Current Games that can take advantage of Dual CPUs?

Notice: Page may contain affiliate links for which we may earn a small commission through services like Amazon Affiliates or Skimlinks.

Markess

Well-Known Member
May 19, 2018
1,135
754
113
Northern California
My son wants to update his Haswell generation gaming rig. But, but as with many 17 year olds, he's short on cash.

He's noticed how much computing power (at least on synthetic benchmarks) you can get for cheap with older generation dual CPU setups. But, I'm guessing that most "A List" games still can't take advantage of dual CPUs?

Most Google results I found were from 5 or so years ago, & back then pretty much nothing took advantage of dual CPUs (short of virtualization). 5 years is ancient history in the gaming world though, and the more recent results seem to be very anecdotal and inconclusive.

So, I thought I'd ask if anyone here has some definitive knowledge? He plays a lot of different titles, mostly on Steam. But, League of Legends and Monster Hunter World also get a lot of play.

Thanks!
 

BlueFox

Legendary Member Spam Hunter Extraordinaire
Oct 26, 2015
2,024
1,437
113
Most games are still not heavily multithreaded. High clock speeds and modern architectures are going to be a far better choice than a bunch of extra cores.
 
  • Like
Reactions: T_Minus and Markess

alex_stief

Well-Known Member
May 31, 2016
884
312
63
38
If the current system is based around a single consumer-level Haswell CPU, I would strongly advise against any dual-CPU setups.
There are just way better options, both used and new. If you more cores for relatively low budget, a single overclockable 6-core Xeon or equivalent I7 CPU might be an option. Provided you find a good deal on CPU and motherboard.
But even new options are way more compelling. A Ryzen 3 3300X will outperform any dual-CPU setup in 99.99% of all games. And you still have a modern system with an upgrade path for the remaining 0.01%.
By the way, the problem is not that games would not "support" dual CPU setups. It is the latency penalty that comes with two CPUs. No sane developer would spend money optimizing his game for NUMA.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Markess

Markess

Well-Known Member
May 19, 2018
1,135
754
113
Northern California
t is the latency penalty that comes with two CPUs. No sane developer would spend money optimizing his game for NUMA.
Ahh....I hadn't thought of that as the main issue! That makes total sense.

Currently, he's got an i7-4771 in a Q87 Workstation board (so no overclocking) that we'd found cheap as NOS. So, I'm thinking that any meaningful boost on the consumer side will need to include "starting over" with gear that uses DDR4, which will really drive up the cost of upgrading?

I've got a bunch of DDR3 RDIMMs sitting in the parts box that I'm sure he assumes I'd let him use ;). So, I think he was having visions of hitting EBay for a used Asus Z9 board, a couple E5-2640 v2's, and with the addition 128GB of "borrowed" ram, doubling his compute for a little over $100.

But, I guess if it was that easy, everyone would be doing it, right?
 

alex_stief

Well-Known Member
May 31, 2016
884
312
63
38
That's a pretty decent starting position with an I7-4771. The downside is, most cheap Xeons will be slower, no matter if single- or dual CPU.
The only upgrade I see, while making use of the DDR3 RDIMM you already have, is something like a Xeon 1650v2 with an overclock. But that's not going to be particularly cheap.
As far as I am concerned, DDR4 RAM prices are pretty decent these days at less than 3€/GB for DDR4-3200. For a gaming system where you are mostly fine with 16GB, those extra 50€ for new RAM probably should not dictate your platform choice.
By the way...have you already checked that the CPU is the limiting factor in the current setup?
 
  • Like
Reactions: Markess

Markess

Well-Known Member
May 19, 2018
1,135
754
113
Northern California
By the way...have you already checked that the CPU is the limiting factor in the current setup?

I'm pretty sure he hasn't checked that. In fact, he only upgraded from an i5 to the i7 a short time ago. I'd bought a used, supposedly bare, 4U chassis on EBay that turned out to have a complete system, including the i7, inside. I don't haven any LGA1150 systems myself, so he got that upgrade for free :)
 

ReturnedSword

Active Member
Jun 15, 2018
526
235
43
Santa Monica, CA
Until Ryzen was released in 2017, the top end gaming CPUs were stuck at 4 cores for years. As an example, my old gaming rig used a i7-2600k and my workstation used a i5-2500k and they were completely adequate from 2011 until I upgraded to Ryzen in 2017. I’ve since given away my Ryzen 1700 PC to a friend in need and have 3 Ryzen 2700X PCs.

Take a look at Ian Cutress’ deep dive:

Generally my i7-2600k was adequate for 4K gaming for me when paired with an appropriate GPU. I tend to heavily multitask, so having a more modern CPU was very beneficial for me. Actually during the 2011 era, I was still doing full PC rebuilds every 2 years, with a mid-cycle upgrade. I was waiting for Intel to move to their 10nm process, which as we know never came until recently.

What I suggest if he can’t afford a brand new system is to pick up a used Ryzen 1700 with a decent B450 motherboard (MSI B450 Pro Carbon or B450 Tomahawk Max). Consumer CPUs don’t hold their value as much nowadays since the pace of advancement has been so breakneck since Ryzen’s debut. With a B450 motherboard he will later be able to upgrade to even a 16-core Ryzen, once those drop in price.
 

BlueFox

Legendary Member Spam Hunter Extraordinaire
Oct 26, 2015
2,024
1,437
113
Until Ryzen was released in 2017, the top end gaming CPUs were stuck at 4 cores for years. As an example, my old gaming rig used a i7-2600k and my workstation used a i5-2500k and they were completely adequate from 2011 until I upgraded to Ryzen in 2017. I’ve since given away my Ryzen 1700 PC to a friend in need and have 3 Ryzen 2700X PCs.
Intel's top end gaming CPUs have been more than 4 cores for over a decade. The i7-980X came out in early 2010 and had 6 cores. It has been increasing regularly since.
 
  • Like
Reactions: T_Minus

mirrormax

Active Member
Apr 10, 2020
225
83
28
no single game will run better on dual cpus, all you want for that is high clocks/ipc and 8-16cores
if you for example game and stream than you could make use of the 2nd cpu for the streaming part.
or if you do anything else cpu intensive for some reason while gaming.
 

i386

Well-Known Member
Mar 18, 2016
4,166
1,525
113
34
Germany
I was always told that multi cpu systems are for "number crunching" (hpc) or memory intensive stuff (these massive db systems from hpe/dell/oracle/ibm with 4-16 sockets)
BeamNG. That game loves high clock speeds/IPC and high core counts.
Is it good? :D
I have many other simulators but not beamng (yet)
 

Wasmachineman_NL

Wittgenstein the Supercomputer FTW!
Aug 7, 2019
1,854
604
113
I was always told that multi cpu systems are for "number crunching" (hpc) or memory intensive stuff (these massive db systems from hpe/dell/oracle/ibm with 4-16 sockets)

Is it good? :D
I have many other simulators but not beamng (yet)
BeamNG is awesome, it's crash physics are second to none and so is the excellent Powertrain system.
 
  • Like
Reactions: i386

Rand__

Well-Known Member
Mar 6, 2014
6,622
1,762
113
BeamNG is awesome, it's crash physics are second to none and so is the excellent Powertrain system.
I dont play it myself but the kid loves it... and it sure manages to utilize everything I throw at it - just by adding (much) more simulated traffic (eg ran it on a 6230N for fun once, utilized basically all cores).
Mod support is its main feature I think with many many available
 
  • Like
Reactions: i386

Markess

Well-Known Member
May 19, 2018
1,135
754
113
Northern California
Oh man, this thread lives! I'd completely forgotten about it.

To close out the original question, initially we replaced the Haswell i7 with an x99 board & E5-2667v3 I'd recently retired. Even though it was another Haswell CPU, it still gave him a nice bump.

A few months later I lucked into an RTX 3060ti at MSRP during the GPU buying frenzy of 2021. I set it aside to use in a new build for MYSELF once Intel 12th Gen and/or Zen 3 got released. It was going to be my first really "New" current generation desktop in almost a decade.

In the mean time, however, my son asked to "borrow" the card to "test" it in some of his games. And I never got it back :mad: . He even got his mom to side with him when I tried to take it out of his machine, the little manipulator!

So, my snazzy 12 Gen Intel rig in a quirky, but well suited to me, wall mounted Thermaltake Core P3 chassis has my son's cast off RX590 in it. At least its a Sapphire card, so is nice blue color :rolleyes:. Honestly, it was a huge jump from the low end Quadro & Radeon Pro it replaced. But I'm still a bit miffed on principle!

A couple months back, my son replaced the X99 with a Ryzen 5 5600 & a used MSI B450 Tomahawk. As @alex_stief alluded to back when I originally asked the question, CPU wasn't the limiting factor as much as the RX590 was, so the Ryzen 5 5600 is plenty fast for what he plays.

Cheers!