If you're doing high-end video or 3D rendering or trying to build your own T-1000, then the answer has always been "yes". As for gaming, well, other than Gas Powered Games' Supreme Commander, most titles have been unable to capitalise on the extra grunt afforded by three extra cores.
What about next-gen, then? Like really next-gen? Anandtech got its hands on a variety of dual and quad-core processors and benchmarked them using a beta of the Unreal Tournament 3 demo. A beta of a demo? Yes, you read that right.
So what was the conclusion?
Quite possibly the biggest takeaway from this comparison is the dramatic improvement in multi-threaded game development over the past couple of years. Starting from a point where none of our game benchmarks were multi-threaded just two years ago, here we are today with the latest and greatest from Epic, and seeing huge gains from one to two cores, and promising improvements when moving to four cores.
Quad-core gaming is still years away from being relevant (much less a requirement), but the industry has come a tremendous distance in an honestly very short period of time.
My Q6600-based PC currently sits in disrepair as I wait for new components, but it's good to know I've invested in my gaming future.
Anyone out there with a supergun-like PC? Post your specs!