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Intel or AMD for Fall 2009 Build

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August 4, 2009 6:26:14 PM

Waiting for AMD to release their new CPU this Fall and I'm on the fence about which CPU to go for. AMD or Intel for gaming purposes and longer lasting upgradability?

I wish to play Dragon Age on a 22" or 24" LCD with mega max graphics.
August 4, 2009 6:55:03 PM

Oh no....you have no idea what you have started. We need a little more info...like budget range, because that will for the most part determine the answer on which is better for you.
August 4, 2009 7:46:56 PM

If you were going to spend $1200-$1500 and required most components other than the HD and sound card, what would you go with? I've been planning on a i7 920 and ASUS P6T. I'm open for debate on if peeps think I could do better with my budget. Figured I'd run on GTX 285, so that needs to be factored into the budget as well.
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August 4, 2009 7:59:06 PM

Budget range is about $800.00 CDN. Goal is to run games on a 22" or 24" monitor. I'm not sure what the resolution is for monitors of that size however.

One priority however is to use a motherboard that will be able to use AMD CPU's for quite some time and OC well. SLI is not required, I will stick with single GPU's.

Anything else I might add that I haven't already?
August 4, 2009 10:31:36 PM

@vizering...I'm not sure what that is in USD right now, I can't keep up with the exchange rate, but I think it is something like $600USD...is that correct? And do you need the Monitor to be included in the price?

@hockster ...there is a sick deal on i7 system @ compusa.com right now. If you add a second 4850 it would give you better overall performance than the gtx285, and you would still have lots of room in your budget to upgrade the MB and heatsink at a later date.
http://www.compusa.com/applications/SearchTools/item-de...
August 4, 2009 11:02:13 PM

I don't know what it is in USD but not all US parts from Newegg are available in Canada so we have to use the Newegg.ca website. All prices are in CDN however. The parts can be found in CDN prices. The $800.00 CDN only includes the tower. I already have monitor, kb, mouse, speakers.
August 4, 2009 11:17:03 PM

I would think you should be looking at an AMD 720BE system. If I have the time i'll try to price one out on newegg.ca to confirm that would be the best bang for your buck...In the US the price point is about $1000 where intel will way outperform the AMD offerings. There are some really good refurb deals on i7 systems, but unless you have a friend in the US that can buy it for you and ship it to you I don't think they ship to Canada.
August 4, 2009 11:29:06 PM

I've been looking at AM3 mobos for AMD and ATI GPU's. My main issue is whether or not I should get a good CPU/GPU now and tough as long as it can or get a mediocre CPU/GPU now and upgrade sooner. I'm not sure which one will save me the most.

If this helps, I really really want to play Dragon Age on a 22" in very high settings. The game isn't out yet so it's hard to tell what kind of system I'll need.
August 4, 2009 11:58:24 PM

Qty. Product Description Savings Total Price
select item 1 quantity of item 1


Pioneer CD/DVD Burner Black IDE Model DVR-118LBK LabelFlash Support - OEM

Pioneer CD/DVD Burner Black IDE Model DVR-118LBK LabelFlash Support - OEM
Item #: N82E16827129043
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy

-$3.00 Instant


$33.99
$30.99

select item 2 quantity of item 2


Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail

Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
Item #: N82E16811129042
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy

-$20.00 Instant


$89.99
$69.99

select item 3 quantity of item 3


Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drives - OEM

Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drives - OEM
Item #: N82E16822136284
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy



$114.99

select item 4 quantity of item 4


GIGABYTE GA-MA790X-UD4P AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 790X ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail

GIGABYTE GA-MA790X-UD4P AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 790X ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
Item #: N82E16813128387
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy



$144.99

select item 5 quantity of item 5


HIS H485FN512P Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail

HIS H485FN512P Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail
Item #: N82E16814161259
Return Policy: VGA Standard Return Policy

-$16.00 Instant


$135.99
$119.99

select item 6 quantity of item 6


CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power ... - Retail

CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power ... - Retail
Item #: N82E16817139006
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy

-$115.00 Instant
$20.00 USD Mail-in Rebate17-139-006

$229.99
$114.99

select item 7 quantity of item 7


OCZ 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ2G10664GK - Retail

OCZ 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ2G10664GK - Retail
Item #: N82E16820227362
Return Policy: Memory Standard Return Policy

-$6.00 Instant


$59.99
$53.99

select item 8 quantity of item 8


AMD Phenom II X3 720 2.8GHz Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Black Processor Model HDZ720WFGIBOX - Retail

AMD Phenom II X3 720 2.8GHz Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Black Processor Model HDZ720WFGIBOX - Retail
Item #: N82E16819103649
Return Policy: CPU Replacement Only Return Policy



$149.00

Subtotal: $798.93
August 5, 2009 12:02:44 AM

belial2k said:
Qty. Product Description Savings Total Price
select item 1 quantity of item 1


Pioneer CD/DVD Burner Black IDE Model DVR-118LBK LabelFlash Support - OEM

Pioneer CD/DVD Burner Black IDE Model DVR-118LBK LabelFlash Support - OEM
Item #: N82E16827129043
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy

-$3.00 Instant


$33.99
$30.99

select item 2 quantity of item 2


Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail

Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
Item #: N82E16811129042
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy

-$20.00 Instant


$89.99
$69.99

select item 3 quantity of item 3


Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drives - OEM

Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drives - OEM
Item #: N82E16822136284
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy



$114.99

select item 4 quantity of item 4


GIGABYTE GA-MA790X-UD4P AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 790X ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail

GIGABYTE GA-MA790X-UD4P AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 790X ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
Item #: N82E16813128387
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy



$144.99

select item 5 quantity of item 5


HIS H485FN512P Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail

HIS H485FN512P Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail
Item #: N82E16814161259
Return Policy: VGA Standard Return Policy

-$16.00 Instant


$135.99
$119.99

select item 6 quantity of item 6


CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power ... - Retail

CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power ... - Retail
Item #: N82E16817139006
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy

-$115.00 Instant
$20.00 USD Mail-in Rebate17-139-006

$229.99
$114.99

select item 7 quantity of item 7


OCZ 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ2G10664GK - Retail

OCZ 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ2G10664GK - Retail
Item #: N82E16820227362
Return Policy: Memory Standard Return Policy

-$6.00 Instant


$59.99
$53.99

select item 8 quantity of item 8


AMD Phenom II X3 720 2.8GHz Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Black Processor Model HDZ720WFGIBOX - Retail

AMD Phenom II X3 720 2.8GHz Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Black Processor Model HDZ720WFGIBOX - Retail
Item #: N82E16819103649
Return Policy: CPU Replacement Only Return Policy



$149.00

Subtotal: $798.93


Here's where I need the help. Our systems are close in parts except the mobo/cpu/gpu. These are the parts that matter most to gaming. Is it better to get a lower end cpu liky my build and a high end gpu for now or get a high end cpu like you and a lower end gpu from your setup?

On the other hand I would like the mobo to support AMD AM3 CPU's for the next two years so I can hang onto that piece of hardware for a while.
August 5, 2009 12:10:24 AM

oops...sorry...I really screwed up that post. I hope you can understand it. It was the best bang for the buck I could come up with. Here are some options to consider.

You could upgrade the MB to the ddr3 version for another $30
DDR3 memory would be slightly more, so add another $20
I also did not include an aftermarket cooler, so you could add another $50 for that for extreme OCing.

You could get by with a smaller power supply, but I assume the first upgrade you make would be to add a second 4850, one 4850 is fine in most games at up to 16x10 resolution, but if you go to 19x12 resolution you will need to add the second 4850. ..and for future upgrades you'll want to have at least a 750w power supply.

You could save some on the processor by going to the dual core 550BE, but I'm not sure the tradeoffs there are worth it.

Bottom line is, for $800 (ddr2) - $850(ddr3) you will have a good base system. You can slowly upgrade and put another $150-$200 (aftermarket cooler for higher overclock and second video card) in it and have a really high end gaming machine.
August 5, 2009 12:16:19 AM

vizering said:
Here's where I need the help. Our systems are close in parts except the mobo/cpu/gpu. These are the parts that matter most to gaming. Is it better to get a lower end cpu liky my build and a high end gpu for now or get a high end cpu like you and a lower end gpu from your setup?

On the other hand I would like the mobo to support AMD AM3 CPU's for the next two years so I can hang onto that piece of hardware for a while.


The 4850 I chose is already overclocked from the factory, and you can overclock it even more so that it will perform close to a 4870. The motherboard I chose supports crossfire. This is key to cheap upgrades in the future. Two 4850s will outperform the fastest single card on the market, the gtx285. I chose the cpu because of its overclocking potential, third core, and support of DDR3 if you choose to go that route and spend the extra $50...again its all about being able to upgrade in the future.
August 5, 2009 12:24:33 AM

Take a look above your post, you may have missed it but I put up a build that I have now. With the swap from my PSU to the one you chose it comes to about $740 and just about $800.00 if I were to add a cooler as you recommend.

Also, I don't plan to SLI/XFire, it's my first build so I'd like to stay single for now.
August 5, 2009 12:28:26 AM

here is the ddr3 version of that mb....
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

To further explain why I chose a higher end cpu and lower end gpu...it will be easier for a while at least to upgrade the gpu. Prices will drop again when the next gen of cards come out. That will be a good time to pick up your second 4850. Depending on what kind of overclock you get on the stock cooler, the two 4850s will probably be just about equal or just slightly held back by the cpu, but I think this setup will last you a long time on a 22inch monitor, especially if you are not playing crysis. If you go with a lower cpu you will hit that wall a lot sooner, and you'll find you'll need to upgrade both the cpu and gpu. With my build you have two basic upgrades, the second video card, and then an aftermarket cooler for better overclocks. That is about it for the forseeable future.
August 5, 2009 12:30:53 AM

sorry, we keep crossing post.
I just suggested crossfire because that is where the most value is right now.
August 5, 2009 12:35:31 AM

Generally which component is upgraded first, the cpu or gpu?
August 5, 2009 12:45:24 AM

belial2k said:
sorry, we keep crossing post.
I just suggested crossfire because that is where the most value is right now.


XFX 4890 1GB $215.99
HIS 4850 512MB $119.99

Going sli 4850 will cost $384.97. Going single gpu 4890 will cost $305.98. I haven't been able to find a benchmark comparison between 4850 sli and 4890 so it's hard for me to tell which is more powerful. We also have to factor in the more powerful cpu being used with the sli 4850 setup versus the lower end cpu with the 4890.
August 5, 2009 12:46:34 AM

belial2k said:
The 4850 I chose is already overclocked from the factory, and you can overclock it even more so that it will perform close to a 4870. The motherboard I chose supports crossfire. This is key to cheap upgrades in the future. Two 4850s will outperform the fastest single card on the market, the gtx285. I chose the cpu because of its overclocking potential, third core, and support of DDR3 if you choose to go that route and spend the extra $50...again its all about being able to upgrade in the future.


Do you have a source link so I can see the benchmarks?
August 5, 2009 1:27:36 AM

I don't have benchmarks on that HIS overclocked version, but from personal use I've had great success overclocking it in many systems I've built. I can usually get it to within 10% or less of a 4870. I did a quick search and found this you might be interested in
http://www.tweaktown.com/articles/1470/radeon_hd_4850_i...
Of course, those had standard clock settings, so the overclocked editions would perform even better.
For most people the video card is THE upgrade until you hit the point that your cpu is holding your video card(s) back, then its time to upgrade the cpu or the whole platform.
August 5, 2009 1:32:48 AM

oops again...I should pay closer attention. The overclocked version I've been using that is $100 here in the states is this one, not the one in the build above.
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...
sorry about that. For that price you might as well get a 4870. So, I'm still fond of the 4850s in crossfire, but that card is not as good of deal as I thought. There are a few cheaper options for the standard 4850 that could save you about $15 before MIR.
August 5, 2009 8:55:52 PM

Aren't new GPU's being released this fall as well? This may impact the prices of current GPU's.
August 5, 2009 10:34:54 PM

Yes, new ATI cards are coming out in Oct - Nov....and prices should drop some on this generation of cards eventually. That is somewhat speculation, though. Prices have already fallen on this generation in anticipation of the new cards, so what will likely happen at first is the new cards will just be priced much higher than this generation, and it will be a few months before all prices fall a little.
a c 217 V Motherboard
a c 267 à CPUs
a b À AMD
a b å Intel
August 5, 2009 10:53:35 PM

If you are looking at a fall build, do not look for specifics now. Everything will change. i5 will launch, windows-7 will launch, new graphics cards are due by the end of the year, ssd prices are dropping.
August 5, 2009 11:25:56 PM

geofelt said:
If you are looking at a fall build, do not look for specifics now. Everything will change. i5 will launch, windows-7 will launch, new graphics cards are due by the end of the year, ssd prices are dropping.


What's SSD?
a c 217 V Motherboard
a c 267 à CPUs
a b À AMD
a b å Intel
August 6, 2009 3:45:42 AM

vizering said:
What's SSD?

Solid State Disk
a b V Motherboard
a b à CPUs
August 6, 2009 1:23:05 PM

vizering said:
Generally which component is upgraded first, the cpu or gpu?



For a gaming rig:

(1) GPU is more important than CPU

(2) With the majority of current titles, unless you do heavy multitasking, you are better off with a faster dual core processor than a Quad.



and regarding your SSD question: an SSD will absolutely make a nice difference in a gaming rig. But understand they are still very expensive: mid $200's for an 80GB drive. For the same money, you could get 2TB of conventional storage. If it fits into your budget, then great! But...
August 6, 2009 2:02:45 PM

Scotteq said:
For a gaming rig:

(1) GPU is more important than CPU

(2) With the majority of current titles, unless you do heavy multitasking, you are better off with a faster dual core processor than a Quad.



and regarding your SSD question: an SSD will absolutely make a nice difference in a gaming rig. But understand they are still very expensive: mid $200's for an 80GB drive. For the same money, you could get 2TB of conventional storage. If it fits into your budget, then great! But...


You don't need a SSD unless you are moving huge files around in editing software....only then does the price premium make sense...we agree on that.

but we disagree slightly on points 1 and 2.

As resolutions go up, games do become more gpu dependent, but not to the total exclusion of cpu power. A 2.4 dual core is not going to help a gtx295 reach its full potential. If you are gaming at lower resolutions of 16x10 and below, you are better off with a strong cpu and a weaker gpu. Around 3.6ghz seems to be the "sweet spot" for both dual and quad cores...beyond that you don't see a whole lot of improvement in gaming.

There is a great debate about whether dual cores or quad cores are better for gaming. The answer depends on budget and how you use your computer. Most dual core and quad cores will perform basically the same if overclocked to the same speed IF the game is the ONLY process running. Quad cores give you the advantage of not being forced to shut everything down before you start a game. You can be downloading, listenting to music, and converting some file or running a virus scan with a quad core, while that would choke a dual core to the point of not being playable. Quad cores also have an advantage with better app performance overall. While some dual core proponents claim it is better because you can get a higher clock with some dual cores, keep in mind the sweet spot of 3.6 is pretty easy to reach with almost all processors these days, whether dual or quad....and the top overclocks are pretty similar as well. So the bottom line is if you have a really small budget, and intend to ONLY game, or are willing to shut everything down before you game, then a dual core makes sense...but for many people in this category a console will do the same job just as well. For other users quad cores make more sense because they offer more flexibility, but do cost on average about $50 - $75 more than a dual core with the same clocks.
a b V Motherboard
a b à CPUs
August 6, 2009 3:14:24 PM

Bel - We're more in agreeement than you appear to believe: Your multitasking argument is why I specifically stated "unlesss you do heavy multitasking" in my post.

Please understand that I run a(n) Quad (overclocked Q6600) for that reason. :) 


The OP hasn't specifically stated budget, but I noted the proposed builds are decidedly on the 'value' side of the house. Hence my comments - Both on the SSD, and on the Quad/Dual issue.


(personally, I'm a OCD Maniac armed with a real job and a credit card... My builds almost never land on the value side of the fence <laugh> Evil Plan #9 will be executed later this year!! Muuuuahahahaahaaaa! ;)  )
August 6, 2009 4:06:27 PM

Scotteq said:
Bel - We're more in agreeement than you appear to believe: Your multitasking argument is why I specifically stated "unlesss you do heavy multitasking" in my post.

Please understand that I run a(n) Quad (overclocked Q6600) for that reason. :) 


The OP hasn't specifically stated budget, but I noted the proposed builds are decidedly on the 'value' side of the house. Hence my comments - Both on the SSD, and on the Quad/Dual issue.


(personally, I'm a OCD Maniac armed with a real job and a credit card... My builds almost never land on the value side of the fence <laugh> Evil Plan #9 will be executed later this year!! Muuuuahahahaahaaaa! ;)  )


I wasn't really trying to bash you, I was just expanding the point a bit. I think a lot of people see people saying "dual cores are just as good for gaming" in these forums, but I really don't think that is true for the majority of people, as you can probably tell by my post. Unless that extra $50 - $75 is going to make or break your build, most people will see much better gaming results from quad cores simply because few people realize how many processes are running at any given time. And even if they do realize it, it is a major pain to shut everything down and then restart everything when you are finished. I honestly think people who are concerned with gaming only on a dual core would be better off buying a console. Most of us use the computers for much more than gaming, and that is where the quad cores shine for just slightly more money.
a b V Motherboard
a b à CPUs
August 6, 2009 4:48:18 PM

hockster said:
If you were going to spend $1200-$1500 and required most components other than the HD and sound card, what would you go with? I've been planning on a i7 920 and ASUS P6T. I'm open for debate on if peeps think I could do better with my budget. Figured I'd run on GTX 285, so that needs to be factored into the budget as well.


As far as the 920 and P6T they are excellent together... The 285 is a waste of money... Dual 260's in Sli crush the 285 and they cost less......
!