Name one other piece of software that has as much trouble running on a 3.0 ghz AMD as pcsx2 (a program still trying to harness 6 year old technology), but runs 100% (or higher) on a 2.4 ghz intel.
And don't say "PS2 emulation is the only thing in the world that is rough on a processor".
Ughm, a 2.4GHz Core 2 more often than not will not
run PCSX2 full speed unless either A) the game is an easy one, in which case the Athlon X2 @3.0GHz will either get close or similar results, or B) speed hacks are being applied, meaning the CPU itself is still too slow, and the speed hacks are compensating to make it run faster.
Without speed hacks, it's an ~3GHz Core 2 that's recommended for Final Fantasy X, and that's one of the easier games to get going. You'd need a 3.6GHz Athlon X2, probably more like a 3.8GHz-4.0GHz one, to equal that. Yes, the Core 2 CPU itself is that much faster than the Athlon X2 CPU itself.
Just because your Athlon X2 plays PC games fine (which are 90% of the time more dependent on the GPU!) does mean you should whine and moan foul about something that is false because "PCSX2 can't emulate six year old technology".
Back when the Athlon X2 64 was better than the Pentium 4, the Pentium 4 still played the games of it's time just fine too. The difference between the CPUs was that the AMD had a better IPC, depsite a lower GHz rating, than the Intel. Now, Intel has a better IPC, and often enough, a matching or better (if overclocked) GHz rating, so it's honestly easy to see why the Core 2 has that much more brute force.
Oh, and it isn't perfectly multi-threaded, but that is literally impossible to do. Please, do disable dual core/MTGS mode, and then
see how slow/much slower it gets. Then you'll see how much it's adding.
You do need two cores for PCSX2, yes, but you equally need alot of brute force for PCSX2 (actually, I'm starting to wonder if speed is more important still, as I can run some games faster
when I disable one core than some people can with both of their cores, so what does that say? Most people only need two cores to compensate for the lack of speed on one.). The Core 2 (among the top for current CPUs as far as IPC goes) when overclocked (which also puts it among the top as far as frequency goes) is about the best brute force solution (as IPC plus frequency equals speed, and since the Core 2 is among the bets at both combined, do you now see where the results come from?).
Oh, and since this thread has been derailed, to the original poster, I'm willing to help personally (via PM) with overclocking if you go the route I suggested, but I can't guarantee anything (results may fall flat on their face, it does happen sometimes), it does come with risks, and I won't push you to do it.
The motherboard does have an IDE (PATA) port, but only one, so you can only connect two devices.
The "utilities" for overclocking are the motherboards' BIOS (there exists software, but don't use it).
Thermal paste is for heat dissipation, not being an adhesive (there is special paste types that act as one, but their main role is still to act as heat dissipation).