Weekend Open Forum: How many cores power your PC?

By on April 30, 2010, 10:01 PM
We asked you this very same question over a year and a half ago. Back then, dual core processors were already quite common and quad core parts were coming down in price to more affordable levels -- you could get one from either Intel or AMD for around $235-265. Then a few months later, on November 2008, Intel secured its dominant market position by launching the Nehalem line-up that has been sitting comfortably atop the performance charts ever since.

Fortunately, competition hasn't slowed down in the entry level and mainstream segments. Unable to keep up with today's fastest offerings, AMD has made a solid effort to deliver balanced value and performance on all its chips, keeping Intel on its toes or at least putting enough pressure on them when it comes to pricing. They further emphasized this by introducing their first six-core desktop part earlier this week, priced quite lower than Intel's Core i7 980X.

Of course, these chips are not meant to compete against each other, but the fact remains, today you can get a full range of CPUs manufactured on more efficient processes and with up to six cores, for little over $200. That's something anyone who carries out heavily threaded tasks such as intensive 3D work or video encoding can certainly appreciate.

With that in mind we want to revisit this topic and ask you, how many cores are powering your PC today? Do you believe further increasing the number of processing cores will pay off in terms of actual performance given today's software standards? And if so, do you plan on upgrading to a six-core chip from Intel or AMD anytime soon?

User Comments: 98

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HaMsTeYr HaMsTeYr said:

Still running Quad Cores here On my trusty Q6600 at 3.30.

Wanting to upgrade to a i7 930 though.

Guest said:

Core 2 Duo E8400@3.8GHz still does everything for me.

GonchuB GonchuB said:

Pentium D 3.0Ghz

=( laaaaaaaaaameeeeeeee

thatguyandrew92 said:

My Q6600 at 3GHz is working just fine and I LOVVVEEE it!

Guest said:

Still running my trusty Athlon X2 5200+, but planning to upgrade sometime in the future.

lmanlo said:

AMD X3 450 2.7GHZ That's the latest one I have on a desktop. The rest are Core 2 Duo, Centrino Duo and Pentium M on laptops, Pentium Dual-Core and Pentium M on Desktop. Wanted to get a quad core but that was the cheapest one with a good motherboard that I could have gotten. But I should be able to get a quad later on if I need one.

myrmidonks myrmidonks said:

Core i7-920-stock, Core 2 Duo E8400-stock

Tomorrow_Rains said:

I'm running on an athlon xp 2800 plus. Pretty old I still have ide hard drives and disk drives followed by an agp 8x nvidia graphics card. Single core here. And yes I believe more cores will be necessary considering 3d is soon to appear on computers. Also windows is obviously on track with making their windows experience as graphic intensive as possible hopefully without another windows vista release. Let's hope these processors stay affordable though I used to pay around 400 to build a pc but now I'm building one and its costing me a pretty penny. I love my agp old ass system specs.

Tekkaraiden Tekkaraiden said:

Just two, can't find a valid reason to upgrade at the moment. C2D 6850 @ 3.0Ghz

klepto12 klepto12, TechSpot Paladin, said:

im running an intel e7400 at 3.8Ghz but i would love to own and i7 system either it be the i7 860 or the i7 930 either would be great also i have been looking at the new 6 core amd cpus

Guest said:

Honestly, I am very multicore.

At work, I use a 56 core beowulf cluster made out of 14 quad core boxes. This does work on MCNP, a code base used to do radiation shielding simulation and nuclear reactor analysis.

At home, I have a 16 core Opteron workstation with 32GB of ram. This machine does a lot of different work including things that require too much communication for a beowulf cluster to perform, my wife does statistical modeling a lot with it, and when we aren't using it we volunteer it to BOINC.

As for the six core, I am in the process of upgrading to one for the central server of my cluster. The best thing about that cluster is that I have a semiannual budget for it and when I come under, I spend the difference on the best current machine and put the old machine as an additional cluster node.

When you do the work my wife and I do, we are always looking for more cores and better communication layers. But it has to be cost competitive. A $1000 six core doesn't make sense when you can buy 2 entire quad core computers for that price and link them to get the job done.

Guest said:

I have an AMD Athlon 6400+ (dual core) in one running Win XP MediaCenter. And a

Phenom X4 9950 (quad core) in the other with Win7 professional 64bit in the other wich is

my gaming rig

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

2 cores on my main PC.

1 core on my laptop (PowerPC G4 even)

2 cores on my media PC

1 core on my netbook

Most of my time is still spent on 1 core machines.

Thompson said:

Dual core.

Looking to jump up to 6 when they are standard issue.

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

Quad x 2 (Core i7 950...mostly stock+turbo, C2Q 9400 3.33-3.6GHz...mostly)

Single core P4 (Skt 478) for troubleshooting customers PC's.

Yes....provided you use the software that takes advantage of multithreaded CPU's, although parallel computing in the main is limited at present.

No....I don't see a need in the short term to personally upgrade to a six-core CPU. Until a new architecture offers a tangible performance increase over what I already run (P4 excepted) I'll stay pat.

Matthew Matthew, TechSpot Staff, said:

Four over here. Upgraded to the i5-750 last October -- a nice boost from the Pentium D 820.

Guest said:

im useing AMD Phenom II X2 550 Black Edition unlocked to quad core overclocked to 3.4 ghz for $100 i got some now thats like a amd 965.

highest was able to overclock stable was 4.22ghz in daul core mode only but didn't want to push it. highest in quad core was 3.93ghz

running on Gigabyte MA790X-UD4P Motherboard

with amd ati 4870x2 2gb gddr5

8gb of ddr2 daul channel 1066mhz ram

a 2.5tb hard drive

ET3D, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Phenom II X3 710 here.

Guest said:

I recently upgraded to a CORE i5 750 on a H57 motherboard and a GTX 470. Earlier I was having a Pentium 4 system with a CRT display.

CRad said:

I work in 3D and honestly nothing beats an i7... I got the i7 930 (revision of the 920) a month or so ago and managed to overclock it to 4.01Ghz with 12GB of ram... The thing rips apart my old Quad core (Q9650) which I now use for network rendering...

I will be grabbing the new hexa-cores from intel and overclocking them too just to built a bit more on my render farm...

I'll have a prometeia phase change cooling unit soon also so that will be interesting to overclock with!

red1776 red1776, Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe, said:

Intel Q9550 ( Work machine)

AMD Athlon II x2 7750 @ 3.5 Ghz (built for my wife)

AMD 64 x2 4200 ( my daughters webkins machine)

AMD Phenom II X3 720 BE @ 3.9Ghz (my gaming machine)

AMD Phenom II x4 965 BE ( TEC cooled project im working on)

and a dual core Pentium Acer Laptop

....so as you can see, im running at 52.42 Ghz .....on air! :p

Guest said:

Phenom X3 720, unlocked 4th core @3,4GHz

MarkHughes said:

4 core desktop

2 core personal laptop

2 core work laptop.

dustin_ds3000 dustin_ds3000, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Intel E8500 Core2Duo @ 4GHz here

Fragrant Coit Fragrant Coit said:

4 cores. Stil pretty happy with my Q6600.

Guest said:

P4 2.8 :( At least HT gets used on it now.

Julio Franco Julio Franco, TechSpot Editor, said:

My workstation is still running the trusty Q6600 I bought many years ago, but it's getting replaced pretty soon for a Core i7. Steve gets to keep all the chips we test for further evaluation (so we can report back to you, when we don't have to return them).

Hazard said:

quad core Q6600 @ 2.40hz works pretty damn well!

TheDumbass said:

watching games as slideshows with my Athlon X2 5000+ @ 2,88hz

Reloader2 said:

Triple core. AMD Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition.

So fat it does the work for me. I will be upgrading to a 6 Core at the end of the year though. I think.

Guest said:

Laptop: 2 Cores, Core 2 Duo

Home Server: 2 Cores, Core i3

Gaming System: 2 Cores, E6750 @ 3.2Ghz

Will be upgrading to a Core i7 920, Four Cores, coming up this month.

Guest said:

I have a amd 955 and not planing to upgrade

Per Hansson Per Hansson, TS Server Guru, said:

Bought my first Quad November 2007, a Intel Q6600

I've exchanged that once for a Xeon X3230

And now I'm running a Q9450

All on the same Maximus Formula mobo, the latest processor has more cache, however all upgrades where done to find a processor which would overclock higher, but that failed, first two where 266Mhz FSB so then the mobo did not hold me back then...

But now with the Q9450 I can't go high because it's high default FSB of 333Mhz limits me due to my mobo's chipset not wanting to go at even 450Mhz

Mobo is Maximus Formula flashed with Rampage Formula BIOS

Guest said:

I am using a Phenom II 550 with unlocked cores turning it into a Quad B50 , then overclocked to 3.42 Ghz. * 8 gigs of DDR2 1066 and a powercolor 5970 gpu. My mobo has a bios update to run the 6 core Phenom II and am thinking of upgrading to it next month after many reviews are posted by users.

AMD may be the underdog rite now , but for what i use a pc for ( Gaming ) why would i ever want to pony up $1100.00 for a 6 core fom intel when AMD offers a close competor for $300.00 ? The upgrade path that AMD offers is nothing short of fantastic.

chickenroyal said:

4 - Core i7 920 D0 @ 2.66GHz (Stock - plan on a modest 3.2GHz OC soon)

KG363 KG363 said:

3 cores

Phenom II x3 720 @3.5GHz

Guest said:

My DKA790GX Motherboard died, so I though it was a good opportunity to upgrade to an Asus Crosshair IV & AMD Phenom II X6 1090T ;D - 6 Cores :) - Plan On OC To 4.1 Soon...

A Definate Improvement over my Phenom II X4 940! Worth The Money!

Erik Erik said:

Intel Core 2 Duo T6400

2 Cores

ken777 said:

Running quad core Q9450. Waiting for Sandy Bridge to upgrade.

Guest said:

Quad on my main workstation then 64 cores on my 3d rendering farm...all custom built. Pure bliss.

Technochicken Technochicken, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Currently I am running an X3 710. It is not quite as much horsepower as I would like, but is infinitely better than my old PD 920 @ 3.3. I had been thinking about a new video card for my next upgrade, but now that the Phenom II x6's are out I'm not so sure any more.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

4 core i7 920 @ 3.8

2 core X II 55 @ 3.1 with 1 additional core unlocked by mobo

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Using 4 cores - Q9550, mildly overclocked to 3.1Ghz. Been an excellent little processor. Next spring I'll upgrade to an "i" something - haven't decided yet.

Although 4 cores has come in handy during some heavy-duty multi-tasking jobs, it really has had zero difference on gaming compared to a dual core. Software companies need to get their act together and realize unless some new technology comes out, we've pretty much hit the high ends of processing speed and need to maximize their products for multiple core use.

Guest said:

Q9400 @ 3.7ghz on my workstation.

E8500 @ 4.4ghz on my home server.

E2180 @ 3.6ghz on my HTPC

Some randlebean 2ghz core 2 duo in my lappy :)

Looking to get a i7 930 for my workstation soon.

Mikymjr Mikymjr said:

Phenom II X3 710 @ 2.86Ghz

Guest said:

4 cores, phenom 9850

Guest said:

I don't have a notebook, and only use one E6750 @ 3Ghz machine whish is used for gaming, work and multimedia.

Up until I bought Bad Company 2, I wansn't pallning to upgrade until sandy bridge comes along. Now though, since GTA IV and Bad Company 2 need quad cores, I was thinking of getting some $200 band aid upgrade, but when I think about it some more, I guess I'll wait until Sandy Bridge.

The money should be better spend on travelling and other hobbies.

Plus Intel wants about $220 or so for a Q9550! AMD sells an X6 CPU for that price, also you can get an i7 920 for $180 at micro center! - so I'm not buying the Q9550 for that sole principle.

I wish I had an AM2/3 motherboard and not a LGA775 one :/

Yad Yad said:

At lappy i got a C2D 2ghz.

Pc has C2D E4500 overclocked at 2.5ghz with stock cooling.

Planning to upgrade to Phenom II x6 T1055 at the end of summer,at least i hope so XD

MikeFE said:

Got a Phenom II x4 955 running at a slight overclock of 3.5GHz.

princeton princeton said:

Guest said:

I am using a Phenom II 550 with unlocked cores turning it into a Quad B50 , then overclocked to 3.42 Ghz. * 8 gigs of DDR2 1066 and a powercolor 5970 gpu. My mobo has a bios update to run the 6 core Phenom II and am thinking of upgrading to it next month after many reviews are posted by users.

AMD may be the underdog rite now , but for what i use a pc for ( Gaming ) why would i ever want to pony up $1100.00 for a 6 core fom intel when AMD offers a close competor for $300.00 ? The upgrade path that AMD offers is nothing short of fantastic.

AMDs 6 core competing with intels 6 core. 1/10 troll effort.

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