how much does the processor matter?

I'm looking to get a Dell E521, mostly just for everyday tasks but also some occasional gaming. I don't need to have top quality performance in games, but I would like them to run decently.

My choices are:

Athlon X2 Dual Core 3800+ with 1GB of RAM
Athlon 64 3800+ with 2GB of RAM
Athlon 64 3200+ with 2GB of RAM, and $50 in my pocket

I tried to use http://www23.tomshardware.com/cpu.html to compare the processors, but there are 2 to 5 versions of each processor and I don't know which of those Dell would be using.

Any recommendations?
21 answers Last reply
More about processor matter
  1. Hi Choco and welcome to THG Forumz!
    I think there are two questions here: first, which CPU is better, and second, what is the best configuration for gaming. With regard to the first question: Go for the dual-core, it will make the computer much more responsive, especially under load. With regard to the second question: Go for the X1300 that they offer on Dell's site if you can afford it. It has better memory throughput than the Nvidia offering, and is worlds better than the onboard. 1 GB of memory will serve your gaming needs fine.

    Hope this helps!

    Phil R.
  2. will you be running vista?
  3. What do you use it for? What kind of "everyday tasks"?
  4. Yes, I'll be running Vista (basic, with no Aero). The video card and all the rest of the computer will be the same, it's just the processor and RAM options I'm looking at.

    By "everyday tasks" I just mean web browsing, watching movies, etc... other than the games, just about all I do could be handled by an older computer just fine.

    Thanks for the responses... and Prolfe, thanks for your input, from the random friends I've asked they seem to go for the faster processor over the second gig of RAM too. Just wanted to check on here and see if the experts' opinion is the same before making the purchase.
  5. definitely go with the x2 3800 and 2 gigs. i have vista home premium and it runs perfectly with that set up.
  6. I'd say you would be better off with the X2 3800+, just for future purposes. You could get another 1 gig of RAM later on. You will perhaps hurt on some major games memory wise, but in general use it should be okay with a gig.

    The other 2 are speedy single cores, but as time drags on, the X2 may take you a bit farther then other other 2 choices.
  7. Quote:
    definitely go with the x2 3800 and 2 gigs. i have vista home premium and it runs perfectly with that set up.


    I agree.

    Remember, the X2 3800 is like having to single core Athlon 3200s.
  8. Definately go for the X2. You might wanna add that extra gig of ram later on though. From what I've seen, Vista doesn't like just one gig all that much.

    If I had to reply seeing only the heading it would have been something like this: You are a human doing everyday things, how much does your brain matter???
  9. I got 1GB ram with my system. I play occasionally. then don't have much HDVideos. But will you be playing in the future Blue ray and HDDVD too?
  10. Quote:
    If I had to reply seeing only the heading it would have been something like this: You are a human doing everyday things, how much does your brain matter???


    Heh... well this is true, but I wasn't sure how much of a real difference there is between the processors and the improvement gained by a second GB of RAM. If it was a matter of giving up one IQ point to gain twice your athletic ability, that could be a trade worth going for.
  11. Quote:
    Heh... well this is true, but I wasn't sure how much of a real difference there is between the processors and the improvement gained by a second GB of RAM. If it was a matter of giving up one IQ point to gain twice your athletic ability, that could be a trade worth going for.
    yeah, it depends on what you want brains or braun. With the pc both is about performance so it was kinda a silly comparison of me to use, just thought it might be funny somehow...I should sleep more...
  12. 3800+ With 2GB RAM. You are buying an outdated proc so you might as well get the best they offer with that hardware...
  13. You may not notice the difference of the X2 3800 with 1 Gig of memory on Vista.

    Check how many memory slots the machine has. If it has 4 and only 2 are used then get the X2 3800. If memory proves tight you can always add to the RAM you have. If you whish to change the processor, then you are stuck with the original processor and probably the heatsink too. Warranty will also be a problem. Adding memory is simpler, and less likely to void your warranty. If its a problem is quick and easy to remove.

    If you decide to go single core then take the 3800+. I've got machines based on the 3200 and 3800+ S939 athlons, and the 3800+ is quicker and more responsive.

    Rob Murphy
  14. If it was me, I'd do the x2 and 2gb ram. BUT with the options you gave, do the x2 with 1gb ram.
  15. I'm very impressed that no-one is flaming him for getting a Dell :lol: . But definately go for the X2 and 1GB RAM; we have a similar system here (X2 3800+, 1GB RAM, X1300, Vista), and it runs great.
  16. we'd only flame him if he was buying a gaming rig from dell. their web browser only computers are pretty cheap.
  17. It sounds like the consensus is the x2 and 1 gig, which I think is reasonable. Regarding the graphics card though: if you intend to do any 3d gaming at all, on any game released in the last 2-3 years, the onboard graphics will not be able to provide any significant speed with decent image quality, so if you can afford it, please give the x1300 some more thought!
  18. Thanks for all the replies. I am upgrading the video card by the way. I just had a set price I wanted to spend in mind, and the choice was between the dual core and the extra RAM. I went ahead and got the dual core Athlon.

    Looks like 1GB of RAM is now as low as $50-60... I didn't realize it was quite that cheap, so if I see any of the Vista slowness I've been hearing about, maybe that'll be a good purchase. I got the basic version with no Aero, so I'm hoping that won't be necessary.
  19. I like to build my computers, but some casual gamers will buy a dell, drop in more memory and a decent video card and voila!, a gaming rig.
  20. At least I've never bought a dell or anything similar. My parents did when I was young and from about 1 or so I started building my own. The money was just always the problem back then...
  21. I have to say the following and ask a ?

    1. I bought a dell e521 amd x2 4000 w/ 1gb ram. I added an 8600gts.
    I'm using it for games running vista business edition. It's a cheap gaming machine! I was going to build but this was just easier and cheaper!

    My question: Would Upgrading the ram to 2gb show me much of an improvement?
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