always have higher or one of highest minimal FPS. is this because game developers have now started to optimise for 4 cores? why does 6 core give less minimal FPS?
     
  3. Jack_Pepsi

    Jack_Pepsi Clan BeeR Founder

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    Bindi - how did you come to the decision to exclude Source engine games?
     
  4. Hustler

    Hustler Well-Known Member

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    Hmmm...dont know what to make of your Dirt 2 results as they are very different to my experience....

    With my Phenom 550 in dual core mode (@3.6Ghz) i see regular frame rate drops to the mid 40's...

    Play with 3 or more cores active (again @3.6Ghz) i see a constant 55-60fps....
     
  5. badders

    badders Neuken in de Keuken

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    Agreed with what you said about SupCom, but what about something a bit bloatier, like GTA IV? It normally runs all four of my cores to 80-90%. Although a bit of that is probably lazy coding, it does show it's using all available resources, and I'd be interested to see if it scaled up and down in the same way.
     
  6. shaffaaf27

    shaffaaf27 The budget builder

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    what a fantastic article. Thankyou for writing it and all the testing.

    i was wondering though, couldn't you compare duals and quads from multiple generations, so from the E2140 E4300 E5200 E6600 E6750 E8600 to the i3s, so we know if for gaming its worth upgrading. Same for quadcores?

    and then a heavily oced dual vs quadcore? Also with the core scaling, how about brining in multiGPU gaming into it aswel, from x2 style cards to 4way gpu setups?
     
  7. smc8788

    smc8788 ...at least I have chicken

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    People still play SupCom too you know! :p

    While it was a heavily multithreaded game, it didn't always use the cores as effectively as it could - hence the existence of the Core Maximizer tool (unfortunately it doesn't work with Windows 7 :().
     
  8. Guest-16

    Guest-16 Guest

    I wanted to do GTA IV with the new episodes on PC but didn't have time, plus it was a big download. :(

    With source engine - there's nothing new from Valve since 2007, and trying to get reproducible results when manually playing TF2 would have been impossible. Valve games just aren't that intensive really.

    Yes the more recent i5-750 has PCI-Express on-chip, L3 cache and much more memory bandwidth as well as slightly better IPC than the Core 2. We've covered the benefits between generations and how each CPU performance in gaming in our specific CPU articles. Click the hardware tab and click CPU :thumb:
     
  9. shoxicwaste

    shoxicwaste Max

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    Interesting article
     
  10. borandi

    borandi New Member

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    HyBry has it bang on - this article is pretty much meaningless in every aspect if the CPU is not the limiting factor. As more and more calculations are being done on the GPU, leaving the CPU idle when needed, then the performance is GPU dependant. I can write some code on the CPU only, multithreaded, where number of cores gives more performance. Or if I offload them to the GPU, the GPU very quickly becomes the bottleneck and you get the same results after one core.

    Seriously guys, I'd expect more from bit-tech. Given that it's engine dependant, being 'dissapointed' just because a game doesn't improve after one core is indicative that either a) the game in single threaded, or b) the engine is very efficient on GPU calculations.
     
  11. HyBry

    HyBry New Member

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    I compleatly understand... I just wanted to point out that you are using top end CPU here and for some games where you stop seeing improvement here after enabling 3rd core (GPU becomes bottleneck) some mid range quads might need all 4 cores to reach that (CPU might still be the bottleneck with 3 cores enabled).

    But good to see the graph at the end... if you see all cores working you know it is decently multithreaded. Bad Company 2 vs Crysis or Stalker
     
  12. erratum1

    erratum1 New Member

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    Doesn't the 360 have 3 cores running at 3.2 ghz or something, coincidence that all games are made for it then ported to pc.

    Its clock speed that makes games faster.
     
    Last edited: 5 Jul 2010
  13. mrbens

    mrbens New Member

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    thanks for the interesting read :)
     
  14. GravitySmacked

    GravitySmacked Mostly Harmless

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    Good read.

    I'm still gaming with an dual core E8600 @ 4.3Ghz; still works fine but I must admit a quad core i7 is becoming more and more tempting.
     
  15. frontline

    frontline Punish Your Machine

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    Interesting article, although would be nice to have seen some source engine game figures (especially the older engine used in CS Source compared to the OB engine of TF2 etc).

    As someone said above, it would also be interesting to compare CPU architectures, although i appreciate that going through several games just on one system is time consuming.

    Bad Company 2 was a surprise though, i expected it to scale a lot better from 2 to 4 cores, as a lot of forum posts are extolling the benefits of moving from a dual to a quad to improve performance.
     
    Last edited: 5 Jul 2010
  16. tad2008

    tad2008 New Member

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    Well it's good to see that games are actually making use of the extra cores.

    One thing I would say is pure clock speed will beat an additional core, so when considering upgrading to more cores don't take a drop in overall clock speed simply to get an extra core or two or you will be losing performance.
     
  17. Almightyrastus

    Almightyrastus Rule #9

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    It would have been interesting to see what Metro 2033 was like as that uses multithreading as a selling point
     
  18. Pete J

    Pete J Working from home?

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    Not really - I wouldn't be able to run tri SLI/Crossfire on anything else without a performance hit.

    Interesting article but two things off the top of my head:

    1) You should do a Bit-Tech test on how the actual speed of the cores influences things.
    2) You excluded Unreal Tournament 3 - I've noticed that it is the only game I play which truly uses all cores available; my CPU is at ~80% usage when playing.
     
    Last edited: 5 Jul 2010
  19. Vigilante

    Vigilante Member

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    Has worked fine for me in Windows 7 since the pre-beta PDC build. (Of windows 7, obviously). Just remember to run it as administrator, or it won't have access to Supcom's process to shuffle threads around.
     
  20. Vigilante

    Vigilante Member

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    UT3 is very taxing on the CPU due to it's engine - UE3 is incredibly scalable, which is why PS3 ports of games running UE3 run so well (spreading load over the 6 game-visible SPU's in the Cell); in comparison to some other games which take performance hit on the PS3 (either having to run at lower resolution or reduced graphical quality).
     
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