Which CPU - Dual or Quad? & which one?

Hi all,

I am just in the process of upgrading my CPU and need some help please!!

My setup is as follows:-

Motherboard: Asus M2n32-SLI Wifi Deuxe - http://usa.asus.com/Product.aspx?P_ID=0jMy2X8lKstYRvev

CPU: AMD dual core 5000+ (black edition) - 2.81ghz (can overclock up to 3.2ghz)

Heatsink/fan: Coolermaster TX2

Memory: Geil 4GB DDR2 PC2-6400 800MHz CL4.0 Black Dragon Dual Channel Kit4GB RAM DDR2 800MHz

Hard Drive: 150gb Raptor

Op Systems: Windows 7

Now I dont know what processor to get, just got to terms with dual core and now we're talking quad and phenoms and whatever else lol.... BUT reading some places they say they arent as efficient as sometimes the dual cores?? I dont get it?
Basically im building a friends pc for him who wants what I have so thought I would use this opportunity to upgrade my processor and only put a small amount towards it out my own pocket :D

Basically, im looking to upgrade my processor without spending loads. I have in mind: Phenom 9650 (£85) (http://www.microdirect.co.uk/Home/Product/40646/AMD-CPU-AM2--9650-X4-Phenom-64-Quad-Core-Retail)

Anyone any ideas if this would be better than my current black edition 5000+ or should I not bother or you have any suggestions for similar money?

Thanks in advance!
20 answers Last reply
More about which dual quad
  1. Depending on what you're doing with your computer (gaming, encoding, day to day basic use, ...), you might not need an upgrade. The athlon x2 5000 isn't a bad chip and if you overclock it, you can squeeze some more performance out of it. If you do wish to upgrade, however, you would probably want to upgrade your whole system (at least your board, as it doesn't support phenom II). Upgrading to a phenom 9650 wouldn't be an upgrade in terms of speed (you'd actually take a performance hit in some areas) but it would give you multicore abilities, which would help if you do a lot of encoding, or if you just like to multitask.

    If your friend wants what's in your comp, you might just want to sell him yours and build a new one for yourself. I could recommend a system for you if you provide a focus (what you will be using it for) and a budget (and any brand preferences, if any).
  2. If you're running Windows 7, I'd go with a quad-core. Even though a dual-core may be sufficient, Windows 7 can split its workload among those cores more efficiently. If you're going to play any games, even the ones that only support dual-core processors could still show an increase in performance because you'll be offloading system processes across the other two cores. More future games will support more than 2 cores. Even simple applications could be multithreaded to take advantage of multiple cores. The newest versions of WinZip are heavily multithreaded and scale well with multi-core processors.
  3. Quad core's aren't any more or less efficent, they just run at a lower overall speed at stock (hence, a simmilarly priced Quad has more processor units running a slower speed compared to a Duo).

    Most things are still optimized for two threads, but more and more software is taking advantage of quads. Really, at this point, upgrading to a dual core doesn't make much sense, unless its a budget rig...

    Oh, and say away from the first gen Phenoms; they stunk.
  4. pepperman is right, it's really going to come down to what you want to do with it.

    Since your current MoBo is an AM2 and not an AM2+ you are somewhat limited in your choices for a new CPU. From what I understand you are able to put AM2+ CPU's in an AM2 board but it will not function to it's full potential, you would also want to check Chipset updates.

    If you want to purchase a new CPU and a new MoBo, then we again can help you, but would need an idea of how much you are looking to spend.

    If you do not want to upgrade the MoBo and only want to focus on the CPU then again pepperman is spot on. If you are going to be doing encoding or rendoring, etc, then going to the 9650 might be an ok idea however for gaming or general use it would slow you down. The 9650 has a lower clock speed and does not OC as well as the current chip you have, so in processes which you can only use 2 cores, the 9650 would fall behind, but in multithreaded software the extra cores would pickup the slack.
  5. Also depends on your budget for electricity. In Hawaii, its 30 cents a killowatt hour. A quad core screamer burns 500 watts peak and settles down to 145 watts as a low. 24 *7 yields an annual Hawaii electric bill of $381 to $1,315. Compare that to a MoDT Penryn 2.8 running 70 watts peak and 25 watts idle or comparative electric bill of $66 - $184. You could buy an entire computer every year with the savings between the machines! The number even get better with Atom 330 and ION chipsets.
  6. I'd like to know which quad uses 500w!? My Q9550 @3.4 with SLi 8800GTs, 2 HDDs, 2 Opticals, a 22" monitor and a 5.1 Amp playing Crysis only pulls 450w total at the wall!! lol
  7. if a quad core is pulling 500watts a minute i wouldn't worry about the electricity bill because the thing would burn itself out in a few minutes.

    Though, please feel free to post rexki where you got that info, i would like to see which chip it is.
  8. Not even the power hungry graphic cards of today take 500 watts. ok in quad sli/crossfire they can take over 500 watts but thats at peak power.
  9. I'm not certain, but he may have been referring to an entire system. I'm basing this on his MoDT Penryn using 70 watts where in fact the chip itself has a tdp of 25 watts.

    I would like to see the info as well, though.
  10. Thanks a lot for the responses, much appreciated!!

    The reason I went for the Asus m2n32-sli was at the time it was a good all rounder and purchased through ebay at £60 (as apposed to £120), bargain personally and certainly been a good board for me.
    I didn’t really want to upgrade the mobo as it hadn’t actually crossed my mind to be honest? However, I am willing to do so at the right price and recommendations! Preferably I don’t want to have to change my ram if thats poss? as Ive already ordered my mates ram which arrived today so means I would have to replace my 4gb worth out my own pocket full cost...

    What do I do?
    Basically dvds, re-encode, winrar, all the memory / processor hungry apps, flitting between screens and programs, nice to be able to multitask without internet freezing etc. Im not a gamer but have done every so often but not hard core enough to warrant a gaming machine.

    So any ideas on board and processor would be much appreciated, if I can pick up off ebay even better, so £70-£80 motherboard cost and same again on the processor, hopefully that could get me a board worth around £120 if I get the right deal the right time.... failing that I’ll have to buy new at full price. I have a Radeon HD 2600XT graphics card to, but as this is pci express anyway I suppose it doesn’t make much diff to the board? If I have to change the ram then so be it, but if I can stick with what I have then better for me (pc2-6400) but like I say im open to all options and would like a fast pc for a little as poss – don’t we all !! :D
  11. Your usage basically means you are in the market for a quad. Your pricerange means that you are looking for a PII x4 or a QXXX0. To keep your memory you need a board that takes DDR2, I.e the AM2+ boards or 90% of the S775 boards out there. As you're shopping off Ebay I think its just a matter of finding something that’s a good deal. It doesn't really matter what you go for, as long as you get it at the right price relative to what it would cost you new.
    You can use the Tom's CPU charts to compare all your possible CPU choices, but personally I would say if you can find a 45nm C2Q (Q9xx0) for the right price then go for one of those as they are typically stronger clock for clock and do overclock well. The fact that it is a dead socket isn't really an issue as you are buying cheap and you can easily swap it out next time round, by which time you will need to buy DDR3 (or 4 or 5!) and a new mobo anyway.
    Or you could go for a PII with a AM2+/AM3 DDR2 board and give yourself the possibility of a CPU upgrade path in the near future, but go with an AM3 chip that is more than £100 new - PII X4 9xx to make it a decent upgrade. My 2p!
  12. Thanks for the reply.

    I have been looking through motherboards and decided to stay away from running DDR3 memory for now as the forum and review seems to point out its not much better for cost, plus it means I would have to buy more memory again!

    In terms of boards ive been looking at the following:-





    On the processor front I quite like:-


    Now if I understand correctly..... even though it is AM3 its backwards compatible so would be fine in an AM2+ board???

    Which leads me to another question - I assume I wouldnt benefit from the processors full potential doing it this way??

    AND if not then would this seem like a good buy:-

    Board - http://www.dabs.com/products/gigabyte-am3-amd-785g-matx-ddr2-a-l-64S6.html?refs=48750000-4294951481

    Processor - http://www.dabs.com/products/amd-phenom-ii-x3-720-black-edition-5GM4.html?refs=404720000&q=AMD%20Phenom%20II%20X3

    Sorry for millions of questions, I just want to order the right things!!!
  13. Sorry to bump, just dont know what to order!?! lol
  14. Personally, I would get the gigabyte 785 board and the phenom ii 720. You could keep your RAM, your HD, and probably your h/s fan.
  15. pepperman said:
    Personally, I would get the gigabyte 785 board and the phenom ii 720. You could keep your RAM, your HD, and probably your h/s fan.

    Would you class that as a good upgrade? I know things go out of date all the time but for the money I want to be fairly future proof for now.... I will spend the touch extra on board/processor if you have recommendations in mind, but if you seriously think this will do then I will order tonight.... thanks again for the reply, well appreciated!!!
  16. Honestly, you won't see tremendous gains with the new setup; the cpu does run faster, and it has an extra core, but if you really want to future-proof more, I would recommend a quad core cpu, probably a 945, or if you want to oc, a 955.
    If you want to wait, I don't think its absolutely necessary right now, but if you're noticing freezing while multitasking, it would help a bit.
    Were I you, I would probably wait, but then I don't know your situation 100%.

    945- £156.43

    955- £166.42

    If you choose to upgrade, the gigabyte mobo previously selected would work fine for either of these.
  17. That sounds good but well bumped up on the price although I appreciate they are awesome processors.....

    Im going to go for the following board which is a level up from the other for an extra £12 and received quite a good review.

    Board - http://www.dabs.com/products/gigabyte-am3-amd-790x-ddr2-atx-a-l-645L.html?refs=48750000-4294951481

    Processor wise, I didnt want to go over the £100 mark really, but going to think on it for another day, for the extra little bit and like you say the difference will be more so it might actually be worth the jump.... the only reason I intially chose the Phenom 720 was due to a review on this site. Thanks again!!!!
  18. PII X4 945, £129.79 with free delivery:


    I'm sure if you hunt around you can get the components cheaper and then you will be able to afford the PII x4 system.
  19. Thanks for that, but noticed this is a 6mb and the other one is 8mb??


    So only having just noticed this, for me should I be concerned and save the pennies and go for the 6mb one for £130 as apposed to £156 8mb one!?
  20. There both the same, there just listed different on the two sites (the 6 mb is the l3 cache, where the 8 mb is the total cache).
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