The RANA x3 440 would be my prefered chip.
Phenom is later technology but I prefer not to go dual core for gaming anymore.
The 440 is a sweet spot for gaming - the cores are a good speed (3ghz) and you have all you need. Nowadays 2 is not enough but 4 is not required, so when on a budget the 440 is perfect
are you talking about an original athlon, or an athlon II?
it depends specifically what chip you are talking about. generally, phenoms are better for gaming, but in situations where the athlon II has more cores available in a game that will utilize them, its going to pull ahead.
if its an original athlon, then yeah its inferior.
Over a spread of current and incoming games the Rana 440 arguably offers the best bang for buck period for a pure gaming rig. Some games like GTAIV, Dragons Age, the ones below, etc (and ever growing) literally become less playable on dual cores and it's not like the Rana 4xx series are anywhere near a significant top up $$ wise over Regor 2xx (and even cheaper than Callisto 5xx) hehe
Data taken off a Romanian bench but who cares it's all good : CPU scaling, GTX 460