Can You Use A Dual-Processor Motherboard For Gaming And Is It Worth It?

You’ve probably seen motherboards with multiple CPU sockets and wondered if they would be good for gaming. In this guide, we examined it extensively.

It is usable, but it is not even close to being worth the investment. In today’s mid-range CPU, you can easily get four CPU cores, which is more than enough for modern games.

Also, all the other benefits of a dual-CPU motherboard will only be relevant to servers, advanced workstations, and game streamers.

There are motherboards with dual processor sockets, believe it or not. Nevertheless, they are hardly mainstream consumer products.

You’ve probably just learned about such motherboards and are wondering what benefits (if any) they offer for gaming.

See: Best Motherboard For Ryzen 9 5900x in [2021]

It’s okay if you’re not sure what a dual-processor motherboard is or if it’s worth buying. This article will cover everything about the topic.

The Benefits Of Having A Dual-Processor Motherboard

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You can use two CPUs simultaneously on a dual-CPU motherboard, that much is obvious. What can two CPUs offer that a single CPU cannot?

A dual-core motherboard gives you more cores, which, in turn, means better multitasking and more overall computing power. Additionally, it increases PCIe and memory bandwidth. Additionally, these motherboards often come with extra PCIe and RAM slots, allowing more expansion cards to be installed and increasing the maximum RAM capacity to 256 GB.

The important question is…

Do You Need It For Gaming?

No, that’s the short answer.

You can read more about how many CPU cores are needed for an optimal gaming experience, but for now six is the golden number. We will elaborate more on that below, as well as the other benefits of dual-processor motherboards.

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What Does A CPU Do In Games?

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The CPU plays several roles when it comes to running games. Its main function is to tell the GPU what to do, that is, when to render. When it comes to graphics, the GPU does all the work.

Besides that, the CPU is responsible for all things in the game – enemy AI, actions and reactions taking place in the game world, reading and loading assets from the HDD/SSD, etc. Modern multicore CPUs can do this with virtually no effort, even though it may seem like a lot of work.

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The only thing to worry about when selecting a CPU is whether it will bottleneck the GPU. In computing, bottlenecking refers to a drop in performance caused by a large computing power gap between various components. In essence, a portion of your GPU’s capacity will sit idle and unused because the CPU cannot keep up.

Having said that, even four GTX 1080 Ti cards in SLI will only be slightly bottlenecked by the most powerful Intel i7 CPU. When you have enough money to spend on four GTX 1080 Ti cards, it might be a good idea to also invest in a slightly larger motherboard and an extra CPU.

How Important Is RAM In Games?

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A common question that we have already discussed is how much RAM you need for gaming.

What role does it play (no pun intended) in games?

When you see a loading screen, your CPU is reading game assets from your HDD or SDD and loading them into RAM. Due to RAM’s enormously fast read speeds, it is able to access said assets almost instantly compared to HDDs and SSDs.

See: Best RAM for Ryzen 7 3700x in [2021]

A modern HDD has a read speed of 100 MB/s, and most SSDs are around 500 MB/s. What about RAM? The data transfer speed of a DDR4 RAM module running at 3200 GHz is 25 GB/s.

Moreover, as we have already established, most modern games that are correctly optimized (i.e. not a jumbled, clumsily ported mess) will run smoothly with just 8 GB of RAM. Despite this, dual-processor motherboards do not need eight RAM slots and 256 GB of RAM.

How Much PCIe Bandwidth Do You Need For Games?

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A PCIe slot can be used for graphics cards and a wide range of expansion cards, including sound cards, internal modems, and adapters, for example.

The latest i7 will barely bottleneck four GTX 1080 Ti graphics cards, and a regular ATX or E-ATX motherboard will have more than enough slots and bandwidth for that. As a result, this is a feature mostly required by servers that need to process large amounts of data.

Conclusion

Furthermore, it should be noted that no game is designed to use two CPUs simultaneously. Ten years ago, when there were already multi-core CPUs, most game developers didn’t even bother optimizing their games for dual cores. As a result, if you were to play a game on a dual-CPU motherboard, one of the CPUs would be idle or performing other tasks.

Dual-processor motherboards are not designed for gaming. Buying such a motherboard and two CPUs for gaming is a waste of money.  These motherboards are intended for heavy-duty servers and high-end workstations that require the increased processing power and multitasking capabilities that come with having two CPUs.

As a regular gamer, you can get by just fine with a single Intel Core i5 or AMD Ryzen 5 CPU, and even a Core i7 is only really needed if you have multiple GPUs.

Streaming while gaming is an exception to this rule. Streamers often use two PCs, one for gaming and one for streaming, but they could just as well use a dual-processor motherboard. In this particular case, a dual-CPU motherboard is worth the cost.

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