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Dual Core or Single core if I was to buy RIGHT NOW?

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February 15, 2006 8:23:55 AM

My pIII is old school. And sucks. I have cash (for once). Time to upgrade :) 

Anyways, the question is this. Do I buy a dual core or a single core.

If I went Single core, i would go a 3200+

Dual Core Athlon X2 3800+

Looking at the benchmarks on tomshardware interactive CPU charts, the processors are about equal for gaming. And while I am a fairly heavy gamer, I also use MSN, iTunes, the Macromedia Studio, Bryce 5, wings 3D and other fairly CPU intensive apps, often times at the same time.

I would also like this build to run Vista, with minimal upgrades. As it stands when I buy it, probably in a week or so, I'm upgrading The motherboard to an

ASUS A8N-VM CSM or a Gigabyte GA-K8N51PVMT-9
2x 512mb Mushkin PC3200 RAM
AMD Athlon X2 3800+/AMD Athlon 64 3200+
Centurion 532 case w/430 watt PSU

The question is this, is the extra $200AUD for an X2 worthwhile, or should I just get a 3200+ and grab a dual core later?

I'm happy to spend the extra cash if it is indeed worth it, but if its not, I dont want to waste my hard earned money.

Thanks.
February 15, 2006 8:50:06 AM

Dual core would be a good upgrade for your rig. With dual core you can do gaming at great performance and do heavy multi tasking better than a single core can do. Software and games are soon will be taking advantage of mulit core processors. It's also future proof and would be great with the upcoming Vista X64 bit. So I highly suggest you get the dual core if you're into multitasking and gaming performance.
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February 15, 2006 9:23:01 AM

Instead of looking at 'just CPU' prices, look at how it affects the total cost of ownership.

eg: If it costs +20% more, will you be seeing a +20% performance increase (or more) most of the time, or a +100% increase 20% of the time, etc, etc

We don't know how much you multitask, and which apps you are running which are running isolated threads.

Chances are you would notice it.

Consider getting 'stock' G.Skill RAM (still good timings) and save cash there, then moving to the Athlon 64 X2 3800+ won't seam so expensive.

RAM timings are not making the difference in performance they made 2-3 years ago, and now people are paying 5x as much (difference) compared to back then to gain little (under 3%) in overall performance.
February 15, 2006 9:24:42 AM

A thought.

Buy the single core now, wait 12-18 months and let the faster dual cores drop in price. By then the 4800 x2 might only be 200$. With the difference you can have a much faster chip. Then spend a bit more and build a decent "cheapo" around the single core and have 2 systems.

~Matt
February 15, 2006 9:30:07 AM

Why not just spend the $200 today, and see the performance gain for those 18 months instead of 'waiting it out' ?

'tis all 'bout TCO and splitting it over how long they plan to keep the system (1,2,3,5 years, etc).

Maybe in his case waiting for 4800's to drop (before they become unavailable) may be wise, maybe it won't be. Only time will tell.
February 15, 2006 9:38:07 AM

I went from P-3-2400 to X2-4400 and I am very satisfied.

Since I am always running applications in the background while playing I went for this cpu and it really helps alot. No more lags while playing due to the cpu-usage of another tool running.

Never before have I installed XP-pro below 15 minutes!

Erasing files by overwriting them several times caused major problems with my old rig when I watched vids while erasing them, now I dont even mention it. Before I thought it was a matter of drive-speed but obviously it wasnt since it is now working flawlessy with the same drives and raid-setup like I had before.

Considering that game-consoles are supporting multi-cpu´s as well the chances are good for software to arrive by this year even for PC´s and since you usually got a CPU for some years it is IMHO definetly worth it with all the multicore supporting software coming up within the next years (in terms of games but even multimedia based).
February 15, 2006 9:48:17 AM

Get dual core.
February 15, 2006 10:37:32 AM

Quote:
Why not just spend the $200 today, and see the performance gain for those 18 months instead of 'waiting it out' ?

'tis all 'bout TCO and splitting it over how long they plan to keep the system (1,2,3,5 years, etc).

Maybe in his case waiting for 4800's to drop (before they become unavailable) may be wise, maybe it won't be. Only time will tell.


Well my thought was the OP would likely be keeping the system for a several years. Since he's still on a P3 doesn't look like they're a regular upgrader/buyer.

I guess I look at it as a price/performance ratio. Buy a 3800 X2 now for "X" dollars or end up with a Single core and 4800 X2/FX-60 for "X" dollars later. The later choice provides a faster machine in the end for the same dollars plus an extra chip.

Of course that's all based on speculation that the prices will drop significantly which may or may not happen. If it takes 3,4 5 years for the FX-60 to get down to 3800 X2 price the OP would have gotten the shaft. If it takes 6 months the OP comes out ahead, IMO. In my fairly uneducated opinion I'm speculating that the 939 chips will likely fall pretty quickly in the next 6-12, but for the most part consider me clueless.

~Matt
February 15, 2006 11:06:00 AM

I am the kind of person who doesn't go whole hog for the latest/greatest when I upgrade and that puts me usually a rendition or two behind. Which is okay because I feel that's the best price/performance ratio.

The bottom line is either is a hefty upgrade from where you are at.

If you really anticipate being able to make use of the X2, then go for it, it can't hurt really.

If you are unsure that you'll actually make use of the X2 then, just ensure that the mobo you buy supports X2 processors and get a standard socket 939 Ath 64.

I have a hard time recommending Dual-Core processors right now, because there's alot of talk of upcoming platform changes.

Plus you could use the extra money saved to beef up your machine in other ways like 2-10K rpm sata drives in a raid 0 config for instance. However if you've already planned to make a machine that is a powerhouse in the majority of areas, then it makes sense to go ahead and drop the money for the extra processing power.

Really depends on how strong you want to go. And also, if you are sitting there thinking "Yea, but man I really would like a X2" then go ahead and do it, cause you won't be happy sitting back going "I wish I got a dual-core".

Good Luck
February 15, 2006 11:11:57 AM

You can always go AMD64 939+nForce4 now and upgrade to an Opteron 1xx Dual Core later.
February 15, 2006 11:20:04 AM

Linux_0 is absolutely correct. That is definitely a viable path. As always though when you decide what mobo you are going to buy, take some time to visit the manufacturer look at what their last few release notes for bios revisions.

Also, Google the Mobo for common problems (won't boot up, won't post, won't take opteron processor, won't take X2 processor, etc..) It sux to find a good deal on a board to find out later it was becasue it is rev 1.2 and only rev 1.4 and higher of those boards support the full range of SKT 939 processors.

Good Luck.
February 15, 2006 12:23:22 PM

AMD will certainly follow suit and will match or beat them.


Semper Fi Linux on! :D 
February 15, 2006 1:08:35 PM

Nice Article. Good Read. What I didn't see, which is just an irritation really, is they didn't go back and add the overclocked 165 into their benchmarks. That bothers me, they said it ran stable, but didn't provide the numbers to back up that claim.

Other than that, I liked that article.
February 15, 2006 1:11:58 PM

I'm in the same boat as the OP. Looking to build a new rig and am undecided on either SC or DC processor. I will be doing more then just gaming(Autocad, rendering etc.) Is paying an extra $100 or so worth the upgrade? :?:


Thanks in advance.
February 15, 2006 1:16:26 PM

Quote:
I'm in the same boat as the OP. Looking to build a new rig and am undecided on either SC or DC processor. I will be doing more then just gaming(Autocad, rendering etc.) Is paying an extra $100 or so worth the upgrade? :?:


Thanks in advance.




For Autocad, rendering, etc I would suggest a Dual Core CPU, preferably an Opteron 1xx Dual Core.
February 15, 2006 1:38:09 PM

Looking critically at what you do, plans for system, upgradability, and current end-of-life for today's components, I would suggest the following:

NForce 4 or ATI RD580 when it surfaces very soon (NVidia fanboys, hold your flames). Both chipsets bring the current feature rich and quality technologies to the table.

Dual-core Opteron S939 CPU for larger cache at lowend clock speeds, extensive validation, and better OCing.

Quality mid to low latency RAM... lower latency has a big effect when used with AMDs on-die memory controller.

High-Mid-level Video of your choice. Both camps have excellent cards... and we could easily start a flamefest worthy of global-warming chosing.

SATA II HDDs for their NCQ and burst speed abilities.

Intel's current dual CPUs are energy hungry, and only surpass AMD in multi-media useage... narrowly. Since you game, AMD definitely makes more since. Gamers will mention what single cores are best for gaming. However, if you want to burn, run anti-virus/spyware, etc. in the back ground, dual cores definitely make since.

Build your system around these parts, and you will be "Vista Ready", and happy with your system for many years to come (at least 2-3). AMD's platform updates are not due till 3rd quarter this year, and about the same for Intel. These platforms will be in their infancy... and I wouldn't be quick to jump on board, not worth "waiting" to build your next system.
February 15, 2006 6:27:43 PM

My solely suggestion is to wait for a while. The prices of 939s is gonna drop like they never did. At least hold on until mid-April. Intel has scheduled a price cut and AMD have to lower down the prices to keep up with that. I wouldn't upgrade now unless I had a Pentium I with 32 Mb Ram!

... Ok actually I did upgrade though! ...but still these days are the worst to upgrade.

,,
a b à CPUs
February 15, 2006 6:42:52 PM

If I were to buy RIGHT NOW...it would be a dual core X2 4800. Or even look at a pair of Operton 248's...hmmm...seems familiar...
February 15, 2006 8:38:30 PM

I did the exact thing that you did in August: P3 600 to an X2 4200. From your app list, looks like you'd get some decent performance and payback from investing in the Dual-core now.

The current Dual-core prices won't drop much. I'd say the best you'd get is a $200 drop on the top-end items (about 25%). But that won't be for a long while.

The one suggestion that I'd make for you is getting 2x1024MB RAM, rather than 1 GB. You're going to have to upgrade the RAM at some point in the relatively near future (Windows x64 or Vista, either one will like the extra RAM, as well as the new-age games), so rather than having to deal with dual-channel compatibility problems later one when upgrading, just get it over with now.
February 15, 2006 10:27:24 PM

Go dual core because it will help for the future and they are very nice for running multiple programs. When games start to take advantage of the dual core you will see the difference.
February 16, 2006 1:57:54 AM

yes buy an AMD 3700 now and wait 1year-2years and buy fx-60, or optertron 180 i think it is. thats what i'm doing so everyone should do it lol 8)
February 16, 2006 2:04:28 AM

what everyone is saying go dual core and go for the opty 165
February 16, 2006 4:55:30 AM

Thanks for all posts, I do appreciate it.

I dont really want to wait, for a few reasons. Firstly, this PIII is just getting on my nerves. I brought it second hand about a year ago, when I had no cash but wanted XP. I have upgraded everything in it (WD 80g 7200RPM drive, Lite-ON 16x DVD Burner, case and PSU, keyboard, just brought a 17" LG LCD, speakers (Creative SBS370), brought a Brother Printer). But I havent upgraded CPU, RAM, Mobo, GFX card, namely becuase they all have to be done at once.

Asides from that, I can always find something usefull to do with a machine once I have finished with it (glances at Pentium 100 firewall...), or sell it to my brother, who has no idea of how much these things are actually worth :p .

Secondly, while I understand I said I had some cash, not enough to go opteron. I am simply after dual core, not best dual core. If i didnt end up going dual core, I would get lowest end available single core (3200+).

Thanks again
February 16, 2006 10:00:18 AM

one last question - do I need to reinstall windows if I upgrade CPU/motherboard/RAM etc?
February 16, 2006 10:20:14 AM

Quote:
one last question - do I need to reinstall windows if I upgrade CPU/motherboard/RAM etc?


If you are asking that question, then usually 'yes', you'll want to re-install the OS + chipset drivers + video/sound drivers + misc.

There are ways to avoid it, but they are more complex than just re-installing for most people... you'd likely save time / problems in the long run vs just waiting for someone else to explain it. (I don't want to be even partially liable, thus recommending this way).

Note: If you are moving a RAID array back all the data up to a single drive / or DVD-R's, tape, etc, then recreate the RAID on the new system and restore the data.
February 16, 2006 11:52:14 AM

dual core with 2gigs of ram for gaming go with the opteron 170.
February 17, 2006 2:56:48 AM

Hi All, Im also in the same position on which to buy right now also.
I was courious if anyone has or is running any type of B.O.I.N.C.
Projects or similar, on the Dual Core Procs. ? Im assuming that the
Dual Core is much more efficient running Boinc then the single.

Thanks for any Info.
MP
February 17, 2006 9:31:54 AM

Used to run BOINC for SETI@Home, now donate my sparse CPU cycles to Folding@Home, which doesnt use the boinc client. However, check the host websites, just search for a dual core processor and compare it to the single cores.

Again - am stretching budget as is, dont have cash to go an opteron.
February 20, 2006 7:58:56 PM

your everywhere... omg :!:
February 20, 2006 9:15:38 PM

Go dual core, more apps are becoming multi threaded, and everyone who has made the plunge, I haven not yet :(  , raves about how great it is. Stick with 7200 HDD unless you really care about load times dropping all of three seconds, If you do not plan to overclock go for value ram and potentialy save alot of money. If you do plan to overclock go with some good ram and get an Opteron.
February 20, 2006 9:24:49 PM

Cheapest I've found on these 2 chips :

Opteron 165 cost $328 PC Monarch - this includes the shipping fee


X2 3800+ cost $295.99 Newegg ONE DAY sale for TODAY ONLY 2/20/06 Monday - $295.99 , this includes shipping but not tax :!: :!: :!: :!:

According to the article, it seems like they are both overclockable to the top end fx-60 speeds. The x2 looks to be the better buy.

The DFI Lanparty board listed in the article , cheapest I found was $92.85 @ Newegg - this includes the shipping fee
February 20, 2006 9:33:30 PM

dual core is a good investment IMO...

single core will be gettting old sooner or later
February 21, 2006 10:40:07 AM

Quote:
Intel is planning to slash their dual-core prices
come April, as much as 50%. This may be
the result of ramping up their 65 nm fab
with higher production yields.

WAIT!!


Sincerely yours,
/s/ Paul Andrew Mitchell
Webmaster, Supreme Law Library
http://www.supremelaw.org/


Aye, their planning to blow AMD out of the water! Where it realy hurts - money!!! pricess!

But does this mean better performance? NO..... I dont think so, not as long as most s/w are still single core threaded.

Mines a Dual core, but the s/w are single core.......hmmm simple.
February 21, 2006 7:24:39 PM

just sned him a virus that reformates his hard drive. :twisted:
February 21, 2006 7:49:32 PM

this is what did

dfi landparty ultra d
opteron 165 dual core oced to 2.6ghz fx60 speeds with stock cooler/voltage
2gig ocz 2x1gig 2-3-2-5 ram oced 2-2-2-5
sapphire x1900xtx stock u dont need this unless u want the ultiamte g-card
maxtor sata 250 gig 16mb buffer

anyway the opteron is far better than the 3800x2 1 reason is it has 1mb per core vs 512k per core on the 3800x2 and the stock cooler on the opteron 165 has 4 heat pipes vs the crappy one on the 3800x2 comes with.... but u need a good mobo for the opty 165 because it has a 9x multiplyer vs the 3800 witch has a 10x multiplyer... in the end the 165 is the best bang 4 the buck hands down, im running a fx60 @ 1.3 volts and can go higher if i wanted but 2.6ghz is more than enough for anygame/program and u have 2 cores running @ the same speed
February 21, 2006 8:06:47 PM

hey vette guy how can i get his ip address? i'm gonna spam him with bad pron sites!
February 22, 2006 4:10:04 AM

Quote:
this is what did

dfi landparty ultra d
opteron 165 dual core oced to 2.6ghz fx60 speeds with stock cooler/voltage
2gig ocz 2x1gig 2-3-2-5 ram oced 2-2-2-5
sapphire x1900xtx stock u dont need this unless u want the ultiamte g-card
maxtor sata 250 gig 16mb buffer

anyway the opteron is far better than the 3800x2 1 reason is it has 1mb per core vs 512k per core on the 3800x2 and the stock cooler on the opteron 165 has 4 heat pipes vs the crappy one on the 3800x2 comes with.... but u need a good mobo for the opty 165 because it has a 9x multiplyer vs the 3800 witch has a 10x multiplyer... in the end the 165 is the best bang 4 the buck hands down, im running a fx60 @ 1.3 volts and can go higher if i wanted but 2.6ghz is more than enough for anygame/program and u have 2 cores running @ the same speed


Dude, paragraphs.

Anyways, much as I would like an opteron and all the other stuff, I am stretching my budget as it is if I were to go dual core.

Thanks.
!