Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Upgrade: Q9650 or Phenom II 940 + E8400?

Tags:
Last response: in CPUs
Share
a b à CPUs
March 15, 2009 3:50:22 PM

Hello all,

I'm on the fence with this decision. I have two computers: a gaming computer with an Intel E6300 (OC'd to 2.33GHz for 24/7, OC'd to 2.8GHz for encoding) and an HTPC with an AMD 5200+ (2.7GHz). I do a lot of video encoding for the HTPC and have been considering a quad core for a while now to speed things up. I've used both computers to encode video and they are about equal. Now that I've made the dive into blu-ray, a quad core is a must since standard DVD's take ~5 hours to encode to h.264 to an mkv container with the dual core CPU's and blu-rays are much, much larger. The HTPC is in a media cabinet and has low rpm fans to be quiet. During intense encoding, the 5200+ gets to 60-62C.

Anyway, I've finally talked my wife into letting me spend ~$300 on a quad core upgrade. My first thought was to get a Q9650 for the gaming computer, use that to encode video, and then transfer the finished mkv to the HTPC. But then I noticed that the Phenom II quads are only $175-200 which leaves me enough budget to get a faster dual core for the gaming computer, such as the E8400 ($165).

Here are my options:

#1 Get the Q9650 ($324).
Pros: probably faster than the Phenom for video encoding, better for multi-threaded games when they become the norm, should extend the life of the gaming PC beyond that of a dual core, the dual core in the HTPC probably runs cooler than a quad.
Cons: the blu-ray drive is on the HTPC so I'd have to transfer from HTPC to gaming PC, encode the video, then transfer the finished video back to the HTPC... kind of high P.I.A. factor

#2 Get a Phenom II 940 for the HTPC and a E8400 for the gaming PC ($200+$165).
Pros: both PC's get a substantial upgrade, encoding will be done on the HTPC and won't need to be transferred, I can recoup more money by selling the two old CPU's instead of just one, most games only use 2 cores anyway.
Cons: the Phenom in the HTPC might be too hot, encoding probably won't be as fast as with the Q9650 especially if I have to underclock the Phenom to keep the heat down, the gaming PC won't be able to take advantage of future multi-threaded (4) games.

Please, no Intel i7 advice. It's not on the table with my hard-fought budget of ~$300. And yes, I plan to overclock the gaming system regardless of which path I take. :D 

Anyone know if the 45nm Phenom II would be as cool or cooler than the 65nm 5200+?
Both Q9650 and Phenom II 940 are 3.0GHz stock, do they encode video roughly the same?


Your input is greatly appreciated.
March 15, 2009 4:33:37 PM

Get Q9550 $279.99 + Blue -ray drive for gaming pc $80, Total $360. Resell Your E6300 on e-bay at around $60. Final cost $300.
March 15, 2009 4:37:20 PM

Better yet, get a Phenom II X3 720 for the gaming pc ($147) and OC that mofo up to 3.6-7.
Related resources
March 15, 2009 5:33:39 PM

Gaming PC is intel so he cannot put x3 720 in that.
March 15, 2009 5:47:59 PM

Good point.

Then go Phenom II + E8400. You'll upgrade both, and P2 is not vastly inferior to the Q9650...in fact it is pretty even in several benchmarks, and its much cheaper than the Q9650.
a b à CPUs
March 15, 2009 6:06:35 PM

Hey guys. Before you tell him to get the PII you need consider one very important thing. Will his AMD board in the HTPC support it.

I would not spend the money to upgrade the HTPC. Simply because its just a HTPC. Upgrade the gaming machine. You will be able to play games better and of course encode alot faster. Then just transfer the files over. Basically its like killing two birds with one stone.

I would look at the q6600. It will smoke your current dual core in encoding and peform better in games.

Upgrade your gaming/encoding machine. Leave the HTPC as is.
a b à CPUs
March 15, 2009 7:28:47 PM

someguy7 said:
Hey guys. Before you tell him to get the PII you need consider one very important thing. Will his AMD board in the HTPC support it.

I would not spend the money to upgrade the HTPC. Simply because its just a HTPC. Upgrade the gaming machine. You will be able to play games better and of course encode alot faster. Then just transfer the files over. Basically its like killing two birds with one stone.

I would look at the q6600. It will smoke your current dual core in encoding and peform better in games.

Upgrade your gaming/encoding machine. Leave the HTPC as is.
I did my homework, the Phenom II's are supported by my motherboard so no problem there. I considered the Q6600 as a third option (Phenom II 810 @$175 + Q6600 @$185 = 2 Quad's available for encoding @ ~$350). How does the Q6600 compare to Phenoms for video encoding? The Yorkfield quads added SSE4 instructions. Does that affect encoding compared to the Kentsfields?

ainarssems said:
Get Q9550 $279.99 + Blue -ray drive for gaming pc $80, Total $360. Resell Your E6300 on e-bay at around $60. Final cost $300.
I'm not sure I want to get a blu-ray for the gaming PC... I don't intend to watch blu-rays on that system so it would only be used for ripping. Plus my monitor is not HDCP compliant... though AnyDVD can get around that.

The Third Level said:
Good point.

Then go Phenom II + E8400. You'll upgrade both, and P2 is not vastly inferior to the Q9650...in fact it is pretty even in several benchmarks, and its much cheaper than the Q9650.
I think I'm leaning towards the HTPC getting the quad because its not a big deal to leave it on to encode. In contrast, if I use my gaming machine to encode (even if it cuts my time down to 2 hours) I really won't want to do anything on it while it's crunching away on a video. Plus, it's hard to overlook the incredible value of the Phenom II's even if they can't match clock-for-clock with intel... Same clock speed as the Q9650 but $125 less with the 940 on sale right now on newegg.

Does anybody know about the temps that the Deneb Phenoms run at compared to the dual core Brisbanes? That's really my only concern at this point.

Thank for the input guys, keep it coming.
a b à CPUs
March 15, 2009 8:23:40 PM

PII x4 940BE is the way to go then. The temps should not be a problem. I do not own or got a chance to play with one yet but from what I gather on the net you should be fine.

The extra instructions will help the yorkfields if the app uses them. But nevermind all that. Pop a x4 940 in the HTPC and enode away.
March 15, 2009 9:07:57 PM

I don't know about that PII 940BE in the HTPC on stock cooling. I have a Phenom 9500 in a HTPC (SG03 CASE 2x 120mm fans infront) and under load the CPU rises to 66-68C. The Phenom II 940BE is 125W cpu that draws 200W on load and the Phenom 9500 is 95W that draws (I'm not sure) on load.

Unless you can get an after market cooler on the chip, I would say that there is some risk that the 940BE will not be suitable. The Zalman 8700 cooler is probably the best HTPC cooler you can find but it doesn't fit all mATX boards, I had an XFX 8200 board that I replaced so that I could fight on a Gigabyte 780g board.
a b à CPUs
March 15, 2009 9:12:32 PM

The PII 940 DOES NOT draw 200w on load. The max that it will draw at stock is what its rated at. Almost all of the time it wont actually even hit the rated wattage.
a b à CPUs
March 15, 2009 9:33:46 PM

I forgot to mention cooling. I'm using a scythe mini ninja in the HTPC currently. The Agena Phenoms like the 9500 are 65nm while the Denebs are 45nm. I was hoping the die shrink would drop the temps.
March 15, 2009 9:51:21 PM

Ok, now I'm confused, I must not understand what the anandtech chart is showing me.
!