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Phenom II or i5

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December 22, 2009 9:36:15 PM

Okay, I am getting a refund for a faulty PSU from newegg that destroyed my CPU and mobo. I originally got an i5 but I'm having second thoughts as this computer will be used primarily for gaming with school work on the way and MAYBE the occasional movie. This all said, I am on a budget so please, if I could go with an i7, I would so don't bring it up. I heard that the Phenom II is great for gaming and for Christmas, I'm getting a 5850 GPU. I know Intel is amazing as all my PCs up till now has been Intel. However, I worry about their constant socket changing and I know the AM3+ is on its way so when it's up to that point, an AM3 mobo will support AM3+ if AMD keeps current with their track record.

So this all said, for gaming and longevity, which is best for a budget of about $350-$400? That range is for the mobo and CPU only. I have everything else

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December 22, 2009 9:44:19 PM

For longevity, I'd always recommend buying the best you can. Between the PII X4's and the Intel i5 I chose the i5 for that reason. It's really all about what you want.

If you look at enough threads, there are massive & redundant debates right now between AMD and Intel fans as to whether PII or i5 is better, and whether there's really any difference, etc etc.

So be prepared for a flame war in this thread. ;) 

All in all, if you want the "best" go with the i5. If you're more budget conscious, the Phenom II X4 955 or 965 are both very capable gaming CPUs. With current and soon to be released game titles, the PII 955/965 or the i5 will serve you very well when pared with the ATI 5850.
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December 22, 2009 10:04:55 PM

As jerreece pointed out, there is a lot of debate about it.

To me, what it would come down to is, if we knew Bulldozer would 100% work on an AM3, then I would say go for the PIIx4 now and you have a nice upgrade path later. Unfortunately, as far as I know, we can't say that.

So strait down to it, it both are within you budget, the i5 is the better pick.

That being sad, I personally usually pick AMD, just because I've used them for years. I'm still waiting for the rabbit to pop out of the hat....
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December 22, 2009 10:30:42 PM

i5 gives you the option for both sli and crossfire. If this is not your concern AND gaming is the only thing that you are going to use this computer for, then go for the phenom II.

Regarding am3+ being compatible with am3 cpus, nobody can say. But knowing AMD, I dont see any reason why it should not..
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December 22, 2009 10:43:02 PM

Well, gaming IS the primary function of this computer. Again, browsing the net, school work and some (meaning very little) media like music and movies are something I do want. I should have much more sense than asking if a Phenom II will work for these things but well, would it suffice for this? I'm really curious at this point in trying AMD.
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December 22, 2009 10:53:52 PM

A Phenom II x4 is a fantastic CPU and it will by all means do games, school work, browse the net, etc. If you wanted to go that route, they are relatively cheap, perform well, and are very reliable.

Compared to the i5 though, the i5 is generally better.
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December 22, 2009 10:59:49 PM

For all the uses that you have mentioned, its safe to say that the phenom 2 will suffice.

Are you sure you dont need the capability to have both the options of sli as well as crossfire?

Also, note that while i5 can be very easily overclocked to 4 Ghz, phenom 2 may give you a slight trouble for doing so. But, trust me phenom 2 is excellent for your requirements and you will not notice any difference in gaming or any other tasks that you have mentioned.

You may wanna try to google for benchmarks comparingoth CPUs. I think there is an article right here on Toms. Just search for it...........
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December 22, 2009 11:02:44 PM

If you are unfamiliar or not concerned with OCing, then the i5 does have the turbo boost feature which is really nice in single or dual core applications, which most of the time you would be doing. Even now, there are very few things out there need a quad core.

As hellraiser pointed out though, the Phenom II would be more than enough for everything you listed.
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December 22, 2009 11:26:17 PM

I do want the option for crossfire and SLI but if I went with the 955, I can get a board with the capability of x16/x16 CF well within my budget. As far as overclocking goes, I have never tried it. I'm using a Pentium D right now and before that, was a P4 so I have never really overclocked. I'm interested in it but should be obvious that I don't have experience. This is what made the i5 so interesting but with the OC utilities motherboards come with nowadays, I really do want to try it
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December 22, 2009 11:27:32 PM

Might sound kind of silly, but writing down the pros and cons of either so you can see it all on a piece of paper might really help.
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December 22, 2009 11:55:53 PM

Ya, I'm WAY past that point. I went nuts deciding between the 1156 and 1366 back when I made the choice earlier. I went with the cheaper option because I had to make a school payment. I'm leaning to the Phenom II at this point just because I'm curious to give AMD a try. I'm also keeping my fingers crossed about the AM3+ being backwards compatable. I have also seen it hold its own against the i7 in many cases
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December 23, 2009 1:04:50 AM

For me I'm waiting a few more months because I want my next pc to have full usb3/sata III without the pci-e lanes sharing/problems/limits the current MB have.

but if you need it now I'll look for a MB that can support usb3 and sata III since it'll help for the longevity of the PC.
a few AMD base MB and the i5 MB also has support for usb3 and sata III.
You can decide for the CPU later and look at the feature you'll get with the MB since it'll help you decide for the cpu.
And since you'll get a 5850 then SLI is not required.
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December 23, 2009 1:40:06 AM

First let us dispel some myths.

1. Core i5 is not faster in gaming than Phenom II, but virtually identical. It is faster in other applications.

2. Bulldozer will almost certainly work on current AM3 boards, but do not forget that 32nm quads will come to LGA 1156 as well in the future, so that isn't really an issue.

3. An x16/x16 board will make no difference compared to an LGA 1156 board at x8/x8. Traditionally, the difference is very minuscule and is even smaller with the reduction in latency between the CPU and the PCIe bus, since they are integrated into the CPU, on the LGA 1156 platform.

4. If you had problems choosing between core i5 and core i7, then I am guessing you were undecided about how important hyperthreading was to you. Well you can get the Intel Xeon X3440 which works with any P55 board, overclocks as high or higher than a Core i5 750, and has hyperthreading all for only $30-$40 more. That said, nothing you listed would really benefit from hyperthreading but who knows what the future may hold, your uses my diversify.

It is all up to you on what you decide.

You want my opinion? I ordered a Core i5 750 and Biostar T5 XE SLI+CFX board over a Phenom II system for the ability to use SLI and CrossfireX since I cannot predict which product I will buy in the future.

Hope that helps.
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December 23, 2009 2:36:50 PM

Could you provide a link showing that Bulldozer will almost certainly work on current AM3 boards? I'm not poking fun at you, I'm genuinely curious.
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December 23, 2009 2:39:32 PM

I could link AMD.com, where every AM3 CPU works on an AM2, AM2+, and AM3 board. I highly doubt that AMD will be changing their stradegy now, especially since AM3 is very new. AM3 was in development alongside Bulldozer, they shouldn't have to make Bulldozer work with AM3, it should already be so.
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December 23, 2009 2:43:38 PM

One can hope ; )
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December 23, 2009 2:59:28 PM

nocteratus said:
For me I'm waiting a few more months because I want my next pc to have full usb3/sata III without the pci-e lanes sharing/problems/limits the current MB have.

but if you need it now I'll look for a MB that can support usb3 and sata III since it'll help for the longevity of the PC.
a few AMD base MB and the i5 MB also has support for usb3 and sata III.
You can decide for the CPU later and look at the feature you'll get with the MB since it'll help you decide for the cpu.
And since you'll get a 5850 then SLI is not required.


I’m not sure if I would go that route. Most of the time, when a new feature comes out it is flaky. Most of the time you end up with a less then par version of what you wanted.

As for choosing the chip: A P II will perform as well as an i5 when gaming. The i5 for will slightly outperform the P II in cpu intensive programs. Web browsing and word processing isn’t really that cpu intensive so I would go with the P II. If you do go with the P II don’t get the 965 there is no point, go with the 955. They just came out with the C3 stepping for the 955, which is the cpu I would suggest. It is only $10 more than the C2.

C3 955: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Hope all goes well
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December 23, 2009 3:20:07 PM

AMW1011 said:
I could link AMD.com, where every AM3 CPU works on an AM2, AM2+, and AM3 board. I highly doubt that AMD will be changing their stradegy now, especially since AM3 is very new. AM3 was in development alongside Bulldozer, they shouldn't have to make Bulldozer work with AM3, it should already be so.


There are alot of butts with that, many don't meet tdp higher than 125. o/c;d all the higher phenoms would surpass this. They don't officially support the 965 140 watt version now.
Thats at stock speeds.
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December 23, 2009 3:30:02 PM

The 955 & i5-750 have very similar benchmarks for gaming. For professional apps & non-gaming productivity, the i5-750 is slightly-to-moderately better.

I do have a question, though. The price difference between the i5 & the 955 platforms would essentially pay for an extra drive + RAID controller. Would a 955 platform with RAID 0 gain much ground on an i5 with a single drive, in terms of productivity, video editing, compression, etc?
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December 23, 2009 3:56:05 PM

Atranox said:
The 955 & i5-750 have very similar benchmarks for gaming. For professional apps & non-gaming productivity, the i5-750 is slightly-to-moderately better.

I do have a question, though. The price difference between the i5 & the 955 platforms would essentially pay for an extra drive + RAID controller. Would a 955 platform with RAID 0 gain much ground on an i5 with a single drive, in terms of productivity, video editing, compression, etc?


It would help with loading and with each page fault. I’m not sure how much of a different it would make but I can assume that it would depend on the program (larger programs should have more page faults). Without testing it I’m not sure.
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December 23, 2009 9:07:29 PM

Atranox said:
The 955 & i5-750 have very similar benchmarks for gaming. For professional apps & non-gaming productivity, the i5-750 is slightly-to-moderately better.

I do have a question, though. The price difference between the i5 & the 955 platforms would essentially pay for an extra drive + RAID controller. Would a 955 platform with RAID 0 gain much ground on an i5 with a single drive, in terms of productivity, video editing, compression, etc?


Can I ask what prices you are going by?
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December 23, 2009 9:20:03 PM

AMW1011 said:
Can I ask what prices you are going by?


NewEgg. The i5 is $35 more, and comparable P55 motherboards are also more expensive than AM3. With the build I came up with, an i5 platform would be about $60 more. If you get a higher-end P55 motherboard, it would be even more. An additional 320-500GB HD would cost around $50 or so. RAID controllers vary, but aren't too expensive.
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December 23, 2009 9:24:55 PM

Atranox said:
NewEgg. The i5 is $35 more, and comparable P55 motherboards are also more expensive than AM3. With the build I came up with, an i5 platform would be about $60 more. If you get a higher-end P55 motherboard, it would be even more. An additional 320-500GB HD would cost around $50 or so. RAID controllers vary, but aren't too expensive.


A simple search @ NewEgg.com will show you however that "Raid Controllers" range from $16 to $450. Some are PCI, some PCI-E. I'm sure some are very, very basic, and some are very, very good. I've never messed with outboard raid controllers (non-integrated), so I can't speak to it much. However, I've been told that good raid controllers are expensive.

At the same point however, your motherboard may natively support "Raid", however you're relying on software and the CPU to control that Raid array. So it won't perform as well as if you had an actual Raid controller.
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December 23, 2009 9:26:16 PM

You don't need a RAID controller for a small RAID set-up, integrated controllers are more than enough.
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December 23, 2009 9:28:46 PM

sabot00 said:
You don't need a RAID controller for a small RAID set-up, integrated controllers are more than enough.


Right. So you're better off either using the saved money to buy more storage (extra hard drive) or upgrade your video card. Ultimately, the Raid configuration is going to affect load times. Not necessarily overall performance while in games and such.

Where as an upgrade to the video card will.
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December 23, 2009 9:42:01 PM

I have 2 Phenom II 550 BE CPUs and love them. They're only dual core but They run my games fine. I think you'll find that not only is the AMD processor cheaper but MBs & RAM are also. If you're not looking for bleeding edge performance AMD is a cost effective choice. I also own Intel but everything is more money. AMD is the best bang for my buck.
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December 23, 2009 9:51:26 PM

Atranox said:
NewEgg. The i5 is $35 more, and comparable P55 motherboards are also more expensive than AM3. With the build I came up with, an i5 platform would be about $60 more. If you get a higher-end P55 motherboard, it would be even more. An additional 320-500GB HD would cost around $50 or so. RAID controllers vary, but aren't too expensive.


Get this:
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

Show me a cheaper AM3 board that sacrifices almost nothing like this one, this is not a challenge I myself could not find one:
http://www.frys.com/product/6007298

That should lower the price. Note that Intel boards traditionally had better RAID controllers, I'm not sure how that translates to now though.
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December 23, 2009 9:53:10 PM

jerreece said:
Right. So you're better off either using the saved money to buy more storage (extra hard drive) or upgrade your video card. Ultimately, the Raid configuration is going to affect load times. Not necessarily overall performance while in games and such.

Where as an upgrade to the video card will.


That's why in my eyes the Phenom II 955 is better than the i5 750, the mobo saves you about $20-40, the CPU saves $34.
So even if you got a very cheap i5 mobo, the Phenom II would be $54 less, you can use that to upgrade to a bigger/faster HDD, or upgrade your Graphics Card.
Spending the $54 for a better CPU (i5 750) gets you 5 more FPS (I'm being VERY generous there) but spending it on a better GPU (4770 --> 5770) will give you 35 more FPS.
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December 23, 2009 10:00:14 PM

sabot00 said:
That's why in my eyes the Phenom II 955 is better than the i5 750, the mobo saves you about $20-40, the CPU saves $34.
So even if you got a very cheap i5 mobo, the Phenom II would be $54 less, you can use that to upgrade to a bigger/faster HDD, or upgrade your Graphics Card.
Spending the $54 for a better CPU (i5 750) gets you 5 more FPS (I'm being VERY generous there) but spending it on a better GPU (4670 --> GTS250) will give you 30 more FPS.


True but it is all about your personal values. It depends on how much you value non-gaming performance, the ability to use SLI and CFX, plus others.

For me it was a no-brainer, for $5 more I got more non-gaming performance, not that important to me, and the ability to utilize SLI and CFX, very important to me. Why $5? I currently own 2 8800 GTS 512mb cards in SLI, and do not have any intention of upgrading yet since even the 5870 doesn't provide much of a benefit for me, therefor I would need an SLI board and the only decent AM3 one is $130 which doesn't support CFX.
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December 23, 2009 10:08:07 PM

AMW, that MoBo is an extremely good find considering the price. On average though they aren't generally that cheap. It looks like Frys is just having a sale. The same board on Newegg is 50 dollars more.

http://www.newegg.com/product/product.aspx?Item=N82E168...



Anyway. The OP said which is the best within 350-400. We've established that both are within that price range (obviously) so if cost is not a factor anymore, which it isn't, which one is better.

We can argue all day about which one is cheaper or which one is a better deal ~today~, but the point is which one performs better for this particular persons application.

The OP mentioned he would mainly use this for games, web browsing and school work. Since you can browse the web and do school work on a single core processor, let's not be concerned with that. So gaming. Most games only use 2 cores. Both CPU's in question offer 4, which is just frosting on the cake. The i5 though offer Turbo, which is something the AMD cannot offer at this time. From the results I've seen, the i5 and the Phenom II x4 are about the same in most games, but the i5 does pull ahead.

In reality, the OP can't go wrong with either but the features offered with the i5 + LGA1156 seem to tip the scales in it's direction.
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December 23, 2009 10:41:06 PM

Kithzaru said:
AMW, that MoBo is an extremely good find considering the price. On average though they aren't generally that cheap. It looks like Frys is just having a sale. The same board on Newegg is 50 dollars more.

http://www.newegg.com/product/product.aspx?Item=N82E168...



Anyway. The OP said which is the best within 350-400. We've established that both are within that price range (obviously) so if cost is not a factor anymore, which it isn't, which one is better.

We can argue all day about which one is cheaper or which one is a better deal ~today~, but the point is which one performs better for this particular persons application.

The OP mentioned he would mainly use this for games, web browsing and school work. Since you can browse the web and do school work on a single core processor, let's not be concerned with that. So gaming. Most games only use 2 cores. Both CPU's in question offer 4, which is just frosting on the cake. The i5 though offer Turbo, which is something the AMD cannot offer at this time. From the results I've seen, the i5 and the Phenom II x4 are about the same in most games, but the i5 does pull ahead.

In reality, the OP can't go wrong with either but the features offered with the i5 + LGA1156 seem to tip the scales in it's direction.


No that Biostar T5 XE SLI+CFX is always $120 at Frys and has been since it got there. It is only $15, plus $2 less shipping for me, cheaper than at newegg...

I can also show some great user experiences and one user who could get the board to allow a massive overclock to 5 GHz with LN2 cooling on the CPU only on an i7 860 and an i7 870 @ 5.2 GHz with HT enabled.

http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?t=23...
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December 23, 2009 10:48:35 PM

I don't know what I was thinking with the numbers there, clearly in the later afternoon I can't add 2+2, or rather 135 minutes 120. =P a good find either way!

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