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Performance difference between Phenom X4 and X6

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September 29, 2011 3:08:15 AM

Hey all, I'm looking to upgrade my current Phenom X3 720. I had entertained the idea of an all new i5 build but I can't really justify it with my current financial situation so I'm going to inject some life into my current machine. Looking between the X4 for 110 and the X6 at 160 what kind of performance difference can I expect? I'm not doing alot of ripping and crunching, just desktop productivity and gaming. I plan on playing SWTOR when it hits but from what I understand it wont utilize more than 2 cores. I'm playing the BF3 beta right now and aren't really having any performance issues. Would the X6 overclock as easily as the x4 with just an 18x multiplier change?

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September 29, 2011 3:17:31 AM

you wont see much difference, most games dont use more than 3 cores and 3 cores is enough to run most games well. you may be able to unlock the additional 4th core in your current cpu if your motherboard supports core unlocking. Either that or overclock it. Wouldnt bother updating unless your updating to bulldozer.
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September 29, 2011 3:40:39 AM

+1 wait for bulldozer.

i dont notice much difference at all between my 6 core (1090T) and a friends 4 core (965BE)
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September 29, 2011 3:51:02 AM

The only time you are likely to notice a difference with six cores is when you are using an application that is specifically designed to use that many cores. In such a case, you might see a marked performance improvement. You could also be buying yourself a bit of future proofing in theory, but in practice, you are probably likely to replace your CPU again before applications that make efficient use of six cores are common. More cores is usually useful in things like encoding video, zipping large files, and the like.
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September 29, 2011 3:57:54 AM

gspotfrenzy said:
Hey all, I'm looking to upgrade my current Phenom X3 720. I had entertained the idea of an all new i5 build but I can't really justify it with my current financial situation so I'm going to inject some life into my current machine. Looking between the X4 for 110 and the X6 at 160 what kind of performance difference can I expect? I'm not doing alot of ripping and crunching, just desktop productivity and gaming. I plan on playing SWTOR when it hits but from what I understand it wont utilize more than 2 cores. I'm playing the BF3 beta right now and aren't really having any performance issues. Would the X6 overclock as easily as the x4 with just an 18x multiplier change?


I would like to know more about your setup.

Is the X3 stock or overclocked?

What motherboard do you have?

I will say that the X6 is a great chip for you to upgrade to if your board supports it. Those two extra cores will add years to the serviceable life of the system. Assuming you still wish for it to be in service in some capacity in 5 years.

Would wait on Bulldozer though, as the previous poster said, because its release will almost certainly bring price cuts to the X6.
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September 29, 2011 3:58:57 AM

In terms of waiting for bulldozer, I'm not too familiar with the specs on them. My mobo is 2 years old (asus m4a79t i think). Are the bulldozers going to be socket AM3?

EDIT- no joy on unlocking my 4th core. Tried it a few months ago. PC crashes on startup
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September 29, 2011 4:03:04 AM

Caldrumr said:
The only time you are likely to notice a difference with six cores is when you are using an application that is specifically designed to use that many cores. In such a case, you might see a marked performance improvement. You could also be buying yourself a bit of future proofing in theory, but in practice, you are probably likely to replace your CPU again before applications that make efficient use of six cores are common. More cores is usually useful in things like encoding video, zipping large files, and the like.


This is the same argument used against quads 4 years ago. It looks foolish today, as yours will in a few years.

In actual practice, workloads overflow (for lack of a better term) into additional cores. Its surprisingly easy to load up a quad. As overall system workloads increase, the benefits of additional cores becomes much more pronounced. This invariably happens over time. Thats why 4 year old quads are much stronger systems than 4 year old duals.

Learn the lesson of the past.
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September 29, 2011 4:15:24 AM

gspotfrenzy said:
In terms of waiting for bulldozer, I'm not too familiar with the specs on them. My mobo is 2 years old (asus m4a79t i think). Are the bulldozers going to be socket AM3?

EDIT- no joy on unlocking my 4th core. Tried it a few months ago. PC crashes on startup


This one?

http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/AMD_AM3/M4A79T_Deluxe/...

Bulldozer doesn't officially support AM3 but it can run on AM3 and some AM3 boards will support it. I would venture a guess that particular board will.


But Bulldozer will bring price cuts, so even if you go X6, might be worth waiting 3 weeks.

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September 29, 2011 4:18:26 AM

I do agree with you and that most software wants a more larger usage scale so they thus try to water down to fit variety of consumers.
Such as software for laptops, ipad etc.
Most software makers try to make software lighter.

My opinion.
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September 29, 2011 4:54:58 AM

FALC0N said:
This one?

http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/AMD_AM3/M4A79T_Deluxe/...

Bulldozer doesn't officially support AM3 but it can run on AM3 and some AM3 boards will support it. I would venture a guess that particular board will.


But Bulldozer will bring price cuts, so even if you go X6, might be worth waiting 3 weeks.


That's the one. I got money burning a hole in my pocket but you're right, it's worth waiting the couple of weeks to see if I can use bulldozer or at least what it does to pricing on the phenoms
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September 29, 2011 5:07:39 AM

get the X6. you already have a good motherboard. so why not put something better and pimp it? plus you'll be future proof.

or if you have patience, your other option is to sell your mobo and processor, then upgrade to something better.
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September 29, 2011 6:03:23 AM

i dont believe that motherboard linked will support the Bulldozer (Zambezi) processors.
its an older 790FX chipset.

as far as i've read so far its 890FX and 990FX chipsets only.
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September 29, 2011 6:06:56 AM

however after the release of Bulldozer (Zambezi) the 6 core current CPU's will come down ALOT in price.
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September 30, 2011 8:05:40 PM

FALC0N said:
This is the same argument used against quads 4 years ago. It looks foolish today, as yours will in a few years.

In actual practice, workloads overflow (for lack of a better term) into additional cores. Its surprisingly easy to load up a quad. As overall system workloads increase, the benefits of additional cores becomes much more pronounced. This invariably happens over time. Thats why 4 year old quads are much stronger systems than 4 year old duals.

Learn the lesson of the past.

Well, the fact remains that you will see little performance difference today. In the future, I am sure you will. However, when people were making those arguments about quad cores, it was probably true. Many applications today are still not making efficient use of four cores. Some are, and some will make use of six cores. But they are the types of applications the OP is stating they will not be using. So, unless they plan on keeping their CPU for a very long time, they will replace it long before they will see much difference. That's all I meant.
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October 1, 2011 4:59:36 AM

Caldrumr said:
Well, the fact remains that you will see little performance difference today. In the future, I am sure you will. However, when people were making those arguments about quad cores, it was probably true. Many applications today are still not making efficient use of four cores. Some are, and some will make use of six cores. But they are the types of applications the OP is stating they will not be using. So, unless they plan on keeping their CPU for a very long time, they will replace it long before they will see much difference. That's all I meant.


The X6 is 20% faster at the same clock speed. I am unaware of a single benchmark it loses to an X4 at the same clock. That's significant. And it doesn't even count peak output. Which becomes valuable over time.

It doesn't matter whether a particular app uses multiple cores. Take a look at any machine. The number of threads running is staggering. Antivirus, trey programs of all types, OS tasks, and that is before you double click anything.

Over time application and OS loads tend to increase, making the extra raw power very valuable few years down the line. Thats why 4 year old quads hold up well while 4 year old duals that were considered on par with said quad has not fared so well. That trend will continue for the foreseeable future.

Even if he doesn't use the system more than a few years, it will likely be passed down to a friend or family or used as a second machine.

So in my opinion, dropping an extra $30 to $50 is a worthwhile investment.


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October 1, 2011 5:04:05 AM

gspotfrenzy said:
Would the X6 overclock as easily as the x4 with just an 18x multiplier change?


Missed this the first time through. Yes, it OC's just as well as the X4.

The X6 was a pleasant surprise in this area when it came out. Everyone thought adding 2 cores would substantially increase power and therefore limit stock clocks and OC'ing overall. But that wasn't the case.
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