Help me choose 1 of 3 AMD Processors

I am building on an extremely tight budget.

The AMD AM3 platform was chosen because I'll be able to upgrade easily into the future, but the immediate need for a machine outweighs the "just wait and save up for larger budget".

This system will be used for 'casual gaming' and web development / graphic design.

I am *not* willing to consider mail-in rebates. Instant rebates are fine. Also, if a better price/performance deal is available in a place other than NewEgg, I'm perfectly happy going where the deal is. =)

I have chosen most all of the other components in this system, but am getting mixed messages about which processor to go with.

I am not currently doing anything that my single-core processor isn't handling reasonably well, aside from light gaming. I just can't justify a Quad-core, especially since it won't benefit me that much at the moment (I don't play new games. Source-engine games will be the newest things I play after I buy this system.)

My initial build included this processor for the price/performance benefit:

AMD Athlon II X2 250 Regor 3.0GHz 2 x 1MB L2 Cache Socket AM3 65W Dual-Core Processor
$67.99 currently.

I am considering adding just a bit to the budget if either of the two processors is worth the added cost/benefit:

AMD Phenom II X2 545 Callisto 3.0GHz 2 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 80W Dual-Core Processor
$87.99 currently.

- or -

AMD Phenom II X2 550 Black Edition Callisto 3.1GHz 2 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 80W Dual-Core Processor

I am aware that the Phenom's have a larger/better cache situation, but I'm not sure if the performance benefit is worth the extra cost, out of the gate. Especially considering that it'll only be 6 months or so before I replace the processor with the fastest/largest/most-cored socket-AM3 processor available.

Is it worth the $20 jump from Athlon to Phenom?

Is it definitely worth the $40 jump to the Phenom-II 550?

Am I crazy, or overlooking some detail or an incredible deal on a quad-core?

7 answers Last reply
More about help choose processors
  1. I'd probably go with this CPU:
    AMD Athlon II X2 240 Regor 2.8GHz

    It may only be a few bucks cheaper than the 250, but you won't notice the slightest difference between the two, so why not save? It'll get you by until you have the money to spend on a nice quad core.

    If you live by a Microcenter, check their prices before going with newegg. They tend to have some really good deals; especially when it comes to CPU's.
  2. Well, if the slower performance doesn't bother you for the next 6 months, and you are absolutely sure that you'll get AMD's 6-core, despite how expensive it'll probably be.. then I would probably with the x2 240 kufan suggested.
  3. I agree with the suggestions of the Athlon II X4 above. Do you already have all the other components? If not, here's a very nice CPU + motherboard combo: $203.99 (Athlon II X4 620 + Asus M4A79XTD EVO combo)
  4. The X4 620 would be your best bet out of those, or even spend a little extra and get the X4 955 :)
  5. I'm still a bit curious, and wondering: Will I really notice the difference in performance if I take the hit down to 2.6 GHz quad (costs way more) -vs- a 3.0 dual?

    Or, like batuchka points out the tri-core for about $9 more than the 3GHz dual, but steps down to 2.7GHz... is the difference (given the additional core) that negligible?

    Are the cores so great that the $99 Athlon2 X4 (2.6) is a better deal than the $87 Phenom2 X2 (3.0) that includes the 6MB L3 cache? Or is the cache there negligible?

    Is there a wikipedia page I should have studied before asking these questions? Hehe... sorry guys, just really curious about this.
  6. Your better off with higher clocked dual-cores than you are with lower clocked tri or quad cores...

    Look here:

    And for the WiKi:

    I hope I helped.
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