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[PCGH Extreme] Tim Sweeney (Epic) talks Triple-Core

PCGH_Thilo

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We had the time to chat briefly via mail with Tim Sweeney from Epic Games. Topic was the announcement of AMDs triple core plans and what this means for developers. Thanks @ Tim for taking the time to answer our questions.


PCGH: Is there enough space "between" Dual and Quadcore CPUs to optimize for? I.E. is it feasible to optimize for two cores, three cores etc. or rather optimize for "many cores", regardless of the exact number?

Tim: Yes. Unreal Engine 3 runs two primary threads and a scalable pool of helper threads. The primary threads handle gameplay and rendering, and provide a constant heavy computing load. The helper threads are scalable to many cores, and handle physics updates, streaming, and decompression now, with threading support being added to other systems over time. In this architecture, a 3-core PC would provide measurably more physics performance than a dual-core PC.

PCGH: What kind of differentiation can you imagine for gaming workloads to be distributed between three cores?

Tim: The possibilities are unlimited, whether the additional cores are used for running features that add new detail to the game, or simply helping to maintain a higher frame rate.

PCGH: Is a console-game, especially a Xbox360 port, a "natural" to profit from three but not necessarily four cores?

Tim: Any game built with Unreal Engine 3 should scale naturally from 1 to 4 cores right now. Other games may differ in their porting requirements. Even for games that support fewer cores than a PC provides, there may still be benefits. For example, those extra cores could be used by other Windows applications to play music, serve media, or run file-sharing software seamlessly while you're playing games.

Tim Sweeney
Epic Games
 
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