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Would I be seeing a performance upgrade with an i3 3220?

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  • Performance
  • GPUs
  • CPUs
  • Gaming
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April 11, 2013 4:40:22 AM

I'm planning on upgrading my ~7 year old gaming PC. Since I am not made of money, I'm planning on gradually upgrading my parts. First step would be to upgrade my processor, mobo and RAM. I'm pretty confident in buying an i3 3220 and upgrading it for a faster CPU later in the future.

However since I have not played on the PC in years since my system is from the stone age (Athlon X2 64 5000+) I'm not sure how much of an upgrade the 3220 would be with my current GTX 550Ti GPU, if any. I am planning on upgrading the GPU also at some point but I'm just wondering if I can manage until then with a 3220 + 550Ti combo? Would I be seeing any noticeable difference in gaming performance or would the GPU just bottleneck it?

Also while graphics are nice, they are really not a deal breaker for me (although it would be nice to play with textures that don't look like they come from 2004). Plus my monitor can only handle 1680x1050 max.

More about : performance upgrade 3220

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April 11, 2013 4:51:51 AM

Yep go with the i3 and upgrade it in the future. It will definitely run faster than the amd
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April 11, 2013 4:56:28 AM

The only problem with the idea of an i3-3220 now and an upgrade later is that you won't be able to upgrade to Intel's Haswell processors that are launching in June.
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April 11, 2013 5:02:12 AM

An Intel Core i3 3220 would definitely help, as the Athlon X2 is undoubtedly bottlenecking your 550 Ti.
I would say it's holding that card back by 20% at least. Overclocking the CPU would help, but you'd might as well get the 3220. It goes around for $130

Choice of motherboard heavily depends on when/what are you planning to upgrade the 3220. If it is 2+ years from now, then I would recommend getting a basic B75 or H77 chipset motherboard. On the contrary, if you are willing to upgrade within a year or so, then getting a Z75 or Z77 would be ideal, as this allows for overclocking.

But I'm presuming you (and everyone for that matter) would want the upgrade to last as long as possible. If this is the case, then getting a B75 or H77 is good. The difference between the 2 are minimal, along with the price.

B75: Gigabyte GA-B75M-D3H Motherboard $70
H77: Gigabyte GA-H77M-D3H Motherboard $85
Note: any motherboard from any reputable brand (Asus, Gigabyte, ASRock, MSI) should suffice.
RAM: 8GB 1333/1600 should suffice. (e.g. G.skill, Corsair, Kingston) $40

Total cost: 3220+b75+8gb
$240

To answer your question: yes, getting the 3220 is worth it, and you can always upgrade the GPU later. But with your resolution, even a 7850 would be more than enough.

Hope this helps :) 
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April 11, 2013 5:05:07 AM

Sakkura said:
The only problem with the idea of an i3-3220 now and an upgrade later is that you won't be able to upgrade to Intel's Haswell processors that are launching in June.


@OP
If you need the upgrade now, then get the 3220.

Haswell will be more geared towards the mobile space, with a 7-10% in performance the norm, according to Intel's past iterations.
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April 11, 2013 5:05:52 AM

Sakkura said:
The only problem with the idea of an i3-3220 now and an upgrade later is that you won't be able to upgrade to Intel's Haswell processors that are launching in June.


I've thought about that but I tend not to follow the "newest and shiniest" products. I like to walk slightly behind the evolution curve, picking up yesterday's fruits for a lower price. Just like my gaming catalogue which also is lagging a year or two behind the trend.

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April 11, 2013 5:13:09 AM

Pibu said:
Sakkura said:
The only problem with the idea of an i3-3220 now and an upgrade later is that you won't be able to upgrade to Intel's Haswell processors that are launching in June.


I've thought about that but I tend not to follow the "newest and shiniest" products. I like to walk slightly behind the evolution curve, picking up yesterday's fruits for a lower price. Just like my gaming catalogue which also is lagging a year or two behind the trend.



I do not think the 3220 has dropped in price, and it will only do so when Haswell equivalents arrive. For the time being, the price tag is stuck. But that should not deter you from not buying it now. Buy now, think later. And then buy more. :p 
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April 11, 2013 5:19:35 AM

The way I seet it, either get i5-3570k or if you don't want to spend as much money get the FX-6300 which is very similarly priced with the i3. There is no point buying an i3 now and upgrading to i5 later because the i5 is allready available and the upcoming Haswell i5s are not compatible with current motherboards. You'd just be overpaying for the i5 if you first spend on the i3. Better to save up more money untill you can buy the i5, it's cheaper that way in the long run.

Or like I said, buy AMD if you don't want to spend the money. The reason for FX-6300 over the i3 is that games are getting increasingly multi-threaded and it's doubtfull that the i3-3220 can handle them as well as fx-6300.
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April 11, 2013 5:30:45 AM

kettu said:
The way I seet it, either get i5-3570k or if you don't want to spend as much money get the FX-6300 which is very similarly priced with the i3. There is no point buying an i3 now and upgrading to i5 later because the i5 is allready available and the upcoming Haswell i5s are not compatible with current motherboards. You'd just be overpaying for the i5 if you first spend on the i3. Better to save up more money untill you can buy the i5, it's cheaper that way in the long run.

Or like I said, buy AMD if you don't want to spend the money. The reason for FX-6300 over the i3 is that games are getting increasingly multi-threaded and it's doubtfull that the i3-3220 can handle them as well as fx-6300.


The OP did not specify when he wanted to upgrade, hence getting a 3220 now would be ideal.

@OP
The AMD FX 6300 is also an ideal choice for around $15 more than the 3220.
Though benchmarks put it neck and neck, you will not see much difference in games. It is also worthy to note that this particular CPU can be overclocked, so it will likely last longer.

Of course, an i5 would be the ideal choice, but it really depends on the OP's budget.

Hope this helps. :) 
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April 11, 2013 5:50:34 AM

oddlyinsane said:
kettu said:
The way I seet it, either get i5-3570k or if you don't want to spend as much money get the FX-6300 which is very similarly priced with the i3. There is no point buying an i3 now and upgrading to i5 later because the i5 is allready available and the upcoming Haswell i5s are not compatible with current motherboards. You'd just be overpaying for the i5 if you first spend on the i3. Better to save up more money untill you can buy the i5, it's cheaper that way in the long run.

Or like I said, buy AMD if you don't want to spend the money. The reason for FX-6300 over the i3 is that games are getting increasingly multi-threaded and it's doubtfull that the i3-3220 can handle them as well as fx-6300.


The OP did not specify when he wanted to upgrade, hence getting a 3220 now would be ideal.

@OP
The AMD FX 6300 is also an ideal choice for around $15 more than the 3220.
Though benchmarks put it neck and neck, you will not see much difference in games. It is also worthy to note that this particular CPU can be overclocked, so it will likely last longer.

Of course, an i5 would be the ideal choice, but it really depends on the OP's budget.

Hope this helps. :) 


Well I settled for the i3 because the feeling I got online from various sources was that Intel simply beats AMD twice over these days. I was thinking of getting a K-model Intel maybe within a year and OC it. But now that you brought up that FX-6300, that may not be such a bad alternative...

And thank you for the help so far!

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April 11, 2013 5:57:25 AM

If you are going intel, I would see if you can get a used 2500k cheap (should be able to pick one up for similar price to a new i3), will keep you running games for a good few years and will give you plenty of scope for GPU upgrade.
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April 11, 2013 5:58:30 AM

oddlyinsane said:

The OP did not specify when he wanted to upgrade, hence getting a 3220 now would be ideal.

@OP
The AMD FX 6300 is also an ideal choice for around $15 more than the 3220.
Though benchmarks put it neck and neck, you will not see much difference in games. It is also worthy to note that this particular CPU can be overclocked, so it will likely last longer.

Of course, an i5 would be the ideal choice, but it really depends on the OP's budget.

Hope this helps. :) 


Intel doesn't really seem to discount their CPUs that much over time, that's why I'd rather get the i5 now instead of the i3. Because even if you'll upgrade two years from now you'll probably end up paying roughly the same price as you'd pay now for an i5. So that's going to be ~$130 + ~$220 = ~$350 for you CPU vs ~$220 if you get the i5 straight up. You'd get something back selling the i3. But how much, is anyones guess. Still, you wouldn't get what you paid for and end up spending more overall.

For reference the price of Sandy Bridge more than 2 years after launch:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

As for gaming performance:
True that they are in most cases fairly similar now, however I doubt that is the case in the future. We're allready seeing glimpses of how the i3 struggles vs higher end CPUs:
http://pclab.pl/art52489-9.html
http://www.techspot.com/review/648-simcity-performance/...
http://www.techspot.com/review/642-crysis-3-performance...

So, in short, I would limit my choices to i5 3570k vs FX-6300 depending on how much I'm willing to spend.
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April 11, 2013 6:07:11 AM

RobCrezz said:
If you are going intel, I would see if you can get a used 2500k cheap (should be able to pick one up for similar price to a new i3), will keep you running games for a good few years and will give you plenty of scope for GPU upgrade.


Hmm, that's an interesting option. Though an unlocked CPU is a bit of a risk in my opinion because you don't know how much it has been overvolted and what kind of heatcycles it has gone through during its use and how much that has reduced its lifespan. But still an interesting option.
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April 11, 2013 6:33:13 AM

kettu said:
RobCrezz said:
If you are going intel, I would see if you can get a used 2500k cheap (should be able to pick one up for similar price to a new i3), will keep you running games for a good few years and will give you plenty of scope for GPU upgrade.


Hmm, that's an interesting option. Though an unlocked CPU is a bit of a risk in my opinion because you don't know how much it has been overvolted and what kind of heatcycles it has gone through during its use and how much that has reduced its lifespan. But still an interesting option.


There is a risk - however Intel CPUS have fantastic in built protection and I havent seen a failed cpu in many many years that wasnt DOA.

Also, to add my own experiences, I have bought used CPUs, GPUs and mobos from Ebay to upgrade friends computers and I have had some great bargains with no faults so far.
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