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ATHLON X2 6400 vs. PHENOM 9600

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March 5, 2008 2:14:08 AM

first of all i've searched the threads and i've seen tom's comparison page on this subject.
Yeah the phenom edged over the X2 slightly...

But what I want to know is why on earth would the comparison be limited to both processors using only 1 core?
phenom is designed on a 45nm architecture, and is obviously going to have more shared cache dedicated to each independent core. Where the X2 excels is in using both cores in unison. Quite personally, I don't think it would be wise to invest in an AMD quad core when it is still buggy,new, and in it's infancy. I don't believe in getting in on the ground floor with these new technologies and paying top dollar just because it's the next generation processor.

I'd like to see Tom's Hardware revisit this comparison, but this time match up both of them pound for pound. X2 using both it's cores vs. the phenom's quad. I'm interested to find out which one right now is better for hardcore gaming, instead of comparing the 2 in benchmark XX. I;m a hardcore gamer, and i'm not interested in muli-tasking. If I want to play Crysis or COD4, then i'm not going to be downloading music or running anti-virus software.

Let's compare the 2 on their ability to run games. i've seen one such comparison on the xbits website in which the X2 kicked phenom's butt in a few tests. I understand the hype about L3 cache and more cores working together, but 1GHZ faster core can't be ignored. Again i'm all about the gaming and I would really look forward to see a proper showdown between the 2.

thanks in advance.

March 5, 2008 2:55:21 AM

Take a look at the CPU charts on this site as they already have the info you're looking for. Phenoms are much faster than similarly clocked X2's in pretty much every benchmark. When the faster Phenoms come out you should expect them to trounce the X2 6400. As it stands now, the Phenoms will be better in games that can utilize the extra cores and the 6400 X2 will be faster in those that can't. Currently there are very few games that can utilize 4 cores. However, since the quad core processors are entering the mainstream from both AMD and Intel, you can expect that future games will likely take advantage of the additional cores and give the Phenoms a distinct advantage over the X2's.
March 5, 2008 3:24:41 AM

Phenom is 65nm
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March 5, 2008 5:01:15 AM

Phenom 45's aren't out yet.
And they're not really buggy as one would be lead to believe.
It actually takes a lot of effort to have the "erratum" bug happen on your system. I hear you need to virtualize 4 instances of OS's and then push the chip beyond it's capacity.
Either way you look at it, this scenario is unlikely to happen even if you do virtualize with your pc.
Turn off the erratum patch, you'll gain more performance.

A hard core gamer should be looking after VGA's rather than focusing on minimal CPU advantages as even a cheap dual core CPU is unlikely to be a bottleneck in your system.

Besides, your Anti-virus is usually running in the background along with a bunch of other crap. I don't use an Anti-virus, on that same note I don't use windows either.

Either a X2 6400 or a phenom 9600 are both a good buy. Though I would suggest whatever gets you more bang for your buck and invest in a highly scalable motherboard as higher performing phenoms are well on their way now.

If you think I'm an @$$hole, then you're right! And I'm very good at it too! =D
March 5, 2008 10:09:32 AM

in response to just_an_engineer

the charts on this site do not answer any of my questions, the charts are only using different benchmarks. There is no comparision on the 2 running different games. Most games only untilize a single or dual core. I think this website could have done a better job comparing the two processors.
March 5, 2008 10:33:46 AM

Phenom 9600 will get you a higher benchmark so I would go with Phenom 9600 Black Edition to see if you can get a little extra out of it.
a b à CPUs
March 5, 2008 11:59:21 AM

The Phenom might beat X2 processors clock-for-clock, but that means little when the clock speed isn't high enough to make up the difference. Even overclocking the Phenom 9600 Black Edition to 2.60GHz (the practical limit) only brings it up to the gaming performance of the less expensive, stock speed Athlon 64 X2 6400+.
March 5, 2008 12:28:50 PM

evongugg said:
The Phenom might beat X2 processors clock-for-clock, but that means little when the clock speed isn't high enough to make up the difference. Even overclocking the Phenom 9600 Black Edition to 2.60GHz (the practical limit) only brings it up to the gaming performance of the less expensive, stock speed Athlon 64 X2 6400+.


Furthermore, tests noted that the current Phenom's do not scale as well as the X2.
The relative gain in performance is smaller in the Phenom than the X2.

As a result, the Phenom may not even match the X2 Clock for Clock at high speeds such as 3.2-3.4Ghz.
Hopefully the 45nm Phenoms will get some of these problems fixed.
March 5, 2008 12:32:55 PM

what wo really want is not what the benchmark score is ,but the suitable ,fast experiences ,the high speed communicating to memory.
March 5, 2008 1:11:49 PM

Get the X2
March 5, 2008 1:29:03 PM

If you're really dedicated to the AMD route at this time, I'd say buy Phenom once B3 is out. Otherwise, just stick with the X2. In fact, if you're dedicated to buying right now, I'd say don't even get the 6400, go for the cheaper 5000BE as a stopgap to Phenom.
March 5, 2008 3:08:54 PM

I just ordered the 6400 B.E. today.

I want to run games, not multitask.

my new setup will be

600Watt PS
X2 6400 B.E.
Asus AMD 790 2600 FSB /HT 3.0 /PCI-E 2.0/ 1066 DRAM
2 GB OCZ 1066 4-4-4-15
W.D. 250GB HD
E-vga 8600 GTS S.S.C. 256MB (756 MHZ/2140 MHZ)

how fast do you think I could get the 6400 to run at?
my goal is 3.6

and of course I will be buying a decent after market cpu cooler.


March 5, 2008 3:16:11 PM

magnus2882 said:
how fast do you think I could get the 6400 to run at?
my goal is 3.6


I think you'll be lucky to get 100-200mhz more out of it, from what I've read. Those are pushed hard to begin with.
March 5, 2008 8:48:30 PM

I have no problem pushing my gaming rig using the 6400 to 3.5-3.6. I run a Zalman 9700 and its plenty well cooled.

Its a shame you only have a 8600 in that thing. Thats a nice bottleneck. Yes it does matter. I LOL when I read above how the vga is more important when that is clearly false. You can have a 700$ Ultra OCed to the max but if its paired up with a x2 3800 that ultra will run like an 8600. Smart builders always opt for the bigger CPU over the biggest GPU.
March 5, 2008 9:08:08 PM

yeah like a Quad-Core will do better than a Dual-Core. And a quad-core has future written all over it.
a b à CPUs
March 5, 2008 10:21:09 PM

Dont listen to the morons that say the crappy phenom cpu is "magically" faster even though ALL benchmarks say differently. It might be 10% faster AT THE SAME SPEED vs the amd x2 cpus. That means a 6400+ (which is clocked MUCH HIGHER) stomps the crap out of it. even a standard 6000+ STOMPS it. Don't downgrade.
March 5, 2008 10:46:00 PM

In the VAST majority of games, an X2 6400+ would beat a Phenom 9600, hands down. The only exceptions to this rule are the quad optimised games, which there are TWO available at this time - Supreme Commander and Flight Simulator X. If you plan to play these two games, then a Phenom may be the better choice. For all other games, the X2 6400+ is better.
March 6, 2008 5:06:43 AM

I was in your shoes not long ago. I debated and I realized that the x2 6400 was a much better buy than the phenom 9600. It was a whole lot cheaper and ran like a pro. the 6400+ performs on par with an E6750 (which was more expensive). I didnt want an c2d simply because I already had an AM2 MB.

I have tried OC the chip and I can reach 3.48ghz with a Coolermaster 212. It runs perfectly stable (4hr of cod4).

It is really ashame that you have an gf8600. Big time bottleneck especially since you're a hardcore gamer. I just purchased a 3870x2 last week and my computer runs like a champ.

There was a few reasons why I preferred AMD over Intel. The first is because I support the underdog. The x2 6400 was pretty good in terms of the best BANG for my Bucks. I am not interested in OCing either so c2d OC capabilities meant nothing to me.
The other reason is that I personally feel intel is overpriced and have been for quite sometime. One can only imagine what type of dominance intel would have if AMD went bankrupt. $1400 for an E8400 chip :pt1cable: 
March 6, 2008 5:40:15 AM

bluekoala said:

A hard core gamer should be looking after VGA's rather than focusing on minimal CPU advantages as even a cheap dual core CPU is unlikely to be a bottleneck in your system.



I believe my X2 4600+ 65 watt Windsor (2.4) bottlenecks my system at 1024 x 768. That might end when I get a 20" or higher LCD monitor, but it will end when I get a new 770 or 790 motherboard and a B3 Phenom. Sadly, the Phenom 9750 won't be out until sometime in May:

http://www.xbitlabs.com/news/cpu/display/20080305183954...

45nm Deneb will be even better:

http://www.xbitlabs.com/news/cpu/display/20080304121622...

IMHO, a quad core Phenom is better than an X2 6400+ and a Q6600 is better than a Wolfdale. That's because more games supporting more cores will be arriving this year. Besides, most of us don't turn off antivirus (especially while gaming online) and it doesn't hurt to have cores available for the OS and background apps under Vista.

How do I know my system's CPU limited? I get Crossfire performance in several games like The Witcher and Oblivion, but I should get Crossfire performance in 3DMark 06. People tell me that my score of 9512 is about equal to their single 3870 scores with Q6600's. So, I'm sure at lower resolutions, the card's hampered because the CPU just can't keep up.

Regardless of the argument of Intel vs. AMD; get a quad core unless you intend to switch out your CPU next year. Get a quad core if you think a CPU should last for two years in your system at stock. If you overclock and switch CPU's out every year, then go dual core, but even then a quad core is still more bang for the buck.


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