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  Re: Dual core, quad core processors hit a snag? 
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John Ingram Oct 20, 2006, 07:52am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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The PC, CPU and component industries are living in the past. People are just not interested and the more they hear of new technologies either CPU or graphic card or memory it just leaves a recently purchased PC so far behind the thought of upgrading changes to "i'll wait and buy a new PC". This would explain the huge decline in PC sales in the last 18 months or so and the disaster that is the PC games market.

At least in the UK, the vast majority of PC's on sale still have PCI/AGP slots, let alone quad core processors. So the break between the real world and this industry is getting wider, which is a very dangerous thing.

What we need are sub £500/$750 PC's with decent memory, up to date components (PCI Express, SATA Drive, etc), a reasonable CPU (3ghz+) and a decent graphic card (7200+). We then need to support this level of PC as an industry, we need the PC games industry to support this level too and we need a consolidation and support of current technologies to give the customer some confidence in their PC purchase. For the home market we need joined up thinking between all parties to support PC gaming and other home orientated PC use, such as what Microsoft is trying to do..

As I have said elsewhere, it's one thing to see how you HAVE to upgrade from DOS to Windows 3.1, or from floppy to CD or even from 3DFX to D3D, but to feel you need to upgrade whether in an office or home environment when your PC(s) are 2.5ghz 1gb ram 80gb hardrive system running XP is a whole other story. Both the business and home PC customers seem to be saying 'no' based on current sales.

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Rory Witham Oct 20, 2006, 08:39am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Re: Dual core, quad core processors hit a snag?
As a system manufacture, there is a fine line between the system used for gaming and video editing and also between office systems and budget systems. One of the main issues is our customer promise that they can upgrade their computer for the foreseeable future. This is particular with the Ultima systems that promise the highest speeds, the latest technologies.
When I learnt of the Dual core and then AM2 I stopped selling the systems because this would affect the clients and our promise.

So building computer systems that fill the needs of the many is not possible.

Everyoneís first point of call is the price, some system start at around £4000 which for a computer system is very high, in the past we were able to build a gaming system that was around £1200 which is more like the prices that people want to pay. So now some systems have to be cut back in certain areas to lower the overall cost of ownership while keeping the system high specís and better developed.

If you were to look at my computer systems website you will find that I have a very limited supply of ready made computers as things have changed and are changing rapidly, thus by the time they are online the prices of the hardware has changed and the higher end systems have to have the newer hardware thatís available added to them. The design of the site gives clear direction to what the systems are built for, so I know we donít have any issues there.
Interestingly one of the most popular keywords used is SLI computers as many people who updated a short time ago to the FX55 and the X800 AGP system donít want to spend a hugh amount of money again after their purchases have become devalued.

At the moment things are the same, if you by anything now in 3 months your whole system could be out of date.

Software using the processors that have Dual core or Quad cores is not really used by most applications and are only in some of the pro software, In effect some users will find absolutely NO benefits for updating to a dual core as the software that they use against the usages. Even if we all switch over to dual/quad cores, it could be several years until such applications are in place for general use.
Currently the main software that is designed for servers or server standard workstations (two single core processors) has Ďportedí to the dual core technologies.

While we have seen great leaps in graphics and processors, we are still held back from other computer technologies Ė Hard drives being one of the worst, we now have SATA2 which we are told have a data speed of 3GB/s but I am sure that when you check the rates they are closer to 50MB/s, So whereís the rest?
It could be that this speed is measured from the HDDís Buffer to the NB so in effect only be 8MB of data as the memory has gotten better.

Radical changes has been talked about but we are seeing very little or just parts of these. This is a common marketing tool used in big business where they can make minor changes and lots of people will buy these to have the latest things while they are fully aware and able to make a single jump to the latest thing, receptively up selling the hardware which is just sold and built to make money.

You could spend months chasing the latest and the best thing, but you could always be casing these and not getting anywhere closer. Donít forget for the past 7 years computers have been classed as a disposable item with a life of 1 year, this seams to have gotten shorter recently.

If anyone is considering upgrading their computer in the near future, they should take into account what they will use it for, as the upgrade/ performance gain is limited to certain areas of users. If you jump on the bandwagon now you could find that you are wasting your money

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John Ingram Oct 20, 2006, 09:53am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Re: Dual core, quad core processors hit a snag?
If it's still true that home PC's are bought for gaming, even when the buyer says it's not, then with the gaming scene seeming needing an upgrade every time a new AAA title comes out a PC is never up to date. For the average home PC owner this is a huge turn off to upgrading/buying a new PC.

If even people like me say 'what is the point in spending up to £1,000 on a new PC when I am not confident a PC game in 10 months will run on it', what is a more mainstream buyer going to say? 'I'll get a console' or, having looked at the cost of a PS3: 'I'll stick with my current console/older games'.

Proof of the last statement is the growth in the last 18 months in retro gaming. eBay added a whole new section on retro gaming just a year ago due to it's huge growth. That has to tell you something. With the PC able to emulate lots of 8 bit and 16 bit computers/consoles average gamers are realising there ARE games out there that will run on their current 'out of date' PC and they are free or very low cost. Hence growth in retro gaming and a huge decline in current PC game sales. With the advent of free software like DOSBox, DOS gaming has become simple enough for people that never used DOS, for example.

With the average PC gamer being over 25 now, many have played on earlier consoles and even 8 bit computers like the Commodore 64. therefore there is a nostalgia element too which can grow if modern gaming doesn't keep gamers interested in current product, which they are not doing.

All the above, industry out of touch, too high cost of PC gaming, everybody feeling they have an unsupported out of date PC, (when it is the industry not supporting the PC's out there which is the truth), and with other avenues available for gaming and home PC use that does not bring in revenue, there are big big changes on the way.

The office side is more simple. The XP desktop PC sitting on the average office desk is powerful enough to do anything thrown at it in an office environment way for years to come. Business is tight. Companies are not going to blindly upgrade their business PC's ever again.

Dublin_Gunner Oct 20, 2006, 09:58am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Re: Dual core, quad core processors hit a snag?

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ITGL72 Oct 20, 2006, 10:17am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Re: Dual core, quad core processors hit a snag?
This can be very confusing. What are we saying here? That an old intel p4 2.6 will give you roughly the same performance as a dual core running at 2.66 (I believe thats a 6700)? I mean I know the FSB and CACHE is higher on the dual core but is that the only performance increase I would see on a $500 cpu purchase because its not really being utilized by my games and OS?

dark41 Oct 20, 2006, 10:59am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Oct 20, 2006, 11:04am EDT

>> Re: Re: Dual core, quad core processors hit a snag?
I don't see any advantage in pre-building systems. We offer better prices and upgradability by building custom to each user's needs. The customers we lose, because they don't want to wait 24 hours for it to be built, wouldn't know the difference between our systems and a Walmart special. I'm quite happy to have them go to Walmart for their system, as we focus on the people who've gone that route in the first place and learned from their mistakes. We also spend much less time supporting these people because they have no need for support. Win/win! ;)

The average home computer user has a totally different definition of a 'gaming' computer than most posters here. They have no intention of buying the latest shoot em up games for their pre-teen children or grand children to play in the next 10 months. Instead, their idea of a gaming computer is one that will play The Sims, or Madden 07, and/or any educational software/games. None of this requires a top of the line computer nor top of the line video card, and none of these will be in a hurry to rewrite their entire programs to utilize the latest state of the art components. Our basic system will easily handle what the average home user expects with a 3.0 single core CPU, 512mb of RAM, and a geforce 5200. And for what its worth, our sales haven't suffered at all in the past 18 months. We've sold roughly the same amount every month for the past 4 years.

Hardcore gamers are a different story, and a very small percentage of computer owners. Not a niche worth even worrying about from a system builder's point of view, as most hardcore gamers build their own systems anyway. Enthusiasts are in the same category.

I've also seen the stats that claim users are going from PC gaming to console gaming. However my own experience is the opposite. My son, a die hard Counterstrike player, played the PC version on system recently. His PS2 has been collecting dust ever since and he's converted everyone on his team to PC. No waiting for screens to load on a PC, and the graphics are always better with a medium range video card. Consoles suck compared to PCs.

On topic:
I've read more than once on this forum how dual core/quad core won't improve system performance nor speed due to the threads not being multi-thread ready. Yet, almost every application that I use shows that they are using both cores on my dual core 805D according to the task manager in XP Pro. I can't think of a single application that uses only 1 core, contrary to what some people would have everyone believe. With a single core CPU, I had to disable AVG to play games. This is no longer necessary with my dual core. I have no doubt that a Core 2 Duo and Quad Core 2 Duo will perform even better in this situation.

Also, running more than 1 application at a time (like backing up data on 1 drive while doing a virus scan on another drive) runs much faster and smoother than it did with a single core. And many people will do both of these while checking email and working with word processors and spreadsheets. Multi-taskers will benefit greatly from dual/quad core systems, period. A healthy percentage of home users and businesses large and small fall into this category.

It seems that most of these reviews are written from a hard core gamer's point of view and do not take into consideration how people other than hard core gamers use their computers. That's all fine from a hard core gamer's perspective, but it doesn't represent the average user. In fact, Hardware Analysis doesn't seem to suit the topics discussed here lately. Hardware Fanatics or Hardware For Hardcore Gaming would be more appropriate. :)

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John Ingram Oct 20, 2006, 12:58pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Re: Dual core, quad core processors hit a snag?
Based on your personal opinions (Too many opinions are based on personal knowledge instead of looking at the bigger picture) I think the reason home PC sales have declined enormously is that everybody in your Sims group have got the game already, so they are happy. After all the game has been out quite a while. Also one game does not keep an industry alive. Also if the games that get lots of media coverage like Doom 3 or Half Life won't run on your home PC, then you think gaming is for someone else, not you. That wasn't the case 10-15 years ago when every pc gamer saw every pc game running on their PC and the industry demanded a new PC buy every 3-4 years which everybody was happy with. Hence the mid/late 90's being the heyday of PC gaming in terms of sales with sales of PC games pre 2000 still being higher than PC game sales since 2000. In fact PC game sales have been declining faster and faster since 2003, so the Sims hasn't helped that much, has it?

Again, you can see the home pc market has barely got a thing to do with Quad Core or any other hardware. It's about not having an industry any more that does market research, finds out what PC's are out there in homes and producing product for those PC's whatever they are. In fact it is the only industry that does not do that. You sell soap powder - bet you know what percentage of homes have washing machines and what brands, etc. If the public started buying a new type of washing machine you could bet it would be the washing machine manufacturers trying to persuade you to buy the new machine, not the soap manufacturers; and as long as at least 20% of homes had the 'old fashioned' washing machine, you can bet the soap powder companies would provide for that market.

So tell me one industry that tells it customers 'we are going to produce what we want, and if you don't buy the right equipment because you don't want to or can't afford to, that's your problem, because WE decide what we are going to produce, and you will just have to keep up!'

Was this model EVER going to work in the long run? And yet this how the industry decided to act after about 2000. Not only the game companies, but the component and home PC manufacturers too.

Brendan Falvey Oct 20, 2006, 04:18pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Re: Dual core, quad core processors hit a snag?
Sasser has some good points regarding software, There should be room for improvements from two aspects.

At the hardware level with CPU hardware forward prediction in the pipelines and balancing this prediction between the cores should if tweaked properly could yield reasonable improvements in its own right.

On the Operating side there is room for improvement. As sold NT systems such as XP support dual processors in providing symmetrical multi processing (SMP). i would have thought that it would be possible to patch the OS to take advantage of dual core capability. treat it like a subset of multiple processors. The only problem is that if they created a patch you would need to regenerate the HAL a process that is essentially a rebuild

A small point is that M$ supports up to 32 processors but only licenses 2 CPUs for workstations and 4 for servers. Above that they only deal with the big proprietary brands.

They is a place for linix and its derivative here Beowulf to make better use of the resources

Kevin Van Oct 20, 2006, 04:33pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Re: Dual core, quad core processors hit a snag?
As Sander was saying, the vast majority of users and their applications don't/won't benefit from multicore systems.

Being an enthusist forum, we all want all the power (can will probably use all the power) we can get, but realistically, in the vast majory uses small fractions of their available CPU cycles.

I personally do commercial, realtime encode/transcode, with statstical multiplexing, compress, encryption for commercial broadcast uplinks. Those applications require gangs of processors for every frame of video (this is done realtime streaming), typically 16 processors for a single ATSC stream on ASI for the video alone. It's the only way to go in things like this.

For the typical home user, duals are a waste. Even the typical gamers duals offer no advantage for *MOST* titles. Also, bear in mind that most gamers are not running FX processors and high end SLI'd cards (not that they don't want to, just most 14yo's can't drop $1400 on video cards alone, much less the rest of the system.)

Are multis the wave of the future? I'd say yes.

Is the expense vs the performance justified in most end user applications? Probably not.

What's the most likely near term justification for multiple processors in consumer/end user applications? Microsloth code bloat.

Roe Maier Oct 21, 2006, 02:17am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Re: Dual core, quad core processors hit a snag?
So; tell me what software has been upgraded. I edit Video from my cameras.??? I edit still pictures??? Yeah I know office apps don't need much more speed, nor finance like Money Quicken, or Turbotax.

Brian Smith Oct 21, 2006, 03:10am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Oct 21, 2006, 03:12am EDT

>> Re: Re: Dual core, quad core processors hit a snag?
Depends on what you use your pc for, of course. If you always have something compressing in the backgrund, or are anal retentive on your full heuristic virus scans each hour on the hour, or other mundane tasks like defrag and organizing files, crunching databases, or what have you, then dual cores might be a timesaver.

I'm generalizing here for a reason - but most users I know just work on one item at one time. It's the way we were brought up to use computers for the last 20 years. Stuff ran faster when you did things one at a time. While it's possible to set processor affinity in task manager, change the timeslice value, reprogram a linux core for faster interrupt handling, most every day users on a computer will not expend the required time to learn how to do such things. They'll use their computers the same way they always have, and for that, they will not get any benefit from dual core/quad core processing UNLESS the applications are updated to automatically take advantage of such features without end user interaction.

For those who are already using dual core applications, multitask excessively, do heavy calculations in multiple programs at once, I say go out and buy one now - be on the cutting edge, it's great you can utilize such an efficient system to the maximum extent that you do.

Actually, as for marketing BS goes - I'm still looking for 4TB of ram - these new motherboards and windows XP says it supports 4 terabytes of ram - so where do I get that at a reasonable end user price? Theoretical, if it existed, it'd use it... yeah ok. And theoretically my pc can chug along at 500Ghz if I had plasma cooling at subzero temperatures ... show me something in real life and then I'll consider buying.

Bob Cooper Oct 23, 2006, 08:54pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Re: Dual core, quad core processors hit a snag?
Yes. That old saw, you can fool all of the people some of the time and some of the people.... I will stop here because you all know it. You all know this deviation from good clean engineering has been settling into the computer industry for almost a decade now. Not that we haven't seen weaves and swerves in the past such as when IBM lost their yaya. And most of us know the the industry is playing dirty tricks to "protect their investment". Key among these are deliberate obsolescence or its close cousin sabotaging backward compatibility..
No wonder Bill Gates "retired". Wouldn't be surprised if he grwos a beard - because he can't bear to look at himself in the mirror anymore.

The Dual-Cores could be a big improvement. With the huge increase in hard-drive capacity, processor power, memory speed, and improvements in Internet bandwidth, all kinds of data gathering / research applications such as investment portfolio applications and serious gaming applications become feasible as they never have before.

So I think the problem is with those people / companies who want an unjustified ROI and are playing tricks that are, that old 800 lb gorilla, anti-competitive.

You said:
>All the above, industry out of touch, too high cost of PC gaming, everybody feeling they >have an unsupported out of date PC, (when it is the industry not supporting the PC's out >there which is the truth), and with other avenues available for gaming and home PC use >that does not bring in revenue, there are big big changes on the way.

John Ingram Oct 24, 2006, 05:59am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Re: Dual core, quad core processors hit a snag?
Well, watched the BAFTA Gaming Awards held in London on a main TV station here in the UK. Throughout the show they ran vignets on 'The History of Gaming'. Gues what gaming machine was not included one iota in the history of gaming? You got it. The PC. Except for a couple of multi format games that had PC version being mentioned in the nominations, PC games/gaming wasn't mentioned at all.

The show was one hour long and I watched it with more resignation that the hobby I have had for over 15 years is coming to an end.

ITGL72 Oct 24, 2006, 10:44am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Re: Dual core, quad core processors hit a snag?
Noo......... its not coming to an end.... LOL

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