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  1. #1
    Network Hub Herzog's Avatar
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    Choosing CPU for new gaming rig - 8 cores needed?

    I am still looking for a new gaming rig and my current configuration would be a Haswell i5 and a R9 280X. Concerning the cpu and seeing the minimum requirements for Watchdogs and the new Wolfenstein I am in little doubt now. Would an i7 or AMD FX 8350 be a better investment for the future?

    If most AAA titles in the coming years are optimized to use multiple cores would it make sense to invest in an i7 or switch to an AMD configuration? Or is an i5 still enough?

    Thanks in advance for any answers!

  2. #2
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Wolfenswan's Avatar
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    In many if not most cases Hz trumps number of cores and it's doubtful that's going to change overall. How many cores do Xbone and the new PS utilize? That could be a good number to aim for, as only very few pc-exclusives might benefit from more. That said, an i5-2500k for example would still provide ample bang for the buck, especially if you don't mind OCing.

  3. #3
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Sakkura's Avatar
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    The Watch Dogs 8-core requirement is likely BS. Remember, they cooperate with AMD, and AMD has a vested interest in making people want CPUs with more cores.

    Even in fully threaded workloads, a Core i7-4770K can certainly keep up with an FX-8350. In less threaded workloads, the Core i7-4770K pulls ahead due to much better performance per core.

    Plus the FX-8350 isn't really an 8-core CPU anyway, at least not the way an Intel CPU would be. The 8350 has 4 Piledriver modules, each of which has 2 integer cores but only 1 FP module. So if there's a lot of FP work to do, it's more like 4 cores than 8.

    As for clocks, don't look at them either. They're useless when comparing different architectures, since different CPUs don't do the same amount of work per clock cycle.

  4. #4
    Lesser Hivemind Node Bobtree's Avatar
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    The recent Steam hardware survey says no. By the time 8-core setups are relevant to gaming, you're going to want a new rig again anyway. My i5-2500k is 3 years old, but it's still effectively top-end as far as the install base is concerned.

  5. #5
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
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    I'm going to pay close attention to tech sites benchmarks for watchdogs. There's no reason an open world game can't use all the cores, it's just most games programmers are trapped in 1992.
    I'm failing to writing a blog, specifically about playing games the wrong way
    http://playingitwrong.wordpress.com/

  6. #6
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    It all depends what you want

    Do you just want to play games? A Haswell i5 will be fine for a couple of years from now at least

    Do you care only about those flickering FPS numbers and benchmarks? You'll spend the rest of your life tinkering and wondering - anything we tell you will have changed by teatime - there is no right answer.

  7. #7
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus rockman29's Avatar
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    FP performance isn't really relevant to games performance is it?

  8. #8
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Sakkura's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockman29 View Post
    FP performance isn't really relevant to games performance is it?
    AFAIK it's very relevant for gaming.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heliocentric View Post
    it's just most games programmers are trapped in 1992.
    I read that about 2 hours ago and I have yet to come up with a response beyond "that is the dumbest thing I've read on the Internet" - and yes, that's up against a lot of competition but I've thought hard and I feel it's a winner regardless...

    I've also been mulling why you'd have said something so moronic. I took the liberty of assuming you're not mentally damaged and I find myself surmising that some people clearly see 'AAA Games' as some sort of hardware benchmarking tool - some sort of "thing to test our their expensive PC" - some sort of "system for selling new PC hardware" even!?

    "Games programmers" - and indeed Games Designers and Artists and Sound people - aren't interested in creating those things. What we do is create - and this might seem a bit obvious - games which as many people as possibly can enjoy playing!

    We're not interested in maxing-out every bit of your PC because that would stunt our playerbase to a ridiculous degree. We want to do clever things and new things and impressive things BUT we want to do them in a way which will work for as many people as possible!

    There's a saying - "anyone can come-up with a complex solution - smart people come up with simple ones" and I feel that's at the core of what "programmers" do. Our job is to convert ideas/designs/systems into simple digital processes which are predictable, consistent and which only APPEAR complex. We're always coming-up with new ideas but the objective is to make games better - not max-out your PC.

    So we're not "living in 1992" - we're just not wasting time developing stuff which only 2% of our potential market can play. The mouldering shitlayer which is 'marketing' will often come along and fuck everything up of course. They'll tell people they need 9-and-a-half cores and 2Tb of GRAMRAM++ but until they make it legal to kill those people we'll just have to tolerate that by ignoring them.
    Last edited by trjp; 03-05-2014 at 10:21 PM. Reason: Brevity, subtlety all the jazz

  10. #10
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus rockman29's Avatar
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    ^That was quite a response!

    I think he was being mostly facetious though.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sakkura View Post
    AFAIK it's very relevant for gaming.
    Well to be fair I wouldn't know :D

  11. #11
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    p.s. short version - AAA games are designed for consoles...

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockman29 View Post
    I think he was being mostly facetious though.
    God I hope so - that said, I think the PC market was probably more vibrant and forward-looking in the 90s than it is now - in fact I know it was. In many ways I'd like to go back to that point ;0

  13. #13
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Sakkura's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trjp View Post
    "Games programmers" - and indeed Games Designers and Artists and Sound people - aren't interested in creating those things. What we do is create - and this might seem a bit obvious - games which as many people as possibly can enjoy playing!

    We're not interested in maxing-out every bit of your PC because that would stunt our playerbase to a ridiculous degree. We want to do clever things and new things and impressive things BUT we want to do them in a way which will work for as many people as possible!
    And therefore it's much better to program your games so they only really take advantage of one or two CPU cores? So the framerate can go to shit from a CPU bottleneck, even though there are another 2, 4, or 6 CPU cores doing practically nothing?

    Sorry, the only moronic post here is yours.

  14. #14
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
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    I don't mean globally, of course gaming has changed(not always for the better, stripped out DLC, F2P=P2W and grind are present and correct), but purely in the context of multi-threaded applications modern pc games are really far behind. Mobile phones and consoles are obviously hardware constrained, but PC developers are tempted to slap a sticker on it that says "get a better PC". I don't have a modern PC, when I boot up modern games I'm lucky to play on medium and my PC starts wheezing like a prototype Dyson, but often I'll have resource manager sat open trying to figure out what settings I should cut from to remove judder and see that one core is barely being used (I have an old dual core) and that it is the choke point.

    But I hope the view is nice from your ivory tower.
    Last edited by Heliocentric; 03-05-2014 at 10:28 PM.
    I'm failing to writing a blog, specifically about playing games the wrong way
    http://playingitwrong.wordpress.com/

  15. #15
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus rockman29's Avatar
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    I think he still makes a good point though, there's not really much point in developing for such a small fraction of the market. I think it's been tested many times, and most or all developers aren't willing to go there, just not enough return.

    I think most developers are doing a good to great job on making quality games with quality engines, I have few complaints. Got my new desktop almost a year ago now, and the experience with games has treated me very well, much enjoyment :D

    The guys with the extra brute hardware get to enjoy that triple screen gameplay and so on anyway.

  16. #16
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
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    3.38% of the Steam Hardware Survey has 1 core. Surely this is a significant factor?
    I'm failing to writing a blog, specifically about playing games the wrong way
    http://playingitwrong.wordpress.com/

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sakkura View Post
    And therefore it's much better to program your games so they only really take advantage of one or two CPU cores? So the framerate can go to shit from a CPU bottleneck, even though there are another 2, 4, or 6 CPU cores doing practically nothing?
    Out of curiousity, how much experience do you have with

    a - the complexities of multi-threaded programming and - specifically - having variable threads available to you
    b - the complexities of modern game development and - specifically - how game engines are often developed separately from the game themselves (in-house or otherwise)
    c - the limitations of designing for a complex PC architecture when most of your customers are on consoles ;0

    Because you make it sound like 1 guy is delberately pissing you off by coding badly and that's not really the deal here ;0
    Last edited by trjp; 03-05-2014 at 10:55 PM.

  18. #18
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trjp View Post
    Also - I say again - consoles...
    Consoles are properly threaded, yes. I agree, its frustrating that the inferior hardware gets so much more effort from mass market developers.
    I'm failing to writing a blog, specifically about playing games the wrong way
    http://playingitwrong.wordpress.com/

  19. #19
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus rockman29's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heliocentric View Post
    3.38% of the Steam Hardware Survey has 1 core. Surely this is a significant factor?
    A lot of people only have 2 cores it looks like though.

    I think it's probably harder to make computer programs and games that scale well on both fewer cores (like 2) and then also make great use of 4 or 8.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heliocentric View Post
    Consoles are properly threaded, yes. I agree, its frustrating that the inferior hardware gets so much more effort from mass market developers.
    Why do you think that would be then?

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