To (Pentium) D or not to D?
August 26, 2005 5:59 AM   Subscribe

What's the score with Pentium Ds? If I'm buying a new desktop computer, should I make sure I have this processor?
posted by nthdegx to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
What do you need the computer for? I doubt the expensive dual-core D is going to do much for you in the near future unless you're doing something highly demanding that's specifically benefited by a multi-core processor.

IIRC I think AMD has the better of the dual-core solutions at this point in time anyway.
posted by selfnoise at 6:05 AM on August 26, 2005

Response by poster: Likely uses are games, music production, CAD, lighting/engineering design (some hefty apps here), light webdev, programming and general web-monkeying. Multi-tasking occurs: sometimes with quite onerous programs.

I should have thought to extend the question to AMD dual-cores...
posted by nthdegx at 6:16 AM on August 26, 2005

Okay. Based on this article and others: if you are going to be doing a lot of multi-tasking with separate demanding apps, the Pentium D is a good (if expensive) choice. The AMD solution becomes more compelling when you look at single program max performance.

And of course if games are highly important you should probably consider AMD pretty seriously, as they continue to whomp Intel in that particular area.

Unfortunately it's still a little early for the dual-core chips: they're basically first-gen at this point and there isn't much software written specifically for them. So YMMV in the future.

And yes, you do sound like a pretty good candidate for dual core. So I would seriously consider going in that direction.
posted by selfnoise at 6:29 AM on August 26, 2005

IIRC I think AMD has the better of the dual-core solutions at this point in time anyway.

AMD has the better processors across the board, in my opinion and according to research I did before building my new box a couple of months ago.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:02 AM on August 26, 2005

(Unless you use your machine primarily for video editing, though, apparently, I should add. Intel still has a slim edge in that niche.)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:03 AM on August 26, 2005

To be honest, I couldn't care less if AMD's processors were slightly inferior as, last time I checked, their pricing was substantially more competitive than Intel's.

More speed for your money.

(Having said that, I don't believe that they are)
posted by ralawrence at 8:07 AM on August 26, 2005

Response by poster: Further, does anyone know of any UK suppliers of Athlon X2-equipped PCs?
posted by nthdegx at 8:51 AM on August 26, 2005

Also, the Pentium D supports DRM at the hardware level. That's a deal-breaker for me and my next machine will be AMD.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 11:22 AM on August 26, 2005

Best answer: There are two issues. First, whether you'd be better off with a dual core or a single core. A dual core will give you a smoother experience if you are using multiple applications, particularly if at least one of them is a CPU hog. It may also give you better price/performance if you are using a CPU intensive multithreaded application. Games do not generally fall into this category. They are certainly CPU intensive, but very few gain much benifit from multiple processors or cores.

If a dual core processor is a good choice, the decision is whether to go with AMD, or with Intel.

If one looks at the low end of both vendor's dual core lines you'll see that AMDs low end dual core processor is nearly $150 more than Intell's low end dual core CPU. It looks like It's about 5-10% faster for many tasks and as much as 20% faster on some games.

Whether or not the price premium of the AMD part is justified by the performance advantage will depend at least in part on what the rest of the system is going to cost. If you are spending ~$1000 or more then the price difference is roughly proportional to the performance difference. If you are spending less, then it's not as attractive.

One advantage in AMDs favor is that you can put many of their dualcore chips in almost any Socket939 motherboard. My understanding is that the pentiumD has its own unique chipset requirements. This may make for cheaper motherboards on the AMD side. It also means that you could get a nice lowend single core A64 chip now and bump up to a dual core when they become more affordable.
posted by Good Brain at 12:02 PM on August 26, 2005

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