The introduction of SSE3 instruction code seems to do a lot for the AMD Athlon 64 X2 series as memory management has never been better on an AMD CPU and even though the Opteron Dual-CPU based systems may show in the numbers to better manage memory, the single slot 4800+ is still the number one contender. Right now only DOOM 3 seemed to have a noticeable difference in performance using Dual-Core over single core CPUs. When we see more games taking advantage of the Dual-Core it will be interesting to see what new areas of performance and visualization improvements can be achieved as this new technology support is implemented. Can you imagine games that can look real? It will be just amazing to see games with that much detail. With Dual-Core, this should theoretically be possible as one CPU core can render one aspect of the visuals, while the other core handles a different set of rendering instructions. Dual-Core CPUs in general will help in the multitasking aspect since many applications only will take advantage of one CPU core, and then when it is overtly busy the other CPU will begin to handle the other tasks in normal usage, and with programs like video editing and other media oriented software we should soon see performance improvements.
Although both Intel and AMD have entered the Dual-Core CPU arena, it was the AMD 4800+ CPU, which showed the best results here in the lab. We tested these CPUs against each other using the best and most performance savvy parts we could get our hands on and with the motherboards each camp felt were their best representative. The Intel 3.2GHz Pentium 4 Extreme Edition model 840 CPU ran hotter than the AMD 4800+ by about 50% as the Intel ran at 60+ Celsius, while the AMD ran at 30 Celsius. Intel's future in the Dual-Core arena does not seem a good one in the present light as this is one round where AMD clearly won the day. My advice to Intel is to change your strategy and change it fast as the way things are going. I do not foresee sales going in their direction as far as Dual-Core goes, and with heat issues at their peak I think Intel has hit a serious wall in their development. AMD's Dual-Core temperatures even if you add the 30C and 30C of both their cores it is still 30 degrees cooler than the Intel solution, which is more than substantially enough to warrant other considerations as far as CPU choices go. The 4800+ is currently the fastest single slot CPU you can get your hands on. But from what I have read the AMD X2 4200+ selling at $500.00 will suit your needs as well as its over $1000.00 bigger brother, but AMD did not send that CPU so I cannot truthfully concur if that is true or not. I give the Editors Choice Award to the new AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800+ as it is the fastest CPU for the desktop arena.