3.4ghz Dual-Core or 3.0ghz Quad-Core?

Ok, so the question is, Which is a better option for a machine to get more performance out of a 4870x2.

Athlon BE 5400 @3.4 ghz (Air)
or
Phenom 9950 BE @3.0 ghz (Air)

Are 4 cores going to not throttle the pcb as much as 2 cores? Or does the amount of cores not matter and the only relevance is the highest speed of a couple cores?

I'm trying to decide whether to replace my burnt out cpu with an in-expensive dual-core now and wait for the high end 45nm Deneb's to be released, or whether it won't matter and I should just get a high end quad-core now.

-Dannar
32 answers Last reply
More about 4ghz dual core 0ghz quad core
  1. I know you're gonna get more lengthy explanations in a bit, but here's a quick one... it depends on what games you play. Games that are fully optimized for greater than two cores would benefit from the Phenom... also, I believe clock-for-clock the Phenom is faster than the Athlons... sooo... with the exception of price, and assuming those are your only two options, I don't see any reason to go with with the Athlon. Phenom it is.
  2. go for quad
  3. Assuming you can hit those clock speeds...Quad.
  4. rodney_ws said:
    I know you're gonna get more lengthy explanations in a bit, but here's a quick one... it depends on what games you play. Games that are fully optimized for greater than two cores would benefit from the Phenom... also, I believe clock-for-clock the Phenom is faster than the Athlons... sooo... with the exception of price, and assuming those are your only two options, I don't see any reason to go with with the Athlon. Phenom it is.


    What games out there now are optimized for more than 2 cores? I don't remember seeing any (even Crysis is only dual core optimized). I don't see any new games coming out in the next year supporting quads yet.
  5. Check this out.
    http://www.legionhardware.com/document.php?id=770&p=5

    For example in Devil May Cry at 1920x1200 their Phenom 9950/3GHz got 262 fps, as opposed to an X2 at 3.46 Ghz getting 169 fps. Of course, things will be different in other games and at other resolutions. In general, I'd pick the quad because there's always something going on in the background and the extra cores help.
  6. Wasn't Supreme Commander?
  7. johnyeah said:
    What games out there now are optimized for more than 2 cores? I don't remember seeing any (even Crysis is only dual core optimized). I don't see any new games coming out in the next year supporting quads yet.


    LOL. Go to Task Manager and see how many processes you are running right now. Let me guess, between 28 and 57? Even if a game only uses one core or two, it may still work better on a quad because cores 3 and 4 can take care of the extra junk and the game gets to use its cores without sharing them with other things.
  8. rodney_ws said:
    Wasn't Supreme Commander?


    The quads here do marginally better than dual core. Maybe by 20% from 28FPS to 33 FPS (at the same clockspeeds), I got this from Tom's chart (not the best source but oh wells).
  9. aevm said:
    LOL. Go to Task Manager and see how many processes you are running right now. Let me guess, between 28 and 57? Even if a game only uses one core or two, it may still work better on a quad because cores 3 and 4 can take care of the extra junk and the game gets to use its cores without sharing them with other things.


    The number of tasks aren't divided among the cores that simply. And most of these tasks aren't running when you're playing games (CPU usage at 0%), so I don't see how that interferes with gaming (other than taking up more RAM).
  10. Please correct me if I'm wrong about my above post.

    Unless I'm missing something there, but I'm pretty sure that's how Windows handles resources.
  11. OK, what about uploads/downloads, winamp, movie players, and whatever other things people might have on while playing? Are you closing off everything when you start a game? If you do, then sure, a quad won't add any value.
  12. aevm said:
    OK, what about uploads/downloads, winamp, movie players, and whatever other things people might have on while playing? Are you closing off everything when you start a game? If you do, then sure, a quad won't add any value.


    Okay, uploads and downloads I agree (but they take up what, 1-2% of your CPU usage with bittorrent). I've only used winamp while I'm playing games (but that only takes up 1% of my CPU usage, I'm running it right now) . Be real here, yes, you won't close off everything like IM's and your browser (in that case they're idle as well), but you actually watch movies when you play games? I can imagine some people can do that when they have a dual monitor setup.
  13. Alright, I admit I forget those times when the annoying anti-virus auto scans pop out and you're like wow my comp is lagging (I've rarely noticed that problem ever since I swapped from single core to dual core) and maybe a quad core will reduce that lag even more.
  14. I would consider how long you intend to keep that new CPU. For short-mid term (1-2 years), I would go with dual cores. But more and more apps will be coming out optimized for multiple cores, so if you intend to keep that CPU for longer, you will want a quad core. You will get a longer lifespan out of it.
  15. i would go for the quad... even for intel's.. i'd rather go for a q9650 @ 4.0ghz than a duo @ 4.5...
  16. Can't we just give the op a unanimous response? Given his two options and assuming price isn't a concern, can anyone honestly recommend the Athlon over the Phenom?
  17. rodney_ws said:
    Can't we just give the op a unanimous response? Given his two options and assuming price isn't a concern, can anyone honestly recommend the Athlon over the Phenom?


    If the price isn't a concern, yeah the Phenom is definitely better than the Athlon.

    Apologies for straying off topic.
  18. johnyeah said:
    If the price isn't a concern, yeah the Phenom is definitely better than the Athlon.

    Apologies for straying off topic.


    Price is a concern. Is the amount of perceived difference between a 45 nm Phenom and a 65 nm Phenom enough to just go for a low cost dual-core for the 4-6 month wait before Deneb's come out?
  19. Dannar said:
    Price is a concern. Is the amount of perceived difference between a 45 nm Phenom and a 65 nm Phenom enough to just go for a low cost dual-core for the 4-6 month wait before Deneb's come out?


    No benchies for the Deneb is out. Whether it's worth the wait or not depends on what you have right now and how urgent you are for a new CPU. Right now phenoms are already pretty cheap already (Althon's are dirthcheap).
  20. @Dannar: are you doing any audio/video editing or compressing, ripping DVDs and/or CDs? Are you doing programming work or database or CAD work or Photoshop? Will this machine be used as a server of some sort? Are you the kind of guy who runs several programs at the same time often? Are you playing Flight Simulator X a lot?

    Those are the areas where quads do best. If none of those applies to you, a dual would be enough IMO. It would also save you $100 when you buy it and some electricity later.
  21. ^+1.
  22. aevm said:
    @Dannar: are you doing any audio/video editing or compressing, ripping DVDs and/or CDs? Are you doing programming work or database or CAD work or Photoshop? Will this machine be used as a server of some sort? Are you the kind of guy who runs several programs at the same time often? Are you playing Flight Simulator X a lot?

    Those are the areas where quads do best. If none of those applies to you, a dual would be enough IMO. It would also save you $100 when you buy it and some electricity later.


    I do Photoshop work, I rip dvds/cds. I don't do much audio/video editing, but it's not inconceivable that I will do such in the future. I've not considered using it as a server, probably won't happen, but again, not inconceivable. I don't play Flight Simulator X.

    If I am gaming, I will only leave necessary programs running in the background.

    Gaming is my primary concern for knowing what's going to get the spiffy quality that I want on my monitor (26" Samsung)
  23. How about go with an Intel and get better performance anyways? Otherwise the Phenom.
  24. I think you'd be fine with any CPU then, no worries :)
  25. Well if you want to wait for Deneb you may want to get the 5400 BE for now and overclock it. It's only $77 on the egg after all.
  26. megamanx00 said:
    Well if you want to wait for Deneb you may want to get the 5400 BE for now and overclock it. It's only $77 on the egg after all.


    that's what I'd been heavily leaning towards, but I wanted to wait to see what other people thought before I actually decided to get it or another proc.

    Urgency is pretty high... depending on how this thread: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/256677-31-what-problem

    turns out
  27. http://www.legionhardware.com/document.php?id=770

    9950BE at 3.0GHz wins over 6400+ at 3.4GHz. There is no way 5400+ is faster than 6400+ clock for clock.
  28. The problem you referred to in your other post doesn't seem like a problem with the CPU.
  29. There is also another point to be made.

    All Else being Equal, a 3.4Ghz Dual will be slightly faster in activities that can't support more than two cores.

    However, a 3.0Ghz Quad will be significantly faster than a dual when they are.

    The quad would get my vote for that reason.
    The small difference may not be noted, but the large differnce will.

    That is why I would vote Quad.
  30. All else isn't equal, though. That 3.4 GHz o/c Athlon will still have 512K L2 per core; a single threaded game won't even see the combined 1M.

    The 3.0 GHz o/c Phenom will have 512K L2 per core plus a shared 2M L3. Especially if the game is running one or two threads, that's a huge chunk of additional cache, on top of whatever core and memory improvements were introduced. And while this cache won't set any speed records, the Athlon would suffer having to go to main memory.

    Because I can't even assure that the Athlon would be faster in single threaded games, I would strongly recommend the Phenom over the Athlon, though of course we are presuming (1) that 3.0 GHz is actually attainable and (2) that we're excluding an Intel platform. As for pricing, the top-of-the-line Phenom is under $180 - can't be saving much downgrading to Athlon BE.
  31. Acutally with the new SB750 a Phenom 9950 going up to 3.4 Ghz is kinda doable now with a good air cooling,so if that extra $100 isnt such a big deal to you,get the quad for it's one of the best proce/performance processors out there anyways.
  32. WR said:
    All else isn't equal, though. That 3.4 GHz o/c Athlon will still have 512K L2 per core; a single threaded game won't even see the combined 1M.

    The 3.0 GHz o/c Phenom will have 512K L2 per core plus a shared 2M L3. Especially if the game is running one or two threads, that's a huge chunk of additional cache, on top of whatever core and memory improvements were introduced. And while this cache won't set any speed records, the Athlon would suffer having to go to main memory.

    Because I can't even assure that the Athlon would be faster in single threaded games, I would strongly recommend the Phenom over the Athlon, though of course we are presuming (1) that 3.0 GHz is actually attainable and (2) that we're excluding an Intel platform. As for pricing, the top-of-the-line Phenom is under $180 - can't be saving much downgrading to Athlon BE.


    Older games love higher clockspeed but these are different archs were talking about... Newer games like more cores and cache so... I say the Phenom is a better choice. With the improved arch it should make up for the older games and the newer games will benefit more from the Phenom...

    Check this out!

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103244

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103285
Ask a new question

Read More

CPUs Performance Quad Core Dual Core Product