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More cores or less cores? Major multitasker.

Last response: in Systems
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October 28, 2009 9:54:14 PM

I do a lot of website developing and usually have a lot of browser windows, text editor windows, spread sheets and flash movies open at once. If it makes a difference I'm running the Windows 7 32bit Ultra Release Candidate.

The problem is I have an old 2.8 GHz dual Xeon machine (With 2 GB registered ECC ram) that really needs to be upgraded but most of the program I use are single thread only. Will upgrading to a machine with multiple cores really speed up my computer?

For example, what's better when running single core aps:

phenom x3 8750 (3/9950 = 2916.66667)
or
phenom x4 9950 (4/9950 = 2487.5)

It seems to me that the x3 would run faster for me than the 9950 would.


Would I even see much if any improvement moving from a dual XPU 2.8 GHz xeon to a Phenom in non 3d applications.
My processors spend a lot of time running at 100% when I'm crunching numbers or have 40 browser, spread sheet, and text editor tabs open. Only having 2 GB of ram does not seem to be much a problem. I rarely see it go above 75% usage... Unless firefox starts leaking. At any one time it's not unusually for me to have XAMPP, UltraEdit, FireFox, Chrome, IE8, Excel, and Safari open and doing something. It's when I start running large MySQL queries, running several flash videos, running Excel large calculations that I wish I had a faster PC though, and all of those programs only use a single core at a time. The only time I ever reach 100% on both CPUs is when I play a heavy duty game or when I am waiting on a large query or PHP program to complete a task while also doing something else... Or if I'm using chrome for a lot of stuff. That program seems to make good use of both CPUs

Best solution

October 28, 2009 10:08:25 PM

Whatever you do, don't use those POS old Phenom chips. The new Phenom II chips are much better. I would use something like the Phenom II X4 945 at 3GHz. You could also look into a new Intel LGA 1156 setup depending on your budget. The best thing to do would be edit your post to follow the format in the "How to ask for new build advice" sticky at the top of the forum so we can suggest a build optimized for your intended use and budget.
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October 29, 2009 1:01:34 AM

Thanks, I was trying to ask about 4 cores vs 3 cores for the Phenom II. My question got a bit wordy. I already have a good idea about what I need for a system build.
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