I have to make a CPU or Graphics card compromise, which should I do?

I am planning a budget build for my wife and my home computer. It will be used by both of us for the general stuff (web, music listening, watching movies, etc.) as well as some light music mixing and editing and some gaming by me. The most demanding games I will be playing are BF3 (and BF4 when it comes out), GTA4 and GTR2. Of course I would like to play all of these on the highest settings if possible. I am already rock solid decided on all of the components of my system except for the CPU choice.

My dilemma is this: From what I have seen in these forums, it looks like that between the AMD FX-6300 Vishera and the Intel Core i5-3570K, the Intel is the way to go and that it should be better at everything I would be doing. But, because of budget constraints, I can only spend about $450 total for the CPU, the MOBO and the graphics card. With that budget in mind, I have come up with the two "packages" below. One gets me the Intel and a MOBO with a 3.0 x 16 slot, but I have to sacrifice on the graphics card, whereas the other "package" gets me the AMD and a MOBO with only a 2.0 x 16 slot but allows me to get a much better graphics card. Please note that I do not plan to overclock whichever CPU I end up getting do to both inexperience in doing that and wanting to ensure that it lasts for many many years.

So, for what we will use our new pc for, what do you all think would be the best performance deliverer and why?

Intel Package:
Intel Core i5-3570K Ivy Bridge 3.4GHz
ASRock Z75 Pro3 MOBO
MSI Radeon HD 7770 GHz Edition 1GB 128-bit

AMD Package:
AMD FX-6300 Vishera 3.5GHz
SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 7850 OC Version 2GB 256-bit

Thanks for your help. After I figure this out, I can start on the exciting building process!
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  1. Best answer
    AMD Package considering you want to play on the highest settings. The important thing is that the 6300 will not bottleneck the 7850, while the 3570k is overkill for the 7770.
    The 7850 will allow Ultra settings for BF3, and perhaps Medium-High settings for BF4.
    The 7770 on the other hand, will play BF3 on Medium-High settings, and maybe around Low-Medium settings for BF4.
    Take this as a grain of salt, as you can adjust the settings accordingly. BTW BF3 looks great even on low.

    PCIE 2.0 is more than enough for the 7850. PCIE 3 is only useful for the high end. The fact that the Intel build has a better processor+PCIE3 means that it will be slightly more futureproof.

    So it boils down to whether you can deal with lower settings with the Intel build, and perhaps upgrade later down the road, OR enjoy relatively high settings, albeit a little less future-proof if you plan to upgrade later.

    edit: Over clocking is relatively easy and safe if done properly (there are many many guides and tutorials to help you).
    If you really don't have it in mind, consider the 3450/70 which is not only cheaper, it will also allow you to get a cheaper motherboard. This money can then be put into a better graphics card. But the 6300 is a good choice.
  2. I would tell you to spend $50 more to get intel and HD 7850 but if you don't want to, go with AMD.
  3. hmm difficult...
    Intel package: a lot better proc but a lot worse gpu. The gpu will bottle neck the proc on games. The proc is an overkill to HD7770 for games.
    AMD package: better gpu but worse proc. No bottle neck but the proc is weaker than i7 3570k.

    Both packages are not optimal..I say build your own package with i5 3570k/FX8350 and HD7850.
  4. Thanks everybody. All of your replies were very helpful. Since, as pointed out by all of you, I should go with the HD7850 no matter what build I do, I think I should just pony up the extra $75 it would take to do the Intel 3570k with the HD7850. I'll justify it to the wife as future proofing the machine for alot longer down the road since we won't need a new processor for a long time. Thanks so much!
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