Well it all depends on what you want, and are willing to spend for. The price difference between those two A 64's and the Opty is significant, probably close to double for the 3200+.
As for overclocking, there is never a garantee, however certain revisions of the 165 (mainly OEM ones with a code 608 or 611) seem to be very good overlockers with the stock heatsink. Retail versions are mainly 5xx, still decent overclockers, many doind 2.2-2.6, with minial voltage adjustments and stock cooling.
However the 3200+ and 3500+ will not come with this same stock cooler, it is without heat pipes.
I guess my point here is in order for Tom's Guru's (i am not one ) to help, give them more info, what you plan on doing with the CPU, games, encoding etc. how much you want to spend, and if overclocking is on your mind, how experienced are you. Hate for you to buy a chip with hopes of overlocking he hell out of it, to be let down by the gambles you mention. All of these little details will help others help you.
If your not serious about overclocking just stick to the 64s as you'll need some high quality ram and mobo to make use of the optys potential plus they tend to be more expensive. If you're looking at the 3500 then might as well get the 3700 as its $10 more expensive but has twice the L2 cache.
What it really comes down to is what you're willing to spend.
Sorry I wasn't paying attention whiel reading about the opty 165..yes I found out it was dual core and not an issue. (sorry was watching that gal from My Name Is Earl, Jamie Presley..wow) ANYWAY....
I have been hearing that the 3200+ venice is = to the 3500+ in ability...is this true and it's just wasted money to hit the 3500?!?! I was only upgrading to the 3500+ because I looked at it as a 'freebee' because it comes from newegg with Age of Empires III, which is a game I wanted to get - SO it would wash the cost and I would end up with (what I thought to be ) a better processor.
This is getting a bit crazy. I know there are ALOT of variances out there, but the more I look, the more I seem to find and the more questions I end up with.
I'm pretty much set on the rest of the system, I might tweak my case/psu a bit but all in all, it's down to the CPU. I'd like to pop on this decision asap so I can get rolling
What are your thoughts on that...and thanks for the advice!
EDIT: TO answer the original question. I'm going single core, and probably just going to overclock to the point of amateur capabilities and not much further than that. I've never overclocked before other than my lame little intel system that allowed me to overclock my system from a 1.5 to about a 1.7 stable and stock cooling with case fans. I used the softmenu jumperless settings in my asus bios to do this with multipliers etc..but nothing beyond that.
I plan on using this system, frankly, just for gaming and probably doing some actual work ranging from light programming (html, php) and doing some graphics work (limited paintshop stuff), some cd burning, working with office some - basically the same stuff I can currently do on my p4 1.5 (1.7) but I want to play the new games
If thats a game you were going to buy anyways then for sure, do it. You'd be getting an upgrade for free. If you're not going to overclock anyways then you might as well get the fastest cpu possible. As to overclocking ive heard a lot of good results about the 3200, more so then the 3500. But that could be due to the abundance of the cheaper 3200s out there. Both of them are generally good for 2.6 (take that with a grain of salt though as all overclocking is hit and miss)
And yes it is a bloody obstacle course when buying anything these days. I base all my purchaces fairly heavily on price. That took dualcore out of the situation of me a few months ago. Ended up with a 3700. So you can save a few dollars and get the 3200 or upgrade to a 3500 and a free game. I think id do the 3500 though. Good luck with the decision.
If you want to OC go for the Opty. If you want dual core the 165, if that's out of your budget , and you want to go single core look at the 144/146. If you're looking for a modest OC with air cooling the Opty comes packaged with a newer heatsink that is a nice step up from A64's. Unless you're really looking to push it there's not a looser in the Opty bunch.
Thanks for all the GREAT input guys...I really appreciate it.
Although the 3500+ with the freebee game is inticing, I might forgoe that and just jump into the 3200 and opt to put that money toward a 7900 gt xxx xfx card (when it becomes available) OR, take the opt 146 - and the 7600gt xxx xfx card and be happy for a year and then upgrade my chip/vid card (if need be) or wait another year, turn this into a workstation...dump the one I'm on now (which by then will be a paperweight) and reup.
Maybe NEWEGG will help me by making it worth it with better incentives on the other products.. (or stripping the current incentive off of the 3500 hehehe)