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Budget AMD/Intel Build

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October 31, 2008 2:46:40 AM

I'm stuck on a rapidly aging AMD Athlon 3700 single core, and I want to upgrade very soon. I've always been an AMD supporter, but I am occasionally envious of those Intel overclocking results. I'm on a budget, and I've narrowed it down to these four:

$77 AMD Athlon 5400 Black Edition
$84 Intel C2D e5200
$120 Intel C2D e7200
$134 AMD Phenom 8750 Black Edition

In any case, I intend to use it mostly for gaming and overclock as far as I can sensibly go. I'd be using a 790GX for AMD, P45 for Intel. I'd like opinions: are the more expensive processors worth the price premium, or can I do well enough with cheaper ones? And although I'd like to stick with AMD, are the Intel processor's advantages simply too great for me to pass it up?

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October 31, 2008 3:17:05 AM

Well the E5200 simply owns the X2 5400+ BE overclocked. The E5200 can often get 3.6GHz+ overclocks whereas the X2 5400+ would top out at around 3.3GHz and is also much slower per clock. Out of these two definitely the E5200... brand loyalty notwithstanding. ;) 

The E7200 and X3 8750BE is a close battle in multi-threaded apps, you're probably looking at 4GHz for the E7200 and 3GHz for the 8750BE, maybe a bit more if you use a SB750 mobo. In single/dual threaded stuff like games the E7200 would come out on top as the 3rd core would be unused.

Overall the Intel chips are definitely quicker overclocked, especially in the case of the E5200 vs 5400+ BE, but in the end its your money and if you want to support AMD that's your prerogative. :) 
October 31, 2008 3:18:24 AM

get the e7200 a good TIM and heatsink and you're good to go. you can OC it fine. What's ur GPU though?
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October 31, 2008 3:31:42 AM

Thanks epsilon for a very informative post. That e5200 is looking like an attractive option. For almost 50% more cost I could get an e7200, but would it be that much better? I'm not an extreme overclocker, on either I'd likely stop at 3.3 GHz or so and be happy. Would the extra cache and overclocking headroom on the e7200 justify an extra $40?

Zecow said:
get the e7200 a good TIM and heatsink and you're good to go. you can OC it fine. What's ur GPU though?


I've got a Radeon 3850 512MB.
October 31, 2008 3:40:32 AM

buy a smashed veloocity micro on ebay for $400 or so
with 9800gtx and q6600

you can build a nice system for $600
October 31, 2008 3:46:55 AM

Here's a review of the E5200: http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cpu/display/core2duo-e...

On average its about 5 - 6% slower per clock than the E7200, not to mention the slightly lower overclock potential (about 200MHz lower at the same voltage). All things considered let's assume an overclocked E7200 performs ~10% better than an overclocked E5200.

So is that worth an extra $40 to get the E7200? Thats a hard question to answer, for gaming on your current GPU I'd say no, in fact you'll probably be so GPU limited you'll see little difference between the X2 5400+ and E5200 in gaming. However, a faster CPU does allow you to reap the rewards of a faster GPU in future should you decide to upgrade.

For apps other than games, then it simply comes down to whether you think an extra 10% performance is worth a $40 premium, no one can answer that dilemma except yourself. ;) 
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October 31, 2008 4:42:37 AM

Great posts epsilon84. I'd go the E5200, dual socket P45 which leaves good room for upgrades in the future and decent performance at a budget right now.
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