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Do I REALLY need a dual core processor?

 
 
No one
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      11-08-2006, 05:11 PM
I now have a 3000+ AMD 64 and am looking for a cheap upgrade, I do
multi-task a good bit, and when I say that what I mean is that I may have
anywhere between 8 to 10 instances of Firefox open plus 1 instance of word,
and email all running at once.
I can get a 4000+ real cheap right now and wonder if I should just do that
or go Dual core.
All help is greatly appreciated.
TIA
John


 
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Wes Newell
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      11-08-2006, 07:17 PM
On Wed, 08 Nov 2006 12:11:08 -0500, No one wrote:

> I now have a 3000+ AMD 64 and am looking for a cheap upgrade, I do
> multi-task a good bit, and when I say that what I mean is that I may have
> anywhere between 8 to 10 instances of Firefox open plus 1 instance of word,
> and email all running at once.
> I can get a 4000+ real cheap right now and wonder if I should just do that
> or go Dual core.


None of the task you have running are cpu intensive. Each does require a
certain amount of ram though. When you are swapping between all those
open bowser windows do you notice a slowdown sometimes? If so you'probably
using swap space on disk. If that's the case then more ram might be much
more help. As for upgrading to a 4000+, you can acomplish the same thing
just by clocking your current CPU up to 4000+ clockspeeds. If you are
going to upgrade at all, go dual core and maybe add more ram if needed.

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Conor
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      11-08-2006, 07:30 PM
In article <Ico4h.9746$(E-Mail Removed)>, No one says...
> I now have a 3000+ AMD 64 and am looking for a cheap upgrade, I do
> multi-task a good bit, and when I say that what I mean is that I may have
> anywhere between 8 to 10 instances of Firefox open plus 1 instance of word,
> and email all running at once.
> I can get a 4000+ real cheap right now and wonder if I should just do that
> or go Dual core.
> All help is greatly appreciated.
> TIA
> John
>

A dual core isn't just a motherboard upgrade...you'll need new RAM too
assuming you're on Socket 939.


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milsabords
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      11-08-2006, 09:13 PM
Conor wrote:
> A dual core isn't just a motherboard upgrade...you'll need new RAM too
> assuming you're on Socket 939.


I switched to a S939 dual core with the same RAM. Just had to do a BIOS
update.


 
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Dylan C
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      11-09-2006, 02:03 AM
No one wrote:
> I now have a 3000+ AMD 64 and am looking for a cheap upgrade, I do
> multi-task a good bit, and when I say that what I mean is that I may have
> anywhere between 8 to 10 instances of Firefox open plus 1 instance of word,
> and email all running at once.
> I can get a 4000+ real cheap right now and wonder if I should just do that
> or go Dual core.
> All help is greatly appreciated.
> TIA
> John
>
>

Memory is probably your biggest bottleneck. I use Firefox 2 and it uses
30Mb of memory minimum. With 2 instances running and 4-5 tabs in each
that can easily hit 50Mb. Thunderbird e-mail uses another 30-35Mb, Word
will take another 30Mb....this is all on top of other system and
background services. I've got 512Mb of memory and I really wish I had 1
gig or more. If you've got this covered, then a CPU upgrade would be my
second recommendation.

Something I've seen but cant really afford is a dedicated ram drive.
Theoretically, that would speed things up immensely. Too bad it costs
so much:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16815168001

-Dylan C
 
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Paul
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      11-09-2006, 04:16 AM
Dylan C wrote:
> No one wrote:
>> I now have a 3000+ AMD 64 and am looking for a cheap upgrade, I do
>> multi-task a good bit, and when I say that what I mean is that I may
>> have anywhere between 8 to 10 instances of Firefox open plus 1
>> instance of word, and email all running at once.
>> I can get a 4000+ real cheap right now and wonder if I should just do
>> that or go Dual core.
>> All help is greatly appreciated.
>> TIA
>> John
>>

> Memory is probably your biggest bottleneck. I use Firefox 2 and it uses
> 30Mb of memory minimum. With 2 instances running and 4-5 tabs in each
> that can easily hit 50Mb. Thunderbird e-mail uses another 30-35Mb, Word
> will take another 30Mb....this is all on top of other system and
> background services. I've got 512Mb of memory and I really wish I had 1
> gig or more. If you've got this covered, then a CPU upgrade would be my
> second recommendation.
>
> Something I've seen but cant really afford is a dedicated ram drive.
> Theoretically, that would speed things up immensely. Too bad it costs
> so much:
> http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16815168001
>
> -Dylan C


That RAM drive connects via a SATA cable. It doesn't really expose
all the value of a RAM drive. But I have heard of at least one
person, who used a whole bunch of those particular SATA connected
modules, plus a SATA RAID card, to rival the performance of other bus
based RAM drives. Professional RAM drives are way over priced, so
a RAID card and a bunch of SATA RAM drives, can actually save money.
But we're still talking big bucks for the whole package, and not
a lot of value for money. It really pays off if doing server
applications, like a big web site of some sort.

As for the question about single cores versus duals, for a lot
of existing games, a 4000+ would be pretty sweet, especially
if overclocked a bit. Dual cores tends to make the desktop
experience a bit smoother, which is a plus. But if you
really wanted to get your money's worth from a dual core,
it would be if you did a lot of things like DVDshrink,
stuff that runs in the background for a couple hours. A
dual core allows you to continue to use the desktop, while
one of the cores is maxxed out. If all you do is surf the
web, then if you had five or ten Firefox windows open, they
can quite nicely time-share a single core. A Firefox render
might mean a couple seconds of furious activity, followed
by long intervals of silence. Maybe some animations that use
a small amount of background CPU. A single core might even
make the furious activity take less time, which could be
important to the user.

So it is a bit of a tossup. I think I'd rather have the 4000+,
if I could get a good price on it in Canada. Our pricing
is not as generous as pricing in the US. And not all US
e-tailers will do business with Canada <<sniff>>.

Paul
 
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kez
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      11-09-2006, 03:29 PM
yea id say duel core is more of a desktop thing rather than a gaming
thing (for now!) but running anti-virus and playing UT or WoW really
just adds to the smug factor (altho the noise your HDD will make is
horrific)

 
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bah
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      11-11-2006, 01:06 AM
On Wed, 8 Nov 2006 12:11:08 -0500, "No one" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

>I now have a 3000+ AMD 64 and am looking for a cheap upgrade, I do
>multi-task a good bit, and when I say that what I mean is that I may have
>anywhere between 8 to 10 instances of Firefox open plus 1 instance of word,
>and email all running at once.
>I can get a 4000+ real cheap right now and wonder if I should just do that
>or go Dual core.
>All help is greatly appreciated.
>TIA
>John
>


I hear quad cores are coming. Might as well wait a bit. By the
time you really need it, you'll need the quad core, not the dual
core. Remember the cdrom speed wars ?

I'd pick up one of the 2.6/2.8 ghz fx chips cheap with the AMD
marketing coupon when the coupon's on again.

 
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DawgFan1785
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      11-11-2006, 02:08 PM
> Conorwrote:
In article <Ico4h.9746$(E-Mail Removed)>, No one
says...
> I now have a 3000+ AMD 64 and am looking for a cheap upgrade, I do
> multi-task a good bit, and when I say that what I mean is that I may

have
> anywhere between 8 to 10 instances of Firefox open plus 1 instance

of word,
> and email all running at once.
> I can get a 4000+ real cheap right now and wonder if I should just

do that
> or go Dual core.
> All help is greatly appreciated.
> TIA
> John
>
> A dual core isn't just a motherboard upgrade...you'll need new RAM

too
assuming you're on Socket 939.


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Jeff
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      11-12-2006, 06:49 PM

"No one" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:Ico4h.9746$(E-Mail Removed)...
>I now have a 3000+ AMD 64 and am looking for a cheap upgrade, I do
>multi-task a good bit, and when I say that what I mean is that I may have
>anywhere between 8 to 10 instances of Firefox open plus 1 instance of word,
>and email all running at once.
> I can get a 4000+ real cheap right now and wonder if I should just do that
> or go Dual core.
> All help is greatly appreciated.
> TIA
> John


I currently am running an AMD FX62 dual core that I just put together about
2 weeks ago. At the moment, I have Vista RC1 using eudora email, powerdesk,
powerpoint, snagit screen capture software, IE7 with 6 tabs open to
different internet sites, and task manager. Also running is MS virtual PC
running XP using Photoshop and Acrobat with both physical and virtual
machines on my home network. Task manager reports all of between 1% and 3%
CPU usage as I type this. If I switch to the email program, the CPU usages
jumps up to all of 8% and then returns within a second. When the email is
checked, it jumps up again to all of 8% and then returns. Memory usage,
however, is at 1.25 GB. ...doing stuff like this, the machine is a bit
faster/quick-to-respond than my old P3, but if that's all I was doing, I
don't think that I would have bothered upgrading, since the P3's CPU usage
for such tasks was still down below 50%, and when it was that high, it
rapidly returned after completing just about anything those types of
programs might do. Where the machine is much faster is with software that
runs the processor for minutes or hours (or days). My video editing software
can now give me real-time previews and about 1/2 time renders and file type
conversions - e.g., instead of waiting for an hour, I can have the same
video clip converted in about 5 minutes. Where the old machine failed with
things other than video editing was with the RAM being maxed out (without
replacing smaller sized sticks with others) at 512 megs. This required
writing to the hard drive's pagefile, which is much slower than writing to
ram.

In sum, what you're doing is completely non-processor intensive (as another
already mentioned). You might be using a bit of ram (but much less than I am
right now), so additional ram might speed things up just slightly when you
are opening and closing programs. All else equal, a single-core processor
will run most types of software (but not all types), faster given equal
processor costs - e.g., you will get more speed from the use of a single
piece of software from a $300 single core processor than from a $300 dual
core processor. As others mentioned, dual core will only be worth while if
you are running cpu intensive software in the background that take much time
to perform a task while also wishing to run additional software at the same
time. Also, most software is not really written to make the full use of a
dual core cpu at this time.

Open task manager on your OS and carefully examine what is going on in your
current machine to get some idea about what given upgrades might provide. If
your processor is maxed out, then a processor upgrade will help. If ram is
maxed, then a ram upgrade is in order. If neither, you're not going to
accomplish a great deal other than a small bit of responsiveness switching
windows or starting up the software. If I had a 3000+ AMD with adequate ram
on my old machine and only ran email, word, and firefox, I might have put
money into a new dual monitor setup and accompanying dual dvi video card to
run it so that I could look at all of those windows at the same time, but I
wouldn't have put money into a new processor.

Jeff


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