Best AMD CPU to Get?

I’m thinking of upgrading my CPU (it’s only a couple years old, but still, there have been some major advancements.) The motherboard’s a socket 939 and I don’t really want to go replacing that as well, because if I do that I’ll wind up having to replace about three other pieces of hardware. This should list all compatible CPUs (I might have to flash my BIOS, but no big deal, besides it’s got the backup BIOS on the motherboard). I assume I want to get a dual core and it has to be a 64-bit processor (not that I’m using a 64-bit OS to take advantage of it, due to lack of drivers.) I’m currently using an Athlon 64 3500+.

I guess my real question is what’s the difference between the Athlon 64 x2 processors, the Athlon 64 FX processors, and the Opteron x2 processors. And considering the age of my motherboard and that it wasn’t really built with the newer CPUs in mind, what would be the best choice?

I recently looked into this myself – I believe the fastest dual core processor that was made in socket 939 was the 4800x2 – but they are nary impossible to come across. You can get an athlon x2 4200 out there. If you’re big into multi-tasking, video editing, or other possibly dual threaded tasks, it is likely a good investment.

However, if you’re looking for extreme speed in one single task (like gaming), you’re better off with a single core athlon – the Athlon 64 4000 or the FX55

see here and here for some benchmarks.

A related question (it would fit in GQ, but I’d rather not start two threads.) I’m toast without the proper 64-bit drivers, right? Not having 64-bit drivers for my (admittedly ancient) Voytera Turtle Beach Santa Cruz sound card and Hauppauge WinTV-Radio tuner card (a holdover from my college dorm days, but still gets used a lot) has kept me from installing the copy of XP64 I have.

actually the drivers depend on the operating system you’re using. unless you’re specifically using the 64 bit version of windows, all of your processes are 32 bit. That means all you’ll ever need is the standard windows drivers for whatever version of windows you’re using.

That’s what I meant. I’m using a 32-bit OS with a 64-bit CPU, which seems like a waste. I’d like to use a 64-bit OS (XP64) but I haven’t because of lack of driver support. Unless there’s a way to make a 32-bit driver work in a 64-bit environment.

You’ll have to pardon my glossing over that part of your OP. I don’t have much…well…actually any, experience with 64 bit version of windows. My limited understanding is that there is very spotty software support and even less hardware support for this OS. I don’t know how much of a speed advantage you’d gain by using the 64 bit OS. I do know that the 64 bit version supports 16GB of RAM instead of the 4GB used by a 32bit OS. For your average home user, I cannot think of any advantage to this, 4GB of RAM is plenty.

I recently upgraded my socket 939 processor, to get a slight speed boost and the dual core processors. I didn’t see much improvement in processing power, but my computer multitasks much better now. Well worth the ninety dollars.