Dual core vs tri core (Athlon II x3 445)
Disregard my last thread, doesn't look like there's a difference between a B45 with a locked core and L3 cache and a normal Athlon II 445. I noticed, that when I disable the 3rd core on the Athlon, I can achieve a much higher overclock (~3.8GHz) on 2 cores, as opposed to 3.5GHz on 3 cores. Since I can achieve a better overclock on 2 cores, and this processor only has 2 physical cores anyway, would I achieve better framerates in games such as Battlefield 3 and Skyrim (Some of the more hungry games, and yes I know the CPU isn't great either way)?
Based on the core scaling shown in the linked review, you're probably better off going with the 3rd core enabled. Going from 4 to 2 made no diff on the Intel SB chip. But on the AMD BD chip it did make a small difference. I'm not sure what you'd see with your specific CPU though since its not tested. http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/battlefield-3-graphics-performance,3063-13.html
In Skyrim, going from 3 cores to 2 makes a very, very small difference, but it is there. Clock speed seems to make more difference. http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/skyrim-performance-benchmark,3074-9.html
Personally, I'd go with 3 cores enabled @3.5. Some games are starting to use more than 2 threads effectively, but it doesn't appear to make that much difference in the games you listed.
Edit: Just give it a whirl with both configurations and see what you get.
Will do, won't be able to for a while since I returned my 550 Ti (Bottleneck, but I thought there was something wrong with the GPU). Gonna get it replaced anyway, possibly buy the EVGA model rather than the lowest end ASUS one. My CPU seemed to be bottlenecking the GPU at my resolution (1280x1024), just looking for a way to improve my performance (Overclocking seems to be the only viable solution).