OK over the summer I bought an Athlon II x3. About a month and a half later my computer began having random lock ups. We've went through everything to diagnose the problem and it all pointed to the CPU itself
HD - WD Caviar Black 500GB Drive, No Issues at all.
Memory - 3GB of DDR2 1 stick of 1 GB PC6400 and 1 stick of 2GB PC6400
Graphics Card - At the time I was using an 8600GT, but we tested onboard graphics (radeon 4200) and my 8800GT I recently purchased. After everything was tested out me and my brother decided to try his Dual Core (Kuma 2.7ghz Athlon 64 x2) in my motherboard, no issues but when we put the tri core back it stopped locking up so we thought maybe it was the way the processor was sitting on the board. A few weeks later the problem returned. So we switched out processors out for a longer period of time. After a week the problems began to occur on his computer too. So the motherboard was finally ruled out. I have never tried to over clock it, but I did try to unlock the 4th core once. I was wondering if it was just a bad processor or did me trying to unlock the core trigger any issues?
There would only be a potential issue if the problems were occurring while the 4th core is unlocked. Problems should not occur with the 4th core locked. I would RMA it seeing as you have tried everything.
One thing though, you ruled out the motherboard because his also had issues with your CPU. Did you check your motherboard compatibility with the processor via the manufacturer? Perhaps your CPU is not supported and if it is, perhaps you forgot to update the bios to a newer one that supports it. Give it a shot.
It is, the Bios revision I have supports it fine. It worked for a month without error. It also is fixed temporarily when reseated. My motherboard is fairly new. It is a Gigabyte GA-MA785GM-US2H. I was looking at a Phenom II x2 3.2ghz would that run better than this processor?
That entirely depends on how you use your processor. Which you haven't told us.
I mostly game. I also multi task by having Minecraft (java) open, a JTV stream open, and my web browser. I play games like GTAIV, Fallout 3, Vindictus, etc. My PSU is a 400 Watt Silverstone but the issue still happened on my brothers system which has a 400 watt corsair, also he is using an 8600GT which draws less power than the 8800GT so the PSU is ruled out.
So would going with the phenom II x3 at the same price but 200 mhz less be better? It seems the dual cores have a decent unlocking rate but I may just go with the tri core.
The Phenom IIx3 is a good processor but at 200MHz higher, the clockspeed increase will allow the Athlon IIx3 to keep up the the phenom IIx3 in most things and in anything where the cache makes no difference, the clockspeed increase will bring it out ahead.
But with your old 8800GT, you are far more GPU limited than CPU limited. So it will make virtually zero difference unless you get a much better GPU.
I have an Athlon IIx4 at 3.2GHz and I am still GPU limited after my upgrade to a radeon 4850. The only exception might be dragon age where it is close, but a GPU upgrade would still be the only thing to improve my FPS.