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Hardware Question
I can usually only get to about 50% speed with my current CPU (It's AMD Athlon X2 Dual-Core 3800+, 2GHz, about time for an upgrade anyway).

Thing is, i'm not really sure what to get.

Almost every video that's running PCSX2 very well i've seen claims they're using SSSE3 CPU plugins, which to my knowledge is Intel exclusive. Intel is expensive D=. I was wondering if SSSE3 Plugin is the game maker, with it games run like they should, without it not so much.

The biggest problem is that it's about time to upgrade my motherboard aswell, so that'll be extra cash i'll be forking out, so the more money for the Intel is even harder to deal with. Using an AMD processor and the basic SSE2, will it run PCSX2 well if it's powerful? The processor i'm looking at is the AMD Phenom II X2 550 BE Callisto, though i've found an Intel (Intel Core2 Duo E7500 Wolfdale) that's just a bit more that I *MIGHT* be able to squeeze in if SSSE3 really makes a big difference.

My whole system is 3GB of DDR2 RAM, Radeon HD 3850 512MB 256-bit, Windows 7 Latest RC Build/XP SP2, and the aforementioned AMD Athlon X2 3800+ Dual-Core.

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I have an Intel processor and I barely ever see any difference between SSE2 and SSSE3. The thing however is between a Intel core 2 duo processor running at 2GHz and an Athlon 64 x2 2GHz the Intel would still run faster for PCSX2 so that actually brings a difference. Not sure how much the difference between Phenom II and Core 2 Duo is but I'd take the E7500 as it's high enough clock rate and has the SSE4.1 that helps now and might help even more for future PCSX2 releases.
Core i5 3570k -- Geforce GTX 670  --  Windows 7 x64
SSSE3 isn't a game breaker... Most people only get 1-4fps difference on most games. That said, the emulator does in general run better on intel than AMD but as long as it's a fast processor (anything above 3ghz is highly recommended) you should do pretty well. Hell, I can get most 3d games in the 80% speed range with my processor (3600+ overclocked to 2.3ghz). Also remember that PCSX2 doesn't currently support more than 2 cores, so if it's the main reason for the upgrade, it's better to get a faster dual core than a slower quad core. (edit) Blah, left the computer to check something real quick before posting and I got beat to the punch.
For motherboard, I don't think I need P45 even P43 chipset or P35. thus I merely went for a cheaper P31 which supports FSB1600 for further overclocking.
durable PC since 2008
CPU : E7200 @ 2.53 GHz 1.04 V / OC 3.7 GHz 1.36 V (390*9.5, 4GB DDR2 780)
GPU : 8600GT (GDDR3, 256 MB) / OC (750 / 900)
BOARD : GA-EP31-DS3L (rev 1.0) broken and bought a second hand one replaced
PSU : 300 W
OS : Windows 7 Home Basic x86
if your on a budget, there is a phenom II that is a dual core at 3.1 ghz stock, its on newegg. tri or quad core wont benefit you in PCSX2
look at the PC in my signature, i can run most games at full speed and my CPU doesnt have SSSE3 and SSE4.1, i can use only SSE2 in emulation.

games like:

Persona 3,4
Final Fantasy X, XII
Budokai 3

sometimes even hit 200% speed when i turn of frame rate limiter and they never drop under 100%
Check my profile for hardware/software and games i played on PCSX2.

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