I am planning to get a new pc... and for the processors i have narrowed it down to phenom ii x3 720 and core 2 duo e8400. There are threads at various forums dealing with the same issue. However, most of these were started by users into gaming or who were planning to overclock their processors. I am not a gamer and wont be overclocking either, just want the best processor for my budget(consider it to be sufficient for e8400).
I am inclined towards the 720. But how much of a difference
i)will the higher power consumption make? (a general idea - considering both longevity and extra cost due to extra consumption )
ii)will the lower clock speed make?
for general use in multitasking, a 3-core would be better than a 2-core
also you should see mobo options re additional onboard features
if you plan on onboard video, for example, the AM3 boards have superior video power thru Radeon HD-3400 and soon Radeon HD-4200 (onboard chips). These solutions are considered best in the biz. They also offer multimedia capabilities, potential for home theatre, etc. (790GX and 785G). Plus the alt-option to add discrete GPU if needed.
If you plan on using more powerful discrete GPU solution, see the FX or X chipsets. These have no onboard video. (only Gigabyte offers the X chipset - MA790XT-UDP4.
NOTE also the AM3 cpu's will work in AM2+ mobos using ddr2 instead of ddr3 - offering even more choices. You need to understand the mobo options if you don't already. You can design for what you truly need, and not pay for what you do not need.
Power Consumption is easily dealt with through AMD Cool n Quiet - at idle, it switches seamlessly to 800mhz and reduced voltage as well - at intermediate loads, it will only use the power required for the cpu load - at full load, it switches to full power - and you won't notice these changes in power states. It just happens automatically w CnQ.
Also, if you don't want overclocking, you can opt for the "Phenom II 710" cpu, at a cost savings - it runs very slightly slower than the 720BE, and it does not have the unlocked multiplier, which is what makes the 720BE an ez overclocker.
Am3 cpu's work in either AM2+ or AM3 Sockets
AM2+ cpu's work in AM2+ Sockets only
considering my usage, the benchmarks favour amd right?.
You don't even need to bother with benchmarks - the Phenom II has more than adequate speed for your intended use - and more.
You should be focusing on features of the mobos - and zoom in on what you really want to have for your personal use in real world conditions.
Do you need onboard video or a discrete GPU card?
= and take it from there.
- many extra features are common to many mobos beyond that - once you read a few specs lists on Gigabyte or Asus or MSI sites, for example, you just need to make sure you get what you really want.