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- dumb cpu cycle question
October 14, 2006, 10:55 am
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i run amd but am open to intel if need be, i make audio/music and run
synth/sequencers/etc some of these programms eat cpu cycles like no
tomorrow, i'm running at 2ghz amd/xp and am getting dropouts/freezing/etc
when the system is loaded with maybe 3 or 4 vst, i guess it's speed but am
not sure what deals with this end of my issue, i need a fat or fast pipe?
anyway i'm not made of money but need something, your thoughts please and
yanks in advance :)
Re: dumb cpu cycle question
Are you sure your current computer is working properly ?
Get a copy of Prime95 from mersenne.org . The program computes
prime numbers and it has a hardware test mode. If you select the
"Torture Test", then the program does a computation with a known
answer. A properly working computer can run for hours, without
the program reporting any "roundoff" or other type errors. If the
program stops in less than 10 minutes, then you've got a problem.
Maybe by running that test, you can see whether the freezing is due
to bad RAM or a problem with the clock speed chosen for the processor.
The low end right now, is covered by AMD. Once you get into mid-range
hardware, then Intel Conroe/Allendale would be a better bet. A lot
of the hardware uses DDR2 RAM, which might mean buying yet more
RAM. So sure, we can suggest hardware, but perhaps the best way to
upgrade, is to preserve some of your old hardware. Knowing your
budget ($$$) and what hardware you want to reuse (AGP video, some
DDR memory, whatever), might change the answer a bit.
Does your software take advantage of multiple processors ? Or would a
single core be better for the software ?
Re: dumb cpu cycle question
On Sat, 14 Oct 2006 15:44:48 +0000, Joe_Z wrote:
If your app is multi-threaded then dual core will help tremendously. if
it's single threaded it won't help much, except you could run 2 jobs at
once, or do other things without affecting the original app. I went to
dual core a couple of months ago with each core running the same speed as
my previous single core. I can peg out one core now and the machine still
responds as if nothing were happening.
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Re: dumb cpu cycle question
My purpose in asking the question, is to make you aware that
a dual core does not guarantee twice-as-fast performance. Some
programs are designed to split the work among multiple
processors - an example is Photoshop. When you run Photoshop
on a dual core processor, each core does half the work. The
job is done twice as fast. Many other programs, your music
program included, may be single-threaded - the computing job
cannot be split into pieces. There are lots of computing
problems that cannot be split in pieces.
All this means, is you can buy a dual core processor (because
even a single core of one of them, is faster than what you've
got). But you may not see a "magic doubling" of performance
with the two cores. It could be, while your composition is
executing, that the second core will be (relatively) idle.
Not that this is completely a bad thing, but I don't want
to set your expectations too high.
So buying a single core processor makes sense, if you _know_
your main program is single threaded. Most older programs
would be like that. I would expect in the qntiquated collection
of software I've got, that Photoshop is the only thing that
would benefit from dual core. If I were to upgrade my system,
I could still see myself buying a single core processor.
(Note that, with a dual core, you can shrink a DVD with one
core, while playing music with the other, and that is an
example of concurrent program execution. So that would be
an example of another way to use them and get a benefit.)
I was hoping to offer you this benchmark page, as a way of
rating the processors, but the benchmarks here are all
multithreaded. For your purposes, that makes the dual cores
"look too good".
I tried to dig up some SPECINT and SPECFP results, and the
problem there, was finding enough S939 socket results. The
results were interesting all the same, but I couldn't build
a nice progressive table, to show you cost versus benefit.
From the SPECINT/SPECFP results, the Intel E6300 dual core
looked real impressive. I would recommend a processor chip
like that, because it is $180, and it would give a significant
step above your current processor. The problem is, the
majority of motherboards for Core 2 Duo, use PCI Express
video cards and DDR2 memory. That means less reuse of your
old hardware, and a higher cost to the solution. If you
didn't play 3D games at all, then you could get a motherboard
with built-in graphics into the motherboard. But DDR2 memory
still costs a lot, which makes the solution not as
Maybe your S939 processor purchase would be 30% faster.
Do you think a 30% improvement would be enough to stop
your program from choking ? The trick in any upgrade,
is to see a usable improvement when you are finished.
For example, a guy the other day, spent $430 on new
RAM for his computer, only to find it did squat for
him. He was just a little pissed. Before you buy anything,
it pays to spend some extra time, trying to find
benchmarks for your old and some new hardware, so you
can see ahead of time whether there is any benefit.
You might spot some cheap hardware, buy it, and then
discover it is no faster than the old stuff.
If the 30% improvement is not enough, then perhaps you
should aim higher, in the interest of not "throwing
money away" on an insubstantial upgrade. One of these
days, we are going to see a demonstration or a review,
of a Conroe motherboard that uses AGP video and DDR
memory, and when that happens, that can open the
flood gates of all the people that want to upgrade
their old AGP/DDR systems to Conroe.