Right, I've just started a new course and part of the requirements is to have two networked PC's. I built my current PC from scratch so this time I'm going for the complete system in one fell swoop!

I've been looking around, and I'm getting very confused by what's right for me or not. First I've put down a few rules about what the new system MUST have -

  1. at least 3.4 GHz worth of CPU
  2. at least 2GB RAM
  3. PCI-E Express (quite a keen gamer)

Then I started reading about Dual-Core processors. Having never really known much about them at first, they seemed like a really good idea at first. But the more I read - the more I begin to think it probably isn't necessary. From what I've gathered, they are only really useful for mutli-tasking with for things like server hosts. The most I'm really going to be running at any one time is perhaps Photoshop/Illustrator CS2, Dreamweaver, and assorted other programs.

What can anyone tell me about Dual-Core? Is it worth it even if you aren't going to make the most of it's capabilities?

The other thing I wanted to ask about was the 64-bit systems. Is it worth upgrading to 64 even if your OS is only 32? Will it make much of a difference?

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated!

Here is my opinion. If your going to go high end (your specs show this to me), i would make it worthwile for the future.

Ok first off. You seem to have the idea that dual cores will only give you a boost in performance if you run more than one 'program' at a time. This is not true. Hit ctrl-alt-del and go to the processes tab. My guess is that you have around 50 different processes running, even with out any program running. Dual cores lets these processes get split inbetween these two cores. Its not just between photoshop and illistrator etc. Intel's quad core processors that they release in January of next year will really show a drastic improvement over single cores, but dual cores are a great advantage over single cores.

Also, i would go with 64 bit. Thats where the future is. Once Windows Vista is released in Q4 of this year, there will be a huge surge in 64 bit applications and you would greatly benifit from this as well. Also, there is a 64 bit version of Windows XP that was released early last year and is pretty good. Also, looking at intel's line a 3.4 ghz socket 478 (32 bit) is the same price as a 3.4 ghz LGA 775 (64 bit). I wouldn't see any reason not to go with the 32 bit processor.