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Old 2007-05-06, 13:26   Link #1
Maes Hughes
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Core 2 Duo E4300

I'm sure you remember me from my video playback problemo thread, right?

I decided to get a new system. This sudden urge came at a very good time, one of the best PC bargain deals ever (or at least most active) has recently been posted on HotUkDeals.com.

Since you guys were incredibly helpful last time I posted here, would you mind giving me your thoughts on how improved this system will be over my current?

Current:
AMD Athlon XP 2700+ (2.16GHz)
512MB RAM
ATI Radeon 9600 Pro (at 128 out of 256MB + 4X out of 8X)


New:
Intel® Core 2 Duo E4300 Processor (1.80GHz, 800MHz, 2MB)
2048MB Dual Channel DDR2 533MHz [2x1024] Memory
256MB Sapphire X1600 Pro (£29.99 extra)


You can't overclock Dell computers, no idea why. I'm told this C2D will smoke my current processor regardless.
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Old 2007-05-06, 13:38   Link #2
martino
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I'll comment on the graphics card, take a look at the Nvidia's 7600 range. AFAIK they are a bit faster when it comes to performance, but a tad more expensive too. Otherwise that looks good, not sure how fast an E4300 over the rest since myself I've been only looking at the higher models.

Dell computers can't be overclocked as you said, I guess the main reason is that big corporations don't want users to take advantage of overclocking their system, since they would much rather have the consumer pay more for a higher end system.
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Old 2007-05-06, 13:47   Link #3
Maes Hughes
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The only reason I went for the graphic card is because everyone else was jumping on them. 3 online stores sold at £26-30, all went out of stock and quickly hired the price to around £45.. plus there's the possibility I'd have to risk changing the PSU (voiding my warranty by doing so) in order to use the more power hungry cards out there.

Never really been a big PC gamer. The only "sexy" PC game I see myself buying right now would be C&C3.

Anyway, I'd like someone to explain how this Core 2 Duo thing works. Would it be better than a 3.6 GHz single core?
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Old 2007-05-06, 13:57   Link #4
ImClueless
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A dual core processor will allow you to multi-task much better. ie opening multiple applications or running something while watching anime. Also, the old Intel tend to be power hogs that overheat easily.

The new chip design is simply better than the old one so even though the clock speed is slower the chip is faster.
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Old 2007-05-06, 14:02   Link #5
Maes Hughes
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ImClueless View Post
A dual core processor will allow you to multi-task much better. ie opening multiple applications or running something while watching anime. Also, the old Intel tend to be power hogs that overheat easily.

The new chip design is simply better than the old one so even though the clock speed is slower the chip is faster.
So, for example, if my current CPU hits 100% constantly when watching 720P anime, what would the % be like with this new processorr?

This computer gets a passing grade for me if...

A) The CPU doesn't hit 100% when watching 720P anme
and
B) If it can play C&C3 at *near* maximum settings without lag
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Old 2007-05-06, 14:13   Link #6
ImClueless
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You are in luck since I happen to own this chip lol (got it a month ago). Running [SS-Eclipse] Hayate no Gotoku! - 05 (1280x720 h264) [36CD165A].mkv I was getting around 22-32% CPU Usage (just eyeballing in it task manager). I have it over clocked to 2.7ghz, but it still shouldn't take 100% processor usage at 1.8ghz. Maybe more like 40-50% if I remember correctly from pre OCing. However, I am using CoreAVC, with just ffdshow and the OC it used maybe 5% more on average.

As for C&C3 I can run at max settings but I have a better video card so I don't know how well the X1600pro will perform. However, C&C is quite forgiving hardware wise so I don't think it should be too much of a problem to get decent frames at good settings.
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Old 2007-05-06, 14:23   Link #7
Maes Hughes
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All my problems would be solved if I could overclock it...every review talks about the overclocking value 24/7. Gift horse and mouth...

If you wouldn't mind (if you aren't as lazy as me!), would you try watching the most HQ 720P anime episode you have without overclocking it when you get the chance?

Meh, I'm 99% certain I'll be buying it anyway...

Intel® Core 2 Duo E4300 Processor (1.80GHz, 800MHz, 2MB)
English Genuine Windows XP Home (too afraid to go near Vista XD)
Dell 22" Black Wide Flat Panel (E228WFP)
2048MB Dual Channel DDR2 533MHz [2x1024] Memory
320GB (7200rpm) Serial ATA Hard Drive with 8MB DataBurst cache
Integrated Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator 3000
16X DVD+/-RW Drive
Dell Entry Quietkey USB Keyboard - UK/Irish (QWERTY)
Dell 2 Button USB Scroll Optical Mouse - Black
Integrated Audio with Dolby Digital 7.1 capability
Microsoft® Works 8.0 - English


...for £434.82.
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Old 2007-05-06, 14:39   Link #8
ImClueless
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I think the Hayate no Gotoku is pretty much already the most demanding episode I have on hand right now. If you are think of a particular show then tell me and maybe I am watching it too. Besides that system seems pretty reasonable.
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Old 2007-05-06, 14:51   Link #9
Maes Hughes
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*points at outdated sig*

Darker than BLACK and Romeo x Juliet are the only HD shows I'm watching at the mo. If you haven't already, get into the awesomeness known as DtB.

I do already have [SS-Eclipse] Hayate no Gotoku! 01 (1280x720 h264) for testing purposes - 100% constantly right now, freezing lots. I'm sure it worked better when I tested it the other day...

Oh well, decided to order it to stop myself having some kind of freaky mental ping pong game. The 22" monitor alone costs £235 over here, so...
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Old 2007-05-06, 15:06   Link #10
ImClueless
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If you need a new computer then just bite the bullet and get it. There is no end to "waiting for prices to come down" in the computer world since there are always bigger and better things in the future or in this case smaller and better.
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Old 2007-05-06, 16:53   Link #11
Maes Hughes
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There always seems to be new and improved graphic cards and like coming out, with prices falling equally as fast. I'm sure the rich kids have fun buying a new computer every few months.

I've been waiting forever to pick the right HDTV, which is near impossible when new and improved models keep coming out as fast as they do. I don't plan on ever making the same mistake when it comes to upgrading my computer! I'll take a bargain when I see it and stick with it for a good few years.
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Old 2007-05-06, 20:29   Link #12
WanderingKnight
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Quote:
I do already have [SS-Eclipse] Hayate no Gotoku! 01 (1280x720 h264) for testing purposes - 100% constantly right now, freezing lots. I'm sure it worked better when I tested it the other day...
If you're using FFDShow, you're almost guaranteed to get that unless you've got a nice processor to back it up. CoreAVC is a propietor h264 codec (which of course you've got to pay for) that can make your HD-goodness watching amazingly smooth. When I still had XP (a week ago ), I used to run every HD out there with my already outdated AMD Athlon XP 1.5 GHz without a single problem. With FFDShow, however, it was a whole other issue.

So, unless you don't want to pay for CodeAVC, you shouldn't worry about h264 lagging. Even so, I suggest you try it out with FFDShow first, and if it lags, consider getting CoreAVC.

PS: On an related issue, I still fail to see how is this going to solve your display problem. I think almost everyone in that thread was pretty certain that it wasn't a video card issue, and it was hard to figure Windows acting up on your codecs, since you were probably going to get lots of other compatibility issues and whatnot. I firmly believe it is monitor related--and with the screenshots you posted the other day, it was almost confirmed.

EDIT: Oh, didn't notice the 22" monitor in the specs... So what're you gonna do with your old monitor? Why don't ya send it over to me? I'll pay for the shipping costs
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Old 2007-05-06, 21:11   Link #13
takumi111
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maes Hughes View Post
So, for example, if my current CPU hits 100% constantly when watching 720P anime, what would the % be like with this new processorr?
I have a laptop with the CoreDuo T2500 2.0GHz, 2GB DDR2-667, and integrated Intel GMA950 graphics and I'm at about 30% load when viewing HnG @ 720p.

Even though the E4300 runs @ 1.8GHz, it should be faster than my T2500 since it's a desktop CPU and uses the new Core2Duo architecture. The slower memory speed would not make much of a difference and since you're running a graphics card with dedicated memory vs. my integrated one with shared memory, CPU load will be less.

Not sure why you can't view HnG @ 720p with your current setup .. I don't know what you have tried to fix the problem but before dishing out the cash for this new system I'd say reformat + reinstall Windows with the correct video drivers and load CCCP on it.
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Old 2007-05-06, 21:32   Link #14
Ledgem
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It'll be worlds better than your current system. Don't focus so much on the raw processor speed, but also on the internal optimizations it supports. I had an old Athlon (not even XP), and it only supported 3dNow! and MMX. The thing always ran at 100% when I watched videos, 1.2 GHz. My old laptop was a Pentium M, 1.6 GHz. I could underclock it to 800 MHz and it would barely peak above 30% when watching regular anime. I used an FFDShow build customized for the SSE2 instruction set (there are differing opinions about whether this matters or not, but I recall this making a huge difference vs. a regular FFDShow client, even with the options marked to take advantage of the processor optimizations).
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Old 2007-05-06, 22:27   Link #15
SeijiSensei
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Quote:
Originally Posted by martino View Post
Dell computers can't be overclocked as you said, I guess the main reason is that big corporations don't want users to take advantage of overclocking their system, since they would much rather have the consumer pay more for a higher end system.
No, I think it's more because fewer than one in a thousand people buying Dell computers want to overclock them, and because it wreaks havoc with customer support. What happens when your computer doesn't work properly? If you tell me you've overclocked, will you accept my telling you it's out-of-warranty and can't be supported? Or will you still expect me to solve your problem?

Corporate computers aren't overclocked because that would produce an enormous support headache for the IT staff for no perceivable gain at the desktop. Most computers are way overpowered for normal office tasks as it is; they don't need overclocking.

Sometimes it seems like gamers think the rest of the computing world looks like them. Trust me, it doesn't.
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Old 2007-05-07, 03:30   Link #16
Maes Hughes
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*waves back at waving avatar* :|

Quote:
Originally Posted by WanderingKnight View Post
Spoiler for Quote:
"Every HD out there..."

Did you try the KAA 1080P Blu-ray rip of Ghost in the Shell: Innocence, the file totalling up to around 4GB in size?

Quote:
Originally Posted by WanderingKnight View Post
Spoiler for Quote:
Doesn't CoreAVC come bundled with the K-Lite codec pack?

I was using the K-Lite codec pack when I tested it originally, so that explains why the file mentioned before is playing worse with CCCP now installed. I'll be sure to switch back to K-Lite when/if my new PC arrives.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WanderingKnight View Post
Spoiler for Quote:
Well, my plan is fairly deep: Buy a new computer since I have no clue what the problem is caused by. It can't possibly go wrong!

I'lll suck my own...err, I'll eat my hat if I still see the same problem on my current monitor. You'll see a post in my old thread informing everyone if the problem goes away on my new computer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WanderingKnight View Post
Spoiler for Quote:
I'm not very confident about my future 22" monitor...the panel is made by COM, the worst in the LCD panel making business. The backlight bleed on these looks just as bad as the awful bleed on my current monitor.

What am I going to do with my old stuff? I suppose I could always give my current monitor charity...or give it with my old PC to my mother. I'm too lazy to try and sell a faulty monitor and ancient PC.

If you happen to be Monica Bellucci lookalike in disguise, I'll be happy to arrange an "exchange" for my monitor.

...I really need to get out of this habit of replying to posts bit by bit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by takumi111
Spoiler for Quote:
Good to know. The names, numbers and all the other rubbish are confusing to a true genius such as myself.

My main problem is some form of hard to explain movement/flickering during video playback, highlighted by my crappy monitor. I have tried everything apart from reformatting and reinstalling WinXP - no disc.

I'd need an upgraded computer to watch HQ 720P stuff sooner or later anyway. This deal should be good for me even if it doesn't fix my video playback problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ledgem
Spoiler for Quote:
3dNow... MMX... SSE2...

Understood.

Since you're pretty knowledgeable when it comes to PC stuff (yay, way to kiss arse!): Could you tell me if a 1.8 GHz C2D processor would be better than a 3.6 GHz single core? I've been trying to get an answer, no-one wants to.
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Old 2007-05-07, 06:02   Link #17
WanderingKnight
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Quote:
Doesn't CoreAVC come bundled with the K-Lite codec pack?
If it does, it's violating copyright, since as far as I know, K-Lite codec pack is free (and a troublesome fellow when dealing with certain encodes, too).

Quote:
Since you're pretty knowledgeable when it comes to PC stuff (yay, way to kiss arse!): Could you tell me if a 1.8 GHz C2D processor would be better than a 3.6 GHz single core? I've been trying to get an answer, no-one wants to.
It's been said already: With two cores you have a better capability for dividing the tasks, and thus, better capability to multitask, which leads to better performance. Yes, in my opinion, dual-core processors are better than single core. No wonder they cost more (however, Vista costs a gazillion times more than Linux and sucks another gazillion times more, so... ).
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Old 2007-05-07, 10:50   Link #18
Ledgem
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There are different tasks that multiple cores are better at, and where higher clockrates are better. For example, gamers tend to be big-time overclockers, because they get boosted gaming performance from the higher clockrate. But most games are not yet being written to take advantage of both cores; you're basically playing a game on a single core.

For example, I'm running a dual core system (an Apple). Suppose I'm browsing this website: my web browser is utilizing one core only. Whether I have a single core or a dozen, it won't make a difference. However, I'm also running another operating system (Windows) virtually. Windows is now utilizing one core, and my web browser in Mac OS is utilizing the other. There is no performance loss, because they're using separate cores. That's the multitasking people are talking about.

I mentioned video games as one example where higher clockrate would help over multiple cores; the same is largely true for video. That is, if you're just using your computer to watch a video, your second core is not going to be utilized. Only one core is going to be processing your video. But, if you tend to run things when you watch a video as well, then you might experience a boost because you'll essentially be running the video on one core dedicated to it.

I mentioned the processor extensions to show that you can't gauge a processor purely by its speed or core count - those are crude methods that are used for advertising purposes by processor companies. Processor architecture (how the thing is built) is also pretty important. Just know that the processor you'll be running is far superior to your current one. And if it doesn't do what you're expecting, I'll eat my hat, too.

(Note for the tech zealots: I'm aware that my explanation of dual core is over-simplified and that the second core is never dedicated to a single task.)
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Old 2007-05-07, 14:17   Link #19
Maes Hughes
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WanderingKnight
Vista costs a gazillion times more than Linux and sucks another gazillion times more, so...
In that case, it's a good thing I decided against going for Vista. If Vista can give headaches to people who actually know what they're doing, well...

Off topic: @Ledgem: What anime is your avatar from?

Ok, games require big clockrates to look great at higher resolutions, understood. Adding that on to what you said about most games only being able to support one core (1.8 GHZ in my case), does that mean I'll get a weaker performance with my new system over my current if doing nothing apart from gaming?

Your comment about video playback is equally worrying. I was under the impression CoreAVC made both processors do some work when watching stuff...or at least that's what someone posted on the 1028P GitS:I thread over on the KAA forum. I'm struggling to get my head around how I'll be seeing an improvement in CPU usage if only one 1.8 GHz core is going to be used unless multi-tasking. The build quality of these C2D chips must be something special...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ledgem
I mentioned the processor extensions to show that you can't gauge a processor purely by its speed or core count - those are crude methods that are used for advertising purposes by processor companies. Processor architecture (how the thing is built) is also pretty important. Just know that the processor you'll be running is far superior to your current one. And if it doesn't do what you're expecting, I'll eat my hat, too.
I do understand what you're saying about the processor itself being of much higher build quality, I wouldn't expect anything less from a processor only released last June(?).

What statistics should you judge a processor on, excluding how far you can overclock it? All the numbers and names are a minefield for the uneducated.

----

Thanks for taking the time to share your knowledge, I do appreciate it. It's almost surprising how helpful the posters on here are when you consider how unhelpful people can be on much bigger forums.
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Old 2007-05-07, 14:28   Link #20
ImClueless
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maes Hughes View Post
I do understand what you're saying about the chip and processor itself being of much higher build quality, I wouldn't expect anything less from a processor only released last June(?).

What statistics should you judge a processor on, excluding how far you can overclock it? All the numbers and names are a minefield for the uneducated.

Basically, when comparing processors between brands or generations there are no reliable numbers and names that will tell you how they perform compared with one another. The numbers only really work within the same brand/generation of chip.

Core 2 Duo > Old Pentium 4 simply because the design of the chip is just that much superior that even though the clock speed is lower it is much faster. Not the mention the 2nd core.
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