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Beginner Builder's Decision: i5-750 v. Phenom X4 955

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January 18, 2010 2:32:39 PM

Hey guys,

I’m currently building a PC and am having a tough time deciding on parts since my knowledge is horribly outdated and I have somewhat of unique needs. Here’s a brief summary of my situation:

I have a 7 year old PC, and it’s well past time for an upgrade. My goal is to build a PC which I’ll be able to play new games on for as long as possible with periodic upgrades like new graphics cards, more RAM, etc. I have a soft limit of $1k for a graphics card, ram, processor, power supply, mobo, speakers, and hard drive. I already have a case (a Cooler Master HAF 932, which I suppose we’ll have to work around) and a monitor.

I’m starting out at the beginning right now, currently deciding between an i5-750 and a Phenom II X4 955. I’ve read a few articles, including the CPU buyer’s guide posted here, and I think these two fit in well with my needs, but I’m having a tough time making the decision. Right now I’m leaning towards the Phenom, solely because of the warning in the CPU buyer’s guide that the LGA-1156 socket’s longevity may not be great, given that my biggest goal is upgradeability at this point. But I’m also sort of unsure about what this potentially low longevity means…

I mean, I’ve always thought replacing a motherboard was less an upgrade than a complete overhaul. I suppose I can envision some new graphics card technology coming out, and wanting to upgrade the motherboard but keep the same old processor, but like I’ve said, I’m sort of out of the loop when it comes to these things, so I don’t know whether this is a reasonable scenario or not. If it weren’t for this concern, I’d probably go for the i5-750.

I guess it boils down to this: is it reasonable for me to worry about buying a chip with a socket that’s likely to have a longer lifespan? Is this even a concern for anyone? If it weren’t for the CPU Buyer’s Guide post, I wouldn’t have known to worry about this. And if you want to weigh in on my decision between the i5 and the Phenom, I’d be interested in hearing other feedback as well.
Thanks in advance for your help.

-Pat
January 18, 2010 3:01:18 PM

Gaming wise the difference isn't so huge, however the I5 Quad will do better than the Phenom in most other applications. As for upgrade path, why buy an average CPU then pay twice later when something better comes along from AMD sometime in the future? That's if AMD even stick to the current socket. The Phenom would probably save you some money, but the I5 Quads have the performance edge. Forget upgrade path IMO because a good CPU should give you a reasonable life and when it's no longer capable, platforms and memory type would probably have moved on anyway.
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January 18, 2010 3:09:08 PM

I guess I was sort of unclear about what the CPU Buyer's Guide meant by lifespan. My concern was with the hypothetical situation where I needed a new mobo to get a new graphics card slot or something like that, (some replacement for PCI express) and not being able to because no one was making mobos with 1156 chips anymore. If that's not what it was referring to I guess I'm less concerned.
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January 18, 2010 3:23:26 PM

I see your point, but in such a case you might need a new memory type for example...so it might not be ideal anyway. since this is hypothetical I wouldn't worry to much about it because no one knows what the future holds especially where PC tech is concerned.
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January 18, 2010 3:28:17 PM

For gaming, an i5 and a 955 will be identical. An i5 might get a few more FPS in some games, and the 955 might get a more more FPS in other games. For non-gaming, an i5 is a little faster, but not fast enough that you would ever notice a difference in real-world usage - you would save maybe a few seconds here or there on video editing and such, but nothing noticeable.

Both are very good - go with whichever you're more comfortable with between AMD and Intel.
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January 18, 2010 3:34:12 PM

if 1k is the soft cap then either or, since ur not talking multi gpu, then the i5's lack of 16/16 won't matter to ya and the addition of 16/16 on amd side wont matter either

they are both capable

as a note, dont get any other i5 other than the 750 with their dual core with HT bull, if you are looking to maxmize ur gpu while minimize the cpu, i'd go amd with PII X4 low end
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January 18, 2010 3:45:12 PM

Thanks a lot guys, that cleared a lot up. I guess the bottom line is that I want flexibility, since I've been out of the game for so long and am worried I'll make a major error. (something along the lines of getting an i5-600 series when I want to game) I'll probably go with the PII.
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January 18, 2010 3:50:03 PM

Also - you wont really have to "work around" the HAF 932. It's an excellent case and easily one of the best on the market.
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January 18, 2010 4:24:40 PM

err well my 932 is huge, and i usually have to work around it when i clear my stuff / move:D 

yeah the case is nice, but as I'm heading the itx route it seems, i may be on the opposite end soon.
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January 28, 2010 11:01:44 AM

Best answer selected by pcarroll0813.
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January 28, 2010 12:58:26 PM

Atranox said:
Also - you wont really have to "work around" the HAF 932. It's an excellent case and easily one of the best on the market.

I just got my brother to buy a HAF 932 instead of the ugly arse Antec 1200 he was looking at, and he now realises how good a case the HAF932 is.

He especially likes the way the hard disks are positioned once mounted.

However my Lian Li A71F case still puts the HAF to shame and is notably more roomy, even though the HAF is still good in that regard.
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