My cpu utilization is 100% across all four cores most of the time. I parallelized all of the intensive stuff. For example, about 1gb of tagged corpus has to be read in, information has to extracted from each sentence, and a vector space has to be constructed. This is all highly parallelizable, and so I did it. Also, distance calculations were highly parallelizable so I did that too. My application uses threads during these intensive parts using ThreadPool and Executors to manage them.
With out any clue about your processing... I would suggest you attempt to profile the Java program. You may find that bottle necks come from the RAM clock speed, if so, changing the processor won't really do much.
Have you tried compiling to native code (i.e. with GCJ). You'll probably find that can increase your through-put a tad. And should cost you nothing.
Depends with the hyperthreading, how does your application use threads?
Right my program is highly parallelized and I think I can take advantage of some extra juice. And right, I'm hoping that four cores + HT is better than four cores w/o HT. I wish I had a friend with the hardware so I could check it out!
Presumably, yes. But taking advantage of hyperthreading is better guaranteed as you increase the portion of your total processing that operates under multi-threading, as per Amdahl's law. That link should help you get the picture. If multi-threading operations are sparse and take only a small portion of your total processing, you are probably better off with the Phenom. Benchmarking is however, and unfortunately, the only way to know for sure.
There's also the fundamental issue of the operating system. On the Windows world, Windows 7 seems to be the first OS to really take advantage of logical cores and scheduling. Linux supports it fully too and to make sure it's active, just check /proc/cpuinfo. siblings lists the number of logical cpus. Should be a higher number than that of physical cores under cpu cores.
No budget restriction, this is for research so I can get funding as I need it. And yes I am trying for a complete overhaul. I use to think that if I got a roughly 1.5 increase in speed, it'd be worth upgrading. But since I've been using AMD for so long (since the original Athlons), I'm shot for experience with the new Intel technology.
Are you planning on updating your current computer, or replacing it?
You wont be able to carry much over as AM3 and 1156/1366 both use DDR3 memory. Do you have a budget in mind? Budget usually seems to be biggest deciding factor.