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Advice on CPU - AMD or Intel - How many Cores

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November 4, 2009 3:41:59 PM

Hi,

I'm at a loss deciding what CPU to build a machine around. I do computer programming in Win and Linux, so instead of booting into different oper. systems like I do now with my old machine, I need a 64bit processor, and will use virtual machines to have the programming environments set up inside them. In a nutshell here is what I need to run:

64 bit Operating System
Virtual Machines
Programming, debugging, and testing tools
Databases

I'm not sure how many cores I need, or how to compare which AMD (w/o ovrclocking) will perform similar to which Intel. I've looked at the articles and benchmarks in this site, and they are very helpful, but couldn't make up my mind, b/c most are about games, overclocking, etc.
I want the machine to be ready for the future (at least mid-term), and not to go obsolete shortly, at a reasonable price. Would you please suggest which processor would be best in my case?

Thanks in advance,

Richard
November 4, 2009 4:24:02 PM

I use mine for fairly similar purposes and I would recommend something along the lines of what I recently purchased, which is a PhenomII X4 955 (a 945 or 965 will also be pretty much the same). I also got 8 gigs of RAM as I use Virtual Machines a lot, in fact everything I do is in VMs.

If you do however opt for Intel then go for an i5/i7 and not a Core2, as the Core2s are pretty sh*t for your kind of usage compared to a PhenomII.

I don't overclock but opted for a 955 Black Edition so that in a few years, when it starts to be a bit slow and I cannot afford a new CPU at least I have the option to overclock with ease.
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November 4, 2009 4:37:41 PM

RichardGrant said:
Hi,

I'm at a loss deciding what CPU to build a machine around. I do computer programming in Win and Linux, so instead of booting into different oper. systems like I do now with my old machine, I need a 64bit processor, and will use virtual machines to have the programming environments set up inside them. In a nutshell here is what I need to run:

64 bit Operating System
Virtual Machines
Programming, debugging, and testing tools
Databases

I'm not sure how many cores I need, or how to compare which AMD (w/o ovrclocking) will perform similar to which Intel. I've looked at the articles and benchmarks in this site, and they are very helpful, but couldn't make up my mind, b/c most are about games, overclocking, etc.
I want the machine to be ready for the future (at least mid-term), and not to go obsolete shortly, at a reasonable price. Would you please suggest which processor would be best in my case?

Thanks in advance,

Richard



Well following the "I want the machine to be ready for the future (at least mid-term), and not to go obsolete shortly, at a reasonable price." This reduces the number of cpu choices.

With what you do and want for the future, quad core cpu is probably a good long term cpu.

The Cpus i would recommend is:

Intel:
Core i5 (LGA 1156) $199
Core i7 920 (LGA 1366) $288

AMD:
Athlon II x4 620 (AM3 socket) $99
Phenom II x4 955 (AM3 socket) $175

If you can spend $200 and over on a cpu then intel cpus are a good choice as they can do more work than a equivlent clock Amd cpu. Exp: core i7 920 (slowest of the i7's) is able to keep in pace with AMD fastest Phenom II x4's.

If $200 cpu is to much, then AMD cpus will be a good choice as they have a great power to price ratio.


All 4 of these cpus are the up to date (meaning they been out for about a year or less).

They all handle 64 bit Operating System and they both have Virtual techonlogy.


Hope this helps.



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November 4, 2009 8:52:40 PM

i7 would be my choice.... downside is that the prices are still quite high.
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November 12, 2009 2:14:08 AM

Wow I was looking at some DDR3 ram, and it's quite expensive.
How does using DDR2 with these processors affect performance? Is it noticeable?
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November 12, 2009 5:51:00 AM

You can't use DDR2 on an Intel i5 or i7. You can use it on the AMD CPUs, but you'll have to go with an older AM2+ board rather than an AM3. What DDR3 were you looking at - it isn't all that expensive anymore unless you were looking at the very high end stuff.
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November 12, 2009 10:31:36 AM

RichardGrant said:
Wow I was looking at some DDR3 ram, and it's quite expensive.
How does using DDR2 with these processors affect performance? Is it noticeable?


I would be less concerned with the price of your DIMMs --- though the DDR2/DDR3 question is worth debate. I'll throw out AM2+ combos that have AM3 alternatives ...

IGP/mATX -- Asus 785g / Phenom 945

ATX -- Asus 770 / Phenom 945

Each mobo will take up to 16Gb of RAMs. Not sure how much emphasis you are placing on your VMs but I would definitely consider ECC RAMs. That's where the price deal kinda hurts. A 4Gb (2Gbx2) kit of DDR2 800 ECC is probably around $120.

But that's not so bad when you consider a 8Gb Kit (4Gbx2) of ECC is probably around $350 :ouch: 
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November 12, 2009 8:16:30 PM

I use allot of virtual machines on my workstation as well as on client servers. In my experience, More cores and RAM the merrier. Of slightly less importance is I/O speed of the HDD system, but this is more dependent on what your doing with those VM's.

I would suggest going with AMD, so you can use cheaper DDR2 ram and put the remaining cash into more RAM and possibly RAID 0. RAID is important because the needs of virtuals often tax single hdd setups, especially with cache files.

In reality, you aren't going to see any difference between ddr2 and ddr3 in real life conditions, everything else remaining equal.
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