I've been looking at the AMD Phenom II X2 550 Black Edition as well as the AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition for a new system i'm building. Yea, i'll be gaming, but what i'm having a hard time deciding and confused about is, the cores. Is it worth it for me to purchase the 965 at 179 when currently nothing will use the extra two cores?..sorry if i sound iggnorant, just want to get the best bang for my buck out of a AM3.. max i'm willing to spend is 189.99 on a cpu.
That would depend on the games you're playing. Some will utilize CPU than GPU and vice versa. If you had that much budget then why don't you go for an X4 instead. Quad cores are comparably faster than dual cores in gaming.
Go for the quad and never look back. It is worth every single penny IMHO. Just because the game does not use the extra cores, does not mean that your OS will not make use of the other 2 cores to handle background tasks while the game is running.
The quads DO make a difference most of the time, even if the game does not use all of the cores.
I'd agree go with the quad if you can afford it without sacrificing on the video card !! - Also I'd go with the 955 ( http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ) vs. the 965 ( $15 cheaper and the only difference is it is clocked 200 MHZ. slower which is barely noticeable and can easily be changed just by upping the CPU multiplier by 1 !!)
The 965 is a 955 with the multiplier set 1 higher. I would get the 955 if you need a cpu right now, if not you can give a little time and see how the new stuff looks in feb. I do know for sure that the 955 will not bottleneck a 5870 so the 955 would be great for what you need. Waiting for the new chips may drop the 955 a little more, but considering it just dropped some, I don’t think it will drop much in the first month.