Right now I have a Q6600 G0 2.4GHZ + Gigabyte GA-EP45C-DS3R +G.SKILL 8GB 4X2GB DDR2 800MHz CL4 PK PC6400 set.
I need to deal with 'huge' quantities of data, so I need to get a new system with 32GB of memory.
My two constraints are a budget system with *low power consumption* either in idle or full power.
As for the processor what do you recommend ca. USD 110? I give preference to AMD, although I know that they're lagging Intel, because they don't change the processor architecture so much as Intel does.
The more cores the better.
Well, AMD will be changing sockets in relatively short order as well, Piledriver will be the last architecture before switching sockets to FM2
Though, you are going to need a lot more than USD 110 to do this as you can't just switch out the cpu for something modern, you are going to need to buy the cpu, motherboard, and memory at the same time
"I know that they're lagging Intel, because they don't change the processor architecture so much as Intel does. "
just FYI, they made a HUGE change, called bulldozer, and it was the worst change ever. Bulldozer has put me off AMD until they get their act back together, if that ever happens. I can list my AMD pc's from k6-2, duron 1000, athlon 1800, athlon 2800, 3500, and then core 2 duo came out. intel have been on it ever since. Im not a fan of either, just get the best processor for your needs. and at the moment, intel has it in nearly every segment. Just overclock your core 2 and be happy.
So, more performant than Q6600, using less energy when at idle and at full load, for a budget, and with 3 or more cores, what options do I have?
You are going to have to choose between budget or low power.
If budget is more important than power and performance, go with something from AMD.
If low power and high(er) performance are more important, you might want to try saving for an i5-3xxx. You are going to earn the price difference back through your power bills over the next 3-4 years.
For a budget of $110 your best bet would be the Phenom II X4 965 since it has the best performance you can get that is within your limited budget. However since it is a 125w TDP CPU it is not exactly a low power CPU.
You might want to wait for AMD Trinity desktop CPUs to hit the retail market (whenever that is). Trinity is about 10% - 15% faster than Llano APU based on what I've read, and are also a bit less power hungry. However, I've also read that it's floating point calculations are around 10% - 15% slower than Llano so I'm pretty that would be a concern for you.
It's a tough call to make at this point in time since you cannot get the best of both worlds with your limited budget. A "true" low power consumption would be a laptop with a quad core Ivy Bridge CPU, however, it is not cheap especially if you are trying to find one that will have 32GB of RAM. The price difference in RAM alone from a upgrade of 4GB to 16GB is approximately $1,000 when chosen as a configuration option.
Ok thank you all for your info!
Meanwhile, I came across the Athlon II X4 638 with 32nm technology and 65w tdp, but can't find benchmarks. Since I have a 5450 amd ati fanless graphics card, this could also be a choice, but it seems no one is selling this cpu and can't also find benchmarks.