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Old 04-07-2009, 05:28 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Question 3-Cores

I'm building my new system and I have 2 big questions:

1. Are 3 cores worth it? I was considering getting a 4 core system, but a 3 core system has been recommended. Will programs that are dual threaded or quad threaded work on a 3 core system? I have never heard of a tri-threaded program. The processor looks good and has a nice price tag attached. But I am worried that it will not age well in the next generation of quad core computer systems.

2. Is the AM3 socket and DDR3 worth the money and effort at this point in time? My budget for computers is not to terribly tight, but getting an AM3 MB with DDR3 streches my bank account. The system that was recommended to me included an AM3 Processor on a AM2+ MB, and I am worried that this too will cause my computer to age badly, since I will be forced in DDR2.


I am okay with forking out another 200$ for the AM3 MB with DDR3 (at 1333) if it really is worth the money, and will cause my comp to age better and have more upgrade potential. However if it doesn't help the computer all that much, than I would rather save the money.

What are your thoughts on the matter?
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Old 04-07-2009, 05:38 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: 3-Cores

Don't bother with the AM3/DDR3 boards. I mentioned a few reasons in your other thread. You won't have a problem with "aging", because DDR3 is not close to being the standard yet. It's still too expensive for the minimal performance gains.

The x3 720 BE is an amazing processor. It will work just fine with programs; if any program uses more than one core, it's just called multi-threaded, it doesn't matter if it was 2, 3, or 4 cores.

I actually priced you out a good build with the 720 in your other thread.
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Old 04-07-2009, 05:40 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: 3-Cores

1) I assume you are looking at a amd phenom 2 x3 720. Great chip and will do any thing you need.

2) At this point there is not much to be gained from ddr3 in dual channel mode. Save the cash and go ddr2.

Sure you may be a little limited a few years down the line but by then you will want something new anyways.
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Old 04-07-2009, 06:00 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: 3-Cores

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Originally Posted by hikaricloud View Post
It will work just fine with programs; if any program uses more than one core, it's just called multi-threaded, it doesn't matter if it was 2, 3, or 4 cores.
.
That's not necessarily the case. The number of threads a program uses is completely up to the developer. Say I want to code a program to check 1,000 items for a characteristic and the higher the items number is the longer it takes to check.

I could take the easy way and just check every item in order starting with 1 and going item by item until I reach the end. That would be single threaded.

To speed things up I could write the program so it has one thread that checks the even numbered items and one thread that checks the odd numbered ones. If I had a dual core cpu this would be much faster since I could do two things simultaneously and essentially cut the run time in half. This approach would run the same on a dual or quad since no matter how many cores I have it was only written to take advantage of 2. If I didn't have a dual core I could still run this program since the operating system will automatically alternate between running the two threads on the cpu but it wouldn't be any faster than the first method.

You could break it up farther but they key is using this approach you will always have an even number of threads. While you could write a method to use odd numbers of cores it wouldn't be a straightforward.

A tri core will still outperform a dual core with the same clock speed and architecture because you are always running more than one program. So if you have a program that only uses 2 cores the operating system will move your background processes to the spare core.
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Old 04-07-2009, 06:13 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: 3-Cores

I like the look of your build. I may tweak it a bit, but it definetly looks nice. I just needed to get my concerns out of the way first and it sounds like this is the better deal.
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Old 04-07-2009, 06:28 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: 3-Cores

It all comes down to if the performance increase of going with a quad is worth the higher price to you. This article compares all of the cpu's mentioned in the other thread so you can see how they perform relative to each other.

AnandTech: The Phenom II X4 810 & X3 720: AMD Gets DDR3 But Doesn't Need It
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Old 04-07-2009, 06:57 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: 3-Cores

Quote:
Originally Posted by hikaricloud View Post
Don't bother with the AM3/DDR3 boards. I mentioned a few reasons in your other thread. You won't have a problem with "aging", because DDR3 is not close to being the standard yet. It's still too expensive for the minimal performance gains.

Newegg.com - G.SKILL 6GB &#40;3 x 2GB&#41; 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 &#40;PC3 12800&#41; Triple Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Desktop Memory

that's $90 for 6gb of RAM....not that expensive
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Old 04-07-2009, 07:35 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: 3-Cores

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It is when you can get 4gb for 50 bucks or less, and that's a triple-channel kit anyway. AM3 doesn't support triple-channel.
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