I have a choice between the Phenom II x2 555 and the Athlon II x4 620 for a new entry level gaming build that I'm making. The way the combos on newegg are shaking out, with the Gigabyte Motherboard that I want, the PII 555 is going to be about $10 cheaper than the AthII 620. I'm getting the board for the USB 3.0, SATA 6.0gb/s and crossfire support.
I've read that the chances of unlocking the cores is about 75% in favor (source). So do the pro's of getting a four core with a faster clock outweigh the cons of possibly not being able to unlock the cores? Looking for input, I can link the rest of my build if it's relevant. Thanks all.
Clock per core the Phenom II will win overclocking and stock. the L3 cache will help in gaming. How much is debatable and ranges from 5% to 20%. However, depending on your situation, you may benefit from more cores than this speed and cache.
Which you choose will depend on
-the games you intend to play
-the rest of the system esp. the video card
-How long you intend to keep the system as is and play new games.
More and more games are becoming core optimized. Prime examples include FSX, Dragon Age and L4 dead. The quad core would perform much better in those games. It will also perform better in future games that are core optimized.
I also mention the rest of your system esp. the video card. For example, I have a 3870 with an Athlon IIx4 at 3.2GHz. The Athlon II is not holding my system back at all. I am held back in crysis because I only have 2GB of ram. Past that, it would be the video card. For all other games (COD4, COD6, and more), it is the video card that is holding me back. My point is that in most cases, even if the game used only 1 or 2 cores, the Athlon II would not be what is holding you back. And the cores will benefit in more and more games as they are released.
Personally though, I would recommend neither. I would recommend an Athlon IIx3 at 3GHz. It would overclock higher and currently in most multi-threaded games, there is little difference between 3 and 4 cores.
So let us know the rest of the components in your system, the games you intend to play and how long you intend to keep the system and we'll choose which of the two is right for you.
I'm picking up most parts to last a while, which is why I'm paying more for the case and motherboard instead of going barebones offbrand parts. For the GPU I want to get another 5770 when they come down in price a bit. I'm on a tight budget right now, but I'll have more money in a few months after I graduate from college, so I'm looking at things I can upgrade.
I play mostly FPS and strategy games, and some WoW. You mentioned Dragon Age and L4Dead, which are two of the first games I'll be getting for my new rig, and also looking at Bioshock 2. Further down the road I'm sure I'll be playing Diablo 3 and Starcraft 2.
I'm checking out the triple cores that combo with the motherboard, and I'm seeing the AII x3 440 (which I think I remember tom's giving a best for the money award) and the PII x3 720BE.
With its unlocked multiplier I think the phenom II 720BE might be a better choice but you'll have to look up overclocking results for them I believe the Athlon II will need a 200MHz lead or something to make up for the L3 cache in a phenom II of the same speed in most applications that use the cache well.
I also mention the rest of your system esp. the video card. For example, I have a 3870 with an Athlon IIx4 at 3.2GHz. The Athlon II is not holding my system back at all. I am held back in crysis because I only have 2GB of ram.
I get over 30 fps on 1920x1080 high 8x AA (in-game, not benchmark) and upwards of 60fps with no AA with only 2GB of ram (one of my sticks went bad) .
Then again I am on winXP and dx9.
Still its surprising how well 2GB of DDR2 (mines at about 1070 or 535mhz with this oc) keeps up in gaming.
These are also good choices. Although the dark knight maybe out of the question because of its cost. I've seen the 212 for cheaper, however, you are already buying from newegg. There are a lot of good tower choices nowadays (meaning the air flows to the rear exhaust instead of onto the mobo), I'd pick up a cheap one if I were you.
I do not suggest the Rosewill cooler that ct1615 mentioned. That model can do a good job, especially when you are not OCing, it is just that it is a little over priced. I remember when that was $11 of newegg. If you could get it for that cheap I'd say go for it because it also comes with a fan controller. Also the red fans look sweet =)
I have Rosewill 120mm fans in red just like the 92 on that cooler!
I bought the 555 after having my 790fx and 955 Phenom II stolen, I was short on cash and shorter on time and with $200 was able to get a mobo, proc and 4gb of ddr3 1333 and get something put together...
I ran the mobos unlocker and I can't imagine there being a better deal than paying $100 for a Phenom II that has all four cores enabled and is overclocked to 4.0 and stable without doing anything except upping the multiplier and clicking a tab that says "enable" in the mobo program... easy and simple would be understating the ease of unlocking and levelling off at 4.0 ghz on 4 cores... uh, $100... best deal on market... noting there is no guarantee of success like my own... good reasons for optimizm though... even if you get 3 cores running...
The Athlon x4 is not in any way coming up short in this scenario, it's a good buy and I'm happy with the one I have in my work computer... but the anomaly called the 555 and the chance to get a 955 half off is too irresistable...
I'm guessing some of those 555s out there are entirely free of defect or degraded ability that would otherwise prevent it from having been put on the market as a 955... but there is no way to know or quantify this to my knowledge.
Phenom II is AMDs elite for home/desktop/gaming market, architecturally superior to Athlon as well, noting the L3 cache as previously mentioned.
At worst you get a Phenom II x2 which would still be worth the money paid for it...
But, either way you go they are both exceptional and easy on the wallet, if you want my off topic two cents then I suggest an SSD for OS because I was blown away by the noticeable difference compared to any computer I have EVER owned or used... all HDD