To run multiple applications well you need a powerful (ideally multi-core) CPU and plenty of RAM. Our multitasking test performs a massive file backup (with encryption) using 7Zip, while simultaneously playing back a HD movie file using Media Player Classic, making it a seriously demanding test for any PC.
Multi-tasking performance yields a more interesting table with the heavily overclocked Intel E5200 CPU not quite affording the same awesome value it has done it in every previous test, in fact, the overclocked AMD Athlon X2 7750 BE and AMD 5200+ are both closest to the green, despite the fact the 5200+ is quite a way down the table - the actual "small" performance difference is offset by the tiny price. The main bulk of stock clocked performance dual core AMD CPUs actually are relatively closer to the green area than previous benchmarks have afforded, mostly because the stock clocked Intel E5200 does so badly here, matching the tri-core Phenom for performance:value very near the red zone.
Platform Value Discussion
There's no doubt about it - for nine out of ten scenarios, the Intel Penium Dual Core E5200 will yield the best value, as long as you can heavily overclock it. If only AMD's Athlon X2 7750 Black Edition was happy to reach 3.5+GHz stably it would yield a far more competitive or even the best value processor in more tests.
For those that want to stick with AMD, the Athlon 5200+ also looks like a good possible choice for extremely cost concious individuals, but if that's the case, we would actually point you in the direction of the 4850e instead. In the performance graphs it may sit at the bottom, but we know it loves extra HyperTransport, and at just a 45W TDP it has oodles of thermal overhead meaning 3GHz+ is very doable. This would likely yield 6000+ or greater performance, but for a fraction of the cost, dropping it into the green area in many cases.
So it looks like our monthly buyers guide will still recommend the Intel Pentium Dual Core E5200 then for the time being, and even if you're considering that E8400 upgrade - consider whether it would be worth saving the cash and dropping it on extra memory, or a better motherboard or graphics card instead.