Author Topic: What CPU? Single vs Multi core in real life (no games)? Future?  (Read 5288 times)

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Online nctnico

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Re: What CPU? Single vs Multi core in real life (no games)? Future?
« Reply #50 on: December 14, 2018, 08:53:09 pm »
I was working for one of the largest semiconductor companies when I got into a conversation with one of the VPs.  He warned me "Never bet against technology!".

You can't "future proof" a workstation because you can't predict the future.  All you can do is drive a stake in the ground, buy a machine, and figure you're going to replace it in a few years.
For the last decade the latter is no longer true. For just computational power using the CPU PCs have not really become much faster. Nearly a decade ago I got an i7-950 based PC. A couple of years ago I replaced it with a much more expensive Xeon based PC. The increase in performance is less than 20%. Back in the old days (the 90's and early 2000's) you could buy a new CPU every year and you'd end up with a PC which was significantly faster.
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Offline rrinker

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Re: What CPU? Single vs Multi core in real life (no games)? Future?
« Reply #51 on: December 14, 2018, 09:02:29 pm »
 I do not think NVME SSD is mandatory, unless you are running very highly disk intensive applications. All my machines have SATA SSDs, except my laptop does have an NVME SSD as the C drive, and a second SATA SSD for data. The laptop is a fairly recent model, and it boots no faster than my desktop at home which boots off a SATA SSD. Copy files and other tasks, no faster ont he laptop. The desktop has 16GB AM and an old Zeon E3 - I built it 6 years ago. I have a newer one on my workbench - effectively the same speed as well, as far as user impressions. The laptop actually has 32GB RAM. Again, from a user perspective, there's no real difference in performance among these machines, in various activities, from movie playback to web browsing to Office applications to a 3D model railroad CAD app to EDA (KiCad and EasyEDA). I'm sure I'd get different results on all 3 with synthetic benchmarks - but this is where I think some of these PC "enthusiast" sites are just as bad as audiophools. You absolutely can NOT see the difference if the game runs on one video card at 78 FPS at highest detail and the other card runs at 76FPS with the same level of quality. A benchmark can see the difference - absolutely no way you as a human being can see this. A long running process, one machine finishes in 1 hour, 4 minutes, and 42 seconds. The other machine finishes in 1 hour, 3 minutes, adn 48 seconds. Yes, the difference is measurable - with a stopwatch. Odds are, if you fire up something that will take an hour to complete, less than a minute difference int he end time is not going to even be noticed. And if the difference is that great over an hour long process, the difference over a much shorter period, say a workload that takes 15 minutes to complete, is going to be on the order of a few seconds. Oh but also that faster machine has a 50% price premium over the 'slower' one.
 There are people who need every last bit of performance, but more and more that's in the area of compute, where the GPU is far more important that the CPU  But for most people, and that includes most gamers, too, it just doesn't make that much of a difference to split hairs like that. That's why I NEVER buy the top of the line stuff to build a PC. Second tier is 80% of the performance for 50% of the price.
 

Offline Nerull

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Re: What CPU? Single vs Multi core in real life (no games)? Future?
« Reply #52 on: December 14, 2018, 09:05:10 pm »
compiling code etc are not multithreaded.

Huh, and here I thought most build systems have had support for parallel compilation for decades....
 
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Offline zucca

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Re: What CPU? Single vs Multi core in real life (no games)? Future?
« Reply #53 on: December 14, 2018, 09:22:16 pm »
Y'never punched CTRL+SHIFT+ESC before?  (Task Manager)

Tim, I used it to kill processes when something was frozen. 10 second later, I was back in doing business.  ::)
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Offline cdev

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Re: What CPU? Single vs Multi core in real life (no games)? Future?
« Reply #54 on: December 14, 2018, 11:24:55 pm »
What do you people think of the 64 core AMD "Rome" chip thats just been announced?
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Offline zucca

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Re: What CPU? Single vs Multi core in real life (no games)? Future?
« Reply #55 on: December 14, 2018, 11:39:45 pm »
What do you people think of the 64 core AMD "Rome" chip thats just been announced?

Too much for me, but I hope in the 7nm version of the TR 2950x pumping up the GHz jazz.

Quote
“By using the Zen 2 architecture and 7nm, on desktops,” said analyst Pat Moorhead of Moor Insights. “I am expecting improved raw core performance with frequency and IPC improvements positively impacting lower threaded workloads. As important, on higher-threaded applications, I am expecting improved scaling with more cores."
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Offline NiHaoMike

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Re: What CPU? Single vs Multi core in real life (no games)? Future?
« Reply #56 on: December 15, 2018, 01:03:59 am »
Large computation jobs probably belong on the GPUs.  I don't have any applications that would gain an advantage from that idea so I have never tried it.  If I was doing Finite Element Analysis or Method of Residuals for a large number of nodes, yes, the GPUs would be the way to go.  But I'm not...
You'll be surprised to learn that teraflop computing at home isn't just for gamers nowadays. Here's a mind blowing example of what a modern GPU can be used for:


For a more everyday example, the code I use to upscale 1080p to 4K uses about 1 TFLOPS. Yes, videophiles are making use of levels of compute power that was considered supercomputer class not all that long ago...
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Offline cdev

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Re: What CPU? Single vs Multi core in real life (no games)? Future?
« Reply #57 on: December 15, 2018, 01:30:04 am »
Although I have Meshlab on my machine, I have not been able to compile Meshroom. Currently Ive been able to get a decent sparse 3D reconstruction using COLMAP but because I don't have Cuda thats as far as Colmap can take me. I'm exploring a few other options to create dense 3D reconstructions but none of them have worked acceptably so far on the kinds of scenes I would like to capture..

By the way, speaking of Rome, check out some of the videos on YouTube of 3D reconstructions of cities (like 'building Rome in a day' - and some other cities- from uploaded tourist photos using photogrammetry tools and powerful CPUs and especially GPUs.)
« Last Edit: December 15, 2018, 01:35:34 am by cdev »
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Offline Wan Huang Luo

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Re: What CPU? Single vs Multi core in real life (no games)? Future?
« Reply #58 on: December 15, 2018, 04:18:34 am »
What do you people think of the 64 core AMD "Rome" chip thats just been announced?
A PowerPC 604e is more power than anyone really needs.
 

Offline Bicurico

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Re: What CPU? Single vs Multi core in real life (no games)? Future?
« Reply #59 on: December 15, 2018, 12:40:24 pm »
Here is my contribution:

There are these different classes of CPU's:

1 - Few cores with low frequency -> cheap office computers (browser and office use)
2 - Few cores with higher frequency -> games, CAD/CAM/CAE
3 - Many cores with low frequency -> server (internet server or virtual machine server)
4 - Many cores with high frequency -> workstation or server
5 - Really great amount of cores with high frequency -> servers for heavy parallel processing/number crunching/video encoding/etc.

Price-wise, I would generically consider these rough prices (EU), just to get an idea of what we are talking about:

1 - 300-500 Euro
2 - 700-2.000 Euro
3 - 2.000-5.000 Euro
4 - 10.000-20.000 Euro
5 - 20.000-100.000 Euro

If you want to have some fun, try this configurator for a HP workstation: https://store.hp.com/UKStore/Merch/Offer.aspx?p=b-configure-your-workstation

We could do a cometition with who comes up with the most expensive configuration...

Some time ago I got a configuration with 30% discount offer. The final price was over 100.000 US$ (I used the US site). Not kidding!

So what computer should you buy?

I would consider these criterias:

1) What applications do you want to run?
2) How much money do you want to spend?
3) How much money do you make if you get the finished project sooner?

If you want a great gaming machine, just go for an Intel Core i7 or i9 (depending on your budget). You get enough cores for games and simultaneous browser, Outlook, etc., at highest clock speeds. You might opt for AMD, I generically don't like them (bad experience in the past with unstable machines and incompatible software).

If you want to do CAD/CAM/CAE work, then you MIGHT want to look at some Xeon based workstations offering more cores.

It depends on the application you want to use. Most CAD applications really don't make use of multiple cores, because the math behind surfaces and solids is not easy to split amongst different cores.
But there are exceptions and to name one, Fusion 360 does take multi core CPU to advantage to a certain degree.

CAM also uses multi core, though might be limited to a given number of cores. Autodesk PowerMILL for example uses up to 4 cores per session, but again Fusion 360 (or better HSM inside it) can use all cores, which is pretty amazing.

For finite elements simulation, depending on the software, all cores can be used, but providers often attach the number of cores used to the license model purchased.

But having many cores is always useful, as it allows to run many software instances. For example, my Chrome browser opens my 10 top favorite sites when I start it (this launches 10 separate Chrome processes). The I have Outlook open. Plus other applications. Windows does a reasonably great job in distributing the processes around the available cores.

So now you get stuck at the question: which is the best ration between number of cores and maximum frequency?

I think for power users, 8 logical cores (4 physical cores plus Hyperthreading) is perfectly OK, even for CAD/CAM/CAE applications.
A "simple" gamer might save some money on the CPU by buying an Intel Core i5 and spending it on a better graphics card.

I have in the past months developed a new addiction: multi core computing.

I started by buying the IBM X3650 M3 server, which can be upgraded to 288GB of memory and two Intel Xeon X5690 CPU's. This gives a total of 24 logical cores.
I have now three of them:

1x 80GB with 2x X3650 - 24 cores
1x 72GB with 2x X3670 - 24 cores
1x 48GB with 2x X5540 - 16 cores

Then I bought me a new computer, a second hand HP Z600 workstation. I upgraded it and now it has an nVidia GTX-960, 40GB RAM and 2x X5670 CPU (24 cores).

I can say that this PC rocks!

All 4 computers have cost me all together less than 1000 Euro. They are connected with 1GB LAN.

The Z600 is mainly for gaming and CAD/CAM, the servers for virtual machines and parallel computing. I developed my own software, that launches the tasks in parallel. This way I get around not having to split one task into multiple partial calculations, which is not feasible. But because I have many tasks to calculate, it is easy to distribute the tasks amongst the available cores.

While my Z600 is NOT significantly faster than my Intel Core i7 3770 on a single thread (perhaps even slightly slower), it will outperform on multithreaded tasks up to 300-400%. Even by just running several things in parallel the Z600 wins. Remember this computer cost me a total of 300 Euro with upgrades (CPU, RAM and GPU). Of course a brand new i9 Hexacore with GTX1080 or RTX2070 will be significantly faster, but at a cost of 10-15 times more money. And still it would probably lose in the Cinebench benchmark.

I got so fascinated with this, that I bought a second hand Delll R910 for the office. It has 4 Xeon CPU's, featuring a total of 80 logical cores (!) and 256GB RAM (you pay for a decent refurbished unit with 1 year waranty around 2.000 Euro).

This cannot be used for games (servers don't have propper GPU's nor can you fit a graphics card). But when it comes to parallel processing, this is a beast!

Again, running just a single task on a single core is SLOWER than an Intel Core i7 4770HQ.

I recommend you search Youtube for Cinebench benchmark. You will see what parallel processing can perform!

Regards,
Vitor





 
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Offline apis

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Re: What CPU? Single vs Multi core in real life (no games)? Future?
« Reply #60 on: December 15, 2018, 08:05:03 pm »
Many of the tools, even something as fundamental as the programming languages themselves, were developed for single threaded programming only. Java for example have abysmal support for multi-threaded programming, you might as well not even try. Others languages have much better support. On top of that, most programmers have never learned how to do multithreaded programming properly.

???  I was originally taught threads on Java.

Thread t = new MyThread();
t.run();

I don't know about the performance stats though.  I never used it for more than toy purposes (I did at least do one with a creator-consumer model, but it was still simple enough to run on practically anything and the context switching probably cost more execution time, not that I could tell).

All the sync/lock/mutex action is at the programmer's behest, but I don't see how you could otherwise encapsulate that, without making a much less general system, or making a confusing number of classes that use each combination of protection.

Tim
It was a long time since I used Java for anything serious, but back then you couldn't get atomic operations. Things like, e.g., the synchronised keyword was experimental and best avoided (the official documentation told people to stay away), it was also super slow and a nightmare to debug. Even if they have gotten it to work reliably now (I wouldn't know), multi-threading in java will always be an afterthought.

Anyway, the point was that it is not just difficult/extra work for the programmer, sometimes the programming languages themselves just doesn't let the programmer do it efficiently in a way that is guaranteed to work. So it might not just mean refactoring code, it might mean rewriting things from the bottom up and hiring new programmers to do so.
 

Offline apis

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Re: What CPU? Single vs Multi core in real life (no games)? Future?
« Reply #61 on: December 15, 2018, 08:10:13 pm »
compiling code etc are not multithreaded.
Huh, and here I thought most build systems have had support for parallel compilation for decades....
Maybe they are thinking of some kind of Microsoft app. (Although it's true that you can't parallel compile a single file. :))
 

Offline T3sl4co1l

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Re: What CPU? Single vs Multi core in real life (no games)? Future?
« Reply #62 on: December 15, 2018, 10:11:07 pm »
It was a long time since I used Java for anything serious, but back then you couldn't get atomic operations. Things like, e.g., the synchronised keyword was experimental and best avoided (the official documentation told people to stay away), it was also super slow and a nightmare to debug. Even if they have gotten it to work reliably now (I wouldn't know), multi-threading in java will always be an afterthought.

Wow, that must've been a really long time ago then; I don't remember hearing any particular problems back then, in Java 5/6.


Quote
Anyway, the point was that it is not just difficult/extra work for the programmer, sometimes the programming languages themselves just doesn't let the programmer do it efficiently in a way that is guaranteed to work. So it might not just mean refactoring code, it might mean rewriting things from the bottom up and hiring new programmers to do so.

Yup.  It's a structural change, so it takes a different mindset to create, and it's not easy to transform serial code into parallel code, not just a refactor (except in "embarassingly parallel" cases, perhaps).  And there are definitely language differences.

I suppose the underlying truth is this: it's still an unsolved problem, as far as the best strategies to approach it are concerned.  Hopefully this will change in the next few decades, as more programs, and their developers, are forced into learning and developing new methods and tools to facilitate it.  But, that will take a while...

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Offline rhb

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Re: What CPU? Single vs Multi core in real life (no games)? Future?
« Reply #63 on: December 15, 2018, 10:57:22 pm »
Gnu make has spawned multiple processes on shared memory machines for at least 20 years.  But you have to tell it to do so.  I had a build that ran on multiple systems. but I could only run on one at a time as I crushed the NFS server if I started a 2nd build before the first finished.  This did not make the admins happy as it interfered with their backups.
 
I can't think of an example at the moment,  but I feel rather certain that there are algorithms which cannot be made parallel because of data dependencies.  And there are a large number of problems which can be made parallel except that the interprocess communication rapidly overwhelms any advantage from adding processors.

The advent of threads blew my mind as it demonstrated such staggering ignorance of the history of computing.  The early time sharing systems had several processes running in the same address space.  So it was very easy for a bug in one program to take down the whole machine.  Threads will generally only deadlock or crash a single process now.

If you have an algorithm which will run well on a distributed memory machine, then it will also work very well on a shared memory machine provided that disk I/O doesn't become a bottleneck.
 

Offline Kilrah

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Re: What CPU? Single vs Multi core in real life (no games)? Future?
« Reply #64 on: December 16, 2018, 09:20:22 am »
Maybe they are thinking of some kind of Microsoft app.
I build stuff daily with Visual Studio and it does parallel compiles just fine! Solution I work on takes 4min45 to build when locked to single concurrent build, and 1min when parallel builds are enabled :)


Here is my contribution:

There are these different classes of CPU's:
2 - Few cores with higher frequency -> games, CAD/CAM/CAE
3 - Many cores with low frequency -> server (internet server or virtual machine server)
Even this isn't really correct anymore since manufacturers "cheat" (well more like develop efficient methods to get the best of both worlds :) )

There used to be a case for few high speed cores, but that's basically gone thanks to turbo. The main limit nowadays is thermal, and the only reason high core count processors are lower freq is just that, when you have 8 cores dissipating power they have to limit their speed so that total dissipation remains within capabilities. But systems can now adapt pretty well to the load they detect, so even on a high core count and relatively low freq part with something that is heavy and single threaded most cores will shut down and allow the same total dissipation to come from only 1 or 2, which as a result will be set at much higher speeds as the "all cores on" freq, giving you the same performance as an equivalent  few core/high speed CPU.

So these 2 categories are now blurred and getting a lower core count CPU in the hope of boosting single thread perf is completely moot now.

A lot of people jumped on the i7-7700K a couple of years ago because it was believed it would be the last "single thread king" with its only 4 cores with super high frequency and Intel had announced next gen would add more cores. Welp... the next gen 8700K has 6 cores and accordingly higher multi core performance, AND also higher single thread perf. And now the 2nd next gen 9900K has 8 cores, nearly double the multi core performance of the 7700K, and... well, higher single thread perf than both the 7700K and 8700K anyway.

So, at least with Intel do NOT get a lower core count part thinking you're going to get better single thread perf, you won't, and will simply limit your potential for anything that can make use of the extra cores.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2018, 09:23:42 am by Kilrah »
 

Offline Bicurico

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Re: What CPU? Single vs Multi core in real life (no games)? Future?
« Reply #65 on: December 16, 2018, 11:15:37 am »
I meant it as a general idea of what is in the market and how you could divide it into segments.

Of course, the main issue is the dissipation of heat. And yes, you can purchase multi core CPU's that have high clock rates, too. But take a look at the price! It increases considerably.

I doubt that a pure game will benefit from an i7/i9 hexacore over a quad core. Even the i5 is enough (quad core without Hyperthreading).

At the end of the day, it comes to: budget, what kind of software you need to run and how much your time is worth.

Regards,
Vitor

Offline olkipukki

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Re: What CPU? Single vs Multi core in real life (no games)? Future?
« Reply #66 on: December 16, 2018, 01:03:58 pm »
A lot of Software (Altium, Solidworks, Adobe, you name it) can not use all the AMD 2950x "horses", really? So the I9 9900K still wins in real life because it has less horses but "faster"?

It depends what are you doing. In the most cases, that's correct, but not so clear as 'black-and-white'.

Here couple pictures worth more than many words:

Pic1_Basic = Altium and SolidEdge general routines and tasks (In fact, I expirenced a performance degradation for these tasks after switched from i7 X-series to this Xeon, well almost 1Ghz raw power lost per core)
Pic2_Rendering = from SolidEdge, suddenly 20 cores utilized 100%

Do you expect a change in the software industry soon? If yes I maybe bank out a 2950x.

I was about jump to AMD ship and thought 2950X will tick all boxes.
Unfortunately, there is no decent motherboard, just tweaks (aka BIOS) from 1st generation, so I parked the move for a good time and looks like I will stick with Xeon again.
 
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Offline Bicurico

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Re: What CPU? Single vs Multi core in real life (no games)? Future?
« Reply #67 on: December 16, 2018, 03:07:33 pm »
Rendering (ray tracing) is a prime example for multi core processing. The image is split in small parts and each core processes a part in parallel.

Xeon CPU's in the same price range as Core i7/i9 have less clock frequency and are therefore slower. On the other hand they usually have a bigger cache memory.

It is difficult to determine which is faster, because it does specifically depend on the software scenario used.

The first thing I teach in my CAD/CAM/CAE courses is that you FIRST buy the software THEN the computer!

Most CAD/CAM packages don't even support AMD processors. This doesn't mean the software does not run on AMD - it just was not certified for it and in case of crashes/problems you won't get support.

The same with nVidia GPU's: GTX is faster than the Quadro counterpart, but usually only Quadro is certified.

Regards,
Vitor

Offline NiHaoMike

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Re: What CPU? Single vs Multi core in real life (no games)? Future?
« Reply #68 on: December 16, 2018, 04:43:24 pm »
Doesn't the RTX series of GPUs have new instructions just for ray tracing?
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Offline Ice-Tea

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Re: What CPU? Single vs Multi core in real life (no games)? Future?
« Reply #69 on: December 16, 2018, 04:47:57 pm »
Yep.
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Offline olkipukki

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Re: What CPU? Single vs Multi core in real life (no games)? Future?
« Reply #70 on: December 16, 2018, 06:42:42 pm »
Xeon CPU's in the same price range as Core i7/i9 have less clock frequency and are therefore slower. On the other hand they usually have a bigger cache memory.

Please correct me if I am wrong, but i7/i9 does not support ECC, so obviously choose to skip these completely for CAD-class systems.
Of course, a lot of people believe "that's never happened to me"...

 

Offline Kilrah

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Re: What CPU? Single vs Multi core in real life (no games)? Future?
« Reply #71 on: December 16, 2018, 07:55:09 pm »
It's correct, but nothing in CAD (or anything really) actually needs ECC.
It's just an expensive "piece of mind" measure.
 

Online wraper

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Re: What CPU? Single vs Multi core in real life (no games)? Future?
« Reply #72 on: December 16, 2018, 08:31:24 pm »
It's correct, but nothing in CAD (or anything really) actually needs ECC.
It's just an expensive "piece of mind" measure.
It does not but you'll regret when your files get screwed and you notice the issue only after some time. FWIW you can get EEC cheaply. Ryzen + unbuffered ECC RAM. Needs motherboard which supports it, though. Non obvious RAM issues sucked enough of my blood so I do care having ECC.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2018, 08:34:47 pm by wraper »
 

Online wraper

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Re: What CPU? Single vs Multi core in real life (no games)? Future?
« Reply #73 on: December 16, 2018, 08:39:58 pm »
I was about jump to AMD ship and thought 2950X will tick all boxes.
Unfortunately, there is no decent motherboard, just tweaks (aka BIOS) from 1st generation, so I parked the move for a good time and looks like I will stick with Xeon again.
Why would you care about X399 chipset?  :palm: Issues like bad RAM support were because of 1st generation CPUs, not chipset. And even most of that was fixed by bios updates.
 

Online Mr. Scram

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Re: What CPU? Single vs Multi core in real life (no games)? Future?
« Reply #74 on: December 16, 2018, 08:45:07 pm »
For the last decade the latter is no longer true. For just computational power using the CPU PCs have not really become much faster. Nearly a decade ago I got an i7-950 based PC. A couple of years ago I replaced it with a much more expensive Xeon based PC. The increase in performance is less than 20%. Back in the old days (the 90's and early 2000's) you could buy a new CPU every year and you'd end up with a PC which was significantly faster.
Part of what you saw is caused by Xeon being one or two generations behind on the mainstream platform. People who buy servers tend to prefer proven hardware. Not only is the technology lagging, clocks are also sacrificed for core count in Xeon class chips.

While it's true that the single thread performance has been much more incremental the past 5 to 10 years, a small but not insignificant increase every generation adds up. Today's cores are much faster than those back then. It's been 5 to 15 percent each generation, but considering that compounds it's not a trivial improvement.
 


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