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Phenom II X4 965 good for my needs?

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September 22, 2012 8:25:39 AM

Hello everyone,

THis is going to be my first PC build and I know how to do it. But I've got some questions.

At first I wanted to go with the i3570K Ivy Bridge + Arsrock Extreme4 Z77 mobo, but that's coming to approximately around $360 from where I wanna buy it.

However a Phenom II X4 965 is roughly $100 and an ASRock 970 EXTREME4 AM3+ AMD 970 is also $100. So all in all, it's coming to $200 cpu+mobo whereas on the above it's $229 processor only.

A little about me, I watch a lot of HD 1080p movies and I guess this is CPU intensive. I intend to play all latest games on atleast medium/high if not ultra at 1080p with playable FPS in the range 30-60 running smoothly with no lagging... I'm NOT a hardcore gamer looking for 3 monitor setup with 100fps on bf3 at ultra. Just some sort of a console gamer with 1 monitor :p 

Games I will want to play on this setup are like BF3, MW3, GTA 4, Max Payne 3, FIfa 13 to name a few.

As for the graphic card, I could spare about $200-250 for it to get an HD7850 with 2GB Vram or an nVidia gtx 560 or something similar.

Would I be bottlenecking the GPU with the phenom?

Should i go for the FX8120?

Also I read somewhere that having 8GB of Ram at 1600Mhz(which i will buy) is like overclocking this processor(phenom)? As I'm just starting, I will not be overclocking this soon. Maybe in the future but not for now. So what to do?

More about : phenom 965 good

September 22, 2012 10:03:30 AM

your cpu wont bottleneck any of those graphics cards. those are pretty weak cards imo. try somethign like a 570 or a 660ti,
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September 22, 2012 10:06:52 AM

nidish7 said:
Hello everyone,

THis is going to be my first PC build and I know how to do it. But I've got some questions.

At first I wanted to go with the i3570K Ivy Bridge + Arsrock Extreme4 Z77 mobo, but that's coming to approximately around $360 from where I wanna buy it.

However a Phenom II X4 965 is roughly $100 and an ASRock 970 EXTREME4 AM3+ AMD 970 is also $100. So all in all, it's coming to $200 cpu+mobo whereas on the above it's $229 processor only.

A little about me, I watch a lot of HD 1080p movies and I guess this is CPU intensive. I intend to play all latest games on atleast medium/high if not ultra at 1080p with playable FPS in the range 30-60 running smoothly with no lagging... I'm NOT a hardcore gamer looking for 3 monitor setup with 100fps on bf3 at ultra. Just some sort of a console gamer with 1 monitor :p 

Games I will want to play on this setup are like BF3, MW3, GTA 4, Max Payne 3, FIfa 13 to name a few.

As for the graphic card, I could spare about $200-250 for it to get an HD7850 with 2GB Vram or an nVidia gtx 560 or something similar.

Would I be bottlenecking the GPU with the phenom?

Should i go for the FX8120?

Also I read somewhere that having 8GB of Ram at 1600Mhz(which i will buy) is like overclocking this processor(phenom)? As I'm just starting, I will not be overclocking this soon. Maybe in the future but not for now. So what to do?


First, watching 1080p movies is not CPU intensive at all. Now, for gaming the Ivy clear wins but due to your budget constraint, if you need to sacrifice video card in order to get this CPu, then its not worth it because gamingwise video card is still more important than CPU. In other words, you will get a performance hit by going with the Phenom II X4, but you will get a bigger performance hit if you have to sacrifice a good video card.
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September 22, 2012 1:16:55 PM


For games it's better to go with cheaper processor and better videocard.
Phenom x4 965 will not bottleneck almost any videocard (maybe it will with gtx 680 or 690 :)  )
+ buy some decent cooler, so that you can overclock it if needed , also stock one can be noisy
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September 22, 2012 2:51:52 PM

I would have to agree on the 965. Yes it would be a small performance hit, but in the whole scheme of things not likely noticeable. I would go for that personally, it is a lot of bang for the buck. I currently have an overclocked 955 with a hyper 212 cooler and am very happy with it. I know it's not top of the line, but I haven't run into anything that it hasn't been able to do either. Get a 560ti/570 or similar ATI card and you should be set.
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September 22, 2012 3:31:22 PM

Actually it would be better to get an Intel Core i3 3220 (ivy bridge i3) with something like a
Asrock H77 Pro4/MVP with a good graphics card. Those cheap dual core's are better for gaming then a quad core X4 965 unfortunately. That makes around 200 Euro's including sending here in the eu.
A bit more then the x4 combo but the upgarde posibilities are MUTCH better
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September 22, 2012 4:16:03 PM

malloot said:
Actually it would be better to get an Intel Core i3 3220 (ivy bridge i3) with something like a
Asrock H77 Pro4/MVP with a good graphics card. Those cheap dual core's are better for gaming then a quad core X4 965 unfortunately. That makes around 200 Euro's including sending here in the eu.
A bit more then the x4 combo but the upgarde posibilities are MUTCH better

my quad core disagrees with you

some of those games aren't really CPU intensive, and the ones that are can benefit from the extra 2 cores (even GTA which hogs the first 2 cores)
if he got an HD 6850 and a cheap CPU cooler (212 evo is what i would recommend) he could easily destroy an I3 system... and on top of that he said he's not a hardcore gamer, so this system would be perfect for him (imo)

and for OP's question about 1600MHz ram, it technically can run at the stock FSB, but you do have to go into the bios to raise it
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September 22, 2012 4:55:18 PM

Very helpful post nna2, much appreciated :) 

Btw I will defo go for an aftermarket heatsink as they run quieter and are more efficient and I also heard stock amd coolers are noisy. I would opt for the budget cooler master hyper 212 evo(which u mentioned). Given I'm going for the amd processor, I'll have some money to spend like $200 on the gpu but IF needed, I could stretch it even to $250 but i guess I would get a quite decent gpu for around 200 bucks. As I said, only 1 monitor for now. I intend to atleast use this system for 1 year without any upgrade.

Will skyrim(which is cpu intensive), run smoothly at 1080p with fps around 35-60? on high(which is just fine for me) or if possible ultra?
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September 22, 2012 6:09:03 PM

I have a Phenom 965 BE with 970 Extreme 3 and a Radeon HD 6870 and I can even max battlefield 3 at 1080p with x4 AA at 40 fps. Its a good and cheap choiice
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September 22, 2012 6:31:29 PM

if youre quick this weekend only on newegg I believe they have a gygabite 970 motherboard at $95 and it comes with free 8gb ddr3 1600 ram.

so if you plan on building soon, theres a good deal that only lasts this weekend.

heres a link:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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September 22, 2012 6:55:18 PM

@nna2, what resolution u running skyrim on high? and fps range? and what's the diff between 660ti vs 660? the former being at around $300

you overclocked ur cpu i guess?

@BuddiLuva, by max u mean on ultra? overclocked as well or stock?

@bustapr, thanx for the info :) 
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September 22, 2012 7:01:57 PM

Another thing that has been intriguing me is if I overclock the 965, when it's idling, should I return it to stock for low heat and power consumption? Like use the oc only when running cpu intensive/gaming stuffs? it that possible?
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September 22, 2012 8:02:52 PM

Also amd quad's comparing to same price pentium/i3 will be much better if you want to use this processors for few years. Not much games fully using 4 cores now, but more of such games will appear in next few years.
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September 23, 2012 12:16:11 AM

i had a 6770 @768P, was choppy on ultra
on my 6870 @1080P, it's choppy on ultra :p 
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September 23, 2012 9:05:32 AM

nna2 said:
my quad core disagrees with you

some of those games aren't really CPU intensive, and the ones that are can benefit from the extra 2 cores (even GTA which hogs the first 2 cores)
if he got an HD 6850 and a cheap CPU cooler (212 evo is what i would recommend) he could easily destroy an I3 system... and on top of that he said he's not a hardcore gamer, so this system would be perfect for him (imo)

and for OP's question about 1600MHz ram, it technically can run at the stock FSB, but you do have to go into the bios to raise it


Thats your gutfeeling telling you that, facts tell me otherwise

http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/gaming-fx-pentium-apu-ben...

The average performance at the end of the review



And that was a sandy bridge i3, the ivy bridge i3 will be faster and use (mutch) less power then a 965 overclocked. Not to mention the fact that maybe after 2 years when he feels his performance isnt enough he could buy a i5 and have a better upgrade path then amd could offer atm.

Just to be clear im not an intel fanboy i run a amd system myself, however if i would buy a new system now i would buy intel because amd isnt doing well for game performance
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September 23, 2012 2:27:33 PM

nidish7 said:
@nna2, what resolution u running skyrim on high? and fps range? and what's the diff between 660ti vs 660? the former being at around $300

you overclocked ur cpu i guess?

@BuddiLuva, by max u mean on ultra? overclocked as well or stock?

@bustapr, thanx for the info :) 



Yes ultra, and everything on stock. I recently oc'd the cpu to 3.8ghz on air cooling which runs fine. And got a bit more boost from bf3
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September 23, 2012 2:31:20 PM

nidish7 said:
Very helpful post nna2, much appreciated :) 

Btw I will defo go for an aftermarket heatsink as they run quieter and are more efficient and I also heard stock amd coolers are noisy. I would opt for the budget cooler master hyper 212 evo(which u mentioned). Given I'm going for the amd processor, I'll have some money to spend like $200 on the gpu but IF needed, I could stretch it even to $250 but i guess I would get a quite decent gpu for around 200 bucks. As I said, only 1 monitor for now. I intend to atleast use this system for 1 year without any upgrade.

Will skyrim(which is cpu intensive), run smoothly at 1080p with fps around 35-60? on high(which is just fine for me) or if possible ultra?


Also on skyrim i got 60fps solid on everything ultra except for AA. And thats on stock clocks
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September 23, 2012 5:02:53 PM

^1. phenom II's can all be overclocked
2.try with AA, it takes alot outta your gpu, and imo makes the games look alot better
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September 23, 2012 5:26:43 PM

malloot said:
Thats your gutfeeling telling you that, facts tell me otherwise

http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/gaming-fx-pentium-apu-ben...

The average performance at the end of the review

http://media.bestofmicro.com/X/F/323907/original/Averages.png

And that was a sandy bridge i3, the ivy bridge i3 will be faster and use (mutch) less power then a 965 overclocked. Not to mention the fact that maybe after 2 years when he feels his performance isnt enough he could buy a i5 and have a better upgrade path then amd could offer atm.

Just to be clear im not an intel fanboy i run a amd system myself, however if i would buy a new system now i would buy intel because amd isnt doing well for game performance


Intel socket 1155 is at EOL, isn't it? Next gen processors will use a socket 1150.
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September 23, 2012 9:44:23 PM

egilbe said:
Intel socket 1155 is at EOL, isn't it? Next gen processors will use a socket 1150.


Could be, however next gen is Haswell and Ivy Bridge i3 processors are just released. As a budget gamer you are not going to need haswell anytime soon and just upgrading to a better ivy bridge in 2years is going to mutch more cost effective then upgrading mobo+hasswell cpu
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October 3, 2012 3:18:07 AM

Best answer selected by nidish7.
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