Quick Question - Please help! Need to decide by tonight!

Hi everyone,

I have decided to buy a Dell Vostro 420

-Intel® G45 Express Chipset
-3 gb DDR2 SDRAM
-2 ATI HD 4350 512MB Video Cards (one PCIe x16 & one PCIe x1)
-250gb 7200 RPM HD
-External 500MB USB HD
-350 W Power Supply
-Win 7 Pro
-MS Office Small Business 2007
-Norton Internet Security Suite 2010
-Four 20" Digital Flat Panel Monitoes

I'm having a hard time chosing between the following two processors (the price difference is $160 more for the Q9400)

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


Intel Core2 Quad Q9400 2.66GHz 6MB L2 Cache LGA 775 95W Quad-Core Processor

I realize that epics wars have been waged about the pros and cons of dual vs. quad core processors, but I still can't seem to decide.

-I will be using the computer primarily for web surfing, e-mails, and HEAVY use of MS Office applications
-I plan on having a 4 monitor set-up
-At any given time, I have about 10 Firefox Windows, 10 Internet Explorer Windows, 6-7 Word Docs, 5 Excel Spreadsheets, 5 Adobe docs, Outlook, Itunes running, Norton Internet Security 2010

I just want something which will be faster and which will be best suited run all the above task simultaneously

What say the community? Thanks in advance!
14 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about quick question help decide tonight
  1. go with the quad u seem to be using tons of resources so go with more RAM too
  2. My suggestion is, skip Dell, skip LGA775 and build your own. Since it is not for commercial use, building it makes much more sense than to go with Dell. Trust me.
    Moreover, LGA775 is a dead platform, which means that you will not be able to upgrade further down the road. So, you'll have to dispose of everything when you decide to upgrade which would be a waste.

    If you're on a budget, go with AMD or if you can wait, go with i3 which is expected to be released in Jan 2010.
  3. ^+1

    but go with AMD right now, u can get really good parts for almost dirt cheap right now
  4. Thanks to you both for replying!

    Alikum, I really am a novice at this sort of stuff, so building one is probably out of my league for now. I am sure I could manage with some tutorials, etc., but I need a system fairly soon, and the Vostro 420 seemed to match my needs for now. However, I agree with you in that a custom-built system would probably be far superior.

    Upendra09, I can't really add more RAM to it, as it's a 32-bit operating system, and I understand that Windows 7 (32-bit) will only see 4gb of system RAM total. Since I have two 512MB Video cards, I figured I would max out at 3gb RAM.
  5. I don't really have a choice to go with AMD. The Dell Vostro 420 configuration options will only allow me to chose between Intel processors, and I narrowed it down to these two.

    Upendra09 said:

    but go with AMD right now, u can get really good parts for almost dirt cheap right now
  6. Best answer
    You should be happy with either system.

    The way you use your system, your delays are mainly related to your hard drive. In two years, replace your hard drive with an SSD.

    Your onboard SATA controller should be able to handle up to 300MB/second. Keep that in mind for future reference. In two years or so, get an SSD that can Read and Write at close to 300MB/second (faster can't be used but it will still work).

    You won't benefit from the faster CPU.

    If you could build a system (and it's not a bad idea). I'd do this:

    1) AM3 motherboard Gigabyte MA790XT-UD4P
    2) AM3 CPU Athlon II X2 240 Dual
    3) 4GB DDR3 RAM ( Kingston ValueRAM KVR1066D3N7K2/4G PC3-8500 4GB 2X2GB )
    4) Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Black 500GB 7200RPM
    5) PSU: Corsair VX450 450W
    6) Case: Antec Three Hundred Mini Tower (or similar. Get front USB ports)
    7) 2x HD5750 1GB (Sapphire Vapor-X version. Runs VERY quiet.)
    8) DVD burner LG GH22LS50 22X/22X DVD+-RW SATA DVD Writer Lightscribe Black OEM
    9) Windows 7 x64 OEM

    I am an expert builder of computers. I present you with a list of parts hand-picked just for you. The motherboard and PSU are far superior to the parts you will receive in your pre-built. These video cards are future-proofed (DX11) and quiet. DX11 means Directcompute which will make it's way into programs so not just gamers will benefit.

    The new DX11 cards mean "EyeFinity" (google this: ati eyefinity).

    I also hate the junk software they put on pre-built systems. Install your own Windows. Here's some simple steps:

    1) go to NCIX (including the sales) or other places if you can get a better deal. Add in shipping costs.
    2) Buy the above parts or adjust slightly
    3) Install everything except the second video card
    4) Insert the Windows 7 disc and follow the install instructions
    5) Install your drivers (get the ATI ones straight from the Internet)
    6) Install your second video card

    You will get a great sense of accomplishment by saving some money AND getting a much better computer in return.

    Good luck and if you need help I'd be glad to guide you through it.
  7. your win 7 pro 32bit key should work with a win7 pro 64bit disk..

    any particular reason you want to go with a 32bit os?
  8. then go with HP or Toshiba

    all better than Dell, and choose AMD for cheaper system, the HPSUS will be the cheapest since they have good pricing

    this is good just configure to ur needs
  9. *The new ATI 5xxx cards can support up to THREE displays.
    Without EyeFinity I'm not sure exactly how will running more than two displays works with the 4xxx series and below.
  10. Thank you photonboy for that very comprehensive information! I will be sure to save those specs for a future time.

    And thank you others for your input as well.

    At this point, however, I have a budget of about $1200 (which includes the above system + all software [OS, MS Office] + three 20" monitors). This is what the Dell system is going to cost me all in. And I need a system asap, which is why I will not be building one right now.

    So, is the general consensus that the Q9400 is better than the E8400 for my needs?
  11. Yes...

    With your budget and needs, a Dell with a Q9400 is the way to go. I recommend building your own PC 95% of the time, but for what you want & need, Dell is the way to go. :)
  12. I would be tempted to go down the self build i5/i7 route. LGA775 is at the end of the development road now.
  13. Thanks for your responses everyone.

    After much thought and research, I decided to go with the E8400. I read many similar posts, and from what I was able to gather, my needs don't truly fall under the heavy duty multi-tasking umbrella, as defined by most people who would see appreciable gains from quad core processors. While I may have multiple office apps, browser windows open, music playing in the background, etc., it seems to me that the E8400 would be more than up to the task.

    Also, I saw this comparison:

    For the tasks that I am interested in, the E8400 actually outperforms the Q9400. Since I am not going to ever play a game, do any 3D rendering or concurrently watch a HD movie while surfing while encoding music, etc. I decided to chose a higher bus speed over additional cores. Also, the fact that the 6M L2 cache is shared between the 4 processors on the Q9400 was a slight negative.

    In any case, I wanted to post an update of my decision. Thank you all for taking the time to respond!
  14. And photonboy, the Vostro 420 comes with one ATI HD 4350 card on the PCIe x16 slot. I intend to add another ATI HD 4350 card on the PCIe x1 slot. Each card has a DVI and a VGA port, so I will be able to support 4 discreet displays.

    Here are the specs of the card I bought

    photonboy said:
    *The new ATI 5xxx cards can support up to THREE displays.
    Without EyeFinity I'm not sure exactly how will running more than two displays works with the 4xxx series and below.
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