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Gaming: i7 920 vs Phenom II x4 965

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April 10, 2010 3:54:36 AM

Hi guys, my current setup: Core 2 Quad Q8200 @ 2.3ghz, ATI Saphire Vapor X HD 4890, 4GB DDR2 800, 750w Corsair PSU, 500GB HDD 7200 RPM, MSI

I want to upgrade my CPU and RAM to DDR3 in the next months.

Really torn between Intel vs AMD, primarily an i7 versus phenom 965.

I am mainly worried about the performance of gaming via this setup.

I get 75 frames per second Average in Call of duty modern warefare 2 on EXTRA with 4x AA.

I get 45 frames per second average in Battlefield Badcompany 2 on HIGH.

All at 1920x1080 via 23" LCD monitor.

What shall I purchase?

Will I also need to reinstall my windows 7 when I install the CPU, motherboard and RAM to my current parts (harddrive, videocard, powersupply, optical drive are staying the same)

Please let me know, you guys are great at helping people out and helped me out greatly already, thank you!

More about : gaming 920 phenom 965

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April 10, 2010 4:47:23 AM

why not get a good cooler and get the most from you current cpu (ie OC)
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April 10, 2010 5:10:41 AM

There is not really a wrong answer here.

Given the situation you describe, I would go with the Phenom 965. Its less expensive. The 920 is a little faster overall, but its pretty close in gaming. AMD is also more likely to have an upgrade path than Intel. And I have a soft spot for AMD since their competition helps keep prices down.

If your overclocking, the I7 920 positon becomes stronger as they are faster overclocked. But I gather your not.

A third alternative would be to go with an AM2+ board which will also accept the 965 and allow you to reuse your memory. Many fine AM2+ boards are already 6 core ready for future expansion. Thats a lot of money saved that could be put towards other things.

And finally, depending upon your board, you could upgrade to another core 2 quad. they are still great chips if you can find a fast one at the right price. And they game about as fast as the I7 does.



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April 10, 2010 5:18:38 AM

Almost forgot the OS part of the question. I have in the past moved xp drives and installs to different machines with similar chipsets with some success. But a repair install was always a good idea.

Windows 7 does not have a repair install, but you can do an upgrade install once you move the drive which would achieve the same result. The question is, will it boot if you move it? Im not sure. I assume yes, but have not tried it or heard of anyone trying it with Windows 7. Maybe someone else can provide more info on that. But if you can get it to boot with the new setup, then you should be able to do the upgrade install and you should be good to go at that point.
April 10, 2010 6:16:49 AM

+1 on the 965. I am currently running an Athlon II x4 and at the stock 2.9 speed it drives my 2x4850 xfire setup without breaking a sweat.

For gaming you will be GPU limited no matter which chip you buy -- I agree with Falcon -- if you are doing this for gaming I would either overclock your C2Q or upgrade to a faster C2Q -- either will be able to drive your 4890.

As for the OS install you could probably get away with not doing it but I always like to do fresh installs when I change mobos.
April 10, 2010 6:40:33 AM

First I'd point out that the new 6-core AMD CPUs are to be released in a month. You may wish to wait til they're out before planning a new build or motherboard/CPU/RAM upgrade path presently.

You've got a very capable machine as is. BFBC2 really loves quad-cores, so you've got that covered.

I honestly agree with the sentiment that you overclock your current CPU. With a solid aftermarket cooler, it's quite likely you'd be able to get it close to or beyond 3GHz, which should significantly improve your system's overall performance. Even with the stock cooling it could probably hit 2.5-2.6GHz rather easily.

That or upgrade to a Q9400, which at $190+ is quite the expense in and of itself, but it would increase the system's performance. But as I said, your CPU is probably capable of similar speed (2.66GHz) while mildly overclocked using the stock cooler.
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April 10, 2010 7:04:07 AM

At that res if you want eye candy a GPU upgrade + nice after market CPU cooler would be the best upgrade w/ a modest OC (2.8 ~ 3.0) and a 5850/5870 or a GTX 470.

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April 10, 2010 7:22:10 AM
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Well, I'd go for the Phenom II X4 965 3.4GHz if you do not plan to use more than one relatively high powered card in the future, anything more powerful than an HD 4890 for example in CFX or SLI, high powered cards will be held back.

For overclocking, I wouldn't bother much - the Q8000 series, especially the Q8200, does not overclock well - a classmate of mine cannot get his stable at 3.0GHz, a speed at which the Phenom II X4 965 would still be faster.

You could wait for the Phenom II X6 1090T, whose larger L2 cache and AMD's own Turbo Boost may give a significant boost in gaming performance, relative to Phenom II X4 965.

If you want to upgrade to DDR3 RAM, then go for an AM3 socket motherboard. If possible, get an 890GX chipset based motherboard, most if not all have SATA III, and some have USB 3.0.
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April 10, 2010 8:42:48 AM

Get a CoolerMaster Hyper 212 Plus cooler then see if your Q8200 can be OCed to 3GHz or not.

I would suggest that you grab a Q9550 instead if Q8200 doesn't do 3GHz.

FYI, Q9550 is still one of the top CPUs and it is better than the PII-955, because:
Quote:
i) Q9550@2.8GHz performs on par with PII-955@3.2GHz
& The max OC of most Q9550 and PII-955 are the same (3.8GHz).

ii) PII-955(125W) consumes 31.5789% more power than the Q9550(95W).

iii) Q9550 has much larger cache which has significant effect on FPS in gaming.

iv) Upgradability? Who cares! Today's latest platforms will be extremely outdated
and replaced by newer ones when Q9550 doesn't satisfies your need anymore.

The only advantage you will get from PII-955 is unlocked multiplier which makes OCing extremely easy!


However, i5-750 would be best choice for gaming if you are going to insert another 4890 into your PC later because:

1) Both Q9550 and PII-955 will bottleneck 2xHD4870, let alone 2x HD4890.

2) LGA1366 i7-920 actually performs worse than i5-750 in gaming!








April 10, 2010 2:39:28 PM

WOW. Thanks EVERYONE for your replies. You guys always respond and with great input, you don't get that kind of responses on another message boards.

I think I'm going to wait for either the new Phenom 6 cores, or an i7.

I really want DDR3 comatible motherboard, since the transition is taking place from DDR2 it seems.

And, i7 seem to be the next line of CPUs for Intel as they seem to be dropping the LGA775 socket.

I guess I will wait,and if AMD doesn't have what I want, I will go with intel.

I may actually get an aftermarket cooler and overclock while I wait though. Thank you guys for your help.
April 10, 2010 2:58:27 PM

You're welcome. Be sure to check out the overclocking section for tips and how-to advice. There's a good bit of info available in the Sticky threads.
April 11, 2010 7:53:35 AM

2091478,9,396567 said:


FYI, Q9550 is still one of the top CPUs and it is better than the PII-955, because:
Quote:
i) Q9550@2.8GHz performs on par with PII-955@3.2GHz
& The max OC of most Q9550 and PII-955 are the same (3.8GHz).

ii) PII-955(125W) consumes 31.5789% more power than the Q9550(95W).

iii) Q9550 has much larger cache which has significant effect on FPS in gaming.

iv) Upgradability? Who cares! Today's latest platforms will be extremely outdated
and replaced by newer ones when Q9550 doesn't satisfies your need anymore.

The only advantage you will get from PII-955 is unlocked multiplier which makes OCing extremely easy!


I thought that higher Cache was better (i7)... right? What is the most important parameter when using a RAM-heavy application, like streaming charts/quotes and internet?

I have just posted a similar question for choosing a PC (but for trading/multitasking rather than gaming) b/w the Q9400 vs i7-920. Do you have any advice? Thanks

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/279820-28-q9400-choos...
April 18, 2010 2:24:04 AM

Thanks for your help again. I ended up choosing a AMD Phenom II x 4 965 with ASUS M479UTD EVO motherboard and 4GB DDR3 G.Skill ripjaw Ram :) 
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April 18, 2010 1:52:48 PM

I took the route of an AM2+ board so that I could reuse my old DDR2 ram, and got the phenom 2 aswell. cheap, and performs really well.

good choice!
April 25, 2010 2:08:46 AM

Best answer selected by Xxenergyxx.
!