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Thread: Dual Processing

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    Dual Processing

    Does one see much benefit from having two processors as a desktop PC for running everyday apps such as WinXP Pro, Office, couple of games etc?

    Or is it still a gimmik? Last time I looked one CPU was better at more everyday things than dual, only in certian areas such as encoding, Workstation apps (3DS Max etc) did dual win, but not that much.

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    Basically no. Dual cpu's is better for workstations and multithreaded apps. 90% of software on the market is single threaded and will only use 1 cpu. However the OS does load balance when you multitask but youll only see a benefit if you have lots of heavy processing applications running at once.
    I used to have a pair of P3 1.266's and a gig of SDram. It was smooth but not fast, whereas my BD7II-R and 2.4gig P4 was a lot faster. Now ive got a 2.8C with HT and i find that its both smooth and fast for the work i need todo so im happy I prefer HT quite a lot and turning it off to play system shock 2 it was supprising how much HT smoothed windows out!
    I dont like sig pics so i turn off sigs Which doesnt help when i dont know what ive written here! DOH!

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    I still find that a dual system seems a lot more 'responsive' even if it is just a pair of 800EBs. I wouldn't class SMP as a gimmick though, it does have some real applications. Especially in situations where there are lots of things happening eg SBS installs.

    Roker.

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    Well gains in games is absolutely zero, things will most likely change in time thanks to Intel's HT which is like having 1.2 CPUs. For general Windows usage 2 CPUs makes a BIG diff, everything is more responsive and simply smoother as already mentioned. When you weigh up the costs though 1 CPU is the clear winner for 99% of users. If you go dualie you have to contend with...

    1. Better PSU.
    2. Better cooling (and often more noise).
    3. Better ventilation and airflow.
    4. More expensive RAM.
    5. More expensive mobo.
    6. Severe lack of tweaking or o/c'ing options.
    7. More expensive CPUs.
    8. More expensive upgrades.
    9. An OS which supports multiple CPUs (Win2000 or XP PRO yes, XP Home and older NO).
    10. You could almost have 2 seperate PC's for the same money!

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    By-Tor with sticks spikegifted's Avatar
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    Think of SMP in terms of having a twin turbo engine... It's not going to be much faster, but it has a lot more power.

    If everyday usage, SMP is pretty much time and money wasted. SMP hardware platforms tend to be a little more sensitive to quality of parts - PSUs, memory, drivers, etc. And unless you've the software that utilize SMP, running one program at a time is just wasteful.

    Of course, if you multitask some heavy duty stuff like compiling a big dataset in MS Access and running some sexy macro in Excel at the same time, both of these can complete as if they're running on separate rigs and run equally quickly. If you're one of those who use a lot of multithreaded applications like Photoshop, 3DSM, Maya, etc, SMP is ideal.

    I completely agree with Roker that SMP rigs give you the impression that the rigs are running 'smoother'. There's no quantitative way to measure 'smoothness' - it's just a feel. Take my word for it, once you tried out a SMP rig and find just how 'responsive' the rig is, you'd catch the bug.

    There is one argument that if you get a high-end P4 that has hyperthreading, you'd be like running a SMP rig. That is only partially true. For certain types of applications, it will perform well and probably even a SMP rig. However, in most situations, HT will underperform a real duallie. The reason is that with HT, it is making the arithmatic and floating point pipelines to act as if they're separate pipes. However, they're still sharing the same resources in the CPU, therefore the might be a small amount of improvement, but not that significant. Case in point - Folding@Home with a single P4 with HT enabled performs like a single CPU machine and SETI@Home on the same machine performs almost like there are 2 P4s sitting there. It's all depend on the type of application.

    If you're interest to find out more about SMP, you'd do well to visit 2CPU.com and their forums...
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    You are feeling sleepy... acidrainy's Avatar
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    heh you can make a film on that, i can see it now!
    "10 things I hate about dual cpYOU's "

    Sorry its late, Ive had a weird day, i will try and stop the ramblings

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    By-Tor with sticks spikegifted's Avatar
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    Originally posted by acidrainy
    heh you can make a film on that, i can see it now!
    "10 things I hate about dual cpYOU's "
    Huh... I just love SMP... If prove is needed, check out this page.
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    Originally posted by spikegifted
    Huh... I just love SMP... If prove is needed, check out this page.
    fooken hell!
    I dont like sig pics so i turn off sigs Which doesnt help when i dont know what ive written here! DOH!

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    By-Tor with sticks spikegifted's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Bindibadgi
    fooken hell!
    They've their uses... (Not pulling chicks, though. )
    Caution: Cape does not enable user to fly. - Batman costume warning label (Rolfe, John & Troob, Peter, Monkey Business (Swinging Through the Wall Street Jungle), 2000)

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    Senior Member Stringent's Avatar
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    Originally posted by spikegifted
    They've their uses... (Not pulling chicks, though. )
    Can't have everything then I'll just have to rely on my charm and good looks

    Thanks for the information, I doubt I'd have the cash to get dualie anyway. I'll just be happy with a P4 3Ghz

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    spikegifted how does the P4 @ 2.92ghz shape up to the dual XP2000+ and dual Xeon 2.4ghz machines? If you had to choose between the 'slower' dualie or the fast single CPU system, which would it be?

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    Originally posted by Austin
    spikegifted how does the P4 @ 2.92ghz shape up to the dual XP2000+ and dual Xeon 2.4ghz machines? If you had to choose between the 'slower' dualie or the fast single CPU system, which would it be?
    For most 'everyday' usage, dual XP2000+ is plenty fast enough, that's why I've kept it as my main rig. I tend to do most of my rendering work in my other SMP rigs and only when I get a bigger job that I'd start utilizing my main rig. However, it does perform a very important function for me - since I've dual screen setup hooked up, I tend to use it to check things over in various applications and it is important that I've the capacity to do that quickly.

    For the tasks that I do (either 2D/3D rendering and animation or crunching S@H), I'd say that the Xeon is slightly faster. I tend to use the dual Athlons for POV-Ray rendering thanks to the superior FPUs in the Athlons over the lack of optimization for Xeons and I don't really mind the slower clock speed. The reason is that in 3DSM and Maya4, the SSE2 optimization for the Xeon just make things happen that little bit faster. So it is a distribution of resources and finding the best way to utilize them in the most efficient manner. Of course, if I have to, I can devote all my rigs to the same set of tasks.

    If I had to choose between a slower duallie over a faster single CPU rig, I'd go for the duallie. Why? It's obviously not for the speed... It is simply because of duallies' responsiveness. It is very difficult to explain, since you can't really quantify 'smoothness' and 'responsiveness'. It is just the 'feel' of the rig.
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