A Quick Question About CPUs

#1 Posted by wemibelec90 (1493 posts) -

I am thinking about using some of my financial aid money this semester to upgrade a few things in my computer. One of the things that I'm going back and forth on the most is jumping from a dual-core processor to a quad-core processor. My question to you, fellow Bombers, is if such a jump is really necessary. I have a pretty nice dual-core processor right now (3.3 Ghz unclocked), and it seems to do well enough. Would a quad-core really make that much of a difference in games, enough to warrant the nearly $400 it would cost me to switch (CPU, motherboard, RAM)? Or should I just spend a little extra on a nice video card (currently rocking a 5750, which is a bit weak at this point) to get a much bigger leap in performance?

Much appreciated!

#2 Posted by JOURN3Y (230 posts) -

It really depends on the CPU you're looking at. I would upgrade your video card first, my 5770 is showing its age.

#3 Posted by wemibelec90 (1493 posts) -

@JOURN3Y said:

It really depends on the CPU you're looking at. I would upgrade your video card first, my 5770 is showing its age.

I was looking at jumping to an i5 quad-core (from an i5 dual-core, actually), whatever the one that everyone says to get that's around $200. I can't imagine it makes that much of a difference, can it?

#4 Posted by JJWeatherman (14553 posts) -

The video card will show massive improvement in your frames per second, while a better CPU will be less noticeable. Definitely forego the CPU, at least for now. For whatever it's worth, I'm running a dual core i3 at just about your same clock speed, and it's just fine.

Now if you were doing video encoding or something along those lines, it would be a different story. But gaming isn't ultra CPU intensive. Usually.

Good luck.

Online
#5 Posted by ShaggE (6290 posts) -

Yeah, a dual core is still fine for most games. Go for the card.

#6 Posted by wemibelec90 (1493 posts) -

Thanks guys! I'll spend the money I would on a good processor on a more kickass video card then!

#7 Edited by MonetaryDread (1987 posts) -

If you can live with your PC for another year I would suggest it. Really things all come down to whether your computer being relevant in the next year or two is important to you. Most people, for whatever reason, only look at the benchmarks available now when they are recommending products and as a student, who is still using a dual core processor) I am confident that you are looking for a part that will last more than a year before it becomes obsolete. After playing Far Cry 3, Black Ops 2, GTA 4, Assasins Creed 3, and Dishonored on PC I am noticing a large trend in games needing faster processors than before. I also heard a rumor on Rebel FM (maybe not the most reliable source for rumors but its a somewhat inside source) that the next generation of consoles are going to focus on CPU and GPGPU computing because of the increased demand for better AI or physics modelling.

Edit: Though the thread is right. A new video card will provide better results than a new processor (unless you are looking to play Far Cry 3 or Assasins Creed 3).

#8 Edited by Sooty (8082 posts) -

@MonetaryDread said:

If you can live with your PC for another year I would suggest it. Really things all come down to whether your computer being relevant in the next year or two is important to you. Most people, for whatever reason, only look at the benchmarks available now when they are recommending products and as a student, who is still using a dual core processor) I am confident that you are looking for a part that will last more than a year before it becomes obsolete. After playing Far Cry 3, Black Ops 2, GTA 4, Assasins Creed 3, and Dishonored on PC I am noticing a large trend in games needing faster processors than before. I also heard a rumor on Rebel FM (maybe not the most reliable source for rumors but its a somewhat inside source) that the next generation of consoles are going to focus on CPU and GPGPU computing because of the increased demand for better AI or physics modelling.

Edit: Though the thread is right. A new video card will provide better results than a new processor (unless you are looking to play Far Cry 3 or Assasins Creed 3).

GTA IV and Black Ops 2 are pretty bad examples, poor ports, really. Especially GTA IV, it's only decent now because hardware has come along so much since it came out. (not because that game needs it, it's just poorly optimised)

#9 Posted by Raven10 (1696 posts) -

Let me just say this as someone who spent money on games and computers as a student. If your money comes from loans that need to be repaid then do yourself a favor and decrease the loan amount if you have enough money to upgrade your computer. Take as little out as possible and of what you do get back, spend as little of that as possible. If your loan service offers to let you pay interest while you are still in school, then pay the interest with the leftover money. In five years you'll be thanking me. Paying back loans is incredibly tough in this economy. And student loans can never be forgiven. Government loans will be cancelled only if you die or are permanently disabled. Private loans don't forgive until you are dead or you have paid the money back. And if your parents co-signed they will have to pay that money back even if you were to die before paying it back. It may seem worthwhile now to get new games and computer parts. But when you graduate and have to spend 80% of your monthly paycheck paying back loans you will really regret it. I sure know both I and almost all the people I talk to did.

#10 Edited by Toxeia (728 posts) -

@wemibelec90: You've got an i5 dual-core. What's the model number on it? You might have a dual-core processor with hyper-threading, which means it emulates 4 cores. From my experience there's a negligible increase in performance from going from hyper-threading to actual cores.

Also, I'd hold off entirely and wait for a bit. We're still using DDR3 on mainboards. There's talk of upgrades to that in the near-ish future. Video cards have been running on DDR5 for a long while now, only a matter of time.

#11 Posted by Tactless (84 posts) -

@Raven10 said:

Let me just say this as someone who spent money on games and computers as a student. If your money comes from loans that need to be repaid then do yourself a favor and decrease the loan amount if you have enough money to upgrade your computer. Take as little out as possible and of what you do get back, spend as little of that as possible. If your loan service offers to let you pay interest while you are still in school, then pay the interest with the leftover money. In five years you'll be thanking me. Paying back loans is incredibly tough in this economy. And student loans can never be forgiven. Government loans will be cancelled only if you die or are permanently disabled. Private loans don't forgive until you are dead or you have paid the money back. And if your parents co-signed they will have to pay that money back even if you were to die before paying it back. It may seem worthwhile now to get new games and computer parts. But when you graduate and have to spend 80% of your monthly paycheck paying back loans you will really regret it. I sure know both I and almost all the people I talk to did.

Good Advice

but if you do decide to spend that "wind fall profit" I'd go for a high efficiency modular power supply

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