Intel dual or amd quad for my needs?

im after a new computer build for music production.
ive been leaning towards a phenom 965 build, but i dont think the programs i use will take full advantage of 4 cores.
wondering if the intel i5 661 at 2x 3.3ghz would be faster then the phenom 965 at 4x 3.4ghz?
i know theyre not really comparable. but heres my thoughts. my programes dont take full advantage of 4 cores at the moment only dual, but in the near future, they just might take advantage of quads. but even so, a fast dual is alot of power right? and could just be enough.
so would it be a better decision to go for the intel i5 661 dual and take full advantage of it, or shoot for the 965 and most likely leave two cores in a waiting game?
ultimately, i guess i want to know if 2 i5 3.3ghz cores would be alot faster then 2 phenom 965 3.4ghz cores?

all help greatly appreciated.
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More about intel dual quad needs
  1. The i5 will perform better than the phenom IIx4 per core. By maybe about 10% if I don't take turbo boost into consideration. But considering it is $210, I would get the phenom IIx4 965, which is $180. I don't think the potential performance boost is worth $30 considering it would also remove 2 cores. Get the 965, it's more worth your money. Even if your programs don't fully utilize 4 cores, they may down the road. Plus 4 cores would allow you to do more overall without a performance drop. Although the i5 661 is a fine CPU, it quite simply is not worth over $200.
  2. Yeah, you're better off with the Phenom II X4 compared to the i5 dual cores. I'd look into an Phenom II 965/955 or i5-750 (quad core), if your budget is that high.

    If you really want dual core go with the i3 530 and OC the crap out of it. :) That'll be the best bang for your buck for your current uses.

    Here is a 2vs2, the 550 will be like a dual core 955 clocked down to 3.1, and the i3 has no turbo. So it's 2.93 (intel i3-530) vs 3.1 (amd Phenom II X2 550).

    The i3 is going to do a little better in multi-threaded apps due to it having 2 cores with 2 virtual threads, but if you look at any single-core things and the games they point to i3 by sometimes a good margin.
  3. thank you!
    i guess the extra money for only 10% more power and 2 less cores wouldnt be such a good idea.
    what about the new phenom 555 with 2x 3.2ghz? its pretty much buying half a 955.
    one for those who dont need the 4 cores. but again it comes down to spending an extra $100 for 2 extra cores for future possibilities. i guess spending an extra hudred now is better then spending an extra 2 hundred in the future.
    sorry, dont think i really had a question there, just speaking thoughts.
    but any thought encouragement is welcome! i need a kick to force a decision.

  4. Here is i3 vs the 555. Notice the 555 is clocked higher and the i3 will have nearly twice as much OC headroom! =-o (notice on some benches lower is better)

    I'd go i3 personally (especially if you OC, you can get to 4ghz on stock cooler) but the 555 is still a great CPU.
  5. Well, a couple things to consider.

    1. Dual cores were not popular when they first came out but not the performance gains are undeniable.

    2. Getting the Quad now might not help you keep ahead of the game. Consider: released in July 2008, the Phenom 9950 was 2.6GHz and $235. Currently, this is the same as modern $130 processors. And as soon as the 975 is released, it will be 1GHz behind the current day best quad core. My point is that I think speed will become obsolete before the number of cores of your processor do. However it will certainly last longer than a dual core.

    The Phenom II 555 is a good processor. Yep basically half a Phenom II for 60% of the price. Black edition too so easier for overclocking.

    Personally, I would get the quad and expect it to last you decently for 2 years. Of course, if you don't change your operating system or programs, it will always perform just as well as it did when you got it and there would be no point in upgrading unless you will feel you need more speed.
  6. thanks for the help guys.
    i hadnt looked into the new i3 chips. and after checking them out, i think id prefer them over the 555 aswell. would it be simple to overclock the i3-530 to 3.2/3.4ghz without any extra power, cooling or risks? i cant say ive overclocked before, so for a complete newb in that area, would it be hassle free? would there be less risk overclocking the i3-540?

    and enzo, you have a point about the speed becoing obcolete quicker then the ammount of cores. and a quad sure would last longer then a dual.

    at the moment, im leaning towards a i3-540/Asus P7H55-M-Pro combo. that board will enable the integrated graphics. and in the future if i feel i need more power, i could upgrade to the i5-750 and a dedicated graphics card. at the moment, im hesitent to grab a quad if im only going to put 2 cores at use.
    does this sound like a good or bad idea?
  7. wow. that is cool. so if i clock the 530 to 3.6-3.8ghz, could i just leave it running that way as if it were a stock speed? without having to worry about anything overheating or exploding or whatever parts may do?
    if so, these chips sound tasty.
  8. thanks.

    ive been reading up about the i5 750, and the reviews speak quite highly of them.
    ive also been reading about the turbo boost feature. and as ive read, the power balances between the cores in use. so im guessing if my programs only take advantage of 2 cores, then 2 cores of the 750 will get a significant power boost?
    also, does anyone know if its possible to disable 2 cores and increase the multiplier on the other cores with stability?
    what im after is the highest core for core speed for my budget ($1000, dont think i'll go much higher then $250 for the cpu). the programs i use are only able to take advantage a dual core at present, with the possibility of quad support in the future. (sorry for repeating, just a reminder)
    what im wondering is, can i use the i5 750 as a 'faster dual core' with the possibility to switch it to a 'slower quad core' (referring to core for core speed) when my programs upgrade to take advantage of 4 cores?
    if this is possible, it would be a much better choice then to grab the i3 530 and upgrade to the i5 750 in the future.
    going with the i5 750 will cost a bit extra though. probably around $150+ with the addition of an aftermarket cooler and graphics card.
    if the 750 is the right choice, would the cooler master universal hyper tx3 be acceptable for the cooling? or should i go for the more expensive hyper 212+?

    thanks for all the support.
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