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Athlon X4, Phenom X2 or other?

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April 15, 2010 6:20:15 PM

Hi,
I'm building my first computer very soon, with its main use being gaming and web surfing. I'll be playing mainly graphically intensive games and I want to know whether to get the Athlon X4 620, 630 or the Phenom X2 550BE, or maybe something else.

More about : athlon phenom

April 15, 2010 6:23:23 PM

also, what would be the cheapest mobo to support the unlocking quad core for the Phenom 550BE

Thanks
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April 15, 2010 6:38:10 PM

Last computer I sold was an Athlon II X3 @ 2.9Ghz
Matched it with an Asus M4A785TD-MEVO (I buy this for 82.10$ Canadian)

Unlocked the core real easy and clocked it to 3Ghz flawlessly stable without any boost of voltage... can overclock more but it's stock cooler. (temps were no higher then 50 running prime95)

So I recommend that asus board tho the only thing I am not crazy about is that it's not one of the boards with all Solid metal capacitors... but it's still pretty good.


I would recommend the Athlon X4 630 because it is a real quad. (You can put it up to 3Ghz by making the bus a little faster) (I am sure it can go much faster with aftermarket cooler and more tweaks tho I am not one to do big overclocks)

If your phenom X2 does not unlock stable you maybe stuck with a dual core... and I would think Duals will expire soon.

So Quad 630 is my suggestion
PhenomX2 if you are a gambling man.

Either way, within a year or 2 depending on your upgrade habbit you can jump to a PhenomX6 or other Phenom955 that may drop even more in time...


Make sure you get 4 gigs of fairly good DDR3 Ram and a good ATI Videocard. 5770, 5830, 5850 depending on budget.
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April 15, 2010 6:40:32 PM

Are you planning on doing much overclocking? If you want to OC, the PhenomII x2 would be better as its a BE, otherwise, I would probably go for the AthlonII x4s- they'll be close to as good in games, and better for general desktop use.
As for a Mobo- this one is a good choice, as long as Micro-ATX form factor is ok with you:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
If you want the option of Crossfire then you'll need to go up to something like this:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
April 15, 2010 7:07:59 PM

thanks for your answers, but i'm still undecided on which cpu to get because I read that the Athlon X4 630 only has L2 cache which seriously limits its gaming use.

Also, would you recommend any particular motherboard to support the Athlon 630 and DDR2 ram
April 15, 2010 7:10:01 PM

and I wouldn't look to do to much overclocking as I get terrified at the thought of it
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April 15, 2010 8:26:58 PM

L3 Cash does not do as much of a difference as AMD would have wanted...

about 10% max... plenty of benchmarks out there to prove it.

I would strongly go for the AthlonX4 as it is a sure bet and 2.8Ghz is a fair clock speed.

Most games run on dual cores, a third is nice for alt tabbing back and forth from game to windows, most newer games take advantage of quad cores... for example Bad Company 2
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April 15, 2010 8:28:02 PM

L3 cache does make a difference in gaming, so the PhenomII would be a bit better for that, though more and more games are, and will be, using more than 2 cores as time goes on, so in the future the extra cores may help more than the L3 cache, though if you get an unlockable Phenom II, you win. Purely for gaming, I would probably get the PhenomII.
Here is a board that supports both those CPU's, AND can unlock those extra cores, as well as still using DDR2
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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April 15, 2010 8:46:33 PM

C00lIT said:
L3 Cash does not do as much of a difference as AMD would have wanted...

about 10% max... plenty of benchmarks out there to prove it.



listen to cat & mouse, go for the x4 630
April 15, 2010 8:54:59 PM

flyinfinni said:

Here is a board that supports both those CPU's, AND can unlock those extra cores, as well as still using DDR2
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...



thanks for finding that motherboard, I managed to find it in the UK at a good price. I'm nearly sure I'm going to get this CPU & Mobo, because the its obviously a good CPU with the possibility of good overclocking and unlocking with a good L3 cache.

Im not totally decided yet so if theres any other CPU I should think about please notify me

Thanks
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April 15, 2010 9:10:09 PM

No problem. Good luck.
April 15, 2010 9:51:44 PM

i just saw some benchmarks between, the Athlon 620, 630 and Phenom 550BE and it seems that the 550BE performs better in some things but where can I find a benchmark for the 550BE unlocked, as I cant find any?
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April 15, 2010 10:01:51 PM

The Phenom II 550 unlocked is gonna be similar to something like the Phenom II x4 940 (its 3.0 GHz while the 550 is 3.1GHz).
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April 15, 2010 10:05:53 PM

Good call on that gkorjax- I had forgotten about the clock-speed refresh AMD did with these chips.
April 15, 2010 10:24:00 PM

Hmmm, for no logical reason I can think of, all the benchmarks I've seen comparing this chip to the 550BE show the 555BE behind in fps.
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April 15, 2010 10:32:13 PM

Well, they are identical processors except that the 555 is 100MHz faster clock, so that doesn't make sense. Either way- it really probably doesn't matter as they will probably OC about the same, and both are BE, so a half step up in the multiplier will make the 550 the same clock as a 555.
April 16, 2010 12:45:52 AM

What GPU are you going for?

Even a 5850 cannot quite tap the power of an Athlon II X3.
Have a look at the Phenom II x3 in this article:

http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/core-i3-gaming,review-318...


It's actually a tiiiny bit faster than the stock i7-870!!

And then compare with this:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/athlon-ii-x3,2452-1...

As you can see, the Athlon II is only marginally slower than the Phenom II X3.
Unless you are going for a more powerful GPU that the 5850, an Athlon X3 or X4 will do fine.

A Phenom II X2 will do fine as well, but if you fail to unlock any additional cores, it will be a bit worse at multitasking and gaming. On the other hand, the 555BE comes with an unlocket multiplier...


April 16, 2010 9:33:12 AM

I'm looking to get either the hd4870, 4890 or 5770, I cant really afford the extra step to anything better. But my resolution isnt too high, I think its 1440 x 900 (19")
April 16, 2010 10:51:54 AM

tjcoops said:
I'm looking to get either the hd4870, 4890 or 5770, I cant really afford the extra step to anything better. But my resolution isnt too high, I think its 1440 x 900 (19")



Alright, then the Athlon II X3 or possibly the X4 is perfect for you and you will save some cash by going that route!
Those GPUs will run everything you throw at them in that res and the CPU will have no problems whatsoever keeping up, even tho the res is quite low.

G'luck mate!



April 16, 2010 11:07:46 AM

ok, I think I'll get the athlon x4, thanks for everyones help, its my birthday tomorrow so a bit of money might come in from family so I can start my build.
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April 16, 2010 5:27:17 PM

Nice man- Athlon II x4 is a great choice to match with one of those GPU's. I'd suggest the 5770 as it will play 1440x900 great and has DX11 etc. where the 4870 is about the same without DX11, and the 4890 is a bit faster, but you don't really need the extra performance at your resolution and it still doesn't have DX11.
!