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AMD or Intel for new build -- specific tasks in question (++)

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February 15, 2008 4:26:56 PM

I am looking to build a new system. I am trying to decide which CPU to use for the specific tasks that I do on the computer. I know it's a beaten to death question in general, but I believe there is a proper tool (CPU) for the job. So here is what I usually do daily:

* winxp pro
* web design (photoshop, coding, running a server on local machine)
* firefox with bazillion extensions :) 

What I occasionally do:

* music production (propellerheads reason, cubase, adobe audition)
* watching movies

What I never do:

* play games
* video editing


So based on that, what CPU should I go with? Thanks!
February 15, 2008 4:30:54 PM

Intel quad core would definitely fit your bill, but a dual core would also do.

Some thoughts:

Quad core: Q6600, Q9300 (release soon)
Dual core: E6850, E8400
February 15, 2008 4:43:21 PM

Price Range?
What parts do you need? OS? Monitor? Mouse Keyboard?
(Will presume all Computer Parts)
Related resources
February 15, 2008 4:51:08 PM

If you don't plan on overclocking or overclocking much Phenom 9500 is on sale at Newegg for 199.99. Else the Q6600 is available for around $275.

If you want a budger build, I'd go with the AMD 5000+ BE. A friend of mine just got his yesterday. Upped it to 3ghz with no fanfare. You might even want to consider a cheap opteron for what you're doing, but I know virtually nothing about them.
February 15, 2008 4:52:39 PM

I am just debating on the CPU right now. Let's assume I have all the other parts. Budget just for CPU is anything below $500.

Quad seems like an overkill, since most apps that I stated dont even support multi core. I guess I could run servers and such on one CPU and apps on the other, that'd be good. Ah well, something to think about.
February 15, 2008 4:54:51 PM

I don't really have a budget set, but I know that I don't want to go all the way to high end, but at the same time I don't want to cheap out on any of the parts and I am planning to build a good quality system. But I want to build it to my needs, that's why I don't want to go all the way to high end. So I think high-mid-range to low-high end is a good target. hehehe :) 
February 15, 2008 5:00:37 PM

$500 is a really large budget just for CPU. The 5000+ BE is just 99 and will satisfy most of your needs. Some of the older Conroes are good deals now too. Some the older conroes should be getting pretty cheap now too.
a b à CPUs
February 15, 2008 5:04:33 PM

I'd pick a quad. For example Q6600 does 9% better in Photoshop than a higher-clocked E6850, according to some review I read a long time ago.

Either Phenom 9500 or Q6600, I'd say. The Phenom is cheaper. The Q6600 is faster and overclocks better. If you get the Q6600 also get a fast hard disk, or your fast CPU will just be waiting for the disk a lot of time. (I know mine does, and my WD5000AAKS is in fact a pretty good disk...)
February 15, 2008 5:07:13 PM

Yeah sounds like Q6600 is actually a good option. I just checked and some peeps reported stable OC up to 3.7. So all in all, I think that is the decision :) 
February 15, 2008 5:07:59 PM

Thank you everyone for this awesomely fast participation and decision making process.
February 15, 2008 5:08:29 PM

A nice raid controller card running raid 5 or something will solve that problem. Allocate that $500 CPU budget to a controller card and some more hard drives.
a c 123 à CPUs
February 15, 2008 5:08:57 PM

aevm said:
I'd pick a quad. For example Q6600 does 9% better in Photoshop than a higher-clocked E6850, according to some review I read a long time ago.

Either Phenom 9500 or Q6600, I'd say. The Phenom is cheaper. The Q6600 is faster and overclocks better. If you get the Q6600 also get a fast hard disk, or your fast CPU will just be waiting for the disk a lot of time. (I know mine does, and my WD5000AAKS is in fact a pretty good disk...)


May I suggest a RAID0 then? Having 2 of the same drives stripped makes a world of difference. Plus now you can get 2 500GB Seagate SATAII w/32MB cache for $119 each on newegg. I unfortunately got the 16MB cache ones but it still made a difference since I went from 8MB cache each drive to 16MB cache each drive.
February 15, 2008 5:13:58 PM

molts said:
I am looking to build a new system. I am trying to decide which CPU to use for the specific tasks that I do on the computer.
* winxp pro
* web design (photoshop, coding, running a server on local machine)
* firefox with bazillion extensions :) 

What I occasionally do:

* music production (propellerheads reason, cubase, adobe audition)
* watching movies

So based on that, what CPU should I go with? Thanks!


ummm..

Q6600 $275, no question.
This should have been a 1 reply post. The only way you would want something different is if you want to spend less money in which case get the slower AMD Phenom 9500
February 15, 2008 5:17:25 PM

Everybody keeps telling you to get a quad core CPU...yet you have nothing that has any use for it!

Any cheap dual core is more than enough for you...and most people.
Get a CPU that runs close to 3Ghz stock and set the system up to run at that speed.
Games and most software are -still- rated on the old P4 scale.


The 5000+ BE (65nm 2X512KB L2) is onsale for $89 and a 6000+ (90nm 2X1MB L2) is $111.

Stock speeds are...the Q6600 is 2.4Ghz and about $150 more than a 6000+ that is 3Ghz,the 5000+BE is 2.6Ghz.
February 15, 2008 5:22:43 PM

Yeah I gotta agree with ZOldDude. I really don't see why you need a quad. If you have the money to blow I say more power to you. But seems like a waste to me.
a b à CPUs
February 15, 2008 5:25:45 PM

ZOldDude said:
Everybody keeps telling you to get a quad core CPU...yet you have nothing that has any use for it!


Well, it depends. I do Web design too, and the things typically running there all the time are Visual Studio.Net, SQL Server, IIS, IE 7, FireFox. That's enough IMO to justify $275 for a quad as opposed to $100 for a dual-core. Of course, the OP's Web design might consist of a text editor, PHP and MySQL, and he'd be fine with a E2160. We need more info I guess.

Also, music production software comes in lots of flavors, some smart enough to use 4 cores and some not. The OP needs to figure out what type he has, to make a good decision.
February 15, 2008 5:34:59 PM

Most people do not have a bunch of different browsers open at the same time they are programming and running a server...and watching a movie...and playing a game while listing to music all at the same time.

If your a gamer then 2 cores are more than enough and the money saved is better spent on a high end GFX card...or a PC Power & Cooling PSU.
February 15, 2008 5:35:42 PM

ZOldDude said:
Everybody keeps telling you to get a quad core CPU...yet you have nothing that has any use for it!

Any cheap dual core is more than enough for you...and most people.
Get a CPU that runs close to 3Ghz stock and set the system up to run at that speed.
Games and most software are -still- rated on the old P4 scale.


He said he often use Photoshop and other web design softwares, and they will likely (photoshop in particular) take advantage of mult-core. Aside from that, he also multi-task a lot (not keith's definition of multitasking), which may also benefit from the usage of multi-core. Also, he stated he has the budget of 500USD, which is more than enough for a Q6600. Therefore I recommended quad core over dual core.


The 5000+ BE (65nm 2X512KB L2) is onsale for $89 and a 6000+ (90nm 2X1MB L2) is $111.

Stock speeds are...the Q6600 is 2.4Ghz and about $150 more than a 6000+ that is 3Ghz,the 5000+BE is 2.6Ghz. said:

The 5000+ BE (65nm 2X512KB L2) is onsale for $89 and a 6000+ (90nm 2X1MB L2) is $111.

Stock speeds are...the Q6600 is 2.4Ghz and about $150 more than a 6000+ that is 3Ghz,the 5000+BE is 2.6Ghz.


3.0Ghz of 6000+ is not that much faster than a Q6600 at 2.4Ghz. You can compare clockspeed of the same architecture, but not different architectures. Core 2's architecture is roughly 10%~20% faster than K8 in IPC in most of the programs.

Taking Photoshop for example, an E6550, running at 2.33Ghz, performs relatively the same with 6000+, although having a nearly 700Mhz difference in clockspeed.

a c 123 à CPUs
February 15, 2008 5:40:08 PM

ZOldDude you forget that he is not much of a gamer. Plus getting a quad now will help himself future proof his system especially considering he can easily OC a Q6600 to 3GHz to match a 6000+ in brute speed and outperform it by much more.
February 15, 2008 5:45:15 PM

Ahhh comeon... don't recommend the Q6600 to everyone... until... I get mine.

I just wanna be sure I get one before they run out. :cry: 

:oops: . o O (has those flash backs of taco bell... this item is only back for a limited time)
February 15, 2008 5:51:30 PM

Personally I'd get the Q6600 since the quad core will help with applications like photoshop and possibly some of your server applications. It will also help out when multitasking. The Q6600 is the fastest quad available for under $500.

If you're looking for a dual core cpu because you don't think you have enough applications that will take advantage of the quad then the E8400 is the fastest dual core available.

If you were on a tight budget you might want to check out the AMD offerings, but unless all you do is run winzip all day you'll find that they lag far behind the intel processors in terms of performance on desktop applications.
February 15, 2008 6:00:05 PM

So the Q6600 is 4 seconds faster than the 6000+ and costs $100 more...
a b à CPUs
February 15, 2008 6:01:29 PM

To be fair to AMD, the X2 5000+ is a very nice CPU. My Dad has one and he's got no complaints. :) 
February 15, 2008 6:05:26 PM

compy386 said:
So the Q6600 is 4 seconds faster than the 6000+ and costs $100 more...


....at rendering a 86Mb TIF image, with only one program running.

What if he wants to photoshop, write code, web surf, all at the same time...? :sarcastic: 

EDIT: Also, as programs take more advantage of multi-core, having a Q6600 may also improve his system's lifespan. He/she doesn't need to upgrade that many time.

Of course, a Phenom 9500 may also do the job, which also cost a less. However, due to the nature of current Phenoms (buggy 3rd core, alleged DoS due to TLB errata), I would recommend an Intel QC over AMD's.
February 15, 2008 6:13:21 PM

The Q6600 is the best chip in the long run.
More and more items will use multi-cores.

The items that may really tax a system and are likely to really matter in regards to a CPU will be the ones to use them first.

If you have the money to spend and you stated $500 for a CPU, then the Q6600 is likely your best choice.

The E8400 is slightly less and will outperform the Q6600 on non-quad optimized chip and would be a good alternative. What's really nice aboue the E8400 is how cool it runs.
February 15, 2008 6:16:46 PM

To OP (I need to shut up soon :p ):

4Gb of RAM and 64bit Operating System is highly recommended. Image rendering takes a lot of RAMs.
February 15, 2008 6:18:01 PM

Quote:
Quad seems like an overkill


Nothing is over kill!!! More is always better than not enough! Like been said a thousand times... More apps will become multithreaded making the quad a more capable processor than it's dual core counter parts.
a b à CPUs
February 15, 2008 6:21:08 PM

yomamafor1 said:
To OP (I need to shut up soon :p ):

4Gb of RAM and 64bit Operating System is highly recommended. Image rendering takes a lot of RAMs.


But first make sure all your important applications do work on 64-bit Windows. I had some nasty surprises when I got a new PC at work and it had XP 64-bit. You may be just fine, or you might discover major problems there.
If you use XP 32-bit with 4 GB of RAM you will most likely only see 3.5 GB. That's still way better than 2 GB for the kind of things you're doing.
February 15, 2008 6:24:23 PM

deranged said:
Quote:
Quad seems like an overkill


Nothing is over kill!!! More is always better than not enough! Like been said a thousand times... More apps will become multithreaded making the quad a more capable processor than it's dual core counter parts.



Although I tend to agree with you on this, but haven't we been hearing the same thing about 64bit cpu's. They have been out for some time now and are just now starting to get utilized. I hope multi-threaded apps will be the mainstream really soon.
February 15, 2008 6:41:27 PM

molts said:

* web design (photoshop, coding, running a server on local machine)
* firefox with bazillion extensions :) 

So based on that, what CPU should I go with? Thanks!



* firefox with bazillion extensions :) 
No one thinks having a whole lot of windows open would benefit from a quad? Dude open multiple Firefox browsers… there ya go, 1 thread each, WAY faster.

-Why buy a dual core ever anymore? Perhaps today there isn’t too much he will benefit, what about 1 year from now? How about two?

Not everyone wants to upgrade processors every year, second year, 3 years... Buying a Q6600 for a user like this IS future proof. (Only enthusiast can’t future proof)

Spend $100 every couple years on processors? OR invest $275 now to last for 4 years, 5, maybe 6? (AND Q6600 will smoke everything else we discussed here)
February 15, 2008 7:18:39 PM

Summary: Dual cores will do the job fine, but get Quad core just to be safe.

Honestly I'm a web developer and for testing web apps on a dual core is fine. You fire off a request, on a cpu over 2.0ghz the sql server and web server have done their job in milliseconds. Even if your query is massive the sql server will only use one cpu for that thread. This is just a dev station right? It's not as though it's a server, it'll see no load.

Meanwhile your other core is running the web browser with dozens of tabs open, a music player, downloading torrents etc. at about 5% utilization. What would 2 extra cores be doing at this point? Pretty much nothing.

The other poster is right, disk is the bottleneck. You'd benefit more from lots of RAM, especially with Photoshop open.

We live in pretty good times, when you can get a dual-core cpu for $99 that will totally rock. If you can afford a quad now it's true you may benefit from it in a couple years. It might be worth it just so you don't have to worry about it later.
February 15, 2008 8:44:45 PM

Actually, contrary to popular belief, you can't really choose which core does which job. So even if you have multiple windows open, an IDE, photoshop, etc it may all still be running all on one core or all jobs could potentially be getting done in pieces, on alternating cores. I use a dual core setup because at this point, I don't have a good use for more. The only mainstream thing I see for quad core is video encoding, aka ripping DVDs and recoding for playback on iPod or to make it fit on a 4.7GB DVD.

Even photoshop is not a real candidate for quadcore unless you're manipulating images big enough for it to matter. And it has to be pretty big, at least 10-100MB images for it to make a noticable difference. Not many do image manipulation on this scale and fewer still are using the filters that would cause a CPU bottleneck.
February 16, 2008 12:07:10 AM

Quote:
Although I tend to agree with you on this, but haven't we been hearing the same thing about 64bit cpu's. They have been out for some time now and are just now starting to get utilized. I hope multi-threaded apps will be the mainstream really soon.


Well the thing is that a quad will do everything a two core can do now, but will be even better in the future.

This very subject has been beat to death...
February 16, 2008 1:05:11 AM

IIRC: Photoshop can only use ~2Gb of ram.

Adobe needs to spit out a 64bit version of photoshop!

I personally would shoot for a Q6600 (espically with your budget). It has overclocking headroom, you can run A LOT of applications at once, and its more "future proof" (I use that term lightly) than a dual core.

My question is: why not? All of the applications that the OP mentioned are fairly CPU intensive... so why not pick a CPU that can handle them + a little more.
!