Create low-cost, high-end PCs capable of running today's entertainment applications.

InformationWeek Staff, Contributor

August 22, 2005

2 Min Read

Assembly and Installation

Assembling dual-core components is barely different then building a single-core system. Intel’s massive cooling fan for the CPU will need plenty of space for adequate airflow, but happily, the Sonata II case offers ducting that both provides sufficient fresh air for the CPU and helps keep the fan quiet.

After assembly, I booted the system from a Windows XP Pro disk and proceeded with installing the OS. The system's speed was evident, as the XP installation, along with SP2 installation, was accomplished rather quickly. After that, I installed the motherboard drivers and associated support files.

Now for the big question: how fast is the system? Well, speed is a subjective matter, but for an apples-to-apples comparison, I compared the dual-core system against an Intel Xtreme edition single core unit.

The results were surprising. The Extreme edition CPU outperformed the dual-core unit on every CPU statistic reviewed., as the following two charts show:



Keep in mind, however, that the Extreme edition costs significantly more than the D series. Further, while the Extreme edition has a cool name, many will prefer to have two processors instead of one. What’s more, when you consider the performance boost multithreaded applications will get from a dual-core system, the Extreme edition may not seem so fast after all.

What does all of this mean for the system builder? Simply put, dual-core CPUs offer a high level of performance for an economical price. That simple fact builds opportunity for the system builder by opening up new markets. Dual-core systems are a natural for the media-center market, for gaming systems, and as a low cost alternative for those looking for workstation-class systems. Dual-core proves to be a fun, effective way to get extreme performance at an affordable price.

CAROL ANN MUFF is the operations manager for Magnum Computer Consulting, a New York-based systems integrator specializing in custom accounting solutions for the small-business market.

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