1. Welcome to TechPowerUp Forums, Guest! Please check out our forum guidelines for info related to our community.

Multi-Threaded games - General info.

Discussion in 'Games' started by Mussels, Jul 7, 2010.

  1. Mussels

    Mussels Moderprator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2004
    Messages:
    42,150 (11.66/day)
    Thanks Received:
    9,474
    Just like the PhysX post i wrote, i've been seeing some really weird (and bad) advice for people go buy quad core (and above) CPU's for gaming without knowing what people are talking about, just because google/wiki etc has said a game is 'multi-threaded'

    When a game is multi threaded, it doesnt magically mean it uses all cores to their maximum, removing bottlenecks. thats magic, not multi-threading.



    Let me give you as simple an example as i can:

    Game A has one thread, with AI, sound, video, physics, and networking all in one thread.

    Game A gets a patch! woo! its now multi-threaded with physics and networking on threads 2 and 3.


    This game is now multithreaded. it can use three cores! awesome!

    What people fail to realise is that just because its multi threaded, doesnt mean those two extra threads need all that much power - they could easily be done in one thread, in one core, with room to spare... while the other thread (with AI, graphics and audio all bundled together) is bottlenecked, running out of CPU power.

    Multithreading means each task can have its own thread, not that each task can split itself even further and run on multiple cores.

    Even if your game has 8 threads, if just one thread needs more performance than one core can provide, the extra power on the other cores is wasted - that ONE thread, on ONE core holds you back making you CPU limited even if your CPU isnt at 100% usage.


    The moral here, is that just because someone tells you a game is multithreaded, doesnt mean a slower CPU with more cores is better overall.

    An example (theoretical, but reality isnt too far off)

    CPU A: dual core, 3GHz
    CPU B: Quad core, 2.4Ghz

    for the sake of this example, lets assume the quad core has exactly double the amount of cache as the dual core and they are the same basic design (think E6600 + Q6600, but at diff clocks)

    Lets say the example game has four threads. video, audio, networking, physics.
    On the dual core, core 1 is maxed out running the physics, with core 2 running at 80-90% running the other three.

    Lets go to the quad core:

    Yes, audio video and networking now have their own threads. none of them are at risk of bottlenecking... but the physics thread now has 600Mhz less power, meaning that despite you having twice as many cores, you now have LESS power for that one critical thread that was holding you back before.

    In this case, going quad was a downgrade because it had less performance per-core, than the dual.

    jumping back to real world examples, look at this:
    Intel E8500 has 6MB of cache between 2 cores (3.16GHz)
    Intel Q9400 has 4MB of cache between 4 cores (2.66GHz)

    I think my above example and the CPU comparison there (they're roughly similar prices) gives it away. Just because a game is multithreaded, doesnt mean more, slower cores helps - only upgrade to more cores if each core is the same speed or faster than what you already have.


    (this may need more edits as i go along, i always screw something up)


    Part 2: how to tell if you're CPU limited in a game

    #1 task manager.

    [​IMG]


    If any one of those bars maxes out during a game, then you're limited on one core - even if it was just briefly, you were limited, briefly. Some people will see that 100% on various cores over time and assume that a game is multi-threaded, but the truth is that windows throws your threads randomly between cores. even a single threaded game gets tossed around between cores for no apparent reason, so just look for ANY core being maxed at any time.

    2. MSI afterburner

    I use afterburner combined with its OSD and Vsync, to give me an FPS reading and a GPU usage reading. Very simple logic here: if my game cannot give me 60FPS solid, yet my GPU is not at 100% usage... then my CPU (or something else, perhaps network lag in an MP game) is holding me back. play an SP game, check FPS vs GPU usage and you get an easy answer.

    [​IMG]

    In the above image, its very clear that neither my CPU nor my GPU is holding me back (at least, at this point in the game) since i'm getting a smooth 60FPS and my GPU is nowhere near its limit.
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2010
    Loosenut, KingPing, Ross211 and 9 others say thanks.
  2. TheLaughingMan

    TheLaughingMan

    Joined:
    May 7, 2009
    Messages:
    4,998 (2.57/day)
    Thanks Received:
    1,291
    Location:
    Marietta, GA USA
    Looks good to me.
  3. Mussels

    Mussels Moderprator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2004
    Messages:
    42,150 (11.66/day)
    Thanks Received:
    9,474
    just added in a part 2, with some pictures to make it less like a wall of text.
  4. mlee49

    mlee49

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2007
    Messages:
    8,477 (3.48/day)
    Thanks Received:
    2,103
    I still read your text wall. Good to know that tasks arn't broken up between cores, but rather distributed.

    It's also good to know that the Q9400 example with 4MB of L2 cache is shared across all 4 cores, but core for core the e8500 w/6MB of L2 cache will trump.
  5. Lionheart

    Lionheart

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2008
    Messages:
    4,037 (1.75/day)
    Thanks Received:
    799
    Location:
    Milky Way Galaxy
    Handy thread & read, Ima play some SC2 with ya:toast:
  6. erocker

    erocker Super Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2006
    Messages:
    39,602 (13.36/day)
    Thanks Received:
    13,991
  7. TheMailMan78

    TheMailMan78 Big Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2007
    Messages:
    20,936 (7.91/day)
    Thanks Received:
    7,509
  8. Mussels

    Mussels Moderprator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2004
    Messages:
    42,150 (11.66/day)
    Thanks Received:
    9,474
    that covers it very well, the crysis benchmarks cover my point exactly - its one of the ones i keep hearing of it being 'multithreaded so get a quad core'


    the only one i dispute is the bad company 2 bench, i REALLY noticed that game hammering my dual core, and getting a huge boost from going 6 core. It sounds like they used a FRAPS run of a single player level for their test, when the MP portion is what really matters (the physics effects are CPU heavy in MP, and not as much in SP)
  9. HammerON

    HammerON The Watchful Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2009
    Messages:
    6,482 (3.23/day)
    Thanks Received:
    3,585
    Very interseting:)
    Crunching for Team TPU
  10. Lionheart

    Lionheart

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2008
    Messages:
    4,037 (1.75/day)
    Thanks Received:
    799
    Location:
    Milky Way Galaxy
    Wish I had a six core:cry: I hope intel release the i7 970 6core eventually:rockout: not needed but who cares:laugh: its a want:D
  11. Zubasa

    Zubasa

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2006
    Messages:
    3,980 (1.38/day)
    Thanks Received:
    457
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    Can't agree more :laugh:
  12. 1Kurgan1

    1Kurgan1 The Knife in your Back

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2008
    Messages:
    10,321 (4.93/day)
    Thanks Received:
    2,371
    Location:
    Duluth, Minnesota
    I agree, at the price they are at, even if they don't get used in everything, it's just an all around better setup. Also those benches are most likely done with minimal background tasks open, start up a media player, internet, a media server, and some other tasks.

    But it does show a beasty Dual Core still is a good setup, which I do agree with, even my fiancees Athlon II, when I had that at 3.9ghz I had 0 issues playing anything maxed out (including BC2) and that thing doesn't even have L3.
  13. CDdude55

    CDdude55 Crazy 4 TPU!!!

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2007
    Messages:
    8,179 (3.14/day)
    Thanks Received:
    1,277
    Location:
    Virginia
    Nice info.;)
  14. John Phoenix New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2010
    Messages:
    227 (0.14/day)
    Thanks Received:
    13
    "only upgrade to more cores if each core is the same speed or faster than what you already have"

    So, I have one core.. a P-4 (with Hyperthreading) at 3.0 GHZ.. According to this a duel or even quad if they are 2.1 GHZ will not be better than what I have.. Right?.. According to this 'rule'.


    "the only one i dispute is the bad company 2 bench, i REALLY noticed that game hammering my dual core, and getting a huge boost from going 6 core"

    That's strange.. I just finished BC2 on my P-4 with an ATI 5750 all maxed out and it ran great. It did not 'hammer' my P-4
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2010
  15. WhiteLotus

    WhiteLotus

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2007
    Messages:
    6,532 (2.52/day)
    Thanks Received:
    847
    Just my input,


    But it looks like the game was just getting going, course the CPU isn't being used. In SupCom the CPU gets raped when you move 100+ units across a map and find the AI spammed 10000000 tier 1 units to do jack shit.
  16. CDdude55

    CDdude55 Crazy 4 TPU!!!

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2007
    Messages:
    8,179 (3.14/day)
    Thanks Received:
    1,277
    Location:
    Virginia
    Since P4's are pretty old, any modern dual or quad will kill it... but this is due to the CPU's architecture and not how many cores it has.(or even speed)

    What he said there was that it will not be worth an upgrade unless that dual or quad is running at the same clock speed or more then your current CPU. He's just addressing the misconception that you can just buy some slow quad and it'll crush multi-threaded games more then a fast dual. Your HT P4 is only running with 1 core and another virtual core(so it's not a dual core). Don't think it'll play with multithreaded games all that well.

    You played BC2 with everything maxed out on a 5750 and a P4?.. what res were you playing at?:confused: I'm pretty sure it was 'hammering' the hell out of those parts.lol
  17. TheMailMan78

    TheMailMan78 Big Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2007
    Messages:
    20,936 (7.91/day)
    Thanks Received:
    7,509
    I got to agree with CDdiude on this one. I doubt a P4+5750 did ANYTHING with BC2. Maybe he meant BF2?
    CDdude55 says thanks.
  18. John Phoenix New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2010
    Messages:
    227 (0.14/day)
    Thanks Received:
    13
    I meant Battlefield Bad Company 2. I have another thread here asking about that game so I got it and played it. ( cus I couldn't play BC 1- not released on PC)

    I play all my games at 1024 x 768. What I mean by not seeing hammering is the game runs smoothly.. fluently with no lag or choppiness. ( I do not play online)

    I think it's funny how all you guys rag on the P-4. You can say "it's not fast enough.. it must be an impossibility what you are saying.." but if you owned one and tried it yourself, you would see.

    Like I said, I have had no problem playing any game. I just finished Singularity,Sniper: Ghost Warrior and Borderlands. No problems.

    "I doubt a P4+5750 did ANYTHING with BC2".. Are you implying the game would be unplayable? LOL.. that's just crazy.. you guys believe so much hype about your duel and quad cores you don't believe a single core can do anything.. like it suddenly stops to function.
  19. CDdude55

    CDdude55 Crazy 4 TPU!!!

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2007
    Messages:
    8,179 (3.14/day)
    Thanks Received:
    1,277
    Location:
    Virginia
    No ones saying it would be unplayable.... but when you say at everything maxed out, that's where i stop believing you. But now that i see your resolution(1024x768), i can see why you can max it out.;)

    The P4's were great chips and still are for smaller tasks, but for gaming, i wouldn't recommend it.
  20. TheMailMan78

    TheMailMan78 Big Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2007
    Messages:
    20,936 (7.91/day)
    Thanks Received:
    7,509
    Jack up the resolution to 1920 x 1080 and see if you can still play maxed out. 8x anti-aliasing and HBAO on. Then post back here ;)
    zithe says thanks.
  21. zithe

    zithe

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2008
    Messages:
    3,088 (1.36/day)
    Thanks Received:
    345
    Location:
    North Chili, NY
    Q9400 actually has 6mb of cache, though it still applies. :p
  22. erocker

    erocker Super Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2006
    Messages:
    39,602 (13.36/day)
    Thanks Received:
    13,991
    Actually in Dirt 2 it won't work. I can play BF:BC2 with an Athlon 3300+ (s754) and a x1950 pro with 1680x1050 resolution with a mix of medium to low settings for it to be playable for me. Idk, I never really liked P4's.
  23. zithe

    zithe

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2008
    Messages:
    3,088 (1.36/day)
    Thanks Received:
    345
    Location:
    North Chili, NY
    It may be playable with a p4 but it'll never perform as well as a multicore chip in multithreaded games.
  24. Mussels

    Mussels Moderprator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2004
    Messages:
    42,150 (11.66/day)
    Thanks Received:
    9,474
    i specifically mentioned online multiplayer being more demanding. you didnt read what i wrote at all, and came in to try and make your CPU sound better than it is when in fact, its completely off topic.

    You can game at the lowest resolution games allow these days and you say 'max it out'? well, you'll be completely surprised how different things are when you get a higher resolution screen and go off low settings...
  25. John Phoenix New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2010
    Messages:
    227 (0.14/day)
    Thanks Received:
    13
    I re-read the above post and no you didn't. I do not see you mentioning 'online multiplayer' anywhere in that post.

    I didn't come here to make my CPU sound better than it is..I came to ask a question based on your statement because in light of that statement it did seem misleading. CDdude55 answered it. I simply told what my P-4 can do for me - what I find it is capable of. If you don't want to believe it that's not my problem.


    I laugh at you guys with your Higher Resolution Worship. I can see if we were talking about 600x400 but 1024 x 768 looks Great. Anything more is over kill and you do not really see much of a difference. You boys like the higher resolutions so you can have bragging rights. All that testosterone flying.. that's So 80's.

    My default desktop is 1280 x 1024 and I can play most games in this too with no problems though I do not because I find it's not needed.. just a waste of resources.

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guest)

Share This Page