I currently have a dual Athlon XP 1600 machine and am thinking of upgrading. I had a render that took 9 days to finish. I am curious about the performance of the P4 HT chips vs dual cpus, as I would like to upgrade soon. Assuming a few hundered dollars isn't really a big deal, which would you recommend?:
Upgrade current rig to a pair of 2600+s (only a 266Mhz FSB)
Replace rig with P4 3.2Ghz
I do use both CPUs quite a bit for rendering and video editing, plus just having a lot of crap running all at once, and have grown to like them. But, I think the HT technology in the P4s would please fairly well too. What would you recommend? And please, no "P4 cause AMD sux!" type comments.
Never have I seen so many great minds bent on such small a task.
I've had great experiences with HT-enabled processors. One heavy single-threaded simulation took 17 minutes on a 2.4Ghz Xeon, and two identical copies of that simulation running on one processor simultaneously took 23 minutes, not 34 as expected. I find that very impressive...
As for rendering, you might consider that a 3.06Ghz with HT enabled renders (in 3dsmax 5) as fast as dual MP 2000+, and that is saying something (this was concluded at aceshardware. if you want, I can give you the link later). Therefore, if you have the money, I would recommend going with the 3.2Ghz P4 HT - which also has 800Mhz FSB - it should easily be more than twice as fast as your old rig in rendering. If your rendering is SSE2-optimized, that is.
In any case, upgrading to two MP 2600+ is a great alternative as well. The main downside is that, because you're probably using an older AMD760-based mobo or something (aren't you?), you might be deprived of many newer features of current mobos... Which might mean that the 3.2Ghz with new components will be even faster, because of new chipset tech. And also, HT gives rendering in general a huge boost. This has been confirmed on many review sites.