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A faster Athlon 64 x2 or a slower Phenom x4, more MHZ or more cores?

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  • Phenom
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December 6, 2007 8:52:58 PM

OK, so here is the $64 question. with current games such at UT3 and Crysis, is it better to have raw horsepower in terms of CPU speed or more cores? Here is my choice: I have an AM2 590 SLI mobo. Do I get a A64 6400+ black edition x2 3.2 ghz and shoot for a 20% overclock which would put me around 3.84 ghz OR Do I get a SLOWER Phenom x4 at 2.6 ghz? My current CPU is an A64 5200+ x2 running at 3.107ghz. My CPU score in 3dMark06 is 2400. which is my better choice? I have 2 8800gt's in SLI so GPU is not an issue but CPU is!

More about : faster athlon slower phenom mhz cores

December 6, 2007 9:31:23 PM

i have one vote for the phenom choice so far..
December 6, 2007 9:34:24 PM

I want to say get the phenom ... but the L3 cache issues make it a poor buy. To be honest, for the best upgrade you should be looking at a Q6600 with a motherboard to match. With that, you get quad core + insane speeds (3.6GHz on air cooling is incredibly common).
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December 6, 2007 9:36:26 PM

I'd get the Phenom B3 stepping when it comes out.

3.6 GHz on a Q6600 is not NEARLY as common as everyone seems to think it is. 3.0 GHz is easily done, 3.2 even. 3.6 on air is not as easy and requires some noise.

20% OC on a 6400+ is quite ambitious.
December 6, 2007 9:37:44 PM

not ready to change teams just yet, besides to get more performance than what i have now or with a phenom i would have to spend BIG Intel bucks.
December 6, 2007 9:41:59 PM

edwilson said:
not ready to change teams just yet, besides to get more performance than what i have now or with a phenom i would have to spend BIG Intel bucks.


I understand, but just to be fair...

680i SLI - $160
Q6600 - $276
Cooler - $40-50

That's about it.
December 6, 2007 9:42:21 PM

TBH Ed,

I'd just go into wait and see mode for right now.

the X2 5200+ you will probably NOT see that much difference in gaming as you already have the dual 8800s.

Sticking with AMD is not a bad option. Just would wait to see how the channel looks and if the B3 will ship soon.
December 6, 2007 10:21:01 PM

The X2 6400+ will give you the best performance.

However, you can likely forget getting much beyond 3.4 Ghz short of a $500-$600 cooling system.
December 6, 2007 10:31:54 PM

Yep, the 6400+ BE isn't going to OC much on air. I'd also wait and see what happens with the B3 stepping of Phenom, and also see if the Black Edition Phenom actually comes out by the end of Q4 and see how it does.

The future is quad core, I wouldn't upgrade from a 5200 dual core if I were you - wait for a better Phenom.
December 6, 2007 10:33:53 PM

I'd say that 4 cores at ~2.7GHz (Anand got 2.6, TomZ got 3GHz) is better than 2 cores at 3.4GHz. You can do more with your system WHILE playing games or encoding,etc. Some of the sites have retail chips and haven't reported any lock-ups even when OCing.

Doing that will let you do a mobo upgrade next year (790FX boards will be really mature) or even CPU and mobo.

I'll be swapping my 939 soon, but I don't know if I'm going DIY or pre-built. It will be a Phenom.
December 6, 2007 10:33:57 PM

Your cpu is already running at 3.1ghz. A 6400+ wont really go over 3.4ghz. Thats a lot of money to spend on 300mhz that will make little or no difference. Just check out toms cpu chart or any review involving both the cpu's. As for Phenom with your 5200+ at 3.1ghz it would be a downgrade. Save you money and see what the B3 stepping does for performance.
December 6, 2007 10:35:04 PM

BaronMatrix said:
I'd say that 4 cores at ~2.7GHz (Anand got 2.6, TomZ got 3GHz) is better than 2 cores at 3.4GHz. You can do more with your system WHILE playing games or encoding,etc. Some of the sites have retail chips and haven't reported any lock-ups even when OCing.

Doing that will let you do a mobo upgrade next year (790FX boards will be really mature) or even CPU and mobo.

I'll be swapping my 939 soon, but I don't know if I'm going DIY or pre-built. It will be a Phenom.


What happened to the *watercooled HP?

*Edit
December 6, 2007 10:41:20 PM

BM

Don't talk rubbish. Phenom with B2 stepping is an underperforming mess. Even to the extent that AMD have stopped shipping the things.

Why would anyone encode,antivirus etc while playing games? Your HD and ram will still have to do some work therefore taking resources away from the game.

December 6, 2007 10:57:22 PM

BM,

Toms got 3.0Ghz to "Boot" but were not allowed to run any software at that speed. Anand got it to 2.6Ghz, but stability is a known issue unless you apply the forth coming BIOS patches which kills performance about 15% which would likely make it slower than the X2 on a clock for clock basis.

Once the B3 steppings are released, it MAY be a reasonable processor.
However, at this point in time, the Phenom is not a good selection.

There is a reason AMD stopped shipping them.
I certainly would not want to buy a CPU that the manufacturer has decided to stop shipping.

In fact, AMD has seen so many issues with the K10 that they have decided to introduce new K8s. A Clear sign they don't see K10 going that smoothly.
December 6, 2007 11:05:23 PM

To the OP -
If you need the upgrade now - get a faster dual core, which is not only cheaper, but will last until the next batch of AMD quads are released.

If you really can wait it out - wait until the data for the B3 quads are seen. If they have fixed most of the issues that are plaguing the B2 quads, then that would be a suitable upgrade path. Of course, to get full benefit, you may need to upgrade the motherboard, but if you wait, the 790 based boards might be cheaper than today.
December 6, 2007 11:07:46 PM

Quote:
Do I get a A64 6400+ black edition x2 3.2 ghz and shoot for a 20% overclock which would put me around 3.84 ghz

Are you on phase change or something? A64 6400+ overclock on air peaks at about 3.3-3.4 GHz, or hardly better than your existing CPU.

I see nothing slow at all with a 3.0 GHz A64 x2 running UT3 and Crysis. The biggest issue is whether you have the memory - 2 GB minimum to keep it smooth.
December 6, 2007 11:10:02 PM

since getting 3.8 ghz out of the 6400+ BE seems like a pipe dream, I suppose I should put my cpu upgrade on hold until the phenom mess gets straightened out. Its not like I am suffering anyway, my latest 3dmark06 score is 12,338 and a gpu bench in crysis on high is 38 so I am good for a while ;) 
December 6, 2007 11:15:39 PM

edwilson said:
Do I get a A64 6400+ black edition x2 3.2 ghz and shoot for a 20% overclock which would put me around 3.84 ghz


Sorry dude, thats not going to happen. that 6400+ is already very close to its limit.
December 6, 2007 11:36:47 PM

cnumartyr said:
What happened to the *watercooled HP?

*Edit



That would perhaps be the "pre-built" I mentioned. Or not.
December 6, 2007 11:39:19 PM

gpippas said:
BM

Don't talk rubbish. Phenom with B2 stepping is an underperforming mess. Even to the extent that AMD have stopped shipping the things.

Why would anyone encode,antivirus etc while playing games? Your HD and ram will still have to do some work therefore taking resources away from the game.



He didn't ask your opinion about Phenom, he asked for advice regarding choices. I gave him mine. Live with it.
December 7, 2007 12:03:16 AM

edwilson said:
since getting 3.8 ghz out of the 6400+ BE seems like a pipe dream, I suppose I should put my cpu upgrade on hold until the phenom mess gets straightened out. Its not like I am suffering anyway, my latest 3dmark06 score is 12,338 and a gpu bench in crysis on high is 38 so I am good for a while ;) 


If you don't need the upgrade, It's definitely best to wait.
Both AMD and Intel will have better choices down the road whether that be Penryn's or Updated Phenoms.
December 14, 2007 4:22:20 PM

qpippas

Do you own a Phenom? How do you know it is an underperforming mess? Oh, thats right you looked at the reviews you did not try one yourself like so many peoiple out there. I would reserve comments like yours to peole who actually own one. if you do not own one and have not tried it out for yourself comments like yours are just stupid. Newegg is now saying if users have bought the processor or not because there is SO MUCH FUD out there from Intel Fans ( and yes I also own a Q6600 running at 3.0GHZ). To address your stupid statements:

1.> AMD has NOT stopped shipping the processors. I just purchased 9500 (HD9500WCJ4BGD) look it up if you need to.
2.> Many reviewers have only tested the processor on older platforms that are not AM2+ I just purchased a 790FX Gigabyte board and a ATI3850 to get a real feel for the processor. I.e. the Spider Platform
3.> I feel the Phenom TLB issue is overblown and intel has had many such problems as well. I will see first hand if there are any issues with it.
4.> The Phenom is overall only about 10% slower clock for clock with the Intel. If you can honestly tell me you can "feel" the difference I will be inmpressed. There are many more parts to a PC that can effect the overall performance more significantly than a 10% difference in processor performance. I can guarantee you that the Phenom 9500 will be faster than an E6600 or E6750 or just about any Core 2 Dual core.
5.> The Phenom is AM2 COMPATIBLE. I have a 965 board that will not accept a new E6750. It seems every time intel comes out with a rev of the Core 2 you need a new chipset to even run it.

I recommend that the orginal poster buy a phenom at about 230 bucks US. It is a good deal and should provide a nice performance boost well worth the money.
a b à CPUs
December 14, 2007 5:00:24 PM

OP do not buy ANY amd chip right now. Do not buy any Intel chip right now either. Games dont take much advantage of the Quads right now and the Quads have a much lower clock then your OC'd X2. They arent fast enuff clock to clock to make up the differnce either. The 6400X2 doesnt make any sense at all since your current chip is OC'd close to the 6400 speeds+the 6400 aint going to OC much at all.

To the people saying the errata issue is overblown that is rubbish. All chips have many issues but not ones that cause whatever percent of a performance hit the phenons have.

And give us a fricking break with this do you own one crap. If we had to own EVERY piece of hardware to access its performance there wouldnt be anybody on the forums. ATTENTION EVERYBODY no more talkin about penryn(non EE edition) you dont own one. Dont give advice to people about what parts to use a in build if you dont own them. The phenom WILL NOT beat a 6750 in games. It doesnt beat the higher clocked K8s in games.

edwilson just stick with your current system. It is fine and doesnt need or make sense to spend money to updrade it. If anything wait for a B3 phenom and hope they "fix" it and make it perform better.
December 14, 2007 5:20:16 PM

BaronMatrix said:
He didn't ask your opinion about Phenom, he asked for advice regarding choices. I gave him mine. Live with it.


Nor did he ask for your advice. He did give advice about the Phenom. The majority are waiting for then next Phenom (B3) and hope that will fix all the issues.

I personaly dont think you should wait to long or you will end up waiting forever. Pick what will work best for you and go with it. Are for cores needed? No, not at all. Are they worth it? For a little more then a dual core you get 2 more cores which means in reality you are paying less per core. It is noramly cheaper to buy in bulk (I guess this is holding true for cores as well).
December 14, 2007 5:27:05 PM

Someguy,

Reasonalbe Post.
His current Chip at acurrent speeds is reasonable.
I would wait for any upgrade.
Either a Phenom in Nov. or a Phenom when they fix the bugs.


Rhog, you are a moron.

Yes. Most of us are basing our reviews based upon reviews by others. We have a large number of sites run by professional hardware reviewers. Some sites we have more faith in than others. We then analyze the results and make determinations based upon them. Anyone who only makes judgments about products after he buys them is nothing but a fool. A wise man first researches a product before purchasing and makes his purchase based upon that. You also invalidate your own statement by telling the poster to buy the product based upon your experience. You just told him to not based his judgement upon the professional review sites who have tested the product. Logic escapes you.

In regards to performance, the Phenom is closer to 20% slower clock for clock one the BIOS fix is in place. Considering the Intel Chips clock 50% higher, this becomes a massive difference in performance. Too bad there is not a single professonial review site available to backup your claims.

If the reviewer knew anything about most games he would realize it would not boost but cut performance. Most games today do not benefit from the 3rd and 4th cores. The 1st two cores are all that matter. That is why often Dual Core Intels do better than Quad Core Intels in most games. The same applies for AMD.

The X2 Chips clock much faster and are actually faster Clock for Clock than the Phenoms with the BIOS patch applied. The result is that the far slower clocked Phenom will be slower in the majority of games. In the few that all four cores are used, it will have a steep hill to climb to even get back to even and may still not pull ahead.

December 14, 2007 5:47:25 PM

http://www.guru3d.com/article/processor/477/

The 2.6 phenom can't even match a q6600, yet the 2.4 phenom is priced above the q6600 at 320?

Waiting would be the best choice, your rig is perfectly fine. No need to upgrade what so ever atm. But a q6600 setup would be the best possible choice if you do have to buy something, for a 280 dollar price tag you can clock it easily to 3 ghz. We already know the core architecture is faster than the Phenom, so you get a lot more performance per dollar, since you have no worries about OC'ing as well. It would make it much more justified.

I'd wait though, If you don't want to buy a new board/processors, waiting is a option. Keep in mind though, if you do wait for B3 and change your mind, Penryn will be out by then. It will also offer a 4-7% improvement in performance, as well as being clocked higher for a lower price, the 2.5 quad (6mb cache) will be priced around 265, while the 2.66 (12mb cache) will be priced at 315. Overall, Phenoms will drop in price to become more competitive, Heck, they should be dropping now, they are overcharging.
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