Is A Dual CPU Motherboard Worth It?

Some motherboards allow for multiple CPUs to be installed at the same time. Is a dual-CPU motherboard worth it, though? Let's find out.

To many shoppers, it may seem strange to have a motherboard that can handle dual CPUs. However, these motherboards have been available for a while, primarily for those who use servers and workstations.

However, with the emergence of cost-effective and user high-core CPUs such as the Intel i9-12900K and AMD Ryzen 5950X, dual CPU motherboards have begun appearing on the second-hand market for a more economical price.

We will clarify all about using a dual CPU motherboard for gaming or work. This will help you decide if purchasing one is a good idea.

Let’s dive straight into it!

Table of ContentsShow

What Is A Dual CPU Motherboard?

The category of product is fairly easy to understand: a motherboard that has two sockets, meaning it supports two processors.

Certainly, there are a few constraints on what you could accommodate within it. The processors should be the identical model; otherwise, individuals may encounter a range of problems.

Dual CPU Motherboard

Technically, it doesn’t have to be the same CPU, but it needs the same number of physical and logical cores, the same TDP, and the same RAM speed.

It’s best just not to mix and match processors.

What Are Dual CPU Motherboards Used For?

By placing two processors in one system, you are essentially merging the strength of the two. You would obtain additional computing capability, additional cores/threads, extra RAM slots, further PCIe lanes, etc.

If you need a lot of space to store things, a motherboard with two CPUs is great. You can put in more than 10 hard drives or solid-state drives (SSDs). That means you could have hundreds of terabytes of storage.

Software making use of parallel processing (two CPUs) can additionally experience advantages. Areas such as investigation, scientific studies, healthcare, pharmaceutical innovation, visual/audio handling, and various other fields heavily depend on parallel computation.

Parallel Processing
Visual representation of a program that can utilize parallel processing

Anyone in graphic design or video editing can utilize those several dozen cores to render images or videos in just a few minutes compared to several hours.

Can Dual CPU Motherboards Be Used For Gaming?

If combining two processors in one motherboard delivers so many advantages, can this power be used for gaming?

Yes! You can definitely use these things to game. But, you won’t get what you’re expecting out of it.

Should You?

The brief answer is negative. You shouldn’t aim to purchase a double CPU motherboard if you plan on using the system for gaming only.

Here’s a video from Linus Tech Tips running a game on a dual-socket 16-core system.

The main cause for this is that video games are not designed to make use of all the additional cores and threads or for parallel processing. Those additional PCIe slots, SATA connections, and RAM slots will have no value to you.

You won’t be getting any kind of extra performance from that second CPU. In fact, you might even face FPS loss or other issues such as stuttering, jittering, etc. To get a normal gaming experience, you would have to disable the second CPU to resolve your issues.

And even after that, the performance will be subpar.

Dual CPU Motherboards For Productivity Tasks

If, on the other hand, you are looking at these motherboards to boost your productivity for work, this might not be such a bad idea. More cores can help you speed up your video editing process.

video editing

However, you still have cheaper, faster, and more power-efficient options from AMD and Intel. Intel’s 12900K or AMD’s Ryzen 5950X and 3950X are great options. Although these don’t go above 32 threads.

If you need more than that, you could go for Threadripper processors, which do get a bit expensive (up to $4000). In that case, you could try searching the second-hand market to get a dual CPU motherboard with two processors and RAM.

You could probably obtain such a system for less than $1000.

Disadvantages

Even if you successfully discover an incredibly affordable two-CPU system, there are a few drawbacks you must take into account.

two CPU system
  • No real advantage in processes that can’t utilize parallel processing
  • Much higher power draw than a consumer PC
  • If it’s cheap, it’s an old and outdated platform
  • Worse performance in games

These disadvantages are not something to disregard. It can hinder your overall PC experience.

Conclusion

Motherboards with two CPUs were advantageous in the past, and they offered a more cost-effective choice than buying a processor with numerous cores that was priced at $10,000.

However, the purpose of these motherboards has dropped significantly because CPUs like the Threadripper line have up to 128 threads and are considerably faster, easier to set up, and draw less power.

In general, motherboards with two CPUs aren’t worthwhile and should only be thought about if they’re very inexpensive.

Please note that these varieties of motherboards are still being produced for upgraded server processors such as the Epyc series. However, these processors, motherboards, and DDR4 LRDIMMs are significantly more expensive compared to previous Xeon (now affordable) systems.

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Branko Gapo

Keeping up with the incredibly fast evolution of computer technology is almost impossible. That's why Branko will be using his knowledge on this matter to share news and information on all the latest essential technological innovations and advancements related to CPUs.