jacobvandy wrote on Jul 25, 2012, 15:55:
If you play Civilization a lot, upgrading from a dual-core processor to something like Sandy Bridge or Ivy Bridge will save you literally hours during a large scale, full length match. It cuts the waiting time between turns, while AI moves are being calculated, by more than half (I measured 50% decrease between i7-920 and Ivy Bridge, so I have to assume a dual-core would be even worse by comparison). Grand Theft Auto IV, and presumably any other game Rockstar puts out with the same engine, is VERY CPU dependant. In fact, I remember upgrading from Core 2 Duo to first-gen Core i7 increased my FPS a whole lot more than upgrading from an 8800 GTS to a GTX 275. Oblivion, Skyrim, Fallout 3/NV and similar games on that engine also greatly benefit from a better CPU because of all the AI routines and other world simulation that goes on.
It's not necessarily about dual-core versus quad-core... Just that if you're still using a dual-core on a desktop, that is a very old CPU, and it's holding back all the games you're playing, albeit to varying degrees. Pairing a Core 2 Duo with any mid-range or better graphics card from the past couple generations is remarkably silly.
Games that are poorly optimized are usually CPU-dependent and also usually only take advantage of two cores at most. Skyrim doesn't make full use of quad core CPUs, for example. Like 90% of the load is put on one core. In most cases, if a game is well-optimized, having a Dual Core clocked at 3.0 GHz or higher is fine because a well-optimized game is GPU dependent, not CPU dependent.