Well, I'm trying to decide for an affordable gaming PC only basically, whether to get the X2 BE or Athlon X4. I understand that the cache is less with the Athlon, but for gaming wise, I want to know if I can't unlock the 2 cores with the Phenom II X2, will it still be worth over getting the Athlon X4. I really don't understand if cache actually helps with gaming or not. I've also found out a few Phenom II X2, won't unlock all 4 cores. I'd be getting the Phenom BE 555/560 or Athlon X4 635/645. I'm also getting a 880G gigabyte Mobo that says you can unlock hidden cores. I'd be running games like BO and BC2 basically.
Under most gaming type instances, the Ph ii x2 will out perform the Athlon ii x4.
This is a result of better clock rates and a proper L3 cache, well larger cache in general, and the fact that most games only really use 2 cores as is, so the extra 2 cores aren't giving much benefit.
Unlocking is a gamble, but seeing as the Ph ii x2 will probably be a better buy on many other merits already, its worth it.
Edit: Also make sure to get some kind of good Heatsink/Fan system for the CPU if you plan to unlock. The CPU is designed to its TDP under dual core conditions, unlocking will raise the temperature.
I'm getting this from Frys. I have a local store and my friend works in components, so I have a chance for some wholesale discount also. I also get a 3 year warranty with mobo/cpu for $15. So if I fry it from overclocking, I'm able to return it. Also they don't have that CPU, basically they have what I said, and X4 955 BE for $130. A lot of people said the 555 Heatsink, was cheap, but was able to keep some cool with the 2 cores unlocked.
I don't feel like ordering from Newegg really unless it's like almost needed. I can get the 955 for 130 at Frys. Especially if I have any problems with the CPU/Mobo, I can return to the store, and not wait 2 weeks for something new to come in.