Dual core processing revisited: is it worth it?

  DIYgirl 12:58 31 Jan 2006

After a year of struggling along with my ancient computer I'm ready to buy a new one now. I've made most of the decisions I need to make but am still undecided about the advantages of a dual-core system.

I pretty much understand how dual-core capability works but is it worth it? Would I be better off getting an ordinary non-dual-core computer with a faster processor, or a slightly slower processor which is dual-core compatible? I keep my computers for ages (the one I'm using now is over eight years old) and so want to make sure it will be high-spec enough to last. Which one of the two following would you choose? (copied from the Dell website)

Intel® Pentium® D 930 Dual Core Processor (3.00GHz, 800MHz fsb, 2x2MB cache)


Intel® Pentium® D 830 (3.0GHz, 800FSB, 2X1MB Cache)

They both are listed with the same price.

I do a huge amount of internet research, and a lot of word processing, most of which is now controlled by voice (hence my need for a super-fast system, as I get very impatient waiting for the software to catch up with me).

There. I think that's it. All comments gratefully received. Please try not to laugh at me for being so uninformed!

  Mytob 13:35 31 Jan 2006

i would stay away from 64bit untill vista comes out as xp 64 is the biggest joke ever and 32 bit on 64 from waht iv herd wont work that well. if you do go for a 64 one id get linux as that is very secure and stable and has been 64bit for a long time. try summin like suse click here or debian click here as these are the easier to pick up. linux is also totaly free(exept linspire)!!!!! as for processors id go for a amd one not intel as intel are suseptable to virus atack and the amd chip are more secure from that perspective and amds are cheaper to. if you want a good cheap one try amd sempron as they run great and are realy cheap as they are bujet chips but still pack a punch as iv found out. i run doom3 on max grafics on 1.8 ghz one! but id save your mony and get linux and a pc minus windoz from a pc fair as they tend to be much cheaper than pcworld ect.

  rmcqua 13:39 31 Jan 2006

Hello DIYgirl
I'm not going to comment on the practical aspects, as I don't use a dual core CPU - I am sure there are plenty of folks out there who will share their experience with you.
However, I do note that you have decided to go with Dell. The only thing I would say on this is that by doing so, you commit yourself to an Intel processor whereas mosts test show conclusively that the AMD dual cores perform better.

  Skyver 13:41 31 Jan 2006
  961 13:41 31 Jan 2006

You are about 12 months away from buying a new computer with the new version of windows, or if you allow 6 months for the bugs to be ironed out, then 18 months. If you keep your computer for ages then that is worth waiting for

However, if it is a last legs situation then I suppose dual core is the best if the two are the same price, but I have to say that, compared with your existing system you'll find either to be blisteringly fast

Far more important quite honestly is the decision as th which manufacturer, both for quality of both product and backup

You'll already know that Dell is among the best for both and on that basis there's little reason to look forward

Make sure you get all the discounts going. The Dell site weaves a wonderful way of hiding extra £50 discounts all over the place

  GANDALF <|:-)> 13:49 31 Jan 2006

As you are not a mad gamer you will notice no difference. The programmes that you use th computer for will run fine and there is no real difference between AMD and Intel for what you will be using the computer for. Compared to your last system it will run like a cheetah, on speed, with a pin in its' bum.

The only thing that I would suggest is that voice activation requires hefty RAM so 1Gb would be a good idea although 512mb should be enough. I have yet to see a voice activation programme that keeps up with a human.

It is no use waiting for Vista as most of the 'new' applications will be of little or no use to you (or most other computer users), so all you are left with is a pretty face on the screen.

Unless you really know what you are doing I would stay well away from Linux. Stick to Windows and you can get all the support you need here.


  Mytob 14:09 31 Jan 2006

hay dont nock linux! i use it and find it a great system. all the stuff about it being hard to use isnt realy true these days if you go with a big distro like the ones i mentioned. both have packages easily available to download and most prodjects support both suse and debian. save you 290 on a naf windows install and thats got to be good. as for support the boed verison of suse comes with support and such forums as linuxquestions.com are great and theyv helped me solve almost all my problems. what more can i say apart from not nock it untill uv tryed it :)

  DIYgirl 09:37 01 Feb 2006

Thanks for all your responses. I am much clearer now. And although I was looking at Dell I'm going to buy from a different company: the Dell machine I wanted came in at nearly £1,400 but for the same spec, and a 3 year on-site warranty (instead of the 1 year RTB warranty with Dell) the price is £850. Rather better, I think. All brand-named components, nothing anonymous, delivered and installed on-site, and I know I'll get excellent support from them as my sister all ready owns a machine from them.

I'm not going to go for a dual core machine; I will be having Windows XP professional, though, despite the arguments against it (I'm used to it now, finally).

  rmcqua 21:15 01 Feb 2006

I think we've gone off DIYgirl's original question with all this talk of Linux. Nevertheless, I would be intrigued to know what the "...save you 290 on a naf windows install..." is all about?

  Mytob 23:12 01 Feb 2006

Well when u by a pc from pc world ect you automaticaly get a compy of windows wether u like it or not which in my eyes is wrong and takes away your freedom. If you get a pc from a pc fair they dont bundle windoz with it so you end up paing about 290 less on it dew to the fact it has no os. This then gives YOU! the coustomer the choise of geting windows or not for your pc. in the end my problem is that the average jo has has there choise taken away about what os they use. i use linux and have no probs with it and find it far better than windoz and its free! as a consumer you should be made aware of the other choises available and not pay for summin you may not want.

  rmcqua 13:03 02 Feb 2006

I still don't understand. Since when did Windows cost £290 ? No reputable supplier that I know charges £290 more for a system with Windows installed compared to the same sytem without an OS !

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