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Questions on how to rate CPU performance based on specs

post #1 of 3
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Hey there guys, newbie here. I had a couple questions regarding how to rate the performance for various processors...

I know one of the first things people talk about regarding overall greatness in a CPU is the the amount of cores. How true is this? I've heard a couple comments that many modern computers can't access the full power of quad-core processors which seems rubbish, but what is this based on? OS access? Mobo access? Multi-threaded CPUs far outweigh the power of a single-core processor, but should Quad-core be picked over a dual-core simply based on amount of cores?

Clock speed: Is the speed only relative to the type of chipset being used or locally relavent to each CPU? Is it reasonable to assume that only based on clock speed, an AMD Phenom II rated at 3.4 GHz will outperform the Intel I3 rated at 3.1 GHz? Or that a i5 at 3.8 GHz is better than the i3?

Cache size: From brushing over caches in an assembly class, it's to my knowledge that the L1 cache is the guts of the processor, and where value swapping in registers and the program counter/link register takes place in real time (Or close to it). Are the L2 and L3 caches just for extra storage of operations? Why is an L3 needed anyways if the L2 could just be extended? Or does Intel just like to do things differently for there own reasons?

Thanks guys! smile.gif Hopefully that was clear enough and I didn't reveal too much of the newb I am on all this. Also if anyone has a concise semi-technical guide on this stuff that'd be great! Google's been swinging to the extremes when I interrogate it.
post #2 of 3
It is very difficult to measure performance based on speeds, cores, and cache. Sure, within the same family it's very accurate but with different architectures and manufacturers it becomes much different.

Just as proof an i5 3570k is a quad core at 3.4Ghz, while the FX-8350 is an eight-core at 4.0Ghz. Both perform similarly in games.
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
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Samsung 950 Pro Custom WC loop 480mm & 560mm Windows 10 ROG SWIFT 
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post #3 of 3
Quote:
Originally Posted by Legonut View Post

It is very difficult to measure performance based on speeds, cores, and cache. Sure, within the same family it's very accurate but with different architectures and manufacturers it becomes much different.

Just as proof an i5 3570k is a quad core at 3.4Ghz, while the FX-8350 is an eight-core at 4.0Ghz. Both perform similarly in games.

It's not just that.... like you alluded, different workloads result in different results. A very multi-thread INT application may run better on a AMD FX while a very multi-thread, closely coupled FP64 workload may run better on a 3570k.

Wait until you compare different CPU instruction sets.... i.e. ARM, POWER, SPARC, etc.
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