4850 vs 4870 ... PII X2 vs X3 -- Value for money?

Looking for some advice about processor and video card - I'm building a mostly new Win 7 system over a few months, which I hope to use for gaming and browsing/schoolwork.

I'd like to play the current generation of games (Call of Duty 4, Fallout 3, Left 4 Dead) near max settings at 1680x1050. Smooth O/S function, multitasking and future upgradeability are also important. Budget is about $700 CAD, but I'd be happy to save money if more expensive parts aren't going to make a noticeable difference.

Given the build below, is it worth spending the money to go from:
a. Phenom II X2 550 Black -> Phenom II X3 720 Black?
b. Powercolor Radeon HD 4850 1GB -> PC Radeon HD 4870 1GB?

In both cases the price difference is $40-50. Will the improvements be noticeable?
Comments on the rest of my build are welcome too.

MoBo: ASUS M4A78T-E ATX 790GX Socket AM3
RAM: G.SKILL F3-10666CL9D-4GBNQ PC3-10666 4GB 2X2GB DDR3-1333 CL9-9-9-24 240PIN
Case: CoolerMaster CM 690
PSU: Corsair 500W (from previous build)
HDD: Western Digital 320 GB SATA (from previous build)
8 answers Last reply
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  1. the vid card should give you about 15% more fps the added core on the X3 will not really show up on games more on multitasking
  2. It's certainly worth taking a 4870 over the 4850. You might actually be able to unlock and get some free cores out of either choices-but that's definitely hit and miss. X2 or X3 would be fine +1 to The1tarheel's opinion about gaming/multitasking.
  3. The 4870 should gives you more bang for the bucks.
  4. With that resolution monitor, you could easily get a 4850 over a 4870 and see little performance digression. On the other hand, if you ever upgrade your monitor, the 4870 would be better. Depends on the price of the cards, really. If you see a really good deal on the 4870 take it. It is certainly a large upgrade from the 4850, even if your current set up would see little benefit from the card. Oh, get the Phenom X2 if multitasking isn't important to you. Remember, multitasking includes things like antivirus and Ventrillo, so you may want the X3 even if you don't have Photoshop running while playing a game :)
  5. Thanks for the input everybody. I'm pretty sold on the x3 because I hate antivirus sucking all my CPU.

    Still undecided on the graphics card, leaning a bit to the 4850 because i'm not planning on a new monitor anytime soon. The GPU won't be for a month or two because i'm building in stages, so I guess I'll assess the pricing when I've got the money.

    what about going down to 512 MB on either? How would that affect performance?
  6. I recommend a 1 gb graphics chip. You will use less of your PCs RAM increasing your frame rates. I believe its benefits show more often with higher resolution monitors, but 1 gb 4850 usually doesn't cost much more than a 512mb. Either way, a 1 gb GPU will be able to handle more memory intensive games in the future.
  7. Thanks, I think I've made up my mind:

    -Phenom II X3 for sure
    -Radeon HD 4850 1GB, unless there's a good deal on an HD 4870
  8. If you overclock, then there would be no reason to burn the money getting the X3. the X2 isnt bad. i would say stick with the X2, then jump to a quad core sometime in the future.
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