AMD Athlon 64 single core vs. dual core: which is better?

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KeyStroke

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I currently own a single core AMD Athlon 64 processor (3200+), and a friend told me that if i upgrade to dual-core, I'd be able to multi-task on the computer.

But on the other hand, the articles I've found on the internet so far say that most applications these days don't take advantage of the power of dual-core processors.


Would I really notice a significant difference in performance if I upgraded to an AMD dual core 4200+ processor? (the price difference is like $140 US)

Also, my mother board is socket 939, shall I change it too? or simply use a socket 939 compatible dual processor?


Your help is much appreciated :)
 
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First thing would be to determine if your board supports the dual core.

Do you NEED dual core? Depends on what you do. The articles are correct, programs themselves are still not designed to use both cores. As with any new technology, however, it doesn't take long for programs to catch up and take advantage of those benefits. In the mean time, if you are running multiple programs, dual cores help speed up the system under that kind of load.

Socket 939 is dying off, but I think you can still find some dual cores in the 939 configuration.

Run this on your machine: http://www.cpuid.com/cpuz.php and post back the make and model of your motherboard. Then we'll know if your board supports the x2's or not.
 

Triple6

Rob
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Windows however is SMP aware and can benefit from a dual core processor, and since it controls applications it can do load balancing between the two cores for improved performance. You also have several applications and games that also benefit for dual core setups.

Any dual core processor would be an upgrade for you since your 3200+ runs at 2Ghz with 512Kb of cache. The slowest dual core processor also runs at 2Ghz with 512KB of cache per core.

Here's an interactive chart where you can select two processors and an application to compare: http://www23.tomshardware.com/cpu.html?modelx=33&model1=499&model2=480&chart=193

P.S. you don't need a dual core processor to multi-task.
 

KeyStroke

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I did found a socket 939 compatible dual core AMD processeor. The question is: will it actually improve the performance for my usage?

I usually do the following:
- Program on a local server (PHP, MySQL...etc).
- Burn DVDs/CDs
- Watch Movies
- Play Videogames (F.E.A.R, Half Life...etc)

If I get a dual core processor, will I be able to watch a movie and burn a DVD smoothly for example?
 
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Yeah, I think you'll notice a difference. The architecture of the 4200+ is going to be inherently faster than your existing CPU, regardless of core quantity.

Don't do anything until you run CPU-Z and we figure out if your board supports dual core. If you have to replace the board to do this, it becomes quite a hassle--you'll have to do a repair install, etc..
 

KeyStroke

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Thank guys.

My motherboard does support dual core processor. There shouldn't be a performance difference between socket 939 motherboards and newer motherboards, right?

Also, I want my computer to last for at least 5 years. It already has a SATA HDD, 2 GB DDR RAM and a decent graphics card. Do you think I need to buy a new motherboard to future-proof it? and why?
 
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KeyStroke said:
Thank guys.

My motherboard does support dual core processor. There shouldn't be a performance difference between socket 939 motherboards and newer motherboards, right?

Also, I want my computer to last for at least 5 years. It already has a SATA HDD, 2 GB DDR RAM and a decent graphics card. Do you think I need to buy a new motherboard to future-proof it? and why?
new MB requires a new MB, CPU, RAM, maybe GFX card, maybe PSU etc., in other words lots of $$$, and will require a reinstall of operating system, not fond of these repair installs, with new stuff you want everything to be running fresh. repair installs can be twitchy from what I've heard
 

KeyStroke

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Thanks, but in short words, will this socket 939 board help me keep up with the parts I/You would need in the coming 5 years? or shall I change the mother board to future-proof it from now?
 
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KeyStroke said:
Thanks, but in short words, will this socket 939 board help me keep up with the parts I/You would need in the coming 5 years? or shall I change the mother board to future-proof it from now?
no
 
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i wouldnt change MB because i have bills to pay and no real need for anything faster at the moment, will this MB be good for 5 years?, hell no, 939 is probably in middle-age, DDR is being replaced by DDR2, some new CPUz are coming, maybe, but not for much longer. The future seems to be quad-core, so i dont think your 939 is supporting that, if you have mega-bucks now, then replace everything, will anything you build now be good for 5 years, imo, no, 5 years is too long, take a look at a pc magazine from 5 years ago some time.
 
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Keystroke - is your PC really feeling that Sloooow? Get the Dual core while you can if you want to spend little. As other have said... 5years is a NO. DDR2 is here, DDR3 is coming out this year - in 5 years, DDR4 would be standard. We may have 16core CPUs by then... (In 2 years, we've gone from 2 > 4 core CPUs)...

You can only future proof to a point.
 

KeyStroke

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Actually no, it's not slow at all. It's only slow when multi-tasking. I just want to get extra horse power to improve the speed even more.

So, which kind of motherboard would support the upcoming DDR's and processors?
 

Triple6

Rob
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AM2 is the current platform...key word there is current. When DDR3 comes out you'll need a new motherboard again. So either use what you have or continuously replace several of the parts to keep up to date. You can't ever buy something thats going to support all the future hardware and there's rarely a need too.
 
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