A bit of background, I'm upgrading from a very old system and looking for something suited for general use. I play games, but generally don't go for the latest and greatest. I'm also both a cheapskate and an AMD/Nvidia fanboy, so I'm looking at various midrange AMD-based mobo/CPU combos at Tiger and Newegg. It'll be running 32-bit Win XP if it matters, as it gets the job done and I haven't been too impressed with Vista or XP64. I doubt I'll overclock, though if I go with a Black Edition chip I might bump it up 100MHz or so for a little extra kick. Basically I just want something that runs fast and smooth, and doesn't cost an arm and a leg.
It looks like right now the X2 6000+ and Agena Phenoms (9600-9950) are in my price range, with the higher end Phenoms being just a bit more than I want to spend but justifiable if they're worth it. I've read up on the infamous TLB errata and the various features of both but most of the information I've seen is aimed at upgrading an existing high-performance system rather than starting fresh so I'd like some insight on which is a better fit for my needs. Thoughts?
Unless you can get a PhenomII, get the 5x00 Black Edition (5600 or 5400, I cant remember which it is now) and turn it up to 3.0Ghz. Be certain you get a motherboard with SB750, as that will give you the option of upgrading to a PII later.
The classic Phenoms are quite lackluster, and I wouldnt advise getting one other than the Athlon X2 7750 (also a good option in comparison to the 5x00)
The Phenom II X3s look to be a bit beyond my pricerange for now, though I don't mind waiting a couple weeks to see if the new Denebs drive the price down. Any of the three would totally smoke the A64 3000+ I'm currently using, but I want to make sure whatever I buy will age well enough that I won't need to upgrade again for a few years.
edit: On closer inspection it looks like that one's a mirco ATX, with the full ATX options running around $160 or so.
I haven't received it yet but I did just order a Phenom 9850 on Friday. Picked it up for $129 and intend to use it in a cheap rig that will primarily be used for 3ds max rendering. I intend to run it at stock and price/performance is better than Phenom II for this particular task.
However for gaming and general use I would still recommend a cheap Athlon X2 such at the 6000 over the Phenom.
I wound up going with a 7750 BE because the local electronics shop had them at a fantastic price--$110 for boxed CPU and a decent motherboard. Works great so far, though something's wrong with my new graphics card so I'll have to deal with the exchange line (which reminds me, I love how AMD-based motherboards' onboard graphics packages aren't a total joke). Sounds like two cores will work just fine for me, and minimum specs aren't going up nearly as fast as they used to so it should serve me well for years to come.
Thanks for the input guys. I used to follow hardware a lot closer, back when performance was pretty linear but now there's so many options and so many factors it's getting near impossible to figure out what's "best" for my particular needs.