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Advice on $100 AMD CPU (first build)

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April 4, 2010 9:03:42 PM

Hey I am building my first gaming desktop and I choose AMD because of the better price per performance then Intel. I am looking for a cpu around the $100 which I will be upgrading later, maybe in a year or so.
So far it I narrowed it down to

Athlon II X4 630@2.8GHz -- $100(newegg)
Phenom II X3 720@2.8GHz -- $105(newegg)
Phenom II X2 555@3.2GHz -- $101(newegg)

Now I want run newest 3D games(at slightly lower quality if need be) but I also have to use programs like Mathematica and Matlab. I won't be doing too much video editing 3D rendering (like with blender) but I do like watching HD movies.

I also know that the Phenom II x3 720 does not even come with a stock heatsink and fan so that would bump the cost up compared to the others.
But I was planning to overclock so buying an aftermarket cooling system might be necessary anyway. I also know that there is a possibility of unlocking extra cores in the Phenom II X2 and X3's but I don't want to have to bank on that since it is not a sure thing.

If you guys have any thoughts that would be great.
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April 4, 2010 10:06:33 PM

The X3 720 is better because it has L3 cache that can be helpful in some cases but then again the X4 630 is guranteed 4 cores.

If it was me, I would probably go with the X3 720 because most mobos do allow for unlocking of the 4th core plus the Phenom line will probably OC better than the Athlon line since Athlons are a lower binned CPU.

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April 4, 2010 10:08:17 PM
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The graphics card is still the major factor in determining game performance, so really for most games any of those CPUs will do.

Personally I'd make the investment and go for a Phenom II X4 and not worry about upgrading it for a few years, especially strapping a Cooler Master Hyper 212+ to it for some good overclocking.

Out of your list though I'd be inclined to go for the Phenom II X3 - it's the happy medium between dual and quad-core for gaming and should be nice to overclock to get its speed to to match the dual-cores.

I have no idea if cache affects game performance or not, but to be honest with prices that close together I'd go for a Phenom II so I know I have it, just in case.

My Phenom II X2 500 BE did unlock to a quad (but I've locked them up again until I get my own Hyper 212+) so you may be lucky, but as you rightly say there's no guarantees, so if you want 4 cores, buy 4 cores.
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a c 172 à CPUs
April 5, 2010 1:23:12 AM

Of those three choices, I'd get the X3.
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April 5, 2010 1:45:34 AM

get the x4 630, you will never regret it, promise!!!

http://www.legitreviews.com/article/1073/12/

at high resolutions, most of the work is done by the gpu and the difference in results between cpus level off, look at 1920x1200 lowest fps, the 630 beats the 720 by 1fps, more cores are always better on 45nm : )
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April 5, 2010 3:52:27 AM

xaira said:
get the x4 630, you will never regret it, promise!!!

http://www.legitreviews.com/article/1073/12/

at high resolutions, most of the work is done by the gpu and the difference in results between cpus level off, look at 1920x1200 lowest fps, the 630 beats the 720 by 1fps, more cores are always better on 45nm : )

One frame per second is seriously within the variance of a test.

It's actually a pretty difficult choice. For current games, 3 cores is the sweet spot. The extra cache can help from 5-15% depending on the game and other factors. However, the fourth core of the Athlon II is preferred in some cases. I don't have stats but I would hazard a guess at the extra core being more worth it for something like GTA4, Dragon Age or FSX. I have a 620 overclocked to 3.25GHz myself, no regrets. If you plan on keeping the CPU for a while though, I think the 4 cores would be better as more and more games start to take advantage of multiple cores.

Your question seems to indicate you expect a drop in performance in current games by choosing one of these CPUs over another. No. They are all very good processors and worth their cost. But if your CPU is sufficient (which all of these are), the GPU should be your main concern for gaming. I actually ran a brief test with cod6, an Athlon IIx4 620, radeon 3870 and K10stat. The results: No hit on FPS performance until the CPU was clocked lower than 1.8GHz with 4 cores. Not hit on FPS with 2 cores until lowered below 2.0GHz. I didn't write down the results so it could actually have been lower.
April 5, 2010 10:45:15 PM

So it sounds like nobody said the dual core. I should either get the quad or the triple core. I'm not sure which still. I guess since it doesn't matter for gaming the quad core is better but i don't know.
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April 6, 2010 12:59:52 AM

Quote:
be cheap and get the 435.. :ange:  youre upgrading soon anyways..
then save the 30 bucks to get a better graphics card/HSF for OC..

Agreed. That's what I would do. I would have gotten an Athlon IIx4 except at the time all the stores in Canada were wierd and offering the x3 for the same price as the x4
April 8, 2010 4:45:46 AM

I went for the Athlon II x4 630.
Gotta have the quad core.
April 9, 2010 1:01:40 AM

Ok thanks. Please don't tell me anymore deals since I just order the whole thing. I don't even want to know if I could have ordered it cheaper.
April 16, 2010 12:07:26 AM

Best answer selected by TheOKAY.
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