The performance should be comparable to a Pentium4 at 3.1, 3.4, and
3.5GHz respectively. Better in some things, perhaps slightly worse in
others.

I'd heartily encourage everyone buying a new PC to go dual (or quad if
budget allows) core. There's very little price premium and you do get
nearly twice the potential performance. Even if your apps are
single-threaded and can't take advantage of the second core, the OS will
use one while your app uses the other.

Also, AMD just went though a huge price drop, making dual core ("X2" in
AMD terminology) chips all the more affordable. Newegg is showing an X2
4000 (equivalent to 2 4GHz Pentium 4s) for $72.50. That's just $23 more
than the Sempron 3500 you mentioned.

Intel's next round of price cuts in on the 22nd. At that time the Quad
Core Q6600 will drop to under $300 (at $480 today). I would think the
Core 2 Duo dual-core chips will drop accordingly.


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