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Home office CPU

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a c 131 à CPUs
May 1, 2010 1:28:49 AM

The setup will be AM3 with 4GB of memory. It will be dual booting windows 7 and windows xp.
The basic uses will be:
-Web surfing (no more than 2-3 tabs at a time)
-Flash games
-Microsoft word
-movies (480p-1080p)
-dual monitor ( both 1280x720 or less)--> One only has VGA input, the other has both VGA and HDMI. Hence, I am not looking at dedicated graphics.

Although I am mainly asking about the CPU, I would also like your opinions on the chipset.

Ok so basically I am questioning the effectiveness of cache and high speed vs number of cpu cores. Assuming they are the same price where I am, the Athlon IIx4 630 is 2.8GHz quad with no L3 cache. But the Phenom IIx2 is a 3.2GHz processor with 6mb L3 cache. Which would be the best for above assuming the person will be keeping the computer in its current state for about 5 years. Please show evidence of performance differences for the above applications. The performance in the first 3 are most important.

On a side note, I am pretty much set on the 785G chipset. Any objections or evidence of better performance with another chipset?

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a c 131 à CPUs
May 1, 2010 3:15:23 AM

Haserath said:
It seems that video encoding is only affected by clock speed.

I didn't say anything about video encoding.
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a b à CPUs
May 1, 2010 3:35:05 AM

for home and office, even an athlon II x2 would suffice (i have the lowest one with the 785g chipset and it can play blu-ray movies)
a c 131 à CPUs
May 1, 2010 3:43:27 AM

mindless728 said:
for home and office, even an athlon II x2 would suffice (i have the lowest one with the 785g chipset and it can play blu-ray movies)

I am well aware that is will suffice. I am curious as to the performance benefit gained by cores vs cache and high clocks specifically for the uses mentioned. For example, on anantec, CPUs with L3 cache seem to move out ahead of higher clocked CPUs with more cores in the "productivity" benchmark. I have googled and even on the website of the makers of that benchmark, have been unable to determine what it involves and if it would even apply to these uses.

Thanks for both your responses though :)  keep it up.
a b à CPUs
May 1, 2010 3:45:37 AM

i doubt there will a difference, maybe look into the x3
a b à CPUs
May 1, 2010 3:50:41 AM

Maybe he though that "Movies (480p-1080p)" meant that you were encoding...

I would recommend going with the Athlon II X4, the L3 cache on the Phenom II's sees most of its performance increase in gaming. The Athlon's quad core will majorly out perform the Phenom in CPU intensive tasks. Clearly you are not running very CPU intensive applications however you are not gaming at all.

Also you could look into unlocking L3 cache on the Athlon II's, I'm think its rather common....

The performance difference between an Athlon II X4 and a Phenom II X4 at the same clock speed is very low, in games the Phenom gets a fair bit of a lead but not in much else.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/athlon-l3-cache,241...

You say you want evidence in the first three things however none of them are very CPU intensive, so there is not really any information for new CPUs. My mums computer can run multiple tabs (>10) with word open and real time virus protection and it is a Pentium D Dual Core, it does SuperPi 1M in like 2 minutes. The things you listed can be handled like a piece of cake with new CPUs.

Hope that helped a bit...

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a b à CPUs
May 1, 2010 4:21:51 AM
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Enzo, I work from home. I built a high-end 920 OC'd because I thought I needed it (and freaking 12Gb of memory) to run my 3 virtual machines (needed to connect to the companies I support), Outlook, Word and Excel (multiple docs open at the same time) - the stuff that a normal home office user would do. I also picked up a 5870 primarily for Eyefinity (3 VMs and all that other crap - 3 24" 1080P monitors come in handy). Well, when I bought an SSD I did the proper thing and reinstalled everything (UGH...I have 38 programs that I use to varying degrees - I HATE reinstalling) so I brought out the backup machine (my daughter's computer that I have everything that I need to work on installed on...just in case) to use for the day I'd be down while reinstalling. It's an X2 240 with 4Gb of memory and a cheapo 5670 with Eyefinity on a 785G AM3 chipset. You know what? I didn't notice a dang bit of difference...IN MY OFFICE APPS. Now, would it have played Dragon Age or encoded my ripped blurays anywhere near as well? Um...yeah...probably not so much. But, as an office machine, I honestly didn't notice any difference.

The thing about the benchmarks doing office type apps are that they can run those benchmarks multi-threaded and simultaneously. I'm not aware of a single human being who can open up 16 tabs of a browser, open and close 50 word docs, send 100 emails, and do the countless other things that those benchmarks do anywhere close to 1/1,000 of the time the benchmark can do it. Would a PII 555BE be faster than an X2 240? Would an X3 be faster than an X2? In the benchmarks, yes. Obviously, the computer can fire off a 1,000 things far faster than you can start 5. But, for a human, I can almost promise you that you'll never notice the difference. I got completely caught up in the benchmarks when building my new system, and for 95% of what I use it for, I could have saved a lot of money and been none the wiser. Granted, the encoding and gaming I do makes a difference in that other 5% of the time when I actually have time to do those, but for general office, an x2 240 would suit you just fine. In fact, if I ever became unemployed (again - yuck) the first thing I'd do is sell the beast I have and go back to something like the 240.

To your original question...given the same price, I'd go with cores over cache for an office machine. If your price point is $100-120ish and your affinity is with AMD (which I believe, from your many great posts, is the case), I'd go with an Athlon X4 over an Phenom II x2/x3. L3 cache makes ZERO difference for an office machine. If you want to save money, the Athlon X2 is also perfectly fine for your usage.

Again, just my 2¢

May 1, 2010 12:25:07 PM

I would look at a sempron 140. For office tasks you don't need more than that. Office apps aren't gonna change that much in 5 years. The atom is about as powerful as a pentium 3 so that shows you how far they've really evolved. The sempron should last 5 or so years. Theres always a chance you could unlock it into a dual core.

For 1080p is should be ok but If you can still get them an HD4550 passive gpu would give you lultimonitor plus a bit extra grunt for decoding.
a c 131 à CPUs
May 1, 2010 2:11:10 PM

Thanks for the good answers, guys. Thanks for the input.

My original thought before I started reconsidering was either the Athlon IIx2 240 or the Athlon IIx4 620 (difference price ranges, was ready for both). But then I began questioning the use of L3 cache etc, in those applications. I would have considered the Athlon IIx3 but for some reason here in Canada, except for on one site, it is more expensive than the x4.

The main reason was because there was an increase to the budget. Anyway, I also think I will stick with the integrated because purchasing one HDMI cable will be cheaper than a graphics card and a second VGA cable.

Unlocking L3 cache was only common back when the Athlon IIx4 was first released. AMD is no longer using deneb chips for their Athlon IIx4.

feeddagoat, I find your suggestion interesting. And if you can somehow convince me with another post to go with the single core sempron (assuming unlocking is not an option) as opposed to a dual core at the same or higher clockspeed in today's environment, then I might consider it.

If there's any more advice, I appreciate it but I think I have generally found my answer. On a side note, I am considering a solid state drive mainly for reliability. 5 years is a long time.
a b à CPUs
May 1, 2010 2:48:18 PM

I wouldn't consider a single core unless you "single task". For most cases, a Sempron would be fine, but if you're going to be doing even a few things at the same time, stick with a cheap dual-core. The Sempron 140 is great (especially for only $33) and I'd guess 90% of the normal PC user who surfs the web and maybe brings up a Word or Powerpoint document via an attachment on email will probably never notice. My backup PC was a sempron and while I didn't notice going from i7 920 to an x2 240, I definitely noticed going to a Sempron. But then, I'm not your typical home user - I'm a home-office user, and there's a difference IMHO.
May 3, 2010 9:27:26 PM

I game on a 19" with an old sempron-LE @2.2ghz (can't remember model number) with a HD4650. Just because its single core doesn't mean it will collapse and die if more than one thread comes along. I can watch a dvd, while playing flash games easily with it. Thats the old semprons too. The new ones even have a chance of being unlocked into a dual core.
a c 131 à CPUs
May 3, 2010 10:25:57 PM

feeddagoat said:
I game on a 19" with an old sempron-LE @2.2ghz (can't remember model number) with a HD4650. Just because its single core doesn't mean it will collapse and die if more than one thread comes along. I can watch a dvd, while playing flash games easily with it. Thats the old semprons too. The new ones even have a chance of being unlocked into a dual core.

Yep. I was running the Athlon 64 3200+ overclocked to 2.6GHz for quite a while. A pretty good performer with windows 7. Just couldn't keep up with the more demanding 1080p files and blu-rays alongside an nvidia 8200 integrated. I'll be using that CPU and board in a build for someone else.

But really, Sempron 2.7GHz for $42 or Athlon IIx2 2.8GHz for $64? (these are prices in my area). And considering the multi-threading that can be taken advantage of... even the next iteration of MSoffice is support to support multi-threading. Since this CPU has to last 5 years, a single core really isn't an option. Plus the person I'm building for will not let me unlock or overclock.
a c 131 à CPUs
May 11, 2010 1:33:29 PM

Best answer selected by enzo matrix.
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