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Need a programming, virtualization, photo editing build. Intel i7 3770 or i5 or AMD FX series?

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September 8, 2013 4:12:24 PM

(To start, my budget for a CPU is $300 or less) I need your guys' opinions on this; It's time for a new build, and I've got pretty much everything set in stone except for the CPU. I'm going to be buying a Radeon HD 7770 GPU, since gaming is the least of my concerns, and 8 GB of Corsair Vengeance. So my question is, which CPU would be best for the things listed in the title? (along with some other stuff, I just do a lot of boring stuff on my computer, not getting killstreaks and such). AMD FX series, for more cores but less performance per core , or the Intel i7 Ivy Bridge series (or i5 if the i7 isn't worth it) for much more performance per core, and Hyper Threading? Thanks in advance, and I'm open to both sides and all ideas on this.
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September 8, 2013 4:33:32 PM

General rule with VM's: The more cores, the happier they are.
Overall, the FX-8350 would be better since it's 8 cores versus 4 cores /8 threads. The other thing is to get as much RAM as you can afford. A good VM machine needs at least 16GB, but if you can swing it, 32GB.

Also, if you're not gaming at all, you can save some money by lowering the GPU to even a 7750 or lower.
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September 8, 2013 4:56:27 PM

runswindows95 said:
General rule with VM's: The more cores, the happier they are.
Overall, the FX-8350 would be better since it's 8 cores versus 4 cores /8 threads. The other thing is to get as much RAM as you can afford. A good VM machine needs at least 16GB, but if you can swing it, 32GB.

Also, if you're not gaming at all, you can save some money by lowering the GPU to even a 7750 or lower.


Thanks for the reply, and yeah that makes sense, and I'm going to be adding RAM soon, I'm just strapped for cash at the moment. I just know that Intel has got a lot going for it under the hood, and my life mostly revolves around my computer, so I want top notch performance (up until $300, haha), so I just really can't decide, because I kind of feel that unless I'm gaming, using "boring" stuff isn't really intensive enough to benefit from a premium Intel CPU. Somebody can correct me or add they're thoughts though.
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September 8, 2013 6:23:03 PM

When it comes to programming and virtualization, the AMD processors don't pull any punches, in that all models have all the available extensions. Intel on the other hand splits virtualization into two parts and doesn't give you both unless you buy a $189 core i5 - BUT if you buy the $250 multiplier unlocked i5s, you DON'T get full virtualization support!... A little messed up, but there it is... Heck, even the cheapest AMD APU, at $45, has ALL of the processor extensions and virtualization enabled. Intel has VT-x enabled on most processors, but no VT-d, which may or may not be important to you based on your application.

The best deal going at the moment is the AMD FX-6300, at $119 (newegg.ca / Canada in my case). It has 6 cores, 8MB of L3 Cache, an unlocked multiplier, and a 95W TDP. This basically the sweet spot in "processing power per dollar" and the chip does well enough in gaming, encoding, and productivity. The next model up is the FX-8320, which is about a $40 premium for the extra two cores. If you are constantly encoding large videos or you're running a whole lot of VMs, then you will probably notice the difference in core count, but there are some important considerations to be made.

1. Real world vs. Benchmarks. Honestly, you probably won't notice the difference, unless you want to run 4 dual core VMs.
2. The FX-6300 consumes less power and thus can be run at stock speeds on most of the cheapest AM3+ motherboard (check the manufacture's website for the "CPU support list"), in the $55 range. If you don't care about overclocking, why spend more?
3. The FX-8320 is basically an FX-8350 (the $199 model) that wasn't stable enough to be sold at a higher clock speed. So, potentially not as good of an over-clocker as the FX-6300 (so the rumors go...).

All that said, if you have the money to spend and you only need 4 cores for your virtual machines, the $190ish Intel i5-3470 is the best bang for the buck in terms of processing power. It has full virtualization support (UNLIKE the more expensive 3570KKKKKK version...) and better performance than all the FX series in everything except video encoding (where it *can* lose by less than 10% depending on the program). Alternately, for $250 you can get an E3-1230 V2 Xeon for a socket 1155 motherboard that has full virtualization as well as hyperthreading. The Xeon is not overclockable at all, but it's basically an i7 with a $50 discount and a different name.

My advice, depending on budget:

1. Xeon 1230 V2 ($250) - the V2 is important!
2. i5 3470 ($195)
3. FX-8320 ($160)
4. FX-6300 ($120)
5. Athlon x4 750K ($85) - has full virtualization/cpu extension support, 4 cores, unlocked multiplier, and is dirt cheap!

Ps. Intel Haswell CPUs seem to come at a $10-20 premium for the same clock speed, which isn't worth it in a budget build for the small performance increase one would see over Ivybridge.
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