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Gaming Build:AMD Phenom II vs Intel Core i7

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June 22, 2009 5:43:54 PM

PURCHASE DATE: Beginning of July, unless there's something near I should wait for (not i5)

BUDGET RANGE: I'd like to keep each build to about the price it is currently, but it will obviously cost more when you add in parts I haven't selected yet.

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming, Photoshop (not particuarly heavy work and on a small scale), surfing the internet, watching films, video editing (very little). Also I doubt I'll ever do any heavy encoding work.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, sound card

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: no real preference, but I am in the UK and I don't want to have to buy from lots of different websites.

PARTS PREFERENCES: Not really, but I want parts by reputable companies, not backstreet power supplies that are made by brands I've never heard of and are made in alleys out of shopping trolley wheels, tarmac and urine.

OVERCLOCKING: Yes but not too much SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Eventually crossfire

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1680x1050, but I'd like to be able to handle 1920x1080 and 1920x1200.



Case
Antec 900-2 Nine Hundred Two, Plastic/ Steel, ATX Case, Window, without PSU http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=CA...

CPU
AMD Phenom II X4 955 BlackEdition, Sok AM3, 3.2GHz, 8MB Total Cache, 125W, Retail
http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=CP...

Motherboard
Asus M4A79-T Deluxe, AMD 790FX, AM3, PCI-E 2.0 (x16), DDR3 1333/1600OC, SATA 3Gb/s, SATA RAID, ATX
http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=MB...

Hard drive
1TB Western Digital WD1001FALS Caviar Black, SATA 3Gb/s, 7200rpm, 32MB Cache
http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=HD...

Graphics Card
SAPPHIRE TECHNOLOGY Radeon HD4890 Vapor-X - 1 GB DDR5 - PCI-Express 2.0
http://www.pixmania.co.uk/uk/uk/2955756/art/sapphire-te...

Memory
OCZ Platinum AM3 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 PC3-10666C7 1333MHz Dual Channel CL 7-7-7-20
http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=MY...

Optical Drive
LG GH-22LS30 22X SATA Lightscribe BLACK DVDRW - OEM
http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=CD...

PSU
CMPSU-650TXUK - 650W TX Corsair PSU, single 12V rail, energy efficient, quiet & cool, fully compatible, 5yr warranty
http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=CA...

Will this be enough keeping in mind that at some point I am likely to crossfire a second HD4890?


Ok some questions.
1)I assume I'll need an aftermarket cpu cooler for overclockign so what should I choose?
2)I'd like a media reader that fits into an extrernal drive bay, does anyone have any recommendations?
3)Should I upgrade/fill up all the optional slots on my case?
4)Do you think that the AM3 socket will compete with the LGA 1136?

More about : gaming build amd phenom intel core

June 22, 2009 6:53:52 PM

look at overclockers.co.uk, you'll get a higher value for money there.

since the i7 there includes WIC and costs £3 less, and the XFX 4890 only costs £140 inc VAT or the XXX edition inc HAWX for £15 more.
June 22, 2009 8:26:12 PM

Building computers is not hard .
i7 is no more or less difficult than any other set of hardware .

The difference between i7 920 and the phenom 955 be is about 10% in a broad range of productivity applications . Is that worth the extra to you?
Gaming is a different story though with the phenom often beating the i7 very comfortably .

My view is that I dont sit and watch my computer encode video or even music so I dont care if it finishes faster . But games have me there in front of the pc wanting performance .
For gaming the choice comes down to budget . If you plan on multiple gfx cards and a large hi-res monitor then i7 can become the best choice . For a rig with a single 4890 and a 1080p panel the phenom is the better choice .

The phenom uses DDR3 but in dual channel . You will need a 2 x 2 gb memory kit , not the 3 x 2 that the i7 uses so that will also save you a few $$$$
Related resources
June 22, 2009 9:52:03 PM

That phenom II setup will be a beast anyway and could play anygame high settings at a nice frame rate, the i7 will play at higher fps from what Ive seen in FPS comparisons, if you wanna fork out an extra £200-300 in total setup for the i7 for the extra FPS go for it but that phenom II setup will do for 99% of gamers!
June 22, 2009 10:40:45 PM

The only reason I can think of that would peak my interst to go with i7 over a Phenom system like you have put together, which by the way is a very nice rig, would be if you were bound and determined to run SLI. The new Intel chipsets support SLI, and I do like that feature and it is something I would have to consider if I were to build a new full blown top notch gaming rig. I like nVidia GPU's, I simply would not own a motherboard with an nVidia chipset though. The i7 boards that support SLI are spendy, and whether or not it is worth it, is a matter personal preference really.

But if I was only running a single GPU, or an X2 type GPU, or an ATI/AMD GPU, or thought I may go Crossfire over SLI, I would go Phenom II/AMD chipset without hesitation.
June 22, 2009 10:59:59 PM

The i7 has more threads and more memory bandwidth - it owns in multitasking full stop.

Benchmarks done with just the one program/game running are a lie - no one just runs the game - they have antivirus, torrents, chat etc.

If you have the $$$ go for it, as most people here dont and claim that pure benchmarks make the AMD quicker thats a lie - when your building and using an i7 you tend to notice the sheer strength the i7 has over even a Q9550 or P2 940 that no benchmark will show.

Also get you rig an SSD or RAID0 a couple of WD black HDD's to raise that minimum performance spec in your machine
June 22, 2009 11:43:11 PM

Thumbs up for your case selection. Be sure to open it and check it for damage the first day you get it. Mine arrived slightly bent in one corner which I didnt notice till I started dropping parts in it a couple weeks later. It was too late to return so I had to do some custom pushing and shoving to get it to sit square =) Still happy with the end result. Routine cleaning is a must as those two front 120's will cake your dust filters fairly quickly...but that's what they are there for!
I am not overclocking my i7 but, I moved the front upper 120mm fan to the bottom to feed my PSU (bottom mount on this case) and moved the HDD cage to the top so the middle front 120mm fan would have direct access to my GPU. The big fan up top(I like to call my tortilla cooker) ensures heat does not build up in the top of your case. I can't imagine having to have more cooling than what is included with the case but then again, I haven't found a legitimate reason to OC the i7 yet either.
June 23, 2009 12:02:34 AM

Helloworld_98 said:
look at overclockers.co.uk, you'll get a higher value for money there.

since the i7 there includes WIC and costs £3 less, and the XFX 4890 only costs £140 inc VAT or the XXX edition inc HAWX for £15 more.


Thanks for the heads up, I was looking here before, but I listed most of my parts from scan, just for ease, I'll take a look at the prices of all the parts I want there now.

Outlander_04 said:
Building computers is not hard .
i7 is no more or less difficult than any other set of hardware .

The difference between i7 920 and the phenom 955 be is about 10% in a broad range of productivity applications . Is that worth the extra to you?
Gaming is a different story though with the phenom often beating the i7 very comfortably .

My view is that I dont sit and watch my computer encode video or even music so I dont care if it finishes faster . But games have me there in front of the pc wanting performance .
For gaming the choice comes down to budget . If you plan on multiple gfx cards and a large hi-res monitor then i7 can become the best choice . For a rig with a single 4890 and a 1080p panel the phenom is the better choice .

The phenom uses DDR3 but in dual channel . You will need a 2 x 2 gb memory kit , not the 3 x 2 that the i7 uses so that will also save you a few $$$$


Ok I didn't know that it ran DDR3 in dual channel, thanks for mentioning that. Also I feel exactly the same about waiting for encoding, I'd much rather make myself a tea or coffee then watch a bar.


jitpublisher said:
The only reason I can think of that would peak my interst to go with i7 over a Phenom system like you have put together, which by the way is a very nice rig, would be if you were bound and determined to run SLI. The new Intel chipsets support SLI, and I do like that feature and it is something I would have to consider if I were to build a new full blown top notch gaming rig. I like nVidia GPU's, I simply would not own a motherboard with an nVidia chipset though. The i7 boards that support SLI are spendy, and whether or not it is worth it, is a matter personal preference really.

But if I was only running a single GPU, or an X2 type GPU, or an ATI/AMD GPU, or thought I may go Crossfire over SLI, I would go Phenom II/AMD chipset without hesitation.


Well I'm not planning to go SLI at any point so I guess I should be buying a Phenom II

skit75 said:
Thumbs up for your case selection. Be sure to open it and check it for damage the first day you get it. Mine arrived slightly bent in one corner which I didnt notice till I started dropping parts in it a couple weeks later. It was too late to return so I had to do some custom pushing and shoving to get it to sit square =) Still happy with the end result. Routin cleaning is a must as those two front 120's will cake your dust filters fairly quickly...but that's what they are there for!


Thanks for the advice, I'll make sure I check that.


Thank you for all the replies so far. I was leaning towards AMD before and with people's replies here it seems I should go that way. More opinions would be welcome too and tomorrow I'll take a careful look at more gaming benchmarks comparing the two. Because if it's the case that I'm spending £100-200 more for a few FPS I'd much rather go down the Phenom II route and buy another graphics card, which will give me much more, or just save the money.
June 23, 2009 5:47:34 PM

Ok I'm almost certainly going down the AMD route and I've updated the links on the components for the AMD system into what should be the the easiest and one of the cheapest ways to buy the components.


I still have some questions:
1) Should I upgrade the fans on my case, and if so what fans should I be?
2) Is the PSU I have chosen enough?
3)What is a good media reader that can fit into an external drive bay?
4)I changed the memory, is this memory ok?
June 24, 2009 10:43:59 PM

Bump
June 27, 2009 3:22:07 PM

I still need advice and July is fast coming around, the title is pretty misreading now I've chosen AMD but I wasn't able to edit the title, only post with quick-edit.
June 27, 2009 4:02:35 PM

Hello.

I have just read all of this thread and think you will be better off with a p2 940 be. The reason being you can spend the rest on maybe a 4870x2 card which will be better for you in gaming terms and you will also save money on ddr2 memory too.

The difference between ddr2 and ddr3 for gaming is not much (according to allot of benchmarks on the web). The 955be may support the ddr3 (unlike the 940) but the 940 benches are very similar.

I am just about to do my first build and my spec is very similar to yours (mines a 940 with ddr2 and a gigabyte 790x mobo and its much cheaper - but will bench the same - if not better with the 4870x2.

Worth a look at...

May 11, 2010 4:30:42 PM

As you are in UK you might want to check out this supplier I can recomend them and anything over 50 quid is post free another bonus.

I too am building a AMD rig this summer but going with the new 890 chip set mobos.

Rikky.
!