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Dual Core vs. Quad Core

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November 30, 2008 12:51:59 PM

Okay guys,
I am looking to upgrade my system mobo, processor, and ram.

My current specs are (and excuse me, i built this as my first computer not computer literate at all :(  ) AMD Sempron 3k 1.8GHZ,
Some crappy Chaintech motherboard, 1Gig of ram, 120Gig Western digtal, and my ATI x1950GT 512 MB

Yes, yes, i know it's terrible, but to be completley honest, it runs what i do decent...but i'd love it to be faster.

Right now my current activities include running itunes, limewire, Msn Messenger, Firefox, and World of Warcraft (or something like BF2, steam products etc.) all at the same time, i'm suprised my amd is doing this well.

With 5 programs running and 1 process consuming game running i know it's time to upgrade

I am now on board with intel and their products,

I am just torn between the dual core and the quad core.

Yes quad core is what i'm leaning towards but i feel that a dual core could out perform the quad if i buy the right product

So in sum guys...tell me which is better for what i'm doing, i want a quad, but i think a dual would be fine for me, and what processor and ram would be good for me, my budget is around $300... :D  i'm only 16 give me a break!

Also Most quads are only $10-20 more so...then would i just buy a quad?

Thanks so much

More about : dual core quad core

November 30, 2008 1:22:57 PM

For the most part there are reviews/tests/benchmarks for the quad/dual issue available on this site and most certainly online.

But I can give you my opinion. When I did this system the choice was between the Q9550 and the E8500. I'm extremely pleased with the overall performance of this system (8gb of ram doesn't hurt either), I overclocked the E8500 to 3.8 with no issues and nothing extra except a xigmatech cooler. If that difference in price doesn't matter to you just get quad.More programs are taking advantage of quad core processors, so in time there will be a noticeable performance increase in everyday activities but as of now a dual core does just fine. Toms hardware just did a write-up on a processor E7....something, that when overclocked was a better value than the E8500.

For the ram I would recommend at least another gig...mushkin, g-skill, there are recommendations for manufacturers and timings all over the forums. I don't know what OS you have but if it is vista x32 I would get as close to 4gb as you can.

I had zero issues with P5q family from Asus but there are cheaper alternatives.

If you need ideas on alternate parts there was a system builders article on toms this week. The one for around $600 would give you some ideas on parts to use.
November 30, 2008 2:00:02 PM

Is $300 your total budget or just your budget for the processor? Assuming you reuse as much from the old computer as possible, you're going to need, at a minimum, a CPU, RAM, motherboard, power supply, and video card.

If you decide to go with a dual core, you'll need a total budget of $400-500, depending on how powerful a video card you choose to go with it.

If you decide on a quad core, you'll need a budget of $500-600, again depending on the video card you select.

Of course, those budgets can be squeezed down but it will come at the cost of quality and performance.

Let us know what your total budget is and we can put together a list for you.
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November 30, 2008 2:19:30 PM

okay my budget of $300 is for the processor, ram and Mobo.
my hardrive also needs to be updated b/c it's still not sata, however i will buy that on a diff budget so don't worry about it and my ATI 1950GT 512 is just fine for right now, my Power Supply is a "FSP Group SAGA+ 450R 450W ATX12V" so i mean really i think i'm fine,

Reguarding attesan997 i am looking for perfromance yes, with that said i listed my activities inlcuding multitasking like itunes, msn, and a game like Wow which i can't imagine being that complex on a processor, however i see the effects on my poor single core :( 
So i think i wana go dual core but tell me more if you can
November 30, 2008 3:03:07 PM

I would recommend the e7300 on newegg over the e7200 at this time, because newegg has them for the same price. The e7300 has a 10x multiplier while the e7200 has a 9.5x. It's not much of a difference, but for the exact same price, you can't go wrong.

Intel Core 2 Duo E7300 Wolfdale 2.66GHz $119.99

Also, I suspect that your ati x1950 gt 512 is an agp card, you need to confirm this, and if it is the case, you will still need to get a pci-e video card. If, by surprise, it is a pci-e card, you'll be fine.
November 30, 2008 3:06:16 PM

Hmm, if your video card is PCI-E, is your motherboard by chance AM2? A cheep AMD dual core and some more ram might be a better upgrade option since your funds are rather limited. Will give you the opportunity to save up and build a really nice Skt775 system this summer after prices drop.

EDIT: If you do upgrade, that memory is nice but http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231209 is even nicer. Running 4 sticks of this stuff, absolutely top notch.
November 30, 2008 3:07:49 PM

mobo.. good selection :)  ram is good too.. processor.. while the 7200 is a great budget processor.. (probably the best!!).. if u cant stretch ur budget a bit more, u cant go wrong with e8400.. (or maybe e8200) its a better processor overall, and has twice the cache of the e7200.. and shud be more future-proof than e7200.. hope this helps..
November 30, 2008 3:13:27 PM

mtyermom said:
Also, I suspect that your ati x1950 gt 512 is an agp card, you need to confirm this, and if it is the case, you will still need to get a pci-e video card. If, by surprise, it is a pci-e card, you'll be fine.


My video card is a pci x16 suprisingly. i always use pci slots never agp.
November 30, 2008 3:16:45 PM

cmashwin said:
mobo.. good selection :)  ram is good too.. processor.. while the 7200 is a great budget processor.. (probably the best!!).. if u cant stretch ur budget a bit more, u cant go wrong with e8400.. (or maybe e8200) its a better processor overall, and has twice the cache of the e7200.. and shud be more future-proof than e7200.. hope this helps..



okay well i may be able to stretch a tid bit.
and do you mention the e8200 over the e8400 b/c of price or? just wondering,

And let's assume i can spend a few more dollars, what are the benifits of the e8400 over the e7300?
November 30, 2008 3:20:07 PM

Extra cahce, but to get it you need extra cash (Couldnt resist) It will help in certain games and applications, but to be honest, in many situations, the low end Pentium Dual-cores when clocked to equal speeds run just as fast. As mentioned, it might future-proof a bit, but not alot. Really up to you in the end, but the E7xxx series are good chips too.

EDIT: Left out that the E8xxx series will be clocked higher, but with a nice P45 mobo (as Pico recomended) you can OC the 7xxx to the same speeds with ease.
November 30, 2008 3:30:26 PM

okay let's say i decide on the E8xxx series...wouldn't at that price i just go Quad core?
November 30, 2008 3:36:42 PM

Not nessisaraly for the same reasons your looking to move up to the E8400. The Q6600 (only quad at that price point worth having) is 2 E6600s stuck together. So you now have less cache(per core) and lower clock speed again. Upside being of course that you now have 4 cores. For the type of usage your describing, a quad is probably not your best route. It will run fine, and add that extra layer of 'Future-Proof', but will likely not get fully utilized by your current usage habits.
November 30, 2008 3:55:49 PM

Core i7 has come out now so n e fing u build ull be wanting that after a while, id just go for a e5200 2.5Ghz pentium dual core and OC the F**K outa it. get it to 4 GHz on air cooling

then get 1 more stick of cheapy ddr 2 ram and a good GPU that u will keep

after a year or 18 months sell the dual core, motherboard and ram and get a core i7 system when prices are cheaper and keep ur good graphics card

i recon that would be the best use of money in the long run
November 30, 2008 4:14:05 PM

well i think i'm gona stick with the e7xxx series unless you guys think with my habbits i only need teh e5xxx series, and just as a pointer, i know nothing about overclocking, i see that the p45 mobo's allow it, but how far can i OC it on air cooling, stock heatsink and fan safely. and how much of a difference can i make from 2.5GHZ to like 2.8? will i see a differance in performance or just kinda it's there but i wo nt' know it. Your thoughts?

And so i just really wana know do you think the e5 and e7 series really make a difference with each other, will i notice that difference opening and running programs, and also the OC performance difference
November 30, 2008 4:33:43 PM

If u are gonna OC and u want preformance for money the E5200 is prolly better if not go with the e7 series,

if u got a freezer 7 pro heat sink which are around £15 of ebuyer u can OC the e5200 to at least 3.5 and mormally to 4 ghz

in fact toms hardware used it on there $650 build and they got it to 4 ghz with that cooler.

i work in a big retailer for PC's so get to play with loads of processors and try and benchmark differnt ones when i can, and i only see like a 5-10% preformance gain with a core 2 vs a pentum dual at the same clock speeds

in my system i have a q6600 running at 3 ghz

so my final point.
If u OC and want best prefromance to price get the e5200 with a freezer 7 pro and clock to 3.5-4 Ghz

if u dont get the best CPU u can afford prolly the e7

i just like the e5200 as its prolly the best OC chip other than the 8series core 2's cause its 45-nm with a nice low FSB and high multiplier meaning ur motherboard is unlikely to cause the OC to hit a wall.
November 30, 2008 5:29:27 PM

Exactly, you can spend $80-$100 now, save up and this summer or next winter grab up something faster. i7 may even be an option by then.
November 30, 2008 6:01:09 PM

habitat87 said:
Very true with the e5200, unless your getting an e8400 or e8600, go with that option.

Although, I'm with B-unit. Can your mobo support amd dual cores? If it does, get one of those. I have an e5200 chip myself, but if I had the oppurtunity between that and a cheap drop in, I'd choose the drop in. It's a nice upgrade from that single core sempron. x2 3800 (no hsf) at 35$ on newegg is nice upgrade and a decent overclocker. Choice of hsf is also a plus if you want to overclock. Otherwise just get the x2 5200 at about $56.


Okay my current mobo is a chaintech Summit series MK8T890 which is socket 754...again, i know. so now i really wana go with the Intel e5200 b/c it's a decent uipgrade for now, and i won't have to commit to it fully b/c i will probly upgrade within 1.5 years.

Even if i do stick with it for more than 3 years it should be fine with what i run.

Okay now i once again ask if i get the 5200. what is a decent mobo and ram, and i guess what the heck a Hardrive too! b/c mine is IDE right now still and if i'm going to be saving money buying the 5200 mine aswell get a hardrive with sata or whatever is available. perferably 160gigs+

So i really appeciate all your guys help, has really changed my mind and saved me money! if you wana do some research on newegg and pick out a mobo and ram with that intel e5200 that'd be awesome!!!
Thanks again!
November 30, 2008 6:39:16 PM

habitat87 said:


Also, you might need a new psu. what is the pin count support on your current psu?


Right now here is a link to mine...i know i know GOSH; sorry i have to show you all my crappy computer

It has 2 sata...is that enough?

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

wana find one of those too?
:D  i love this forum, everyone here is very helpful
November 30, 2008 6:57:26 PM

I am amazed at how well my rig tear through games. I am amoung the lucky few that could get the lowly e4400 up to 3.0 GHz. Any other C2D should smash 3.0 GHz to pieces. Granted I'm resolution limited cause I'm using a 720p HDTV as a monitor but games look great on it at that resolution.

I am one that upgrades often so I don't need the latest and the greatest in order to be happy. So I would say dual core if you plan on upgrading in a year or two. Go quad if you plan on sticking with wat ya got for a while.
November 30, 2008 7:13:29 PM

Alright guys well i really appeciate all your comments and concerns. finally i will being buy the following:

CPU- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Mobo- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Ram- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Hardrive- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I will not be purchasing it for another 20 days but if you feel i must know something please let me know and i'll get back to you
November 30, 2008 7:24:22 PM

add to the list the freezr 7 pro if u wana OC its only £15 thats UK price btw, its nice and quiet and good quality
December 1, 2008 12:31:22 AM

I have two phenoms and one C2D P8400. My two phenoms runs much better compared to C2D. If you are only using one application that works then C2D is ok, but when someone have been using phenom for a while you get used to just start as many applications as you want. If one applicaton is working and is using some power then C2D just dies
December 1, 2008 12:35:48 AM

then there is something wrong with your e8400.
December 1, 2008 8:18:37 AM

roofus said:
then there is something wrong with your e8400.

I don't think there is any error because when I run perfomancetests it wins over my phenoms (if they are cpu intensive). Of course there is a difference in having 2 or four cores also.
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