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Which AMD CPU is better for gaming?

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Last response: in CPUs
August 9, 2008 1:12:47 PM

Please help me figure out which AMD CPU is better for gaming. I am looking at the Athlon X2 6400 or the Phenom 9850BE. After reading and reading, i still cant figure out if dual core or quad core is better for gaming, higher clock speeds vs more cores. I currently play only 1 video game, hellgate london, but may play Diablo 3 when it comes out. I also use this computer for multimedia, internet and burning dvds. My current setup is an Athlon X2 5600, gigabyte MA790X-DS4 (790X chipset) mobo and an ATI 4850 video card. The price difference between the 2 CPUs is not a factor.

thanks for your input

More about : amd cpu gaming

August 9, 2008 1:21:41 PM

I wouldnt upgrade from a x2 5600 to a 6400 since the x2 5600 is a pretty fast processor, te x2 6400 would be slighty faster than x2 5600, and a bit faster that the 9850, but more cores is alwys better imo, so im gonna say go with the 9850.
August 9, 2008 1:37:16 PM

Well from a 5600 to a 9850be would be worth it but if you already had a 6400 i'd advise against getting the 9850be. Btw you know that hellgate london's developer have laid off all their staff and aren't accepting new subscribers so you may need to find a new game. Honestly though I'd wait for a while to see what the 45nm AM2+ chips are like as there won't be a monumental difference in either upgrade path.
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August 9, 2008 1:37:21 PM

You have a good setup already, but out of the two you mention the Phenom 9850 has more potential.
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August 9, 2008 1:47:00 PM

I hate to disagree with others here, but more cores is not always better. If the program is only written to use 1 core, or 2 cores, throwing more cores at it will not do squat.

Games will still get more benefit from fast dual core than an slower quad. It's a fact.
All the yelling and cheering for Quad's is from the Intel camp.
But they have good reason, you can buy an Intel Quad cheap, clock it to the speed of Intel's fastest dual core. Why not go Quad when you can do that? But you aren't going to clock a Phenom to the speed of a 6400 x2 without some serious cooling and a lot of tinkering.

Oh, by the way, going to a 6400 is not going to do much for games, or really much anything else you do.
And neither will the Phenom. Why do you feel that you need an "upgrade"?
If you feel you must still go quad, wait for the new AMD Quads just around the corner.
August 9, 2008 1:49:20 PM

overclock the 5600 or go 4 the 9850 (don't buy 6400)
don't Compare clock speeds

i got amd 5600
4g ram
amd (ati)4850
next upgrade quad core 9950 or higher sometime
August 9, 2008 1:50:13 PM

u won't notice the difference! save ur money
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August 9, 2008 1:51:06 PM

goin for 6400 won realli help and 2.5 ghz of 9850 game performance is almost the same as 5600+. if i were u, i would wait for the 45nm cpu.initial reports clain that they r less power consuming (40% less) and hence they have higher potential 2 hit high clocks.

PS: i have a 5600+ and i have no complain while gaming althou i feel that sum games maybe hiting cpu bottleneck. but nothing that hampers gameplay
August 9, 2008 2:11:47 PM

get urself another 4850 and crossfire them (if ur board allows it) (and if necessary overclock ur 5600)
August 9, 2008 3:06:13 PM

jitpublisher said:
I hate to disagree with others here, but more cores is not always better. If the program is only written to use 1 core, or 2 cores, throwing more cores at it will not do squat.

Games will still get more benefit from fast dual core than an slower quad. It's a fact.
All the yelling and cheering for Quad's is from the Intel camp.
But they have good reason, you can buy an Intel Quad cheap, clock it to the speed of Intel's fastest dual core. Why not go Quad when you can do that? But you aren't going to clock a Phenom to the speed of a 6400 x2 without some serious cooling and a lot of tinkering.

Oh, by the way, going to a 6400 is not going to do much for games, or really much anything else you do.
And neither will the Phenom. Why do you feel that you need an "upgrade"?
If you feel you must still go quad, wait for the new AMD Quads just around the corner.


I agree with more cores is not always better part, however I disagree on your phenom bashing. First of all the Phenom is already more efficient clock for clock than the Athlon 64 X2 by about 25-30%, which should put the 9850BE on stock at around the same speed as the X2 6400+. On top of that, Phenoms used to not be good at overclocking, however with the new SB750 it has been proven that phenoms can clock higher than what we expected possible without heavy tinkering and aggressive cooling.

The reason I disagree with you upgrading to Phenom at this point is because you do not have a SB750+790GX motherboard available to you, therefore you can't really reach the phenom's true potential.

On another note, some of you guys really need to dispel all that bias against the phenoms, sure... they were utter crap at release and still were a few months back, but now they are decently priced if you look hard enough and with the SB750 boards they appear to be quite overclockable. We can't just disregard someone who wants a phenom based system nowadays if you take into consideration all the recent changes.
August 9, 2008 3:20:13 PM

i agree, amd has come a long way since and if you arent planning on overclocking too much i believe the phenom is just as good a processor as intel's core2 processors.
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August 9, 2008 3:25:23 PM

emp said:
I agree with more cores is not always better part, however I disagree on your phenom bashing. First of all the Phenom is already more efficient clock for clock than the Athlon 64 X2 by about 25-30%, which should put the 9850BE on stock at around the same speed as the X2 6400+. On top of that, Phenoms used to not be good at overclocking, however with the new SB750 it has been proven that phenoms can clock higher than what we expected possible without heavy tinkering and aggressive cooling.

The reason I disagree with you upgrading to Phenom at this point is because you do not have a SB750+790GX motherboard available to you, therefore you can't really reach the phenom's true potential.

On another note, some of you guys really need to dispel all that bias against the phenoms, sure... they were utter crap at release and still were a few months back, but now they are decently priced if you look hard enough and with the SB750 boards they appear to be quite overclockable. We can't just disregard someone who wants a phenom based system nowadays if you take into consideration all the recent changes.


Well, I didn't mean to bash the Phenom. And I do see that the 9850 on a good board with good air cooling can go to 3 ghz without too many problems. However, I still don't think that OP really needs a CPU upgrade. For what he is doing, he won't notice much change at all. And he will still have to overclock the Phenom a good amount to reach the speed of the X2 for gaming purposes.
I would still wait on the new AMD 45nm quads if I was in the market for an AMD quad core.
(Which I may just be very soon)
August 9, 2008 4:12:06 PM

1848386,10,125667 said:
I agree with more cores is not always better part, however I disagree on your phenom bashing. First of all the Phenom is already more efficient clock for clock than the Athlon 64 X2 by about 25-30%


:non:  Wrong. Where do you come up with 25-30%? Sh]t i wish it was
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August 9, 2008 4:19:08 PM

speedemon said:
1848386,10,125667 said:
I agree with more cores is not always better part, however I disagree on your phenom bashing. First of all the Phenom is already more efficient clock for clock than the Athlon 64 X2 by about 25-30%


:non:  Wrong. Where do you come up with 25-30%? Sh]t i wish it was
said:


phenom IS 25-30% faster than athlon 64 x2 when considered clock for clock in single thread.
August 9, 2008 4:36:40 PM

with that board, i'd agree that your best bet is to get another 4850, and wait it out until 45nm. if nothing else, when 45nm drops, so will the price of that 9850be. and the 9950be, and every other 65nm chip.

if you really plan to stick with amd, you might even look into a higher end 790gx board, so that when you do go phenom, you can goose the hell outta her! make sure to get one that has dual pci-e slots for crossfireX.

it feels good to feel excited about AMD again!!
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August 9, 2008 5:02:56 PM

dario77 said:
with that board, i'd agree that your best bet is to get another 4850, and wait it out until 45nm. if nothing else, when 45nm drops, so will the price of that 9850be. and the 9950be, and every other 65nm chip.

if you really plan to stick with amd, you might even look into a higher end 790gx board, so that when you do go phenom, you can goose the hell outta her! make sure to get one that has dual pci-e slots for crossfireX.

it feels good to feel excited about AMD again!!


I'm not 100% on this but I've seen a few rumahs on the internets that surmise that the Phenom Blackies with unlocked multis will slowly start to disappear if the 45nm shrink leads to decent IPC and GHz speed improvements.

AMD stopped taking orders in June for the Phenom 95's, 96's & 97's at 65nm. They will be replaced this Fall with 45nm versions. I haven't heard anything about the Phenom 98's but would guess they'll have a quick EOL at 65nm if the transition to 45nm goes well overall. AMD can't afford to leave that kind of cash on the table.

I'm sure they will keep some Phenom 'Black Edition' series but possibly drop availability and models to keep the price up as they incorporate more platform/architectural improvements into their hardware (like a refresh of 790GX/FX with sb750).

I'm sure alot of this will relate to what Chipzilla brings to the table ...
August 9, 2008 5:16:17 PM

Unless the game you want to play is optimized for Quad Cores, don't upgrade.

The X2-6400 is not that much faster than the X2-5600.
The Phenom may actually be slower than the X2-6400 in some games.
If the game is quad core optimized (Check Reviews) then the Upgrade may be worth it.
August 9, 2008 5:31:11 PM

Going from a 5600 to a 6400 isn't worth it. Get the 9850BE.
August 9, 2008 5:34:42 PM

And here are some charts which seem to fail to show the "Magical 25-30%" Phenom improvement.

http://www.anandtech.com/showdoc.aspx?i=3272&p=12

It's not there.
There is a small gain, but not much.

But Again, if you find a game that utilizes all the cores, it's a good upgrade.
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August 9, 2008 5:56:15 PM

I've heard of people having lots of problems with that motherboard and both the Phenom X4 9850 and 9950 BE CPU.If you want to run these chips go with a 790FX or 790GX chipset based motherboard.
August 9, 2008 6:14:43 PM

What i want to no is if i had a 9850@ 3ghz would it be faster than my 6000+@3ghz? Im thinking it would so if i was to buy the new 790chipset i would actually have an upgrade path huh...
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August 9, 2008 6:49:36 PM

It will be faster especially if you run quad core optimized software (Like Microsoft Flight Simulator X etc.).Just wait till the 790FX,750 Southbridge motherboards come out soon.I myself would pass on the 790GX,750SB boards.But I'd go with a 9950 BE rather than a 9850 BE if the motherboard supports it.
August 9, 2008 6:53:59 PM

sarwar_r87 said:
phenom IS 25-30% faster than athlon 64 x2 when considered clock for clock in single thread.
That would mean it has a higher IPC than C2D which is news to me. Can you link to data confirming that? I doubt it.
August 9, 2008 7:44:43 PM



I know of that review, but if you read the comments, the testing is so fundamentally flawed as to be pointless.

For Starters, by disabling 3 Cores, you are in essence giving 1 core 4x the L3 Cache.
In the Mean Time but disabling one of the two X2 Cores, you are in essence cutting the cache in half.

I can't recall all of the issues with the article other than to recall it was a very very bad article.
Realworld tests show those results to be wrong.

I prefer RealWorld Bench Marks of Real apps running the CPUs as they would run in the RealWorld.
In those tests, the difference is quite small except in apps that scale beyond two threads.
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August 9, 2008 7:46:14 PM

I wouldn't upgrade unless you run a quad core optimized game, like Supreme Commander or FSX. Then I'd get the phenom.
August 9, 2008 7:52:19 PM

Quote:
I hate to disagree with others here, but more cores is not always better. If the program is only written to use 1 core, or 2 cores, throwing more cores at it will not do squat.


Might not do anything to improve the performance of the one program that uses 1 or 2 cores... but on the other hand, if one or two cores are occupied with that one program, you have 2 or 3 more to handle anything else you might want to do at the same time. With the price of quad cores, it makes perfect sense to get one and leave the dual cores behind.
August 9, 2008 8:00:52 PM

zenmaster said:
I know of that review, but if you read the comments, the testing is so fundamentally flawed as to be pointless.

For Starters, by disabling 3 Cores, you are in essence giving 1 core 4x the L3 Cache.
In the Mean Time but disabling one of the two X2 Cores, you are in essence cutting the cache in half.

I can't recall all of the issues with the article other than to recall it was a very very bad article.
Realworld tests show those results to be wrong.

I prefer RealWorld Bench Marks of Real apps running the CPUs as they would run in the RealWorld.
In those tests, the difference is quite small except in apps that scale beyond two threads.


Well your more than welcome to post a link to these 'real world' benchmarks. Until then it looks to me as Phenom is faster. The Anand link has Athlon @3.2 vs Phenom @ 2.5, not what I call a fair test.
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August 10, 2008 5:06:42 AM

^The test is not that fair but considering that if he wanted to be able to OC a Phenom 9850BE to 3.2GHz he would have to get a new mobo with the SB750 since it seems to give a better success reat than the older mobos.

So in this case he could throw in a X2 6400+ and get better performance than a 9850BE.
August 10, 2008 6:22:53 AM

jimmysmitty said:
^The test is not that fair but considering that if he wanted to be able to OC a Phenom 9850BE to 3.2GHz he would have to get a new mobo with the SB750 since it seems to give a better success reat than the older mobos.

So in this case he could throw in a X2 6400+ and get better performance than a 9850BE.


Or he could save $100 and OC what hes got now...
August 10, 2008 6:26:23 AM

He justed wanted a simple answer and this thread has turned into an AMD civil war.... :non: 

-If price is no object go for the quad
-If you run tasks in the backround get the quad
-If you want to get every inch out of the games that you CURRENTLY play get the dual but dont run anything in the backround

IMO I would get the quad for future support

August 10, 2008 10:41:29 AM

Phenoms are better than X2s clock for clock that's why sometime soon Phenom dual cores will be out in the public.
August 10, 2008 11:43:27 AM

I'm surprised how many people here are missing the point. He asked which is better for gaming. He should have got 2 answers overwhelmingly.


1. Dual core at faster clock speeds is better for gaming than quad core at lower clock speeds.

2. It's not worth it to upgrade such a small step.



And that's that.



P.S.
If you really want to do something get a nice cooler and overclock what you've got (assuming the chip overclocks decently - I don't know). Otherwise just wait.
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August 10, 2008 3:36:53 PM

xx12amanxx said:
What i want to no is if i had a 9850@ 3ghz would it be faster than my 6000+@3ghz? Im thinking it would so if i was to buy the new 790chipset i would actually have an upgrade path huh...


if i had a 9850@ 3ghz would it be faster than my 6000+@3ghz? Yes.

if i was to buy the new 790chipset i would actually have an upgrade path? Maybe.

Future support in never a guarantee. CPUs may be pin-compatible and OEM #1s BIOS (or future upgrade) may work but that is no guarantee that OEM #2 will support a future product. I dare say everyone here whether AMD/Intel has been burned in some fashion by a 'future' upgrade 'guarantee' ...

With the cost of a 790i I'd say your chances are good it will be supported but would suggest another alternative. The cost of the mobo plus DDR3 just ain't worth it IMHO.


August 10, 2008 5:39:56 PM

Wisecracker said:
I dare say everyone here whether AMD/Intel has been burned in some fashion by a 'future' upgrade 'guarantee' ...


Future Upgrades? How about CURRENTLY SOLD and supposedly supported hardware. If you are not careful you can be burned buying currently available items that should support currently available CPU:

Example:
The Less expensive Gigabyte 790X-DS4 board DOES support the 9850 and 9950.
The more expensive Gigabyte 790FX-DS5 board (with an even better chipset AND power system) DOES NOT officially support either of those CPU.
The most expensive Gigabyte 790FX-DQ6 DOES supports both.

Gigabyte knows there is a stability problem but can't fix it. Yet even now they continue selling that board to unsuspecting victims.
August 10, 2008 5:49:42 PM

Board makers definitely don't help AMD's cause in instances such as that. I know AMD doesn't have the clout of Intel, but they really need to start cracking down on crap like that example. It's bad enough that VIA caused people to think AMD was crap for the longest time.
August 10, 2008 5:57:16 PM

Zoron said:
Board makers definitely don't help AMD's cause in instances such as that. I know AMD doesn't have the clout of Intel, but they really need to start cracking down on crap like that example. It's bad enough that VIA caused people to think AMD was crap for the longest time.



I've learned to look at this in a positive way: If it was STABLE I would have no reason to buy a nice shiny new toy. (A 790FX/SB750 board... with ACC features to play with.)

But I don't care about blowing a few hundred bucks... that's fine. But I feel very sorry for people that would have been caught and can't afford to so easily buy a new board just because they feel like it. Maybe some kid who saved up all summer to buy this "enthusiast" board only to find out he's been bent over.
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August 10, 2008 8:07:16 PM

emp said:
He's referring to a 790GX board with an SB750 (uses DDR2 1066), not an nvidia 790i.


LOL

I guess I saw ""790chipset i"" and went Lysdexic.
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August 10, 2008 8:10:05 PM

pogsnet said:
Phenoms are better than X2s clock for clock that's why sometime soon Phenom dual cores will be out in the public.


What? From what I have heard there are not going to be any K10 based dual cores. Now they are planning on a refresh of the K8 arch which would include some features from K10 but it will not be K10.
August 10, 2008 11:15:56 PM

Thanks to everyone who weighed in, nothing like asking a loaded question! The decision has been made, I bought the phenom 9850BE for 3 reasons:
1) i think i will be able to overclock the 9850BE to or very close to the speed of the 6400
2) i do tend to run other apps in the background while i game (torrents, burning, tv, etc)
3) i need my old 5600 for a multimedia computer im building out of spare parts, otherwise i prob would have waited for the new 45nm cpus.

thanks again for everyone's input