Best CPU for the buck

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Hi guys,
I have a dillema. I am going to be upgrading my system from an Athlon
XP2500, OC'd to 3200 with 1gb of DDR PC3200 ram, an ATI Radeon 9800 pro, And
a Maxtor Diamond max 350 GB SATA I hd, cdrom, dvd/cd rw.
My confusion comes with what to get.
So far, I have a wish list on Newegg that consists of:

Enermax Liberty ELT 500w power supply
ASUS A8N-SLI Premium mobo
XFX Geforce 7800 GTX video
Athlon 64 FX-57 CPU
2gb OCZ Performance ddr <dual channel kit>
Seagate Barracuda 350gb SATA II HD
Microsoft Windows XP Professional X64 edition

My taxes will be in this week and I plan on ordering this... however, I cant
make up my mind if I want to spend the $800+ for the FX-57 CPU, or go with a
single core X64, or dual core X64. I have heard of alot of trouble playing
games and stuff with the dual core CPU's. Is there that much of a
performance difference between the Athlon 64 4000 single core, an Athlon 64
x2 4800, and the FX-57?
Money is NOT an issue, however, if the performance is NOT that much
different between the single core 4000, and the FX-57, why not save $450?
Right? <the X2 4800 is right in between>
Any help anyone can give me would be greatly appreciated!! Thanks :)

AMD Athlon XP2500 @ 3200
ATI Radeon 9800 pro
1gb Geil PC3200
350gb SATA Maxtor @ Promise RAID 0

Re: Best CPU for the buck

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I built a new system with a A8n-E and a San Diego A64 4000+. Clocked the FSB
at 234 right at first boot, left every other setting stock, used one of the
giant Zalman silent coolers. FX-57 for $370 Cdn. Amazingly fast.

Re: Best CPU for the buck

and I went to the 3700 San Diego...knocked it up to 2533 mhz and have some
awesome specs happening..but I am still on a Neo2 board and that is my main
problem. The Neo 2 series of 939's seem to have some real issues
happening..considering my first one lasted 5 days. Back to topic though...I
was considering an X2..but read that unless you are seriously multitasking
it isn't worth it...the X2 3800 in a "normal enviroment"(gaming) was roughly
equivilent to a 3200 or less...lot of money wasted there the
little bump I have given mine has me outperforming most X2's in benchmarks
of a "singular" nature.

Re: Best CPU for the buck

I also dropped the Zalman 7000B-Cu silent cooler and picked it all up from
NCIX on sale..

Re: Best CPU for the buck


I feel your pain bro. Since money is NOT the issue, I would get either
the Opeteron 148 for single core or the Opteron 175 for dual core. I
agree with Chinooks_FURY in the post below. The Opterons are better
quality chips and you can get more out of them for your overclocking
dollar. You may want to consider the new ATI 1900 series cards. I'm
not pushing either ATI or NVidia,(I've owned both)  just look at the
numbers. You may also want to consider a WD Raptor drive for your boot
disk. I have one and  they are worth the money. I also have 6 other
drives ranging from 200gig to 300gig and the Raptor (SATA) as boot
takes a load off my other drives for sure.

I'm not a gamer so my old ATI 9800XT AGP card on Epox 9NDA3+ Nforce 3
utra suites me fine with dual 20" trinitrons. Money was an issue with
me so I choose the Mushkin XP4400 1gig pair DDR ram with Samsung TCCD
chips for overclocking. For $165 I chose the A64 3200+ (Venice core)
chip and am happily running it at 2700MHz right now which is giving me
close to FX57 speeds and cool 35C temps with the stock cooler. I
really wanted the Opteron 148 but the extra $100 was not in the

If money is not the issue, then get the dual core Opteron 175 with the
higher mutiplier and overclock it to 2.7 to 2.9 GHz. You could save
yourself a few hundred $$$ and apply it toward a second video card or
more storage etc..

I went cheap last month with the upgrades because I know a new socket
AM2 is coming out for AMD  this spring as well as new graphics chips
from NVidia. I'll do a mega upgrade this fall with new
chip/mobo/DDR2/PCI express vid once the bugs are out and prices come
back to earth. My previous chip was a Sempron 2500+ (1750MHz)
overclocked to 2200MHz and the Athlon 64 is night and freakin day
faster than the old Socket A I was using with a Soyo Dragon 2 KT880

I don't think that the gaming by itself is going to be that much
faster with dual core RIGHT Now, but if you do other things in the
background while gaming such as downloading or burning discs then dual
core might be the ticket to smooth out spikes and lags.  Read some of
the customer  reviews on Newegg about the Opteron 148 and 170/175
chips. I hope this helps


On Wed, 08 Feb 2006 23:46:29 GMT, "John Edmister"

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Re: Best CPU for the buck

A buddy of mine, big gamer, is very happy with his new Asus A8N32 SLI Deluxe
motherboard and dual core AMD 64. He is very happy with that motherboard &

I recommend going with the X2 4800. Not only do some games now support dual
processors or cores but more are coming fast. AND even if a game does not
support it, if you have all the latest BIOS & video drivers, (a) You will
have no problems in games; and (b) you'll still get some or even many
benefits from having two processors. There is a lot of background stuff
going on that can be taken care of by processor #2.

So... more than one CPU is useful *for me* in many many more ways,
even gaming! When I first built this system (and it is my third dual
processor box) I left the taskmgr open over on monitor #2 so I could watch
CPU usage. In every game I play I either see:

Situation 1 (single-threaded games):
CPU#1 pegged at 90 to 100% (the game)
CPU#2 bouncing around from 0% up to x% (other processes, background and apps
I may be running like burning, ripping, iTunes, Teamspeak, FRAPS, etc)

Situation 2 (multi-threaded games):
CPU #1 and CPU#2 kind of "in sync" both bouncing mostly from like 40% to 90%
and sometimes dropping "out of sync". And you can use taskmgr to tell some
app to use only one processor or the other or both. It's called setting

Over the last couple years I've realized just how CPU dependent many games
can be.

THEN there are those many background processes, including virus & spyware
checkers, etc., which can sap your FPS. Even if each app only affects a bit,
they all add up.

And then, when not playing games, there is the everyday opening & closing
apps, moving apps around the screens, compiling, image manipulation
(especially batch!), DVD burning (Nero is dual core/processor aware! Meaning
the part that Nero does before your burner starts burning... the longest
part in my case... takes half as long now with dual processors! That's
cutting 35-40 minutes down to 15-20 if you tell Nero "high priority" and
walk away from the computer. Or keep it at "normal" priority and keep using
your computer as you normally would without slowdown while Nero does it's
thing), editing large sound files, 3D rendering, realtime 3D rendering if
you have a scene open, for example, and you have fifty 3D objects in that
scene, and instead of looking at them wireframe, you'd like to see them at
least partially "fleshed out" and/or showing basic shadows and moving the
camera and/or lights around in realtime before doing a full render. I'll
tell you that I could NEVER have enough processing power when
playing around in 3D design software. And then RENDERING in 3D oooh that
sucks processor power like crazy! I'm sure you've heard of how those big 3D
animated movies have at times required 100's of computers all working
together to render scenes. Well, I don't do big movies, heh, but even little
1 minute 3D 640x480 or even 320x240 animations with atmosphere, lots of
objects with textures, lights, shadows, etc., can take a lot of power/time
to generate.

Back to gaming.

Ever try to run something called FRAPS while you game? It allows you to
capture & save movies of your game. And if you want to capture something
better than 320x240 you need a high end system.

And all the other things you can run in the background while you play. I
really like to have iTunes going in the background. And add in ripping or
burning a DVD, which can be kinda time consuming and I'd rather not do it
and have to stop my work or play.

I found in my last dual box, when I dropped from two Opteron 250s down to
one because my CPU#2 was having heat issues, I could no longer do a lot of
things simultaneously that I was taking for granted. And just everyday
Windows use became frustrating. That's how addicted you will become to two
cores! Heck, now that I built this dual Opteron 252, I'm alreadying dreaming
about how swapping those two single core procs for two dual core procs would
be useful!

Ever play a game on a 24" LCD at 1600x1200 with all the goodies turned on?
It's a nice experience. But it requires a heavy video card and processor(s).

But hey man I'm certainly NOT saying this is for everyone. I'm just
mentioning some of the benefits of running more than one processor that some
people who have never tried it may not have thought of. AND keep in mind it
IS very much the future with all software. Sure, right this second only the
forward-thinking developers are coding for multiple threads and heck, 5
years ago the forward thinking ones were doing it even then!

Sure, it's a very low percentage of software out there NOW that is
multithreaded, but the point is, the OS is multithreaded and running more
than one app at once can be nice... or even necessary, depending on your

Now regarding X2 vs. Opteron:
If I didn't already have an Opteron and ECC memory, I would have gone the
route my buddy did (fastest X2 I could afford) instead of the more expensive
dual Opteron 252 setup I just got. You would spend more going dual Opteron
because (a) they require ECC (more expensive and slighly slower) RAM and (b)
motherboards tend to be more expensive (and usually don't overclock as much
or as easily) because they are mostly workstation/server boards. Not sure
about the new "1" series Opterons. Can someone chime in as to whether they
will use non-ECC RAM? If you get the 939 Opteron .... ?

Tyan Thunder K8WE
Dual Opteron 252s (2.6ghz)
6 gig DDR400 RAM
XFX 7800 GTX 256 w/VGAsilencerV3
500 gig SATA2 Hitachi
Dual 24" Dell LCDs
550W power supply
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Re: Best CPU for the buck

UPDATE... if money is no issue, get that new FX-60! It's dual core and
apparently that CPU is the fastest thing you can have right now AND it seems
to overclock pretty well.

Tyan Thunder K8WE
Dual Opteron 252s (2.6ghz)
6 gig DDR400 RAM
XFX 7800 GTX 256 w/VGAsilencerV3
500 gig SATA2 Hitachi
Dual 24" Dell LCDs
550W power supply
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Re: Best CPU for the buck

Update :
Hi guys,
Thanks for all your replies, after reading all of the posts, and talking
with a friend that upgraded to an athlonXP64 4400 X2, I have made the
decision to stick with my FX-57 CPU and 7800 GTX card. <ordered this @7am
EST 2 day shipping>
Apparently there is a lack of driver support, and problems with the X2 CPU's
<which includes the FX-60>. I have heard allot of stories of CTD's and
random reboots while gaming with X2 systems. I don't need that crap! I use
my system for gaming 75% of the time <big BF2 player> I know that more
stability is on the way, and they'll eventually work the bugs out.... but,
for now, this week, this month, this year, I want to be able to play my
games... BF2, D3, Q4... etc etc etc without problems.
I did decide to stick with XP-pro though, as Vista will be out shortly, so,
I'll just wait for that.... let them work the bugs out of it, then get it. I
cant see getting an OS that has been out a short time, full of bugs, and, I
also heard that there is a lack of drivers that support this OS.
Thanks again to all who posted, I'll let you know my benchmarks and how it
goes when I get it up and running.


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Re: Best CPU for the buck

John Edmister wrote:

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This doesn't make any sense - my AMD64 x2 3800+ needs no drivers at all.
Windows XP supports it just fine, no special drivers, software or
anything else.

If you want to run Cool N Quiet to keep heat and noise down, then you
need to run the software for it. But that has nothing to do with
dual-core processor compatibility.

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Those stories are probably from gamers trying to crank every last bit of
performance out of their systems by overclocking them. That applies to
any system though, whether it's a dual-core or not.

From my own experience and that of others, dual-core systems are just as
reliable and stable as anything else.

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I've played all of those just fine on my friends dual-core system Intel
840 extreme edition. He's a gamer and has all the related toys, and his
system is 100% stable.

My x2 processor is overclocked by 25%, the memory by 4% with 2-2-2-5
timing, and it's all stable as a rock.

I'll admit I had a few problems at first, but it was solely related to
the memory needing 2.9+ volts to run at low latency settings. The AMD x2
was never an issue.

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Vista is still in beta, so yeah, drivers will be lacking. But that's to
be expected, and completely typical.

Having said all that, since you're a gamer and you want the highest
performance for your buck right now, your choice is probably the best
way to go.

My friend, who is also a gamer, spared no expense and bought the
absolute fastest system available at the time. He wanted a dual-core
system so future games and upgrades would be even faster with his

I still play Quake 3 Arena online for the fun of it. I didn't know it
was multi-threaded until I ran it on the new x2 system. Go figure.

Re: Best CPU for the buck

I like the FX -60 dual cores.


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