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Phenom II, or Core i7?

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February 19, 2009 7:48:40 PM

Alright, now I'm not naive enough to simply ask "Which is better?" But I play games like Flight Simulator X, Crysis, Halo2, Portal, and Every game in the Need for Speed series.

I'm also going to be more specific.
I want to compare the AMD Phenom II X4 3.0ghz Deneb 125 watt "black edition" processor

with

Intel's Core i7 920 Quad core Nehalem 130 watt processor.

The guys at Microcenter tell me that core i7 is out benching "everything" and that's the only smart choice for my next pc. Besides being .34ghz faster, is AMD's Phenom II at all comparable to Core i7? Some say Intel is better, some say AMD is better. For gaming, which of these would be the better choice?

I'm getting a job (finally) and I somehow might be able to afford either of these. Let me know what you think, please. Thanks.

More about : phenom core

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February 19, 2009 8:31:02 PM

i7 gets my vote. The HT should help quite a bit in FSX.
February 19, 2009 8:38:14 PM

if your only using 1 graphics card go for amd in gaming
but if you used 2+ go with i7
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February 19, 2009 8:49:23 PM

You're quite right. There is a lot of discussion for and against both systems. From what I've read so far there is a cost factor to consider also. The Intel Core i7 sytem is going to cost a lot more that an AMD Phenom II x4 quad core system. The higher cost might affect some people's decisions.

The current Phenom II x4 quad core cpu's were designed for AM2+ motherboards and DDR2 1066 memory. They are not AM3 cpu's. I am inclined to be believe they are intended to be a budget upgrade. The general opinion seems to be AMD will eventually introduce Phenom II quad cores for use with AM3 motherboards and DDR3 memory. That will mean a more expensive upgrade but less than an upgrade to an Intel Core i7 system.
February 19, 2009 8:53:24 PM

I suggest just getting a good Core2Duo or Core2Quad processor.

Primarily due to :

- Core2Duo 45nm processors still have similar, if not better IPC compared to the Phenom 2, but cheaper as well.
- Being generally cheaper than Core i7 setups.
- DDR3 still being expensive, while DDR2 having it's lowest price point yet.

Anyway, the Core i7 is only outbenching anything Phenom 2 has when you get the most expensive stuff. On the midrange to lowrange, the Phenom 2 and sometimes even surpasses the similar Core i7 setups.

How much is your budget anyway?
February 19, 2009 11:58:19 PM

Searching for 'i7 FSX' on Google found some people claiming that it's significantly faster than a Core-2 Quad, so presumably it would be a lot faster than a Phenom II.

Not so big a difference in the games that aren't CPU-limited, but unless you plan to replace it in the next year or two, why buy the slower CPU to save $50?
February 20, 2009 12:02:03 AM

john_smarty said:
if your only using 1 graphics card go for amd in gaming
but if you used 2+ go with i7


couldn't have said it better myself lol
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February 20, 2009 12:51:02 AM

JohnnyLucky said:
You're quite right. There is a lot of discussion for and against both systems. From what I've read so far there is a cost factor to consider also. The Intel Core i7 sytem is going to cost a lot more that an AMD Phenom II x4 quad core system. The higher cost might affect some people's decisions.

The current Phenom II x4 quad core cpu's were designed for AM2+ motherboards and DDR2 1066 memory. They are not AM3 cpu's. I am inclined to be believe they are intended to be a budget upgrade. The general opinion seems to be AMD will eventually introduce Phenom II quad cores for use with AM3 motherboards and DDR3 memory. That will mean a more expensive upgrade but less than an upgrade to an Intel Core i7 system.


There's already AM3 processors out that support DDR3, they are just as cheap of an upgrade as the 2 AM2+ Phenom II models that were launched in January. They can be placed in an AM2+ motherboard with DDR2 memory or placed in an AM3 motherboard with DDR3 memory.
February 20, 2009 7:26:26 PM

I plan on going all out, buying the middle of the road core i7, DDR3, 2 or 3 of the best graphics cards (either 2 4870X2's or whatever nvidia has on the market at the time)

Parts list will look something like this
Core i7 940 or 965
DDR3 (fastest speed allowed by motherboard and at least 4gb)
X64 Windows XP and 7 dual boot
high RPM hard drive (currently up to 15000RPM on newegg I believe)
3 or 4 of nvidia's best cards, or 2 dual ati cards
whatever motherboard fits these the best
whatever power supply gives the most stable wattage (or maybe a redundant 1000W, my case holds 2 power supplies =D )

all contained inside an Antec 900, currently sitting in my room.

ANY suggestions for this? Also, any suggestions on where to get the best deals? (Besides Newegg, TigerDirect, and Microcenter.)

Also, is there a chance Im missing something?


I'm getting a job at best buy when i turn 16 in july so maybe if i work at the geek squad I can get a decent pay from them, to fund this insanely powerful computer I plan to build.

EDIT: My budget is to be determined, but as I said above I'll be working for Geek Squad unless someone suggests a better job for a 16 year old in the Coatesville, PA area (sorry in advance for being so indecisive with this whole thing.)
February 20, 2009 8:40:19 PM

stridervm said:
I suggest just getting a good Core2Duo or Core2Quad processor.

Primarily due to :

- Core2Duo 45nm processors still have similar, if not better IPC compared to the Phenom 2, but cheaper as well.
- Being generally cheaper than Core i7 setups.
- DDR3 still being expensive, while DDR2 having it's lowest price point yet.

Anyway, the Core i7 is only outbenching anything Phenom 2 has when you get the most expensive stuff. On the midrange to lowrange, the Phenom 2 and sometimes even surpasses the similar Core i7 setups.

How much is your budget anyway?



I'm sure he doesn't want to waste money. No one in their right mind wants too.

Core 2 Quad's are Multi-Chip Modules that suffer from a bottleneck.

Core 2 Quads are comprised of 2 dual cores placed side-by-side. Each dual core has two 64-bit floating point units.

The Phenom II is a quad core processor where each of the four cores are on a single die with four 128-bit floating point units and overclocks to 6.5 Ghz. Phenom II also costs a mere $240 as compared to Core i7 at $1080 !!!

A first generation phenom (I) can easily beat a Core 2 Quad.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ivx0XYMCZJw
by 20%!

You like wasting money?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dwcKyrHHQac
February 20, 2009 9:08:17 PM

enigma067 said:
Phenom II also costs a mere $240 as compared to Core i7 at $1080 !!!


So long as you ignore the i7 920 at a 'mere' $289. If the pages I read about i7 vs Core 2 Quad are correct, then even the low-end i7 would give you a sizeable boost over other quad-core CPUs for FSX.
February 21, 2009 4:56:42 AM

enigma067 said:
I'm sure he doesn't want to waste money. No one in their right mind wants too.

Core 2 Quad's are Multi-Chip Modules that suffer from a bottleneck.

Core 2 Quads are comprised of 2 dual cores placed side-by-side. Each dual core has two 64-bit floating point units.

The Phenom II is a quad core processor where each of the four cores are on a single die with four 128-bit floating point units and overclocks to 6.5 Ghz. Phenom II also costs a mere $240 as compared to Core i7 at $1080 !!!

A first generation phenom (I) can easily beat a Core 2 Quad.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ivx0XYMCZJw
by 20%!

You like wasting money?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dwcKyrHHQac


Hmm...Somehow I doubt that benchmark is real considering it doesn't provide any cpu benchmarks or system build info other than to say they are "exactly the same" Also he doesn't mention what speeds they are at (i.e. are they overclocked?) which is where most (if not all) of the readers here at Toms compare the cpus.

Also the second video compared a X4 940 to an intel i7 965...that accounts for $800 of the $1000 difference with the rest being DDR3 memory to DDR2 and possibly the motherboards which are too fuzzy to tell what they are. So going with the 920 (and since DDR3 prices have dropped so much--and speaking of which you realize that i7 is triple channel so you'd get 3 or 6gb of RAM not 2 or 4 right?-- the difference is likely less now...6gb of DDR3 can be had for as little as $120, so that issue isn't so big anymore.)

Aside from that looking at the benchmarks done here at Toms in this Core i7 vs Phenom 2 comparison, They are overall comparable, however when the i7 does win, it does so by a large margin and when it loses it's not by very much...(true both of these are overclocked, but they are the same cpus you are looking at getting so should give you an idea of how far you can go with each).


It's been proven time after time that the cpu matters less in a build (although still being important) than the gfx card. Both of these are powerful processors and you'll likely be fine with either one. Personally I'd rather go with an i7 so that I could get an x58 mobo and have the option of Crossfire or SLI which as far as I know cannot be done on any AMD system (please correct me if I'm wrong). This way you don't have to worry about switching the mobo any time soon and you know that Intel will release new and more powerful processors as time goes on and drop prices on them.

Anyway, I'm not trying to knock AMD, I personally think that they have a really good proc with the Phenom IIs but Intels are still a little better and since you're talking about a top of the line system that (from the sounds of it) you are going to be keeping as top of the line, it makes more since to be able to upgrade to whichever gfx card (which gives the greatest boost in gaming) without changing proc and mobo too.


February 21, 2009 1:03:16 PM

OrderChaos said:


Aside from that looking at the benchmarks done here at Toms in this Core i7 vs Phenom 2 comparison, They are overall comparable, however when the i7 does win, it does so by a large margin and when it loses it's not by very much...(true both of these are overclocked, but they are the same cpus you are looking at getting so should give you an idea of how far you can go with each).


It's been proven time after time that the cpu matters less in a build (although still being important) than the gfx card. Both of these are powerful processors and you'll likely be fine with either one. Personally I'd rather go with an i7 so that I could get an x58 mobo and have the option of Crossfire or SLI which as far as I know cannot be done on any AMD system (please correct me if I'm wrong). This way you don't have to worry about switching the mobo any time soon and you know that Intel will release new and more powerful processors as time goes on and drop prices on them.

Anyway, I'm not trying to knock AMD, I personally think that they have a really good proc with the Phenom IIs but Intels are still a little better and since you're talking about a top of the line system that (from the sounds of it) you are going to be keeping as top of the line, it makes more since to be able to upgrade to whichever gfx card (which gives the greatest boost in gaming) without changing proc and mobo too.


I agree with you. I read that entire comparison, Intel blows away the competition. I also agree with the X58's ability to Crossfire OR SLI, AMD I don't believe can do that. And also the Core i7 920 isn't that much more expensive than the AMD Phenom, and it's still that much better.

Does anyone have any graphics card recommendations?
February 21, 2009 1:33:42 PM

i dont think it is a matter of the AMD stuff "cant" CF /SLI as i have been down that road and been able to but the scaling that i7 does is significantly better than we are accustomed to seeing. it makes the i7 a no brainer for multi-gpu. i am glad to see you have already looked at some of this stuff for yourself instead of falling into the trap of listening to fanboi's which in alot of cases around here dont even possess either of the newer cpu's.
February 21, 2009 2:26:31 PM

roofus said:
i dont think it is a matter of the AMD stuff "cant" CF /SLI as i have been down that road and been able to but the scaling that i7 does is significantly better than we are accustomed to seeing. it makes the i7 a no brainer for multi-gpu. i am glad to see you have already looked at some of this stuff for yourself instead of falling into the trap of listening to fanboi's which in alot of cases around here dont even possess either of the newer cpu's.


Exactly. When I buy the next computer, I will be comparing other peoples opinions with my own, and with the benchmarks and performance reviews.
February 21, 2009 2:42:47 PM

Overclockability has to be taken into account. An i7 920 can easily be overclocked up to 3.8, with a decent £50 cooler. That in my opinion makes it the best bang for buck.
February 21, 2009 3:15:00 PM

massec said:
Overclockability has to be taken into account. An i7 920 can easily be overclocked up to 3.8, with a decent £50 cooler. That in my opinion makes it the best bang for buck.


TRUE! And since I have a large heat sink (Thermaltake Golden orb II) and an Antec 900 Case, I bet I can get that sucker up to 4.0ghz, maybe

February 21, 2009 3:28:01 PM

As you seem to have no issues about money, you might as well go for i7.
February 21, 2009 3:35:04 PM

Definately, if money isnt the object, then go i7, as for multi gpu usage and many other apps, i7 is better. It costs more, doesnt show great perf gains in single gpu configs, but still does well in other apps. At this point, it IS a cost/perf issue combined with a users needs that should regulate or guide as to which cpu to go after
February 21, 2009 4:00:44 PM

The Third Level said:
As you seem to have no issues about money, you might as well go for i7.


True, so maybe prices will go down by July when I actually plan to buy this. This is just for me, and anyone else who needs it to help compare AMD and Intel's newest.
February 21, 2009 4:09:03 PM

By July, new revs will be out for at least P2, and higher clocks/lower volts will be seen by then
February 21, 2009 4:12:19 PM

This is true, so I'll stay updated on Newegg, etc.
February 21, 2009 5:09:03 PM

Phenom II is meant to compete with C2Q, so dont expect it to be beating i7.
That said, i7 is quite a price jump for a 20% performance increase, so in case of budget issues, Phenom II is more than enough.
February 21, 2009 5:21:36 PM

I agree. Does AMD have anything that would compete with i7?
February 22, 2009 3:09:33 AM

So I would do a Quad sli gtx 295 dealio....or Triple sli gtx 280's, since they have been known to beat even the gtx 295's in quad setups, with i7's of course. Now if you know a thing or two about thermal compounds and overclocking I suggest 3 gtx 260's. Thank you and have a good one.....
February 22, 2009 4:59:31 AM

The_One_and_Only said:
So I would do a Quad sli gtx 295 dealio....or Triple sli gtx 280's, since they have been known to beat even the gtx 295's in quad setups, with i7's of course. Now if you know a thing or two about thermal compounds and overclocking I suggest 3 gtx 260's. Thank you and have a good one.....


I was leaning toward quad sli, and X64 OS. This way I get more case space for my wireless card which i'll need to add to the case, and some audio recording cards.
February 23, 2009 12:29:41 AM

nice at least you know what you are doing....
February 23, 2009 6:52:18 PM

blackpanther26 said:
Where did you learn that bogus? I have to say this my Q9650 out beats my old Phenom 9850 when both overclocked to 3GHz. I got near 900 more points with the same GPU than that of the Phenom and I can overlcock this to 4GHz.



Exactly. Intel clocks higher, even though AMD finally caught on to 45nm technology. So is Intel better than AMD in every way? (besides power management, which most gamers like myself seldom care about)

Please, if your an AMD fanboy for no reason, I don't care what you have to say if you have no reason to like AMD. I think the fanboy idea is ridiculous, just go with the best processor.

Thank you.
February 23, 2009 7:08:42 PM

Go i7, period. As for the graphics either get ONE 4870 X2, ONE GTX 295, or TWO GTX 285s with the later being the best and fastest choice. I say this because it is going to suck if you buy this expensive ass computer and have driver related and/or quad SLI/crossfire related issues and crashes. 2 GTX 285s will do perfectly fine for all games that can be maxed (so not Crysis which is a terrible unoptimized monstrous blob of a game). Oh and for gods sake just buy the god damn i7 920, buying the more expensive ones is like throwing money into the fire. If you need to spend that money then donate the price difference, does anyone donate money anymore?
February 23, 2009 7:12:04 PM

todd5854 said:
Exactly. Intel clocks higher, even though AMD finally caught on to 45nm technology. So is Intel better than AMD in every way? (besides power management, which most gamers like myself seldom care about)

Please, if your an AMD fanboy for no reason, I don't care what you have to say if you have no reason to like AMD. I think the fanboy idea is ridiculous, just go with the best processor.

Thank you.


Well that depends. The best processor for the money and can do 90%+ the same as an i7 chip? Phenom II or 45nm C2Q. Best performing processor, period? i7 easily.

The word "best" is subjective. The best in my opinion is the Phenom II X3 710/720 which can hit 3.8-4.0 and is plenty fast for $120-$140. Someone with that thing can still frag your ass i7 or not! :D 
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February 23, 2009 7:20:04 PM

This has been debated to death:

i7 is clearly a better processor, and comes with a price premium of around $250 over PII. In any (non game) multithreaded environment, i7 proves how powerful it is over PII.


That being said, for gaming, the processer you choose is irrelvent, as games are GPU bound at high resolutions, so both CPU's will perform virtually equal in almost every game you would care to play. As a result, SLI/CF setups favor i7, as the extra horsepower allow the i7 to show off its extra muscle.

It depends how "future proof" you want to be really.
February 23, 2009 7:28:33 PM

gamerk316 said:
This has been debated to death:

i7 is clearly a better processor, and comes with a price premium of around $250 over PII. In any (non game) multithreaded environment, i7 proves how powerful it is over PII.


That being said, for gaming, the processer you choose is irrelvent, as games are GPU bound at high resolutions, so both CPU's will perform virtually equal in almost every game you would care to play. As a result, SLI/CF setups favor i7, as the extra horsepower allow the i7 to show off its extra muscle.

It depends how "future proof" you want to be really.


YES! Now it's making sense. I want to be very future proof, so i7 seems the way to go. And SLI/CF boards seem obviously better with i7, for future expandability and all around options.
February 23, 2009 7:32:06 PM

I was just about to bring up the 720 as cost to performance it is just destroying everything out there.
If you just want the best then you don't really need to even ask that question as the best of the best then clearly you'll be going to Intel. Of course you'll be paying out the nose for it with the extra cost of the MotherBoard and RAM.
How much performance gain will you really see though and is it worth the extra thousand dollars to just have the best of the best for the next three months?
What will you be doing with your computer should be another question you should be asking yourself...
Heavy Duty Video Editing and Photo Editing... I7 is superior..
Gaming... AMD's 720 will go head to head with any of the I7's and you will find that to gain a substantial enough performance in i7 you'll be once again paying to get that performance.
The question then becomes: Are you willing to shell out an extra grand to get a 10% increase in Frame Rates?
Well good luck.
February 23, 2009 7:40:59 PM

Cuddles said:
I was just about to bring up the 720 as cost to performance it is just destroying everything out there.
If you just want the best then you don't really need to even ask that question as the best of the best then clearly you'll be going to Intel. Of course you'll be paying out the nose for it with the extra cost of the MotherBoard and RAM.
How much performance gain will you really see though and is it worth the extra thousand dollars to just have the best of the best for the next three months?
What will you be doing with your computer should be another question you should be asking yourself...
Heavy Duty Video Editing and Photo Editing... I7 is superior..
Gaming... AMD's 720 will go head to head with any of the I7's and you will find that to gain a substantial enough performance in i7 you'll be once again paying to get that performance.
The question then becomes: Are you willing to shell out an extra grand to get a 10% increase in Frame Rates?
Well good luck.


True, also. But the 965 i7 (to me) seems like it's not worth it. Yeah 3 months isn't really a long time to be at the top, so I'd rather get something cheaper that would last longer. gamerk316 mentioned future versatility with graphics. I think if I got core i7 920, I'd be just fine for a while. If I have a problem running something, I can just get a new graphics card. But I do understand I can only do that a certain number of times before the cpu just gets too old to do what I want it to do. My 5600+ was fine for a while...until I got into flight simulator, and Crysis. So even now I'm upgrading as necessary, and I feel it's time for a whole system upgrade.
February 23, 2009 8:15:02 PM

I made a copy of this thread like 20 days ago :)  maybe you can still find it. Ended up going for the Phenom II x4 but bought the i7 in the stores. Cost difference was 150 dollars but oh so worth it. Only had problems with the stock cooler, they use stupid plastic pins... Hate them.

Anyway, they both are great processors, I think...
i7 was the way to go for me due to multi tasking pretty much all the time.
Overall i7 just owns all
February 23, 2009 8:17:51 PM

Id go with AMD just out of sympathy for them trying... 940 is already anounced EOL. I mean... it was nothing more but an upgrade path for AM2+ users. If your going AMD anyway then wait for AM3
February 24, 2009 1:09:18 AM

I think this has been debated enough.

You have no hangups over cash, even someone who likes the Phenom II as much as me is going to concede that i7 is far superior in raw performance.

Go i7.
February 24, 2009 1:13:09 AM

The Third Level said:
I think this has been debated enough.

You have no hangups over cash, even someone who likes the Phenom II as much as me is going to concede that i7 is far superior in raw performance.

Go i7.


I made up my mind. Next PC will definitely be a i7, unless anything new comes out. Any motherboard/memory suggestions?
February 24, 2009 1:22:47 AM

Quote:
I wouldn't buy an i7 and it sure isn't because i don't have the cash.

There are loads of other factors if you think about it. The i7 has been shown to be inferior to Phenom II in a lot of gaming benchmarks - don't you think that is unacceptable for a chip costing a lot more?

On top of that you have the forced DDR3 and mobo making the cost even more...for what? A performance loss in the mainstream market?

Sure the i7 is a decent chip at the extreme high end, but how many people does that encompass?

If you buy an i7 now, you are pretty much telling intel that you are willing to accept substandard gaming at a premium. I dunno how anyone can think that's a good idea tbh, no matter how much money they have to burn.


True. But remember...I'm looking for a PC good enough to run Flight Simulator at Max. Settings. If I can accomplish this, I bet I can run Crysis all the way up too. (That's without AA) I've never even seen AMD run Flight Simulator, everyone uses i7, core 2 quad, etc. I'll look again.
February 24, 2009 1:23:50 AM

The i7 920 is faster than the Phenom IIs in all areas. The Phenom II sometimes get SLIGHTLY better marks in gaming because they are 400Mhz higher stock. The i7 920 outperforms the Phenom IIs at the same clockspeeds and both overclock to the same ceiling. i7 is faster, period. People need to stop pointing to a few shaky benchmarks to say that "i7 has been shown to be inferior to Phenom II in a lot of gaming benchmarks", it has only been a few and the i7 CPU is clocked lower.
February 24, 2009 2:00:08 AM

Links please? You can say a lot, back it up with some reputable sites.
February 24, 2009 2:09:21 AM

Quote:
If that was even half true, nobody would be debating it.


Fanboys will always deny reality. The only benchmarks I've seen where Phenom II comes close to i7 at similar clock rates are retarded ones ('let's run so GPU-limited that we only get 10fps, and then claim that Phenom II CPU performance is as good as i7'); no-one wants to run a game at frame-rates so low that the GPU cripples i7 to the point where it's as slow as a Phenom II... and if they do, they can probably run just as fast with a dual-core CPU.

Quote:
If intel thought the i7 was any good, they wouldn't be rushing the i5 out so fast for the 'mainstream'.


LOL.

If Intel thought the Pentium was any good, they wouldn't be rushing out the Celeron. If Intel thought the Core 2 Quad was any good, they wouldn't be rushing out the Atom. If AMD thought the Phenom was any good, they wouldn't be rushing out the Phenom II.

Intel want CPUs with different capabilities at different price points; i5 has been on the roadmap for a long time to cover the mainstream market where people don't want to pay >$200 for a CPU and don't want to have to buy an expensive motherboard and three sticks of DDR3 RAM to get the best performance out of that CPU... oddly, the same things that some AMD fanboys have been holding against the i7.

My guess is that only a rabid fanboy will even try to justify buying a Phenom II for anything other than a CPU upgrade for an AMD system they already own once i5 hits the streets; it will knock away most of the price justification for not buying Nehalem.
February 24, 2009 2:25:05 AM

At stock speeds, these 2 cpus are close in gaming, period. Then it comes to other uses and costs. If other uses are high, and or if money or costs arent a factor, then i7 is the way to go. If you want similar gaming performance for less money, a P2 is the way to go, excluding multi gpu setups, but figuring if costs are concerns, multi gpu setups probably arent in the mix either. Theres many a review showing the P2 beating the Q6600, the Q9550 and i7 920 in some games, and thats even the triple as well. If you havnt found them, and need me or someone else to find them, Id suggest anyone to look for themselves. This isnt directed at you MarkG, but when people have differing ideas as to how things work, its time to find out. This reminds me of when the R700 series was released. Even tho there was lots of reviews out, nVidia fans still didnt except how well those cards were. The P2 is a fine chip. When i7 was released, it was compared to its earlier older brother, where we saw i7 getting beat by the Q9xxx series in gaming. Well, the P2 holds its own in gaming with the Q9xxx series too, so to me its a wash, and competition is here. Im refering to same cost for cpus, at stock, and all you have to do is look
a b à CPUs
February 24, 2009 2:33:26 AM

the i7 is not that amazing of a processor stock. however, once overclocked it is brutally fast. if you overclock there is no real competition for the i7. if you plan to have your cpus stock then i would go with the cheaper p2.
February 24, 2009 2:48:40 AM

Thats true, where the game isnt bottlenecked, a good oc on i7 can make a huge difference, tho not all games show this, whether its a gpu limitation, or something else (pci-e, BW etc)
February 24, 2009 3:28:46 AM

There are actually two set of benchmarks from both Toms and Anandtech showing I7 having problems with games. Both were using Nividea Graphics Card showing that there seems to be a problem with I7 and Nividea GPU's. Is it a Driver Problem or something more inherent I haven't seen anything further but the I7's do have some issues. Look on Toms and you'll find a huge article that went into some deep testing on this.
At the 1680X1050 setting usuing a ATI Graphics Card there wasn't that much of a difference between the Phenom 720 and the I7 940 in frame rates on almost all of the games. In fact on most of them the 720 was coming out ahead against all of the CPU's including the other Phenom II's.
But on other benchmarks such as video editing, extracting, etc the i7's were ahead.
I like AMD and ATI but I also try to be unbiased. The 720 should be a chip you should at least consider and do some research on and I would be careful with the i7's.
Here is just my gut feeling. Something just doesn't feel good about these i7's. Some of the recent benchmarks are showing a different side of the i7's that isn't very positive. I would really do my homework on them and if you really feel this is the way to go then I would go with a 920 or 940 and then wait for a year before doing an other upgrading.

Honestly, this is what I would do if I were you.
Get a AM2+ MB, 4 GB of RAM, and a 720 Phenom II. Cost will be about 1/3 of what a 920 system would cost you. Wait on the i7 for a bit till the prices drop. You'll have about the same performance as an i7 at a fraction of the cost. When the prices drop on the i7's later this year and the problems with the i7's and the Nividea GPU are ironed out then make your purchase.
When you do this you can use the 720 as a Home Server or secondary Gaming Computer.
The good point on this is that AMD has a fairly easy upgrading pattern. You'll always be able to keep your AMD system fairly current without throwing a lot of cash at it. Another good aspect about this is that you'll have a backup computer that performance wise won't be that much different from the other. Then you won't ever be without a computer and if you are like me being without a computer is like an addict being without Heroin.
Most of all just have fun with the process.
February 24, 2009 3:34:42 AM

JAYDEEJOHN said:
If you want similar gaming performance for less money, a P2 is the way to go


From what I've seen the only time the Phenom II gets 'similar gaming performance' is at high resolutions, when a dual-core CPU will be just as fast and cost even less.

Quote:
Theres many a review showing the P2 beating the Q6600, the Q9550 and i7 920 in some games, and thats even the triple as well.


And the only GTX295 review I can find which tests a Phenom II has a 2.1GHz i7 beating a 3.6GHz Phenom II...

As I said, the only times when Phenom II gives comparable gaming performance is when the i7 is limited by the GPU. If that wasn't the case, then AMD fanboys wouldn't continually be pushing those benchmarks as 'proof' that the Phenom II is just as good... they'd actually have some _CPU-limited_ benchmarks instead.

I'm also amused that a year ago the AMD fanboys were claiming that AMD chips were better because they had much higher memory bandwidth than Core 2, and now that i7 stomps on Phenom's memory bandwidth, that's now 'just a synthetic benchmark'.

If I needed more performance from my AMD system, I might think of sticking a Phenom II in there, but I honestly can't see any reason for building a new PC with anything other than an i7 at the high end or a Core 2 Duo, Athlon X2 or Atom at the low end.
February 24, 2009 11:16:58 AM

I have a Pentium II right now which is running Windows 98 at breakneck speed...does that count?
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