Decisions, Decisions, Decisions!

  splatter 11:10 07 Sep 06

As part of this thread (click here) I am still sourcing the net for parts for a new PC.

I have already settled on a 7600GT for graphics and sticking with my (now) 2GB of RAM, but I'm stuck on deciding what processor to buy.

I was eying up a Intel Pentium 4 805 (2.6Ghz) (the first one on click here)

But I'm slightly confused. Is Dual Core the same as AMD's 64 Athlons? And why is it the 'cheap' Intels can run at 2.6Ghz but the more expensive AMD's only run at 2.2Ghz?

I'm beginning to wish I'd paid attention over the past 2 years now while all this was taken place! Could somebody please try to clear this up for me please :)


  anskyber 11:24 07 Sep 06

Well they are dual cores. Compare their performance here. click here

  FelixTCat 11:31 07 Sep 06


The whole purpose of the names is to confuse you so you don't know which is best.

Dual core means that the chip effectively has 2 processor units working in parallel on the same chip. Not all Athlon-64s are dual core, but I think all Athlon dual-cores are 64s. Dual core will operate faster with programs written to use 2 or more processors in parallel (multi-threaded programs) - not many exist yet, but as these processors become more widespread, more programs will be compiled to use them.

64 means that it will operate in a wider memory space, which is irrelevant to XP, which is a 32-bit operating system, but some variants of Linux are 64-bit and there is a 64-bit version of XP - basically only of any real interest if you run huge databases.

AMD has for a long time claimed, with some justification, that its processors are more efficient than Intel's so that they do more instructions per clock tick. Thus a slower clock-speed Athlon is as fast as a faster clock-speed Intel. Hence the name Athlon 4000 means that AMD think it is as fast as an Intel running at 4000 MHz even though its clock speed is much slower.

Most of the arguments are fairly pointless, as AMD and Intel processors are pretty well matched for speed; AMD have won out by being cheaper.

UNTIL Intel introduced the Core 2 Duo. This is a slower clock-speed chip which really does produce very high performance. Strangely enough, it is based on the Pentium 3 design, not the Pentium 4.

If you want cutting edge, get a Core 2 Duo processor; otherwise a dual-core AMD or Intel.



  Gongoozler 11:33 07 Sep 06

Because of advances in technology mere clock speeds are no longer a true indicator of performance. Earler CPU's worked with 32-bit numbers, i.e the biggest number they could handle was 2 to the power of 32. A very big number but not always big enough, so bigger numbers had to be handled in two goes. 64 bit processors can handle numbers up to 2 to the power of 64 which is a huge number and they can handle complex functions more quickly by needing fewer clock cycles. Dual core processors essentially have two processors on the same piece of silicon, and so can do two jobs at the same time making them even faster.

  Strawballs 12:21 07 Sep 06

Clock speed does not always give an accurate indication as to which chip would be more efficient that would be like saying a 3litre Ford would be faster than a 2.5litre Porshe because it has a bigger engine.

  splatter 12:24 07 Sep 06

So, If I was to buy (for example) an Intel Core 2 duo running at 1.86Ghz, would that give an 'effective' clock speed of 3.72Ghz? Or would it, although running slower, be able to just process the double amount of data?

If that was so, would a Atholn 2600+ be able to do the same job as the aforementioned Intel?

One main feature I'm looking for is decent support for Windows Vista. Although I dont plan on upgrading to vista untill at least 6 months after its release

  splatter 13:10 07 Sep 06

OK, I think I've made up my mind...

click here It's the 1.86Ghz one I mentioned above, and from what I can find out Core 2 DUO's are about the best out there at the moment.

Anybody wanna try to change my mind?

  anskyber 13:15 07 Sep 06


  FelixTCat 15:19 07 Sep 06


My goodness - I didn't realise they were o cheap!!!

For the small difference in price, I would be tempted by the E6400. I would also fancy the E6600 with its doubled cache, but the price difference is a bit too much yet - in 3 months it may be better. Roll on Christmas!

Best wishes,


  splatter 23:06 07 Sep 06

Thanks guys. One last question before throwing in my order tomorrow. Do SATA HDD's use molex power connectors the same as IDE drives?

  woodchip 23:18 07 Sep 06

Normal P4 runs hot, that is why they did not make it any bigger. and have had to change to meet with the threat from AMD

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