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Old 08-30-2008, 03:22 PM   #1
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Default CPU & other spec confusion

I'm looking to get a new computer. My current one is slow on many things, especially when trying to edit video and compile video slideshows. I'm currently using a pentium 4 3GHz CPU with 1gig RAM and a video card (NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200, not sure how much memory, but I think it's 128MB).

I'm looking at 3 different computer setups (all Dells from Costco, mainly because they come with a 24" monitor and when I went to 2 built-to-order sites, the same specs cost the same or more so I might as well go with Costco which has a good return policy if I don't like it), but I'm confused at the differences in specs, i.e. which is a better combination for the money. It used to be fairly straightforward, a faster CPU yielded better performance, but now I have a hard time making sense of all the options out there. Here is what I'm looking at:

#1 Core 2 Quad Q6600 at 2.4GHz, 1066 front side bus and 8MB L2 cache with "Integrated Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 3100" for video ($1000) [other specs = 4gig RAM, 500GB 7200 rpm SATA HDD = same as option #2]

#2 Core 2 Duo E8300 at 2.83GHz, 1333 FSB, 6MB L2 cache with "128MB ATI Radeon HD 2400 PRO" for video ($1100) [same other specs as #1]

#3 Core 2 Quad Q9300 at 2.5GHz, 1333 FSB, 6MB L2 cache with "256MB ATI Radeon HD3650" for viedo [other specs = 4gig RAM, 640GB 7200 rpm SATA HDD]

All three come with a 24" LCD monitor and other misc stuff that is roughly the same.

My main questions: #1 Is a slower (2.4GHz) quad core for $100 less better than a faster (2.83GHz) dual core? and/or is the slightly faster (2.5GHz) quad core worth the extra $300? The Q6600 is 65nm technology and the Q9300 is 45nm technology. Is there a significant difference between the two?

#2 How big of a role does a "dedicated" video card play in compiling video? i.e.: will the quad core option with integrated video suffice? Or is the option with the dual core CPU and a 128MB video card going to give better performance? Or is the quad core at 2.5GHz coupled with the 256MB video card worth the extra $300?

#3 Options #1 comes with Vista Home Premium 32 bit. Options #2 & 3 come with Vista Home Premium 64 bit. Is there a significant difference? Will 64-bit Vista run faster than 32-bit Vista? But that's only the OS, not other programs too, right?

My main computing tasks other than regular stuff (email, documents, web surfing): making video slideshows from still pictures with music (I don't do much camcorder stuff, but might eventually if I had a good system - the one I'm on is just too slow) and recoding video (TV shows from Tivo) and DVD's for use on the iphone or other media.

Thanks for any help....
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Old 08-30-2008, 04:24 PM   #2
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Default Re: CPU & other spec confusion

Hi, welcome to the forums.

Since you say you will be doing video editing, it would be worth it to drop the higher clock speed dual core and go for either of the quads.
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#3 Options #1 comes with Vista Home Premium 32 bit. Options #2 & 3 come with Vista Home Premium 64 bit. Is there a significant difference? Will 64-bit Vista run faster than 32-bit Vista? But that's only the OS, not other programs too, right?
32 bit can only address between 2.5GB-3.5GB of RAM. 64bit OS's can address much more system memory. Windows Vista Home Premium contains some basic programs, for web browsing, email, making short videos etc, but nothing too deep.
Quote:

#2 How big of a role does a "dedicated" video card play in compiling video? i.e.: will the quad core option with integrated video suffice? Or is the option with the dual core CPU and a 128MB video card going to give better performance? Or is the quad core at 2.5GHz coupled with the 256MB video card worth the extra $300?
It depends whether the programs you use can be GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) accelerated. If so, then there would be a decent performance increase from having the dedicated graphics card, but it would not be worth the extra $300 IMO.

I would recommend the second option. It has a quad core CPU (Only marginally slower than the Q9300), and although it only has integrated graphics, very few apps are GPU accelerated, so it would not be a big disadvantage.
Quote:
My main questions: #1 Is a slower (2.4GHz) quad core for $100 less better than a faster (2.83GHz) dual core? and/or is the slightly faster (2.5GHz) quad core worth the extra $300? The Q6600 is 65nm technology and the Q9300 is 45nm technology. Is there a significant difference between the two?
Although the Q9300 is 130MHz faster, it does have a smaller amount of L2 cache, something which can easily be filled on an Intel CPU whilst video compiling. I do not think the slightly faster quad is worth the extra $300.
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