I've been building single proc setups for around a decade and am trying to figure out if I should make the leap to a dual 2.0 GHz Opteron system over a similarly priced single Athlon FX 55 (based on prices I've seen on Newegg and Zipzoomfly). I want to run 3ds Max and the Adobe Creative Suite. However, I also want to run Half Life 2 and other games now and again. Which is the better value for the dollar? A top of the line single proc setup or a dual mid-level Opteron system? Also, the dual Opteron boards have two non-SLI PCI-Express slots. How does that work? Do I HAVE to use two graphics cards to be able to use both procs? Windows XP Pro and Media Center both support dual procs, right? I have to keep the price tag under $3000 (no monitor or soundcard is needed), what would you build? I'll try to update this post with what I'm thinking about going (both on the single and dual proc configs) before to long.
My System: Antec P108B case Athlon x2 4400+ with Sythe Ninja heatsink MSI K8N Neo 4 SLI Platinum (with latest BIOS update) with Zalman ZM-NBF47 passive northbridge heatsink 4 x 512 MB crucial ballistix PC3200 EVGA 6800 Ultra in x16 slot 1 Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS Pla