Hope you went over the picCOLOR test.
"Scores in picCOLOR, by the way, are indexed against a single-processor Pentium III 1GHz system, so that a score of 4.14 works out to 4.14 times the performance of the reference machine."
Gives you a pretty good idea, in this task at least, of the relative improvement you should see in a program compared to your machine, and, it shows the relative difference in speed.
I'm curious which of the tests most resembles the work you do on your machine?
"The Tech Report
Well, we asked for a cheaper Athlon 64 X2, and AMD delivered. As expected, the Athlon 64 X2 3800+ performs quite well in our test suite, which is heavy on multithreaded applications and 64-bit binaries—the types of programs that an X2 purchased today should spend much of its life running. In fact, in multithreaded applications, the X2 beats out AMD's single-core flagship, the Athlon 64 FX-57, more often than not. There is a tradeoff involved in the X2 3800+, because its 2GHz clock speed is relatively low, and as a result, its performance in single-threaded applications is decent, but not stellar. Still, the X2 3800+ plays today's single-threaded games better than any form of Pentium 4 or D.
The Pentium D 820 is still a good value at $241, but I suspect most enthusiasts will think the extra hundred bucks or so is worth it to step up to the X2 3800+. AMD's cheapest dual-core processor generally outruns the Pentium D 840, and in some cases, the Pentium Extreme Edition 840, as well. I'd still like to see AMD compete at the $250 range with a dual-core offering, but I suppose that will come with time. The X2 3800+ is a step in that direction.
In fact, now that the entry point for dual-core Athlon 64 processors has dropped to $354, I am almost ready to stop recommending single-core processors for anything but budget PCs. Unless you absolutely cannot afford it, I'd suggest picking a dual-core CPU for your next system. Even for gamers, there's little point in passing on a second CPU core just to get a somewhat higher clock speed, in my view. The X2 3800+ is more than passable for today's games, and multithreaded game engines and graphics drivers are already on the horizon. For anything but games, having a second CPU around, even if it's just to handle antivirus and antispyware chores, makes perfect sense.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to step out of the way. AMD says these chips should be available for purchase right now. If most X2 3800+ chips overclock like our review sample did, then PC enthusiasts are going to stampede toward this thing en masse."
He has a point. Keep in mind this processor is about the same price as a 2.8 ghz Xeon used to be, and it really starts looking good.
I would strongly suggest the swiftech cooler, since that would give you a better chance of hitting the overclock point he's talking about.
"The Tech Report
With very little effort and even less drama, I was able to get the X2 3800+ running stable at 2.4GHz by setting the HyperTransport clock to 240MHz. The Asus A8N-SLI Deluxe mobo on our test system was giving the X2 3800+ about 1.31V by default. I turned that up to 1.3375V, backed the HyperTransport multiplier down to 3X, and the X2 3800+ seemed quite happy.
Now, that's a sweet overclock all by itself, but hitting 2.4GHz has the added benefit of bringing everything into line. When the memory clock is set to the proper divider for DDR333 operation and the HyperTransport clock is raised to 240MHz, the memory actually runs at 400MHz even. Lock down the PCI and PCI-E bus speeds using the motherboard's BIOS, and you're running virtually everything but the CPU and HyperTransport link at stock speeds. I was able to leave the RAM timings at 2-2-2-5, nice and tight. This is the sort of overclock I could live with for everyday use. "
I'm NOT an over clocking fan, but that setup would make me think twice.