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What do you think of these CPUs?

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July 2, 2009 1:34:29 AM

My brother and I are building a pc and I want to make sure we are getting the most bang for our buck. This system will mostly be used for school and web browsing. No gaming, basically office type stuff. Still, I want it to be a decent computer that is going to run at an acceptable speed for quite a while. My top processor choice is a Core 2 Duo E8400. This is about the most I would spend. I am also considering an E7400. This processor is a bit closer to what I was hoping to spend, but it seems to fall short in the benchmarks when compared to my top choice. On the AMD end, I am considering a Phenom 9950 or Phenom 2 550. Benchmarks seemed to place these close to my other two choices. As a bit cheaper alternative, I could get the Phenom 9600. Lastly, the Core 2 Quad Q8200 is in my price range, but I can't seem to find much on this cpu. How does it compare? Of these cpus, which is the best? Is there something else in this price range that is better than anything I've mentioned? Thanks ahead of time!

Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz 6MB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor - Retail

Intel Core 2 Duo E7400 Wolfdale 2.8GHz 3MB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor - Retail

AMD Phenom 9950 Agena 2.6GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 2MB L3 Cache Socket AM2+ 125W Quad-Core Black Edition Processor - Retail

AMD Phenom II X2 550 Black Edition Callisto 3.1GHz 2 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 80W Dual-Core Processor - Retail

AMD Phenom 9600 Agena 2.3GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 2MB L3 Cache Socket AM2+ 95W Quad-Core Processor - Retail

Intel Core 2 Quad Q8200 2.33GHz 4MB L2 Cache LGA 775 95W Quad-Core Processor - Retail

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a b à CPUs
July 2, 2009 1:44:43 AM

i would go Phenom II X2 550, you should look into the Phenom II X3 720 BE, it may still be in your price range

avoid LGA775 unless you already have a motherboard, its at the end of its life aka no new processors
a c 332 à CPUs
July 2, 2009 2:00:27 AM

For the type of work you propose, almost anything will be fine. I suggest a E5200.
Use the savings to get a faster hard drive, and you will notice the difference more. Look at the WD caviar black 1tb drive. It undoubtedly has more space than you need, but just using the first 10% will give you more performance than a faster cpu.
Get plenty of ram, 4gb of ddr2-800 is cheap.
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July 2, 2009 2:40:00 AM

Thanks for the input guys. The 720 is within my range, but a benchmark test I am looking at actually puts the 550 ahead. Granted, I can only find the one test that compares the two. The tests I can find also places the 9950 ahead of both, although I imagine it would be good to get the AM3 motherboard, and the others are a little cheaper. Also, many benchmarks place the E8400 ahead of the AMDs, while others are the other way around. I am trying to look at similar benchmarks, but there seems to be a lot of variation. Seems to be neck and neck regardless. Having a motherboard that will support future processors is nice, but it is not a major concern. This computer is going to be my brothers and I don't know that he'll be upgrading it.
a b à CPUs
July 2, 2009 3:22:33 AM

-as a side note, for web browsing and "office type stuff" and Intel pentium 1.0ghz and 512mb of ram should do the job :) 
July 2, 2009 3:39:51 AM

No offense, but the original phenoms are crap and any of those core 2s would CRUSH em. Phenom 2's are what the phenoms should have been in the 1st place.

I can play ANYTHING on mine and rip a dvd to Mpeg 2 in 19 mins with dvd fab to give you an idea, Even crysis maxed out. 60 million fps no, 25 playable at 1680 with AA - yes.

The phenoms were about the same speed as the athlon 64 x2's and this crushes my old 5400+ by 30 percent average on everything I do.
July 2, 2009 3:53:10 AM

No offense taken royal crown. Thank you for the comment. I am using a E7300 right now and like it very much, however, on the benchmarks I am looking at, the 9950 and the phenom 2s I am looking at seem to outperform the e8400 and e7400 I am looking at. Am I using inaccurate or improper benchmarks? Basically, I am looking at the 3DMark Vantage benchmarks here, anandtech's benchmarks and cpubenchmark.net
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July 2, 2009 3:57:28 AM

If you get a board with some OC'ing ability, the e5200 is a great suggestion. It's dirt cheap and you can OC the crap out of it. That all depends on the boards OC ability though.

The e8400 is one of the best all around cpu's available. For the uses you mentioned, you won't need more than 2 cores anyway, so that narrows down your choices.
July 2, 2009 4:20:22 AM

Microcenter had core 2 quads (9550)for 169.00, so look at those too...I wish the ol lady would let me... lol
July 2, 2009 10:13:46 AM

mindless728 said:
i would go Phenom II X2 550, you should look into the Phenom II X3 720 BE, it may still be in your price range

avoid LGA775 unless you already have a motherboard, its at the end of its life aka no new processors

i dissagree. LGA 775 is ATM probably the most widly used socket. they are still bringing out new processors and have no plans to stop. i would think at least 2 or more years more of this socket before they stop producing and it becomes "extinct"
July 2, 2009 10:41:39 AM

Producing the old processors yes, Core i7 or any other Core ix will not come out for the LGA755 socket. That it's widly used, so what? If the socket was backwards compatible like AM2 <- AM2+ <- AM3 then you could have mentioned that.
a c 172 à CPUs
July 2, 2009 10:47:31 AM

For your intended applications, forget the AMD-Intel arguments. Forget the benchmarks.

How fast can you type? Any decent mid-level CPU will be fast enough.

But keep this in mind. Your computer use will expand. First mp3's and digital photos. (Need more HD space) Then video ripping and converting. (Need faster processor, or let the machine run overnight.) Then, "Well, let's install this game ..."

That's how it starts. :)  So try not to build too little computer. E5200 (or AMD equivalent) at the very bottom. Better would be an E7200 (or ...).
July 2, 2009 11:43:23 AM

For school and web browsing you could buy a cheap second hand Pentium 4 2.8GHz machine for like a $100 + another $100 on a few upgrades like ram and harddrive. All those dual cores and quad cores seem like overkill. Real time stuff will still be in real time even on a 700MHz Pentium 3 machine which I still have in my house.
a b à CPUs
July 2, 2009 12:32:28 PM

Ah yes, nothing more zippy than opening a pdf on a p3 PC.
July 2, 2009 12:36:03 PM

aford10 said:
Ah yes, nothing more zippy than opening a pdf on a p3 PC.


Opening zip files doesnt seem slow, it may be slow If you have a a small amount of RAM because then virtual RAM(hard disk) is used which is thousands of times slower.
July 2, 2009 3:39:52 PM

I should have been a bit more specific about this pc. As jsc said, his uses may expand when he gets a new pc. Right now, all he does is web browse and office type stuff, but that's about all he can do with his p3 800mhz unit (lol). He has showed an interest in doing some video editing (not much and nothing hd). Also, we want it to be able to run new software and operating systems later on at an acceptable speed. Still, by far, this pc will be used for web and school. The E5200 is an option as is the E6300, although we were prepared to spend 100 to 160 on this processor, so if the my original choices would provide much power gain I would go with those. It seems that everyone prefers the intel options over amd, but from the benchmarks I am looking at, it would seem the 9950 and Phenom 2 550 outperform the core 2's I am looking at overall. Granted, I have been looking at some application specific benchmarks here which seem to rate the core 2s quite a bit higher than the 9950 (can't find much here on the Phenom 2s). Should I be looking at other benchmarks? What gives intel an edge? How are the Phenom 2s?
a c 100 à CPUs
July 2, 2009 5:00:15 PM

spiderdan said:
I should have been a bit more specific about this pc. As jsc said, his uses may expand when he gets a new pc. Right now, all he does is web browse and office type stuff, but that's about all he can do with his p3 800mhz unit (lol). He has showed an interest in doing some video editing (not much and nothing hd). Also, we want it to be able to run new software and operating systems later on at an acceptable speed. Still, by far, this pc will be used for web and school. The E5200 is an option as is the E6300, although we were prepared to spend 100 to 160 on this processor, so if the my original choices would provide much power gain I would go with those.


My personal opinion is that the intended usage of the computer is well-suited to a pretty low-powered, inexpensive CPU. The biggest limitations of the PIII unit is probably a lack of RAM. I have a 1 GHz PIII unit currently serving as my file server so I have a good idea of what kind of performance his machine has. It's CPU is not all that fast but is more than enough to do any office-type tasks except for opening 50 MB+ PDFs and slideshows. The real killer on the old PIIIs is that they are limited to 512 MB-1 GB RAM. Windows XP runs best with 2 GB RAM and Vista really likes 8 GB but will run decently enough with 4 GB RAM. Any new CPU you buy today will support at least 16 GB RAM if put in a suitable motherboard.

Quote:
It seems that everyone prefers the intel options over amd, but from the benchmarks I am looking at, it would seem the 9950 and Phenom 2 550 outperform the core 2's I am looking at overall.


Everybody seems to like the Intel because they have had the absolute fastest CPU for the least three years. AMD has been a bit down during most of that time, with the delay of their 65 nm Athlon 64s, the Core 2s significantly outperforming the Athlon 64s, and then the original Phenoms arriving late, buggy, and overly warm. AMD has quietly snuck up on Intel with the Phenom IIs and Athlon IIs, but since the Phenom II 955 isn't quite as fast as the absolute-fastest Core i7 models, relatively few have paid attention to AMD.

Quote:
Granted, I have been looking at some application specific benchmarks here which seem to rate the core 2s quite a bit higher than the 9950 (can't find much here on the Phenom 2s). Should I be looking at other benchmarks? What gives intel an edge? How are the Phenom 2s?


You should look at a wide variety of benchmarks when evaluating the performance of any two CPUs. Certain programs are specifically-optimized for a particular trait in one CPU over another, such as Cinebench loving the Core i7's HyperThreading, but most games don't care much for it. Intel has an edge in many benchmarks at the moment with the Core i7 as the Core i7 has the ability to execute more threads than the Phenom IIs due to HyperThreading and it can also run at a much higher than rated speed for single-core tasks with Turbo Boost. If you turn those off, the Core i7 still performs very well as it is a very solid CPU design, but the AMD CPUs are suddenly right up there with the i7s. I'm in no way implying that Intel is "cheating" by having those features, only that they are responsible for a lot of the difference between the performance of the i7s and the Phenom IIs. The Core 2s on the other hand do not have HyperThreading and non-laptop versions have no variant of Turbo Boost. The Phenom IIs are more than competitive with the Core 2s, but since the Core 2s are "old news," few notice.

The Phenom IIs are excellent CPUs. They are very reasonably-priced, run cool, and have good performance. They are much better than the original Phenoms like the 9950 you listed as they run much cooler and perform better due to 3x the L3 cache size. I would recommend that you should look at the Phenom II-based Athlon II 250 for your friend's computer. It is well under $100, runs cool, and should have more than enough power for non-HD video editing and general Web/office usage.
a c 332 à CPUs
July 2, 2009 7:47:40 PM

What benchmarks are you looking at for web browsing? Speed is primarily determined by your internet connection.

Office work is primarily gated by the speed of your hard dtive.

Is there an ulterior motive here? Like building a pc that is capable of gaming if you add a vga card???
July 2, 2009 8:37:27 PM

Thanks for the replies guys. MU_Engineer, that post was very informative. I have seen that the i7 is very much the fastest cpu available, it, however, is not in my budget while the Phenom 2s and Core 2s are. I suppose a Phenom 2 or the Phenom based athlon you suggested would likely outperform a Core 2? I realize any of the processors I am asking about would be overkill for my brother's purposes. He gave me a price range, and we want to build the best pc we can for that amount of money. As I also said, his uses may expand when he gets a new pc. Right now he can't even run MS Word 07 useably. I also want to leave room to expand. He will probably have this pc for a long time.
a c 764 à CPUs
July 2, 2009 8:42:07 PM

mindless728 said:
i would go Phenom II X2 550, you should look into the Phenom II X3 720 BE, it may still be in your price range

avoid LGA775 unless you already have a motherboard, its at the end of its life aka no new processors



I agree completely.
a b à CPUs
July 3, 2009 2:54:05 AM

I would pick either the Athlon II X2 250 (3.0 GHZ) as the lowest model; the Phenom II X2 550 as a great CPU and somewhat future-proof, and the Phenom II X3 710 or 720 as to be prepared for expansion and eventual interest in CPU intensive tasks (gaming, video editing, etc).
I feel all of the above AMD CPUs provide better value for money than Intel's counterparts. Either way, be assured that performance differences would be very subtle among these CPUs, especially for its uses, so anyone (even a cheap athlon x2) would be very fast for your uses.
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