I had a debate with someone the other day about 2 specific processors and which of them would perform better.
The processors in question were the AMD 125W 6000+ 3.0Ghz Windsor and the AMD 95W Phenom 9600 2.3Ghz Agena.
These 2 particular processors are very comparable considering the differences in Hyper Transport cache and core clock.
Comparing the processors based on each of their specs below you will see that the 6000+ has a 700Mhz core clock advantage. However the 9600 boasts a much larger cache and a whopping 1.6Ghz of HT over the 6000+ not to mention it is a lower wattage and lower voltage processor giving it better efficiency.
Here are side by side spec sheets:
Now I have owned both of these processors personally and I used each of them for about 6 months. I felt that the 9600 was a better processor and it really is a close match. So to answer the question of which is going to perform better I contacted AMD directly. My question asked which of these would perform better core for core. Given an application was only taking advantage of a single core of the processor. The answer did kind of surprise me.
Thank you for contacting AMD.
From the perspective of a single application that does not utilize multiple cores, the advantage would go to the X2 6000+, at 3.0GHz compare to 2.3GHz with the X4 9600. While 700MHz is considerable difference in their speeds, a second point should be explored when comparing the two.
Most modern operating systems, such as Windows, have the ability to take advantage of multi-core platforms. The application, itself, may only run on one core, but the OS can and will distribute overall system load across the entire processor. This means that if you have any type of background applications running, virus scanners, spyware scanners, system utilities, or even other single-core applications, they will be assigned to other cores and not slow down your application.
With both points considered, which processor is better for you ultimately comes down to how much multitasking you will do on the system as a whole. If you run enough applications at the same time, you can make up for the speed difference by having more cores to handle the large system load. On the other hand, if that one, single-core, application is the only thing actively running, most of the time, then you'll want the extra speed and less cores.
Hope this helps and feel free to let us know if you have additional questions we can assist with.
Technical Support Analyst
AMD Global Customer Care - North America
So the final word is that even though there is a huge gap between the 6000+ and the 9600 in HT and cache those 2 areas are not enough to make the 9600 perform better than the 6000+ with it's 700Mhz core clock advantage. Not unless you need the use of more than 2 cores at which point the 9600 will pick up the slack and become equal in performance to that of the 6000+.
I hope that this particular comparison between 2 very different yet closely matched processors can help you when deciding which processor to buy for future systems.