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Old 04-28-2009, 03:52 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default The best value non-gaming processor today (FLOPS/dollar)

I am trying to build the fastest possible non-gaming desktop computer for my mom for around $400, and I was curious as to what processor I should base it around.

This is a strictly non-gaming computer and so I've been looking at cheap server processors like the Phenom X4 which is according to CNET only marginally slower than Intel's Wolfdale quad core processors, but is advertised on tigerdirect.ca as less than 1/2 the price and is even cheaper than the core2duo.

The computer doesn't have to be fast it just has to be efficient. No encoding, no graphics, no media.

I'm really just interested in which processor will give the most general computing performance per dollar spend on the chip.
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Old 04-28-2009, 04:13 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: The best value non-gaming processor today (FLOPS/dollar)

The original Phenom X4's where not very good at all. There where issue's with some that wouldn't let you install x64 versions of windows and the fix they made slowed down the CPU and on top of that you could get Intel which is much faster clock per clock.

If you are looking for a good CPU that is cheap I would recommend either an Athlon X2 7750 for AMD or an E5200 from Intel. They are both around the same price, the Intel one will be faster but if you go for onboard video card (Which I'm assuming you will because of the low price) the boards for the AMD CPU will have better onboard video card but if she is not doing gaming she probably won't notice a difference between the onboard video cards.
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Old 04-28-2009, 04:53 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: The best value non-gaming processor today (FLOPS/dollar)

She will be running windows xp-32 and I'll make sure she understands not to upgrade. I guess my only fear then is support for windows 7 and how compatible it will be after 2 or so years time without possibly upgrading to a later version of windows. Thoughts?

Horrible graphics support is perfectly OK provided the processor is fast enough to software render things like 2D-images and large/fairly complex maps (she does work in land conservation and so deals with a large range of still 2d-imagery. Possibly some very large images or layered maps), as well as any graphical web-apps she might run into. In fact, having almost no graphics support at all will discourage siblings from using moms new quad core computer for gaming.

If it's between a faster dual core (higher processing power/core) and a slower true quad core (both of comparable overall performance/price), which of the two will have better support or capabilities in the future? I know it's the case especially with older games where they're only really able to exploit one core, and therefore often benchmark higher on older processors with fewer cores but with higher clock speeds.

Since I'm interested in longevity as well, my assumption is that a true quad core processor bought today would outlast even a slightly better dual core chip in terms of application support/ability to effectively exploit multiple cores several years down the road. Thoughts?
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