Are extra threads/hyperthreading important for BF3/Gaming?

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Are extra threads/hyperthreading important for BF3/Gaming?

Postposted on Sun Aug 12, 2012 3:35 pm

Hi, I am building a Gaming PC to play BF3 and a few other PC games, I have settled on this build, only intend to OC up to 4.5GHz:

Category Item Price
Processor Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz $229.99
Motherboard ASRock Z77 Extreme 4 $134.99
Memory G.Skill Ares F3-1600C8D-8GAB(2X4) 8G $54.99
Graphics EVGA GeForce GTX 670 FTW $407.99
Storage Samsung 830 256G $228.99
Seagate Baracuda 3TB $149.99
Optical Drive LG Black SATA 24X DVD Burner $14.39 (Purchased)
Enclosure NTZX Phantom 410 $99.99
Power supply Seasonic X650 Gold $118.99 (Purchased)
CPUFan COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 EVO $34.99
Monitor ASUS VG236H 23” 120Hz $329.99
Total: $1805

Reserve: $105.5 left in my budget for Thermal Paste/Price changes/Any hardware changes.

and I get these reviews/recommendations when I posted on .anandtech.com(nobody mentioned these in my build threads on Tom or TR)
"CPU i7-2600K $270 @ Amazon
BF3 likes threads and so does your budget! It also overclocks to 4.5 more easily than 3570K.

&
Ivy's lower power consumption only counts for a few dozen watts at 4.5GHz, it pales in comparison to the value of the extra threads for a BF3 enthusiast.


Are these people correct in that I should get a i7 processor(Ivy or Sandy) over a i5 because it could significantly improve my gaming or should I stay with my Ivy i5 CPU?


I am doubtful of that because this review in Techreport.com's summer system guide
Compared to the Core i5-3570K, all the 3770K has to offer are slightly faster base and Turbo speeds (3.4GHz and 3.9GHz, respectively, up from 3.3GHz and 3.8GHz) and Hyper-Threading capabilities. Having eight graphs in the Task Manager is nice, no question about it, and the extra threads can help with heavy multitasking. If you think that's worth $80, see the alternatives section on the next page. We think the i5-3570K is a better deal.
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Re: Are extra threads/hyperthreading important for BF3/Gamin

Postposted on Sun Aug 12, 2012 3:45 pm

In the past, I did some informal testing watching Task Manager and playing my games, and I saw that for most of them (game + Windows + driver multi-threading), I was seeing a usage of 3 cores give or take. BF3 may be an exception use more than that, though, I'll give it a whirl and see.
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Re: Are extra threads/hyperthreading important for BF3/Gamin

Postposted on Sun Aug 12, 2012 4:57 pm

Techspot is a great source for GPU and CPU scaling in games. Here is their BF3 GPU CPU Scaling article. If you scroll to the bottom you will see how a GTX580 scales with processors all the way down to an AMD X2.

http://www.techspot.com/review/458-batt ... page7.html
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Re: Are extra threads/hyperthreading important for BF3/Gamin

Postposted on Sun Aug 12, 2012 5:47 pm

I got this quote from a BF3 player on Tom's hardware:
i'm running a 3570k @4.3Ghz and BF3 is very very happy, only using 40-50% of processor utilisation. Some reviews have seen performance drops from HT across several games.


It would seem I will be just fine with a i5-3570K instead of paying extra for a i7 processor.
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Re: Are extra threads/hyperthreading important for BF3/Gamin

Postposted on Sun Aug 12, 2012 5:50 pm

Don't put too much stock in on-line reviews at retailers. Here is a great example. Its just plain wrong. BF3 is set up to run ideally on a console. The CPU scaling reflects that. Great link, matdem1.
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Re: Are extra threads/hyperthreading important for BF3/Gamin

Postposted on Sun Aug 12, 2012 5:52 pm

It is interesting that you mention BF3 and hyperthreading... When BF3 was released, I remember seeing a HUGE threads in BF3-related forums about people claiming that enabling hyperthreading creates more in-game "lag"... You can still find those threads if you'll search teh Google for "BF3 hyperthreading". I dunno if the issue was ever fixed for the majority of people, but personally I didn't have the issues when playing with hyperthreading enabled.
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Re: Are extra threads/hyperthreading important for BF3/Gamin

Postposted on Sun Aug 12, 2012 9:23 pm

Hyperthreading has never been much use for gaming; The reason the 2500K was the gamer's choice is because HT can actually be a disadvantage in some games (or at least it was the last time I read an article on it)

The problem is that extra work involved with scheduling, combined with the relatively low boost the extra "virtual core" provideds very little gain for games, if any gain at all. It's the same old problem as multi-gpu scaling: Two gpus were never twice as fast as one: With double the graphics horsepower, you could only expect an extra 75% performance, on average.

Now, for gaming workloads on an i7, the extra overhead in scheduling for eight cores roughly cancelled out the performance boost provided by the hyperthreading. The end result was similar performance, but higher power draw thanks to hyperthreading keeping more of the die active. This affected turbo boost (and overclocking too, IIRC) which meant that it was actually possible for a 3.4GHz i7 to do worse than an a 3.3GHz i5, all whilst running hotter and noisier.

I don't know whether Ivy Bridge hyperthreading is better than Sandy's but since I don't remember hearing about it, I will assume that it's nothing special.
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Re: Are extra threads/hyperthreading important for BF3/Gamin

Postposted on Sun Aug 12, 2012 10:20 pm

I'm going to also chime in with HT is a bad idea for gaming. I actually disabled it after getting annoyed by perceived microstuttering that I couldn't place anywhere. It turns out HT adds microstuttering to games even though in my experience it increases your FPS under heavy load (90% utilization or more).

I've seen the BF3 HT creates microstuttering posts, but I believe this actually applies to all games. Just there aren't that many games that actually push modern processors to the point where they can make use of HT. BF3 is just one of the few games in years that actually stresses processors a bit.

I'm honestly surprised we haven't seen bits and pieces on it here at TR as I've mentioned it quite a few times in the comments after reviews. I don't own a BD so I can't comment on that, but seeing as BD itself is sorta like a better version of HTing it makes me wonder if that would have the same sort of microstuttering problems or it would be smooth as butter. Really a interesting question because it pertains to all games
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Re: Are extra threads/hyperthreading important for BF3/Gamin

Postposted on Mon Aug 13, 2012 2:49 pm

Not to derail the topic...but I got Fallout 3 on the Steam Sale, and promptly encountered random crashes. I tried changing the .ini file to get down to 2 cores...then 1...then I completely reinstalled, and still got crashes. Finally, I set the cores to 4 and have not had trouble since.

Basically, from what I'm guessing, the game needed to be set to my actual number of cores, which is 4 on my i7 920. I don't have trouble in other games, but I'd be curious to see if I can get better quality by turning my HT off.
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Re: Are extra threads/hyperthreading important for BF3/Gamin

Postposted on Mon Aug 13, 2012 3:49 pm

I'm with Chrispy_; Hyper-threading doesn't really help in games as they're both mostly linear and still rely heavily on float resources. Hyperthreading only really helps when you have a mixture of float and integer instructions in the same threads. Pure float will just stall the CPU and return worse performance.

superjawes wrote:Not to derail the topic...but I got Fallout 3 on the Steam Sale, and promptly encountered random crashes. I tried changing the .ini file to get down to 2 cores...then 1...then I completely reinstalled, and still got crashes. Finally, I set the cores to 4 and have not had trouble since.

Basically, from what I'm guessing, the game needed to be set to my actual number of cores, which is 4 on my i7 920. I don't have trouble in other games, but I'd be curious to see if I can get better quality by turning my HT off.


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