Dual core vs. cheaper Athlon 64


May 11, 2004
I was looking for opinions on whether I should pay the extra money for the lowest Dual core Athlon 64 (about $350) vs. about $200 for a decent single core Athlon 64 in a brand new system. I'm mainly going to use the computer for gaming, internet and digital music and I know dual core isn't really showing a tome of advantages for these applications yet.

However, it's my understanding that Socket 939 will get phased out next year, which would mean both a dual core processor AND a new motherboard when I upgraded. To me, it seems to make sense to pay the extra for the dual core, but perhaps it will be even longer than I'm thinking before true advantages will be gained from it. Opinions?


My opinion
Some people have reported problems with dual cores in games (strictly hearsay).
Writing code for dual cores is difficult, for games it's more difficult. When we do see "enhancements" through dual core for gaming, it will probably be minor visuals.
Because of dual cores, we wont be seeing a lot of speed enhancments for a while.
A single core chip is good enough for the multi tasking most people do.
Buying a single core chip for gaming,now, will probably keep you in the game longer than at almost any time previously. (gfx card update required)
The 3500 seems to be the sweet spot know, where I live.
Spend the extra on a better graphics card, and get playing.


Jul 25, 2005
It all depends on what you're going to be doing with your system. While some won't see any real benefit from a dual-core, I certainly am. The other day, I was doing a PPT2DVD conversion, inside of a virtual machine on one core, while playing FarCry at 1600x1200 on the other, with bearly any hangup. I'm totally enjoying the money I speant on mine.

But as the others said, buying a dual-core now with the hope that games will start multi-threading is a wasted investment. Multi-threaded code writing is an artform all on it's own, and I doubt that it'll be 3 years before we see any game engine take true advantage of it.