Which is the best Intel processor to go for?

By damienb · 6 replies
Jan 16, 2007
  1. Hi there,

    I finally building my first PC. Learnt how to do it years ago at college but never had the moeny to do it until now. Processors have moved on a bit since then and I'm no really sure whats what.

    Can anyone tell me what the difference is between a Pentium D and Pentium 4? and which is the better one to go for. Also is a big cache essential?

  2. KingCody

    KingCody TS Evangelist Posts: 992   +8

    Hi Damien,

    well, the fastest/most powerful processor is the intel Core-2-Duo. but it carries a higher price tag so it may not be the "best" depending on your budget.

    simply put, the Pentium-D is a dual core Pentium-4.

    that depends on your personal computing needs and your budget. a dual-core CPU will excell at multi-threaded applications and multi-tasking, but will not offer any performance boost for single-threaded applications (as most still are even today). the 2 cores on a dual core CPU cannot work as 1 single core, so a single threaded application will only run on 1 of the 2 cores.

    since a dual-core CPU costs more, then you may benefit more from a faster single core CPU for the same price. even though dual-cores have been out for a while now, they have only recently entered the mainstream computer market. so as we move into the future, more and more applications will be written to take advantage of multi-cored CPUs.

    as far as choosing which one, I would suggest you set a budget, then see what is available in both single core and dual core models and decide whether you want 1 fast core, or 2 slower cores.

    also, why are you only considering Intel CPUs? AMD Athlon64/Athlon64 X2 processors outperform Pentium-4/Pentium-D processors

    essential?, no... does it help?, yes.

    • the larger the L2 cache = the faster the CPU can access the data it needs
    • the faster the CPU can access the data it needs = the faster it executes it's command
    • the faster it executes it's command = the higher overall performance the processor achieves

    cheers :wave:
  3. halo71

    halo71 TS Rookie Posts: 1,090

    King......I must say you put together an excellent explination there. I think that is about as simple as it can be explained! Good job there! :D
  4. damienb

    damienb TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 55

    So are you saying that a Pentium D would be a better choice for the the future? Im just looking at one now, Pentium D 945 3.4Ghz 2x2MB Cache. Now does that mean that the processor has two 1.7Ghz cores each with 2MB cache or two 3.4Ghz cores each with 4MB cache??

    With regards to budget, I'd be will to spend up to £200 if it was a really good one for a good deal but generally I'm looking to spend around the £100 mark. Any suggestions?

    AMD processors I'm not sure about. I dont know much about them apart from that they are better for gaming? (thats what I was told years ago but things may be different now). When I think of a processor I think of Intel. Please feel free to suggest a few equivelant AMD processors to what I'm looking for.

    With regards to the clock speed of each processor. Generally the more Ghz clock speed the faster the processor but is that actually true becuase isn't the speed of the processor limited to the speed of the bus on the mobo??

    I'm open to any help and suggestions. Im just reseaching my bits at the moment and wont be building the machine till after the end of the month as Im going to buy Vista Ultimate for it. I just want it to be an all round good machine like any.

  5. KingCody

    KingCody TS Evangelist Posts: 992   +8

    I think it's safe to say that dual core CPUs in general are a better choice for the future

    the Pentium-D 945 is two 3.4GHz cores. L2 cache is 2MB per core

    I would suggest any model Intel Core-2-Duo. Remember, clock speed doesn't matter... even the slowest Core-2-Duo will outperform even the fastest Pentium-D.

    at tigerdirect.com (I used tigerdirect as reference because they ship internationally, you may know of a better place to purchase from). the C2D E6300 costs about £97 (If my currency conversion is correct ;)), and a C2D E6600 costs about £161

    when compared to a pentium4/D, AMD's are better for everything, not just gaming. AMD has been making better processors for years up until the Core-2-Duo's from Intel came out. currently, no AMD (or other Intel) processor can compare to the high-performance of the C2D's

    the system BUS (FSB) effects the clock speed of the CPU, but clock speed only matters when comparing different models of the same core design. for example, a 1.8GHz C2D can easily outperform a 3.0GHz Pentium-D. this is because the architecture allows much more efficient use of each clock cycle.

    thanks :)

  6. damienb

    damienb TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 55

    thanks for all your help with that.

    on another note. when it comes to form factor. would you recommend ATX or micro ATX. I was think of going for micro ATX just becuase of size. Is one better than the other. if ATX is better for future upgrading then i would go for that but if theres no difference then......?

  7. MetalX

    MetalX TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,388

    ATX is definately better. It costs a little more, but there are MANY more upgrade options, and an ATX case also supports microATX mobos.
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