So little time… so little to do

July 21, 2008

quad pro duo

Filed under: geeky — Priyam @ 1:18 am
Tags: , , ,

If you are wondering what the title means, it is an intended pun from the phrase “quid pro quo”. I use it here to express my indecision over whether to go in for the intel core 2 quad or duo processors. On face value it should be a clear choice favoring the “quad” processor, but then you must read on to understand my concerns. Let’s first take a step back to the time when the proverbial pandora’s (here Intel’s) box was opened.

A few days back my girlfriend won an elephant in the form of a brand new Intel D975XBX rev 306 (nicknamed Bad Axe) motherboard in a lucky draw. That watered the seeds of a desktop that I have been yearning secretly for a while. I do have enough intensive machines at my disposal to which I login remotely to get my work done. However, as networks and physically inaccessible machines go, there is always that crunch time when they refuse to reciprocate your urgency. Hence the need for a physically accessible machine outside my lab cubicle. Not necessary, perhaps needed, certainly appreciated.

Now coming back to the motherboard. Now officially Intel claims that the board will support the Core 2 Duo (C2D) line of processors including the (quad core) Extreme editions (which at the time of writing fetches them a cool $1k !!) Compared to that the Core 2 Quad processors (Q6600 & Q6700) are perhaps a more sanely $200 approx. This should make the choice even easier except for the fact that officially the quads are unsupported by the Bad Axe (the BX2 version does). However, users, albeit few, have reportedly got it working with the latest BIOS updates. So what’s stopping me ? Well considering that I fix the cost at around the $200 mark for the processor, let’s look at the specs a bit :

The C2D processors that I can afford runs at a clock speed of around 3GHz whereas the Quads at that price work at 2.4GHz approx. Sure I can overclock and all that, but then again I would like to get a comparison without all the dirty business. Still this does not tilt the scales to the C2D considering that I get a quad processor in the Q6600. However, it becomes a bit of a stretch to actually term it so. It seems that all that the Q6600 [Q6700] is is a twin C2D E6600 [E6700]. The two C2D cores do communicate but over the bus which might result in decreased performance. Further they do not share the 2x4MB L2 caches, which might result in information duplication. In that sense the 6MB L2 of the C2D does not seem to be that bad after all.

The punchline however comes when I tell you that I do very limited, if at all, multithreaded programming. However, it would be nice to be able to run my processor intensive codes parallely with different parameters. Now here is a question for you. Walking in my shoes, what processor would you go for ?


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