Dual Processors - Are they worth the cost?

I'm looking to build a new computer this summer (Summer 2005) and have started looking around and pricing out componenets. One thing that caught my attention was dual Xeons. I like the 64-bit support and now they have 800 Mhz FSB's like the P4C's. I do a lot of development with Visual Studio, MSDE/SQL Server Express, run virtual machines (VMware), and I occasionally play some games. I'm building this computer in anticipation of Windows XP Professional x64 and Longhorn. Is the extra cost of dual 64-bit processors worth it and will there be a big difference in performance?

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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
In the performance of any single application you probably won't see much of a difference.  Personally, based on your described usage, I think dual CPUs wouldn't be a bad idea and probably worth it - BUT make sure you have more RAM.  I'd say 1GB MINIMUM, 2-4GB recommended.  Having 2 dual CPU system with 2-4 GB of RAM will allow you to run virtual machines, the database, develop visual studio apps and play games with no so much performance degradation.  Personally, I don't like running Virtual Machines on any system with less than 2CPUs (I do - but I prefer dual systems where I can assign a Virtual Machine to it's own CPU and have it run in realtime priority - best performance you'll get out of a virtual machine would be like this - although I'll admit - this is my opinion and not based on anything I've read as fact).

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Timbo87Author Commented:
Thanks for the comment. I was planning on getting 2GB of RAM with the option to add another 1-2GB down the road. Does VMware Workstation support dual processors in the sense that I can allocate one processor to the host OS and one to the guest OS or do I need to buy the more expensive server line of VMware products?
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
I use Virtual PC myself.  But unless I'm missing something with VMWare (and I'm assuming you're using Windows as the primary OS), you typically use task manager to increase/decrease processor affinity and process priority - this is built in to XP, 2000, NT4, 2003
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Timbo87Author Commented:
Are you talking about Virtual PC on the dual G5 or Virtual PC 200x on Windows?
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Virtual PC 200x on Windows (Dual P3 1GHz at the time; currently run on a single P4 1.9 on a notebook as well)

> allocate one processor to the host OS and one to the guest OS
   Speak about VMware (workstation), so far it cannot separate the CPUs. Except for the disk space and memory (being assigned),
the rest if hardware resources are shared between host and guest OSs.

   If you develope multi-threaded application, then the dual CPUs with hyperthread technology (4 logic CPUs) will give you a lot of
performance gain. Otherwise, the dual CPU board cost is much higher because the board chipset (server class) are different from
the single CPU board.

   Longhorn will not be released soon (2006?) so I'd hold to go for 64-bit CPU. Well, as for Linux, then that's different story.



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