Dual Core - Intel vs. AMD

Drezzil

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Greetings Everyone-

First off, let me say this isn't supposed to start CPU War. This question is being asked because I am trying to understand and educate myself with the help of fellow friendly computer users.

I am in the process of building a new gaming computer and I am having a hard time choosing a CPU. From my understanding, AMD used to have the best CPU's for gaming ( I very well could be wrong) but now most say Intel is the king of CPU's. I have been a fan of AMD for many years and a loyal supporter so I naturally want to buy and AMD CPU. But, here is the problem... lack of knowledge! Sure it's great for someone to say, "This one is the best... buy it! " . That doesn't teach me anything... I want to know why it is better. So, school is in and I have open ears and a willing mind to learn.

Here are my two choices I have found to be the top of there class (again, I maybe wrong) . They are both Dual-Core CPU's because from what I have learned from my research Quad-Cores aren't really being used the gaming market and aren't really needed because you won't see a difference in performance.

1. AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+ Windsor 3.0GHz - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103773

2. Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115037


From my limited amount of knowledge, they appear to be very equal in performance save for a few things : Cache Size and Hyper Transports 2000MHz / FSB 1333MHz . From what I have read, Cache size isn't really as important as RAM, CPU. GPU speed because the Cache is only used in repeated functions and not for gaming which is always loading and compiling new data. I have no idea of what the difference between HT and FSB is nor exactly what they are or how they work. I have read a few comparison charts and I am a bit familiar with the issue of AMD CPU's not fully untilizing the full RAM speed.

Please feel free to comment and correct me in any errors or lack of knowledge. I am here to learn and I greatly appreciate any input anyone has to offer. Which is better Gaming CPU and why? Thank you for your time and consideration.

-Drezzil
 

mtyermom

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Like Ghi said, the e8400 at 3.0ghz is vastly superior to the x2 6000+ at 3.0ghz. Not to mention the e8400 should easily overclock upwards of 4ghz with minimal to moderate effort.
 

runswindows95

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Intel has a better architecture and more efficient per clock cycle. The E8400 is the best CPU between the two. Even the e7200 is faster than the AMD. Need to know more, Google is your friend.
 

r-sky

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The C2D cpus outperform the AMD X2s at the same clock speed. Look at the benchies to see how much.

The new brisbane(65nm) X2s don't always allow for the ram to be run at ddr800 speeds. It depends on the multiplier as they have .5s

You can game with either but to get the best, go with Intel right now or wait and see where the new phenom II cpus fall.
 

EXT64

Splendid
I'd highly suggest waiting like r-sky said. That Intel is the best choice now, but who knows what the next month will hold (PII release date is Jan. 8th). At the very least the prices of some of the midrange Intels (and AMDs) should fall.
 
Check the charts tab on the the top of this page . AMD have slipped from topdog a couple of years back and though there time may come again its not here now .
The intel chip runs faster , cooler and and can substantially overclock . None of which is true of the amd .

Cache is misleading as an indicator of a chip . AMD cpu's need far less because the cpu talks directly to system RAM . Intel cpu's talk back to the northbridge motherboard chip and then to memory and need a bigger cache to avoid memory bottlenecking . Intels new corei7 chips have adopted the amd integrated memory controller because its a faster architecture ... but even that cant help the poor 6000+ match the e8400.
 

Drezzil

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Thank you for the replies and opinions. Yes, via the charts and opinions, the Intel is the better choice... but I would really like to learn why it is. Someone said they are both 3.0Ghz, but the Intel is faster... how can that be? Is it the way the CPU functions, relays information in between other components or compiles data? This question may not be so easily answered... but I am trying to learn how one is better than the other... especially seeing how they are both 3.0GHz. How can one be so much faster? Thanks again everyone... hopefully someone can help me understand this better.

PS - Thank you Outlander_04, for the wonderful explanation on the way the Cache works differently on the AMD / Intel ... that was very informative.
 

mtyermom

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They are both 3.0ghz, meaning they both run 3 billion clock cycles per second, but the intel chip can process more instructions/transfer more data per each clock cycle than the amd chip can.
 

WR

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GHz is just an on-off cycling frequency. All those millions of transistors are operating at that frequency. The amount of computational work they actually do as a whole depends on how many of them there are, what their roles are, and how well they are managed for what you need done.

If there are few transistors or the design is suboptimal, the whole chip may need several on-off cycles to execute a snippet of code that a larger or better chip could do in one cycle.

The E8400 just happens to be better managed than the x2 6000+. It's more modern and more in tune with gaming code - needs fewer cycles to perform the same "gaming" operations as the Athlon. You're also comparing 410 million transistors to 154 million. Even if the entire surplus were in cache memory, that's a huge disparity to overcome.

Now if you were to compare a 3 GHz Atom, which is just as modern, you'd find it almost always slower than the Athlon64 because the Atom has only 44 million transistors and they are not even designed to be fast but to conserve power and be really cheap to make.
 
It has to do with Instructions Per Clock, or IPC. The P4s had a really crappy IPC, which is why they were beaten so badly by AMD Athlons that ran at much lower clock speeds. The Core2s though have a higher IPC than the Athlon X2s. If you want to learn more you really should look up information about the Core 2 launch and how it differs from the Athlon and Phenoms by also looking up the Phenom launch. I still think AMD made a mistake by making the Brisbane cores slower than the Windsor cores, but oh well.

Anyway The Athlon 6000 is cheaper, less than half the price, and it preforms well for it's price, at least the Windsor core version anyway. There is also the 5400 BE which is even cheaper and can be overclocked to 3.4 GHz in many cases. The Athlons are a good budget choice, but if you look at the charts you see the Phenoms and the Core 2s preform better. If you can spend the money, base your system off of the 8400.
 
Lets face it, anyone with a complete understanding of why intel is better then amd clock for clock would have much better things to do with their time then post on toms forums. And if they did bother to post it, someone with as limited knowledge as you (and the majority of us, myself included) wouldn't understand anyway. So all you can do is act on the one very simple truth right now. Unless your trying to save money there is no good reason to buy AMD over Intel.
 
G

Guest

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i never understood anything either.. but after reading your posts... it seems much clearer!
thx everyone... thx to the thread starter! :D
 

hsnmz

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This post is very informative, educated me alot, thnks to everyone for sharing such useful knowledge in such a simple way.
 

Reynod

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If your going to game a lot on that PC with an E8400 then look for a good quality graphics card for it.

I suggest a 4850 might be good value for money.

Make sure you put plenty of RAM in the machine as well - particularly if you plan to update the OS beyond XP (2Gb is enough for this) and go to Vista (4Gb is better).

Hope the new PC works well for you.
 

B-Unit

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The E8400 is your best choice in terms of raw performance. However it is not 'several times faster' as one poster relays. I made the jump from an AMD dual-core at 2.9Ghz to an E8400 which I have OCed to 4.0Ghz. At the Widnows desktop, doing mundane day to day tasks, 0 difference. I was able to reduce the bottleneck on my SLi 8800GT, so my gaming experiance is overall better.

As stated above, if you can stand to wait a month or two, you may be able to get a great deal on either a 45nm Core2 or a PhenomII. The new relaese from AMD is sure to push some prices down.
 

Malovane

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For the record, AMD X2 is definitely lower performance clock per clock than the Core 2 series. However, the upper tier models are still more than enough to run 99% of modern game titles at adequate frame rates if conjoined with a good graphics card. So if you want a tight budget rig, this would do great.

Phenom, regardless of the bad press it gets, does have a good advantage in performance per clock over the AMD X2 (not even counting the two extra cores), and again is more than sufficient for gaming. It is slightly behind the Core 2 Quad series in IPC, with the Phenom 9850 at 2.5 Ghz being the rough equivalent of the Intel Q6600 at 2.4 Ghz. After that, the difference between the two is overclocking ability. People can regularly get the Phenom to 3.3 and 3.4 Ghz on good air cooling and a 750 south-bridge (I can push 3.5 on my 9850 stable), and the Q6600 can often be pushed to 3.6 Ghz. Bang for the buck, the Phenom 9850 still has a slight edge, being $160 versus Q6600's $190.

Phenom II looks like it very well may have a higher IPC than Core 2 Quad, though not by a large margin. According to leaked benchmarks, the Phenom II at 3.0 Ghz looks like it may outperform the Q9650 (also at 3Ghz) by a little at stock speeds. The chip also seems to be a decent overclocker, as a number of people report 4Ghz on air being attainable. That said, it will likely fall somewhere between the Q9550 and the QX9650 performance-wise. Which is a pretty good bargain at the prices it will ship at (below the Q9550 to start, it seems). Factor in the low cost of AMD boards, and the fact you don't have to buy premium ram to overclock with, and you'll have an impressive rig for not a whole lot of dough.

We're not that far from Phenom II release. As others have noted, this will likely bring a price drop in the Core 2 series. So, it might behoove you to just wait a month, read the reviews, and decide then.
 

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