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Benefits of Quad-core - will it reduce CPU max-out / 100% utilization condition?

My desktop's biggest limitation, according to the Vista "Experience Rating" is its CPU.  I believe this is accurate, as I've been experiencing repeated CPU max-out conditions.

The processor is an AMD Athlon 64 3500+ at 2.2 GHz.  It seemed a pretty good processor when I built the system 3 years ago.

I'm running 8 GB of DDR2 RAM and my disk subsystem, seems OK.

I'm considering upgrading the CPU to an AMD Phenom X4 9850 Quad Core, 2.5 GHz.  
My board is listed as supporting this CPU:
http://support-org.asus.com/cpusupport/cpu_support_right_master_mkt.aspx?SLanguage=en-us&name=M3A76-CM

Now the question:  Will that quad-core CPU likely reduce the CPU max-out condition?

Thanks!
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Daniel Wilson
Asked:
Daniel Wilson
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2 Solutions
 
David KrollCommented:
What programs are you experiencing the CPU max-out conditions with?  For the quad-core CPU to have much effect, the applications that you run must be written to make use of all 4 cores.
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Daniel WilsonAuthor Commented:
When I start a Virtual PC, I get the CPU maxed ... leaving difficulty running other things like my browser, SQL Management Studio, accounting software, or Skype.

Also, I am currently having a problem w/ my WiFi connection, leaving the SvcHost that runs several network-related services like Netman at 80=95% CPU.

If I get a quad-core, would one of those CPU hogs be able to hog only 1 core, leaving 3 others for other stuff?  Or does it not work like that?

Thanks!
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Z-NerdCommented:
There are cases where I disagree with dkrollCTN, If you have two programs that use a single core (do not support using multi-core CPUs) each using a lot of CPU in a dual core machine, you can get 100% CPU usage. By going to a quad, you now have 2 CPUs at 100% and 2 left for other computing.
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Daniel WilsonAuthor Commented:
Considering I am trying to do other computing while running a hog or two ... does the quad-core sound like a good solution?
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David KrollCommented:
I agree Z-Nerd, if you're running multiple applications, the quad core will help, if it's only one application, then probably not.
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Z-NerdCommented:
It is actually a bit more complex. If you have a dual core and one program wanting 100% of one core, your task manager will show each core at 50% because of the way the scheduler alternates cores. But other than this detail, you can still think of it as one core in use and the other free.

Assuming no programs designed for multi-core, for the quad core to be at 100% you would have to have four or more programs wanting 100% of a core.
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Daniel WilsonAuthor Commented:
Thanks!

Ordering :)
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