I heard that dual-cpu motherboards are quite expensive and not all cpus can work in dual-cpu mode, but I don't know much else. Does it make sense to spend money on a desktop computer with 2 processors, or is it more appropriate to buy 1 powerful modern cpu and an ordinary motherboard?

I'm a gamer and a game developer, and I like my PCs fast, but I don't know which option here is faster, and what is the difference in costs.

I'm not asking for shopping recommendation, but approximate price/performance numbers would be nice.

  • I remember back in the day, going to a "computer show" outside of Boston... my roommate bought a P166 processor for $700 and it was a good deal (he wanted the speed and it was just out). We drooled over a dual CPU server board that was priced at $14,000. – Bon Gart Sep 11 '13 at 8:23
  • @BonGart I bet you can still find server boards with incredibly high prices, but here I'm talking about desktop boards. – user1306322 Sep 11 '13 at 8:28
  • In most cases, no. If you're buying a dual CPU system, its likely going to end up being a server or workstation grade system and hugely expensive - you're better off getting a regular, high end motherboard and processor. There hasn't been a 'consumer'/'enthusast' dual CPU board since skull trail – Journeyman Geek Sep 11 '13 at 8:29
  • More CPU usually means more cores, so more process running at the same time. but there isn't much games that would need you to multiply cores more than icrease their speed. – mveroone Sep 11 '13 at 8:31
  • for an idea of prices - 15K for a fully loaded, dual processor system - about 4k of which is the processor and motherboard vs 1.5K for a VERY nice, gaming desktop arstechnica.com/gadgets/2013/07/…. The god box will likely smoke anything you have, but.. I think the best, regular, single processor PC is a better buy – Journeyman Geek Sep 11 '13 at 8:35

It depends on the application. If the application is very multithreaded, and you are getting 2 powerful CPU's, then yes, 2 CPU's will help you, otherwise you would probably be better off getting a single CPU's with more cores. (More cores on a CPU is pretty much the same thing as multiple CPU's, except easier to work with and cheaper).

A useful tool (I find, and generalizing) to judge CPU's is the "CPU Benchmark" site - just look up the CPU's and compare the numbers. Higher numbers = better performance. If you have 2 CPUs in the machine, just double the number - Again, this assumes your application can take good advantage of mulitiple threads/cores, otherwise its just wasting money. Again, your mileage will vary a bit, but this site is a good starting point.

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