Home | Blog | Software | Reviews and Features | Forum | Help | Donate | About us
topbanner_forum
  *

avatar image

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length
  • December 02, 2016, 10:47:50 PM
  • Proudly celebrating 10 years online.
  • Donate now to become a lifetime supporting member of the site and get a non-expiring license key for all of our programs.
  • donate

Last post Author Topic: CPU Question: More Mhz per core or more cores?  (Read 15718 times)

Deozaan

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • ***
  • Points: 1
  • Posts: 7,713
    • View Profile
    • The Blog of Deozaan
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
CPU Question: More Mhz per core or more cores?
« on: February 09, 2011, 12:43:53 PM »
Hi folks,

I'm building a PC for my sister, and it's been quite a few years (ancient history in internet time) since I built a PC (I still have a single core machine). I put together what I think is a rather nice PC for her but her brother-in-law insists its inferior because I used an AMD processor instead of Intel. Unfortunately I don't have a list of what he's offered to build for her, but it did bring to my mind the question about cycles vs. cores.

What would be best in the scenario of someone who mostly uses their computer for basic word processing and internet, but also does photography and photoshop, so sometimes has to handle image processing stuff of multiple large files? (She has a 10.2MP camera and takes all her photos in RAW format.) Is it worth it to stick with an Intel 4-core machine that has a few hundred more Mhz per core or is it better to go with an AMD 6-core?

My thinking is that a couple hundred Mhz per core won't match the extra power provided by two extra cores. But on the other hand my sister might not do enough things on the PC to utilize some of the cores, which would make them sit there idle and they'd essentially be wasted.

Opinions?

« Last Edit: February 09, 2011, 12:45:48 PM by Deozaan »

f0dder

  • Charter Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 9,029
  • [Well, THAT escalated quickly!]
    • View Profile
    • f0dder's place
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: CPU Question: More Mhz per core or more cores?
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2011, 01:30:41 PM »
Humm, I don't know how well Photoshop has been parallelized - but making things scale well isn't the easiest task in the world. Personally, I'd rather have a quadcore with more GHz per core than a 6-core machine... especially since 6-core implies AMD, and the Intel CPUs are faster per MHz - AMD's only selling point these days would be lower price.
- carpe noctem

Ath

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 2,778
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: CPU Question: More Mhz per core or more cores?
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2011, 01:37:38 PM »
Even a Quad-core is way overkill for that task, so I'd suggest to grab a high-MHz Intel Core i5-760 or i5-2400 processor, 4 or 8 GB Ram, Windows 7 x64, 1 TB 7200 rpm harddisk and a fine Videocard, using DVI or hdmi connection to a 24" LCD/LED monitor.

40hz

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 11,768
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: CPU Question: More Mhz per core or more cores?
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2011, 01:40:02 PM »
Hard to come up with a hard and fast answer to this type of question. As f0dder pointed out, a lot depends on which software you're going to use, how often you're going to use it, and how well it takes advantage of the hardware it's running on. A general rule of thumb is that most software is at least a year behind in using the capabilities of the silicone it runs on.

As of right now, it's my understanding that Sandy Bridge beats out all comers for general PC computing use as far as "bang for the buck" is concerned. The i7-2600 models ($299-$329 street) stomp everything out there, and are more than adequate for handling anything you'll want to do on a desktop. The lower cost i5-2500 (<$275) edged out the AMD Phenom X6 in both CPU mark and value scores according to Pass Mark's metrics. Details on that  here.

Couple of good articles can be found here and especially here. From the look of things, the i5 and i7 both hit the sweet spot for a new 'power user' build. Normally I'd opt for the i5. That's because I always follow the old  "two or three chips down from the top-of-line" method for getting the best specs for the money when buying an Intel. But for something as central as a CPU, the $50 to $80 difference to go up to the i7 isn't enough to make me automatically rule out going for the higher priced chip. (Which is probably exactly what Intel was hoping most people would think when buying. :mrgreen: ) I keep my desktops for an average of 4-5 years. So a little future-proofing isn't a bad idea when it comes to people like me.

The only problem is the 6-Series chipset issue which is being resolved as we speak. Intel has targeted the beginning of March as when the re-engineered chipsets will become available. They also announced a replacement program. Anybody that got a mobo with the problem part is eligible for a no-charge replacement despite the fact the problem (supposedly) will only effect about 5-15% of the chipsets out there. Nice to see a company is doing right by its customers for a change.

« Last Edit: February 09, 2011, 02:07:02 PM by 40hz »

f0dder

  • Charter Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 9,029
  • [Well, THAT escalated quickly!]
    • View Profile
    • f0dder's place
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: CPU Question: More Mhz per core or more cores?
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2011, 02:49:26 PM »
A general rule of thumb is that most software is at least a year behind in using the capabilities of the silicone it runs on.
If it's running on silicone, I sure as hell hope it's dual-core and nothing else - neither single nor quad :)
- carpe noctem

Shades

  • Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 2,096
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: CPU Question: More Mhz per core or more cores?
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2011, 03:54:35 PM »
Is she all the time busy with Photoshop/photography or just the basics? To me it sounds that the basics take more of her time than the other part. As AMD processors are most of the time quite a lot cheaper while not that lacking in computational power, I would go for the AMD and spend the money you save on item(s) she can use with her photographing/photoshop hobby. With the saved money I would max out the system RAM as much as possible, that helps tremendously with processing of photo's / video's.

  

40hz

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 11,768
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: CPU Question: More Mhz per core or more cores?
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2011, 04:20:57 PM »
A general rule of thumb is that most software is at least a year behind in using the capabilities of the silicone it runs on.
If it's running on silicone, I sure as hell hope it's dual-core and nothing else - neither single nor quad :)

Apparently that one "slipped" by me and the spellcheck - since it was the wrong word - but not misspelled.

Good catch!

(Only you f-man...only you.  ;D :Thmbsup:)

JavaJones

  • Review 2.0 Designer
  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 2,717
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: CPU Question: More Mhz per core or more cores?
« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2011, 10:47:41 PM »
I'd recommend Sandy Bridge Intel over AMD for that kind of work in a heartbeat, if it weren't for the chipset issue 40hz mentioned. :( If she needs a system *now*, either buy previous generation i7/i5 or go AMD. But more than 4 cores is not going to help a lot with most of Photoshop, I speak from experience (I have an i7 920 and Photoshop doesn't even take full advantage of that 99% of the time). In fact, with large images, disk access can often be as much or more of a bottleneck than baseline CPU processing, not to mention RAM, get lots of RAM.

- Oshyan

Deozaan

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • ***
  • Points: 1
  • Posts: 7,713
    • View Profile
    • The Blog of Deozaan
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: CPU Question: More Mhz per core or more cores?
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2011, 01:54:45 PM »
Thanks for the feedback everyone.

The system is already getting 8 or 16 GiB of RAM, so there's plenty of that to go around. After reading the anandtech article quoted earlier by 40hz I'm convinced that Sandy Bridge will be my next processor, but I'm not sure if that's what my sister will end up getting.

Sadly at this point I've mostly lost interest in trying to build her a system, because she doesn't know the difference between the components but I keep hearing (second-hand or perhaps third-hand) from her brother-in-law that the machine I'm trying to build her is inferior to the machine he would get her, yet I've not seen any specs of what he's offering to get her. Meanwhile I keep revising my build and submitting the list of specs for review. Without anything to go on besides general information (Intel 4 Core, 8 GiB RAM) I don't have a reference point to compare prices and specs so I think I'll bow this one out.

Again, thanks for your feedback. It's been useful either way.


f0dder

  • Charter Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 9,029
  • [Well, THAT escalated quickly!]
    • View Profile
    • f0dder's place
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: CPU Question: More Mhz per core or more cores?
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2011, 02:23:50 PM »
16 gigs of RAM? O_o

That sounds like massive overkill, unless she's doing really wacko things. My current camera is 12.1mpix, producing images in 4000x3000 pixels resolution - that's less than 50 megs of raw data per image, considering RGB+Alpha with 8bit channels... of course editing has undo/redo overhead etc, and you'll often want multiple concurrent images open - but 16 gigabytes? I sure do hope whoever is setting up the machine makes sure it'll be running a 64bit version of fåddåsjåp :)
- carpe noctem

Bamse

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2009
  • **
  • Posts: 410
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: CPU Question: More Mhz per core or more cores?
« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2011, 03:05:46 PM »
Upgrading ram can be a painful experience so just to avoid that and assuming price is low it can make sense to go for 16gb. So a nice overkill and ramdisk can always make use of "too much" ram :)

Eóin

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • ***
  • Posts: 1,401
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: CPU Question: More Mhz per core or more cores?
« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2011, 03:12:41 PM »
Actually upgrading RAM is perhaps the easiest upgrade, among the internal parts anyway. Though it does help to plan ahead and not fill up all the slots when you first buy the machine, other wise the upgrade will require you to replace some sticks, which is a bit of a waste.

Eóin

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • ***
  • Posts: 1,401
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: CPU Question: More Mhz per core or more cores?
« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2011, 03:15:10 PM »
P.S. Also, the newest Photoshops version can make good use of GPU, so investing a bit more in a good graphics card v. the CPU might provide for a better return.

Bamse

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2009
  • **
  • Posts: 410
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: CPU Question: More Mhz per core or more cores?
« Reply #13 on: February 10, 2011, 03:19:48 PM »
Physically it is easy, finding the right parts when more ram is needed, being sure 4x4gb works as good as 2x4gb is not necessarily easy.

kyrathaba

  • N.A.N.Y. Organizer
  • Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 3,120
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: CPU Question: More Mhz per core or more cores?
« Reply #14 on: February 10, 2011, 04:06:53 PM »
Quote
If it's running on silicone, I sure as hell hope it's dual-core and nothing else - neither single nor quad smiley

LOL!

40hz

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 11,768
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: CPU Question: More Mhz per core or more cores?
« Reply #15 on: February 10, 2011, 04:19:40 PM »

Sadly at this point I've mostly lost interest in trying to build her a system, because she doesn't know the difference between the components but I keep hearing (second-hand or perhaps third-hand) from her brother-in-law that the machine I'm trying to build her is inferior to the machine he would get her, yet I've not seen any specs of what he's offering to get her. Meanwhile I keep revising my build and submitting the list of specs for review. Without anything to go on besides general information (Intel 4 Core, 8 GiB RAM) I don't have a reference point to compare prices and specs so I think I'll bow this one out.

Again, thanks for your feedback. It's been useful either way.

Oh man, have I ever been there with you on one of those! ;D

Smart move on your part. When in doubt - punt! :Thmbsup:

Especially when in-law macho starts cropping up.  :-\

4wd

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 4,471
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: CPU Question: More Mhz per core or more cores?
« Reply #16 on: February 10, 2011, 04:55:38 PM »
Smart move on your part. When in doubt - punt! :Thmbsup:

+1 - Don't forget to mention that all repairs/service/software faults of the system will be handled by the manufacturer of the system.

 :P

Deozaan

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • ***
  • Points: 1
  • Posts: 7,713
    • View Profile
    • The Blog of Deozaan
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: CPU Question: More Mhz per core or more cores?
« Reply #17 on: February 10, 2011, 05:16:25 PM »
+1 - Don't forget to mention that all repairs/service/software faults of the system will be handled by the manufacturer of the system.

Hey, yeah! Brilliant! :P


Deozaan

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • ***
  • Points: 1
  • Posts: 7,713
    • View Profile
    • The Blog of Deozaan
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: CPU Question: More Mhz per core or more cores?
« Reply #18 on: February 15, 2011, 11:29:29 PM »
Okay, so I finally got some specs to compare to. I ended up building my sister a better machine for about $300 less than what the other person was trying to sell her. :Thmbsup:


Ath

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 2,778
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: CPU Question: More Mhz per core or more cores?
« Reply #19 on: February 16, 2011, 01:38:16 AM »
Okay, so I finally got some specs to compare to. I ended up building my sister a better machine for about $300 less than what the other person was trying to sell her. :Thmbsup:
Wanna share those final specs?


f0dder

  • Charter Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 9,029
  • [Well, THAT escalated quickly!]
    • View Profile
    • f0dder's place
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: CPU Question: More Mhz per core or more cores?
« Reply #21 on: February 16, 2011, 03:04:36 AM »
Hm, never heard of A-DATA SSDs before - but iirc the controller used (JMF616) isn't überhot. What's the price diff between the A-DATA and an OCZ Vertex2? If you go SSD, you gotta pick a proper one, or you might as well stick with a mechanical drive.
- carpe noctem

Deozaan

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • ***
  • Points: 1
  • Posts: 7,713
    • View Profile
    • The Blog of Deozaan
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: CPU Question: More Mhz per core or more cores?
« Reply #22 on: February 16, 2011, 03:12:35 AM »
Hm, never heard of A-DATA SSDs before - but iirc the controller used (JMF616) isn't überhot. What's the price diff between the A-DATA and an OCZ Vertex2? If you go SSD, you gotta pick a proper one, or you might as well stick with a mechanical drive.

Aww carp.

Looks like the OCZ Vertex2 is about $15 more (before mail in rebate) but has 4 GB less.

But the write speed is significantly better. :tellme: 120MB/s on the A-DATA vs 275MB/s on the OCZ Vertex2.

EDIT: Hmm... It seems a lot of NewEgg reviews for the Vertex2 are saying the write speeds aren't nearly as fast as advertised.

« Last Edit: February 16, 2011, 03:17:22 AM by Deozaan »

f0dder

  • Charter Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 9,029
  • [Well, THAT escalated quickly!]
    • View Profile
    • f0dder's place
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: CPU Question: More Mhz per core or more cores?
« Reply #23 on: February 16, 2011, 03:23:59 AM »
DON'T worry about those über-high speeds, they're relatively irrelevant - since you only reach those levels when doing sequential reads and writes. Not super relevant for devices with small amounts of storage... and where SSDs (are supposed to) shine are for random scattered I/O. Problem with some of the cheaper SSDs is that they SUCK at scattered writes. I'd happily trade 50+ MB/s of sequential performance for better scattered I/O performance.

A big plus for OCZ is that, after anandtech bitched enough, they sacrificed sequential performance for better random I/O, even though it gave worse marketing numbers. I've got a 120gig Vertex2 in my laptop, and it's quite lovely :)

Also, for the PSU: I've never heard of Rosewill. But one thing about PSUs: stable voltages are craploads more important than wattage. Even my quadcore/8gig/GF460/2x10k-rpm-raptor drives doesn't go above ~275W under full CPU+GPU load.
- carpe noctem

Deozaan

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • ***
  • Points: 1
  • Posts: 7,713
    • View Profile
    • The Blog of Deozaan
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: CPU Question: More Mhz per core or more cores?
« Reply #24 on: February 16, 2011, 03:41:32 AM »
Also, for the PSU: I've never heard of Rosewill. But one thing about PSUs: stable voltages are craploads more important than wattage. Even my quadcore/8gig/GF460/2x10k-rpm-raptor drives doesn't go above ~275W under full CPU+GPU load.

How can you tell what PSUs will have stable voltages and which ones don't?