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Which processor for my gaming build?

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October 27, 2009 1:11:25 PM

I am planning to put together a gaming PC and I was all ready with the config etc. I had decided on an intel i7 920, and now all of a sudden I'm seeing reviews of AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition 3.2GHz performing equally well, or even better in some cases. Also, both processors apparently OC equally. So, my question is, for a gaming build

AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz
OR
Intel Core i7 920 2.66 GHz

More about : processor gaming build

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October 27, 2009 1:29:05 PM

Do you have an ATI card? If so, you can use AMD FUSION to greatly boost your gaming experience.

If not, it depends on your overclocking. The 955 OC's to 3.8 on air (and with no volt increase, I'm told) while the i7 needs a bit more juice and, consequentially, releases more heat.
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October 27, 2009 2:20:59 PM

yes, i am purchasing the HD 5850/5870
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October 27, 2009 3:29:29 PM

I'm not sure what "fusion" shadow's talking about...

First thing first, what is you budget? If your budget is high, definitely go for the i7 920, it's much faster. If your budget is not high, than you are better off buying a Phenom II 955 (NOT 965, it's not a good deal) and spending the difference on a better graphics card. If getting a 955 will allow you to buy an HD 5870, then it is worth it, if not, get the i7.
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October 27, 2009 3:35:52 PM

smithereen said:
I'm not sure what "fusion" shadow's talking about...



Dot dot dot...
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October 27, 2009 3:50:21 PM

Having an AMD cpu and a ATi video card together doesnt add anything to performance. Fusion is going to be the next gen AMD cpu with an integrated gpu on die. Check your facts my friend.

If I had the choice I would go with the i7 920, it is very much superior to the Phenom II 955/965, especially if you start overclocking it. Not than im knocking AMD or anything, they make great products but if you have a high budget Intel is the way to go.
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October 27, 2009 5:50:42 PM

The latency on the i7 is way to high for gaming. Plus it forces you to use DDR3, also high latency.
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October 27, 2009 6:02:34 PM

bige420 said:
Having an AMD cpu and a ATi video card together doesnt add anything to performance. Fusion is going to be the next gen AMD cpu with an integrated gpu on die. Check your facts my friend.

If I had the choice I would go with the i7 920, it is very much superior to the Phenom II 955/965, especially if you start overclocking it. Not than im knocking AMD or anything, they make great products but if you have a high budget Intel is the way to go.


^^ +1

The most simple way of putting it is that the i7 920 and the AMD Phenom 955/965 are pretty much equal at gaming. The i7 920, however is superior at things other than gaming, like applying filters in photoshop, converting audio files, etc.

Bottom line: If your needs are gaming, and gaming 60% or more of the time, go for the AMD.

If you are gaming less than 60 percent of the time on the computer, go for the intel.
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October 27, 2009 6:17:00 PM

Wll, then AMD it is. My use of my PC is 80-85% gaming, and the rest is just surfing the net. AMD is a lot cheaper for the same performance.
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October 27, 2009 6:21:20 PM

AMD 'Game Fusion" (not to be confused with the 'Bulldozer' Fusion CPU) is a software utility which allows the suspension of background apps and services while gaming. Let us not forget the Gillette and Ford Fusions --- nor a spinal fusion or nukular fusion.

The Phenom 720BE / Asus 790X Evo AM3 for $197 AR will take yah far and pump a bunch o'cash toward your video card.

If you wanna feel really frisky for $266 you can snag the 720BE / MSI 790FX AM3 combo (which happens to be the same price as the 955BE / Asus 790X Evo AM3 combo).

Decisions .... Decisions .....

I believe the Crucial 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3 1333 kit is qualified for each mobo and at $70 is a nice deal these days for RAMs.

If you feel the (unlikely) need for reduced latency and increased bandwidth simply crank your NB/IMC.



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October 27, 2009 6:50:18 PM

LanLabs said:
The latency on the i7 is way to high for gaming. Plus it forces you to use DDR3, also high latency.


the latency is not noticeable to the human eye. So there nothing to worry about in that with the core i7.
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October 27, 2009 8:10:46 PM

Heres a direct comparison between the PII 955 and i7 920:
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/default.aspx?p=88&p2=47

The i7 at 2.66ghz performs slightly better than the PII 955 at 3.4ghz. If you were to clock the i7 up to 3-3.5ghz it would completely destroy the 955.
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October 27, 2009 8:25:24 PM

+1 for bige420.
I've just built an i7 920 and OCed it to 4.1ghz with liquid cooling, but some say you can get there on air, too.
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October 27, 2009 8:51:41 PM

Yeah you can get to 3.8-4.0ghz on a real good air cooler.
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October 27, 2009 9:22:29 PM

Well since its just gaming and surfing the net don't get the i7, no need for the hyperthreading and what not. The 955 is pretty much identical in gaming and overclocks a bit w/o more heat.
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October 27, 2009 10:17:39 PM

shadow187 said:
Dot dot dot...


The "fusion" I've heard of is a marketing gimmick. Apparently, the fusion you've heard of is the same thing.
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October 27, 2009 10:27:31 PM

yannifb said:
Well since its just gaming and surfing the net don't get the i7, no need for the hyperthreading and what not. The 955 is pretty much identical in gaming and overclocks a bit w/o more heat.


yeah, thats the plan.

The 965 BE (which is about 60 bucks cheaper than the i7 920), betters or equals the 920 in all gaming benchmarks. Agreed, in the synthetic benchmarks the 920 might be ahead, but since my primary purpose is gaming, I chose the 965 BE.

Also, my initial plan was the i7 920 and the EVGA E758. Now i'm getting the AMD 965 BE and the Asus Crosshair III Formula. This combo is a 150 bucks cheaper (prices as per newegg), and gives equal performance in games.
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October 27, 2009 11:29:02 PM

xbonez said:
yeah, thats the plan.

The 965 BE (which is about 60 bucks cheaper than the i7 920), betters or equals the 920 in all gaming benchmarks. Agreed, in the synthetic benchmarks the 920 might be ahead, but since my primary purpose is gaming, I chose the 965 BE.

Also, my initial plan was the i7 920 and the EVGA E758. Now i'm getting the AMD 965 BE and the Asus Crosshair III Formula. This combo is a 150 bucks cheaper (prices as per newegg), and gives equal performance in games.


Dude get the AMD Phenom II 955, its exactly the same chip as the 965. Just bump the multiplier up to 17x and you'll be at 3.4 Ghz, no need to change voltages. Also you save about 40 bucks :) 
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October 28, 2009 12:41:54 AM

hmm, but wouldn't the 965 be more overclockable? i mean, if 965 OCs to x Ghz, won't the 955 OC to x-0.2 Ghz because its stock is lower? What I mean is, to OC them to equal clock speeds, won't the 955 have to be OC'ed more?
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October 28, 2009 1:45:06 AM

xbonez said:
hmm, but wouldn't the 965 be more overclockable? i mean, if 965 OCs to x Ghz, won't the 955 OC to x-0.2 Ghz because its stock is lower? What I mean is, to OC them to equal clock speeds, won't the 955 have to be OC'ed more?


Thats where the marketing comes in. All Phenom II chips theoretically should have the exact same overclocking cap, they just start at higher clocks to sell at different prices (although the 940 has a slower Hypertransport than the 955 and 965).

However there is one difference- due to the 965s higher tdp, i think it will overclock a little higher, but thats only once you get into water cooling.

P.S: intel also does this type of marketing
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October 28, 2009 5:19:53 AM

Well if your not going to be overclocking whatsoever then sure, go for the 955/965. But seriously, the i7 920 would be alot better, even in gaming if you overclocked it to 3.5+ghz. The 955 tops out at around 3.8ghz while the i7 clocks up to about 3.8-4ghz, even at 3.5ghz the i7 would beat the Phenom II at 3.8.
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October 28, 2009 3:05:14 PM

yannifb said:


P.S: intel also does this type of marketing


What CPUs does intel do that with these days? Most CPUs change along with L2 Cache and/or multiplier and their wattage stays the same even with higher clocks. The 965 however is pretty much just an OCed 955, especially considering the power usage got a bump between the 955 and 965.

I'm not saying your wrong, I'm just curious. :) 
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October 29, 2009 12:16:05 AM

Raidur said:
What CPUs does intel do that with these days? Most CPUs change along with L2 Cache and/or multiplier and their wattage stays the same even with higher clocks. The 965 however is pretty much just an OCed 955, especially considering the power usage got a bump between the 955 and 965.

I'm not saying your wrong, I'm just curious. :) 


The intel core i7 860 is the same as the 870 ( just higher clock on the 870) and the same goes for the 950 compared to the 920.
There is probably more in the core2 series i just dont follow it that much.
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October 30, 2009 1:03:02 AM

yannifb said:
The intel core i7 860 is the same as the 870 ( just higher clock on the 870) and the same goes for the 950 compared to the 920.
There is probably more in the core2 series i just dont follow it that much.


Actually the multiplier is higher on the 950 and 870 so they are able to OC higher, usually. Not saying the price premium is near worth it, but the CPU isn't just bumped a couple hundred mhz.
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October 30, 2009 5:44:58 AM

Just get a regular Intel 2 Quad Core and OC it. Do you really need DDR3? (no advantage at gaming...)
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October 30, 2009 4:29:09 PM

Raidur said:
Actually the multiplier is higher on the 950 and 870 so they are able to OC higher, usually. Not saying the price premium is near worth it, but the CPU isn't just bumped a couple hundred mhz.


Thats still marketing... its the same chip :pfff: 
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October 31, 2009 4:43:21 AM

The watts also stay the same, meaning the higher chips are more efficient per clock. Can't say the same for the 955-965.
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