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AMD vs Intel

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October 14, 2009 9:45:44 PM

I know this question must come up a lot, but I wasn't really planning on getting into a new system at the moment and the time I usually spend studying before I buy has been reduced by a failing mobo. :pfff: 

I am looking for a solid system that will last for a while. I run a computer hard, but I am not necessarily a fps epeen maniac so having the absolute toughest system isn't my biggest priority. I really want a real solid system that will last me for the next several years, and stable. I never OC and was kinda looking at this:

Intel Core i5 750 Quad-Core Socket LGA1156, 2.66Ghz, 8MB L3 Cache, 45nm

Asus P7P55D LE Socket 1156 Intel P55 Chipset CrossfireX Dual-Channel DDR3 2000(O.C.)/1600/1333/1066Mhz GigaLAN 8-Ch HD Audio 2 x PCI Express 2.0 x16 Slots 6x SATA + 1x eSATA 3Gb/s 14x USB 2.0 ATX

Antec Three Hundred Gaming Case ATX 3/0/(6) 2xUSB Audio No PS


Corsair TX Series CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX 12V 60A 24PIN ATX Power Supply Active PFC 120MM Fan


Sapphire ATI RADEON HD 4890 (HDMI) 1GB GDDR5 HD Audio Shader Model 4.1 800 Stream Processor Dual Display HDMI/DVI PCI-Express 2.0 Graphics Card

Western Digital Caviar Black (WD6401AALS) 640GB SATAII 7200RPM 32MB Cache (OEM)


Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium 64-Bit (OEM) with Windows 7 Upgrade Voucher



OCZ (OCZ3P1333LV4GK) DDR3 PC3-10666 1333MHz Platinum Edition Low Voltage 4GB (2x2048MB) Dual Channel

Total: about 1100.00 CDN

I was wondering, is this the way I should go, or should I look to AMD, if so can someone suggest what is comparable in the AMD lineup, in the past you used to be able to stretch your AMS dollar a lot farther, as I really have not been watching the market the last couple years so I don't know what t think any more, but wouldn't mind knocking that price tag down a couple hundred either.

thanks in advance

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October 14, 2009 10:04:47 PM

Generally if you don't need extreme performance AMD is very competitive, not only because the CPU is cheaper, but the motherboard is also and using DDR2 memory can also save bucks.

Those bucks can then be invested in something that you will notice: an SSD. If you want a system to last for a decent amount of time, one thing that you don't want is your computer becoming slow over time because of ultimately slow random I/O performance of hard drives. This can be solved by reinstalling regularly, or by buying a modern SSD which has very good random I/O performance.

So if you would follow this advice it would be:

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 945 (3.0GHz)
Mobo: any with AMD 790GX, 780G, 785G chipset
Mem: 4GB DDR (2x2GB) with room for 8GB in future by adding two more
HDD1: Intel X25-M 80GB G2 solid state drive (system disk)
HDD2: WD Green WD15EADS 1.5TB harddrive (data disk)

I also recommend you pick a newer GPU, the ATi 5000-series consume alot less power when idling, which i think is most important yet underestimated/underprioritized by many. As a result, a 450W power supply should be enough; although 500W-550W would feel safer.

Overall, you'd have a cooler system, more quiet system, less power consuming system, potentially less issues due to lower power requirements, less heat exhaustion and ofcourse: higher performance. The SSD is something you will notice, but you probably won't notice the difference between the CPU/MEM and the intel choice.

So do what is smart in your opinion, i think you'd have a wonderful system that can last very long if you invest in an SSD. It would make 'slow pcs' virtually a thing of the past. In essence, it would not 'grow old'. I do recommend Windows 7 as soon as it supports the TRIM for the Intel SSDs.
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October 14, 2009 10:11:27 PM

Also do you really need a graphics card? Do you play 3D games?

If not, probably it would be alot better just to use onboard video. The 780G/785G/790GX chipsets offer mediocre gaming performance, but have the same video-decoding capabilities of add-on graphics cards. So you only need an add-on graphics card if you're a gamer.

It would save on idle power consumption, be more quiet and would not affect performance of normal desktop applications. You can still play some games on low settings, unlike Intel onboard GPUs which are still alot less advanced. And it would save some more money to spend on your SSD. :) 
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October 14, 2009 10:15:10 PM

yes to 3d games, of most types.


sorry, but what is an ssd?
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October 14, 2009 10:17:40 PM

It's hard to argue with a 750 or 860 as one's choice of processor, especially if you do not overclock and will take advantage of turbo mode. There's really nothing in AMD's arsenal atm to compare.

However, AMD would argue you can spend less on the cpu and shift that money into a better graphics card and assemble a gaming system that has a better price/performance ratio. And that's mostly true.

But at the end of the day many will prefer to get an i5 or i7 to avoid cpu bottlenecks - whether real or imagined - while buying the video card they need as well.

You didn't mention what your screen resolution will be. But the price reductions on the HD 4890 make it a relatively attractive card compared to the 5850. While the 5850 is faster, its much more expensive. So you might be better off using the 4890 for a couple of years before upgrading to the next generation that supports DX11. By then, there may well be some actual DX11 games and prices will have come down a bit.

This review might be of interest to you.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-5850,2433...

The rest of your parts are excellent choices.
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October 14, 2009 10:23:59 PM

SSD = solid state drive, a hard drive that has no mechanical parts. Because of this, it has very high performance.



But if you say you want a pc for a long time, then that can't be combined with your desire to run the latest 3D games with reasonable detail settings. Either you're a gamer and you invest every 1-2 years in hardware, or you're no gamer but mainly use desktop applications. I would say the SSD would benefit the latter case more significantly than the first.

Generally if gaming is important, a dual core cpu and a faster GPU would make much more sense.
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October 14, 2009 10:27:30 PM

well looks like you have a good build going there. although if you can strech the budget just a littile more maybe you can get the ati 5850 card. it's much better than 4890. will support direct x11 game when they come around, second fastest single gpu on the market (highest being the 5870), and has a very low idle power usage.

For the OS, if you can wait till next week you can get Windows 7 directly without going though the voucher program (thats if there releasing 7 at the the same time up there as here in the u.s.)

other than that you got a great build.
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October 14, 2009 10:46:42 PM

Everyones opinion of gamer is something different, any system I would build right now should be able to handle, WOW,(with vent and probably 40 megs of addons) as well as anything else I would want to try AEION, Champions, and reasonably expect it take on anything that comes out for the next couple years.
I don't expect to be running all of them at once and have every setting to be maxed out and still bragging that I am getting like 2million framerate. =)
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October 14, 2009 11:19:00 PM

Honestly, if you're building a new system with the purpose of playing games, I'm totally of the opinion that the Intel i5 or i7 CPUs are the best way to go. AMD can get you a very reasonable system for cheaper, but if performance is your ultimate goal, I think Intel has it in the bag. Although you'll pay more for it.

I really like ATI's new 5800 series cards, however they're quite a bit more money than today's cards (DX10 cards that is). If you'd like a single card solution for the relative 'long term' a 5850 or 5870 are likely today's best choices. The 4890 you listed is no slouch for current games though.

However, if you want to run SLI or Crossfire, I'd go with the i5/i7 system to make sure you're as open as possible bandwidth wise. AMD CPUs are great for a good performing relatively budget conscious system. But if performance or longevity is your goal, go Intel i5/i7.
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