Need Help Understanding Processors GHz vs. Cores

I'm trying to decide over which of two processors to get. But I'm confused at to which is better. I'm looking at an AMD Phenom II X4 965 3.4 GHz Black Edition and an AMD Phenom II X6 2.7 GHz. I'm having trouble understand which is better (more GHz or more cores). I know that if the bus speed is higher then the CPU will be able to do calculations faster. But if there are more cores then it can handle program loads better. I'm a gamer so I want to know which one will be better for me.They are both the same price but it seems like a no brainer that I should get the 6 core CPU. I'm just worried that the lower GHz will affect my PC's performance. Any advice and help on this would be greatly appreciated.
7 answers Last reply
More about need understanding processors cores
  1. All depends on what you want to do with your cpu.

    In simple terms most games will prefer a faster dual core over a slower quad or hex.

    The extra cores comes into play with software written to make use of multi core hardware - photo editing , audio and video encoding are some examples.
  2. Core Speed and Core Count are two totally different things with totally different roles, but they all tie in together.

    Between the two CPU's you mentioned, the Phenom II X4 will be the most optimal for a gaming/everyday rig. The Phenom II X6 would be used for a very budget-oriented workstation/video editing machine.

    For gaming purposes, the Phenom II X4 running at 3.4Ghz will give you more performance than a Phenom II X6 running at 2.7Ghz. Most games at the moment still utilise only around 2-3 threads (with the exception of a few notorious titles) and would prefer Core Speed over Core Count.

    For video editing/photo editing purposes, the Phenom II X6 running at 2.7Ghz would benefit you more as you have more cores chewing on more data at the same time.

    All-in-all, it comes down to what you need your PC for. The Phenom II's in general are aging; they have a very limited life ahead of them IMO.
  3. Currently I have an AMD Athlon II X2 250 3.0 GHz. I just notice some lag when loading some games or when running multiple programs on my computer so I think it's time for just a smidge more power. I already have 12GB of RAM so I know that's not my issue.
  4. What is your current motherboard? If your board supports CPU TDP's of 125w, I would definitely recommend the Phenom II X4 965. The X6's are nice, however, if you don't purchase ones with a moderate clock speed (i.e, 1090T, etc), they're very limited on what they can do unless you're willing to work with the CPU to overclock.
  5. Yes my motherboard supports it. It supports up to an AMD Phenom II X6 10xxT Six-Core (Thuban core)

    Woops. Or maybe not. "Max TDP: 95W"
  6. I don't understand how my MOBO claims that it can run up to an AMD Phenom II X6 10xxT Six-Core (Thuban core) yet it only supports Max TDP: 95W. Every AMD Phenom II X6 I've found requires 125W.
  7. Ahhh, let me see if there are any 95w Phenom II's still floating around.


    There's one that's VERY cheap. I would recommend a Phenom II X4 960T due to it being a Quad (unlockable in some circumstances) and the high clock speed. However, this would give you a substantial performance increase due to the extra cores available.
Ask a new question

Read More

CPUs Processors Phenom Product