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I5/i7 or x3 720 BE?

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September 27, 2009 8:04:15 AM

Hi guys!

I believe this question has been asked a couple of times before, but I'm not sure which processor I should choose based on my gaming requirements.

I'm currently using a modest rig which I've bought 4 years ago that consists of a P4 2.66Ghz(Prescott), 1GB DDR2 Ram, Intel D915PCY motherboard and a 256MB Sapphire X550 3d card.

As my dad's current PC has just failed on him, I've been thinking of getting myself a new PC while giving him my old one as he mainly uses it for surfing, checking email and for documents.

I'm looking for a PC that can last me for about 2-3 years before I even find the need to get a new one. I'll be using it mainly for gaming, mostly online games such as Ragnarok Online(it's old, I know), Warcraft III, WoW and for future games such as Diablo III, Starcraft 2. I'm not a huge fan of FPS games, so it's mostly MMOs and strategy games. I also tend to do the usual multitasking, like loading 1-2 game clients, or having the usual MSN/Firefox/iTunes/ventrilo/etc on while gaming.

That being said, I can't decide between getting an AMD or intel for my new PC. The x3 720 BE seems to be value for money, and based on the reviews I'd say it'd suit my needs quite well for now, but I've also had a couple of people telling me to save for a few more months and get the i5/i7 as it's more "future-proof".

What I'm concerned about is whether it's worth paying the extra money to get the i5/i7 over the x3 720. The i5/i7 has turbo mode, while the x3 can be overclocked easily to 3.2Ghz. The i5/i7 also has an extra core compared to the x3, but I don't know if that makes a huge difference.

P.S: For the 3d card, I might be getting a 4670 first while I wait for the 5850, so that once I get it I can pass my old card to my dad's PC.

Your feedback/comments is highly appreciated.

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a b à CPUs
September 27, 2009 8:52:53 AM

Unless you are on a tight budget I will suggest you to buy an i5.
It will be better for gaming and will last longer.Though with a 4670 you won't notice a difference between the 2 proccy but with 5850, i5 will clearly shine.
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a c 236 à CPUs
September 27, 2009 9:06:28 AM

if the 720 be is powerful enough for your usage dont be sucked in to paying more for a more powerful processor by the "more is always better " crowd .
Sometimes more is just more , and also more expensive .
This is especially true when computers become obsolete within a couple of years no matter what you buy .

And lastly AMD have usually been better gaming value when you consider the total system . What you save on the processor you can spend on gfx cards . Have a look at the $1300 system builder marathon just published . The new AMD system with a 945 quad out performs the old i7 920 build at high resolutions thanks to the extra they spent on gfx power .
That doesnt directly compare with your usage but it does tell you that the cpu is only part of the story , and that you are more likely to upgrade gfx card than processor to stay current over the next couple of years
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September 27, 2009 10:20:18 AM

CPU lasts longer then graphics card before You need to upgrade. So choose solid CPU , m/b if You want to use it for more then 3 years. If You choose just powerfull enough for now You might need to upgrade in 2 years time.

I would go for i5 build, it has best of both worlds- 4 cores for multithreaded applications and high speed turbo mode sof single threads. And of course it can be overclocked as well Only drawback is only 16 PCIe lines for graphics cards which does not matter if You will be using more then 1 video card which I would not.

If You need to save up for i5 built HD 5850 will be out by that time so You can avoid buying HD 4670 for now and save some money there. And Your dad will be fine with that X550 for his usage.

While You wait Nvidia might come out with their new line of video cards to stir up the market which could lead to price drops for ATI cards. And AMD could lower prices on their CPU's to stay competitive with recently released i5.

If You can wait then wait, save up for i5 and keep a close eye to the market in the meantime then make a decission then or ask in the forum again.

If You cannot wait I suggest You start a new thread in new build forum posting Your chosen components and budget so we can help to shape for the best possible outcome in Your budget and for Your needs
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September 27, 2009 10:34:52 AM

For thee usage you specified, the Phenom will be just fine.
The i5/i7 would certainly do even better, but you'll just have to decide for yourself if the (for your usage) rather small improvement will be worth it. I would say that the Phenom would prolly bottleneck the 5850 a little bit, but:

The main reason you are uppgrading is because your fathers compy broke, correct?

That also means that before that you didn't really plan on uppgrading as your current compy was enough for your needs, right?
Compared with your current compy, the Phenom + a 5850 will be a monster.
It will blow it outta the water, seriously.
Keep that in mind when you decide.
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September 27, 2009 10:57:36 AM

Thanks for the feedback guys.

Also:

I can wait if it's worth the wait, but how long would I actually need to wait for the prices and chips to be stable and drop to a reasonable price?

And I've always thought of upgrading my PC, just that my dad's PC breaking down plus the prices of AMD chips being really reasonable has left me no choice but to get one :)  My current PC barely fits my needs as it's slow for WoW and lags quite abit when I have more than a few tabs on for firefox while gaming. Plus...the heat is terrible. 60 degrees on idle and 75 degrees on load, and that's with Zalman heatsink :sweat: 
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Best solution

a c 256 à CPUs
September 27, 2009 2:24:09 PM

Outlander_04 said:
if the 720 be is powerful enough for your usage dont be sucked in to paying more for a more powerful processor by the "more is always better " crowd .
Sometimes more is just more , and also more expensive .
This is especially true when computers become obsolete within a couple of years no matter what you buy.
...


Absolutely true. As long a you are not determined to play the latest games at the highest resolution with all eye candy, you will be pleasantly surprised at how well a 720BE can perform. Same goes for the HD4670. The games you are describing are not among the most demanding, either. I think your plan to start with the 4670 and then upgrade later (if necessary) is sound.

I'm not suggesting that a 720BE will perform anywhere near a i5/i7 at the high end, but there's no need to scrape up your last dime just to play games. Considering what you have now, you're still in for a dramatic improvement.

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a c 256 à CPUs
September 27, 2009 2:31:25 PM

By the end of November (Black Friday / Cyber Monday), you should see some great deals. By then, you may even be able to pick up a X4 955BE for what the X3 720BE costs now.

Since you'll be building new, now is a good time to point out that you should absolutely not get a cheap PSU. You won't need a big one, but quality is a must. At the very least, find one with full range Active PFC (no little red voltage switch) and 80+ certification. 500W-550W is all a single-GPU needs. Antec, PC Power & Cooling, Corsair, Seasonic, and Enermax are among the quality brands.
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September 27, 2009 4:51:40 PM

if you are looking for longevity a quad would best a tri-core in performance as in future we will have more applications capable of fully utilizing quad cores. So that automatically rules out the amd 3 core procs in favor of the PII X4 or i5/i7
In addition you should probably go for a proc you can get more out of in terms of overclocking as it will allow you to get more out of your proc in terms of performance, so a lower TDP proc and more OCability.
if your budget aint tight the i7 would be the proc for you otherwise the i5.
Also you would want to get a gpu like 5850/5870. they should max out anything for a while in the future if you are going to use a single screen. This cards also OC very well. Well above 1000mhz
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a c 256 à CPUs
September 27, 2009 5:27:22 PM

Considering what you have now, and how good the deals may be at the end of November, another option is to get the Athlon X4. That would also be a lot better than what you have now, and you can still replace it at the end of November with a faster quad.
If you truly need the CPU power that an i5 offers, then you should probably skip it for i7, which has some features (e.g. hyperthreading) the i5 lacks. If you don't, then save your money with the AMD platform.
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October 1, 2009 2:13:59 PM

Thanks for all the suggestions, I'll opt to wait till the end of November and see if the price of the x4 drops to what x3 is now. I'll skip the i7 as the difference in price is just too much compared to what I'll be using the PC for.
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a b à CPUs
January 10, 2010 2:45:35 PM

gaber said:
Thanks for all the suggestions, I'll opt to wait till the end of November and see if the price of the x4 drops to what x3 is now. I'll skip the i7 as the difference in price is just too much compared to what I'll be using the PC for.


Hi Gaber,
would you mind sharing what you finally got for your new PC?
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