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1366 vs. AM3

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April 28, 2010 7:27:53 PM

I know this touches on discussions in other threads, but I want to make sure I understand things correctly. I only upgrade boards every 5 years or so, with an interim CPU upgrade if necessary for moderate gaming and general productivity. I've ruled out 1156, since it seems to have the shortest lifespan and, by extension, the most limited CPU upgrade options.

Looking at 1366 options, it seems I could get an i7-930 from MicroCenter for $200 and a decent X58 board for about $200. But is 1366 also going to be replaced next year, and what sort of upgrade options would I have in 3 years? Is the i7-980X Extreme the end of the road for 1366?

On the AM3 side, I could get an X4 965 BE for about $180 or an X6 1055T for about $200, with a decent board for about $150. Is the X6 1090T the end of the line for AM3, or is Bulldozer possibly an option?

I guess I'm wrestling with the decision to either get as much CPU as I can now in hopes of it lasting 5 years, accepting that I probably won't be able to upgrade it, or picking a board with the best upgrade options.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts and advice.

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April 28, 2010 7:55:58 PM

[1] There are indications that 1366 will be replaced next year by the sandy bridge. But any i7 rig you build now will definitely last you a few years.
[2] I don't know if the bulldozer will be supported on existing AM3 boards via a bios upgrade. But an AM3 build with either 1090T or 1055T will also last you a good while. Dont' go for the 965 BE though.

For general productivity, the AMDs 6 cores would be your best bet, although, their performance is matched & often surprassed by the i7s.
April 28, 2010 8:20:07 PM

I saw the November road map indicating Bulldozer would be on AM3, but I'm unsure whether there's more recent info.

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April 28, 2010 8:44:08 PM

I think Bulldozer is going to be on a new socket. I think AMD is going to do the whole AM3+ in 2011 and then AM4( or equivalent) in 2012 when DDR4 is meant to be released. Just my 2 cents.
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April 28, 2010 8:50:17 PM

Bulldozer should be AM3 only. AM3 sockets have 941 pins, but current AM3 CPUs have 938 pins so that they can still go into current AM2+ boards. I'm guessing Bulldozer will make use of the extra pins thus eliminating support for older AM2+ boards like mine :(  . Since bulldozer is expected to launch next year the CPU design has to be pretty much finalized by now, and since there is no DDR4 (it's expected 2012 at the earliest) Bulldozer will have to use existing memory technologies, which in this case is DDR3.
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April 28, 2010 9:06:09 PM

The chances of Bulldozer dropping into AM3 are very high, AM2+ I doubt very much.
April 28, 2010 9:58:46 PM

Hhhhmmm.. that is tuff to say. As for AMD I think AM3 will still be used for there next CPU's. As for Intel... well even if they do replace there 1366 with something better a i7 930 will last you a couple of years( i want to say 2-3) without upgrading. Seeing how most apps and games dont truley take advantage of quad core, chances are in a few years when 8,10 whatever cores come out software will still be made to optimize quad and not the new technology just like it is today where 2-3 cores is what is being used today mainly. I would recommend a 1366 i7 930 and a good board that will last along with your cpu.

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April 29, 2010 3:22:56 AM
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Your situation seems similar to mine, I plan to build a new machine when my old one can no longer handle either upgrades or what I use it for. As a result, I upgrade components as needed, but stay with most of the same hardware for a long time.

Since the i7 seems to be the most powerful chip on the market right now, one could argue that it is the most future-resistant. But if, as people are saying, the socket 1366 goes out with the next generation of processors, and AM3 will stay, I'd say go with a good AM3 board, a nice Phenom x4 or x6, and put the money you save towards a CPU upgrade in the future.

With the i7, you would likely need a new board and a new processor for an upgrade. With an AM3 chip, you would likely only need a new processor, and currently, AMD wins flat out in bang-for-buck.

Needless to say, I went with an AM3 chip.

Win-Win, at least in my eyes.

May 7, 2010 5:21:52 PM

Same here can't decide.

Have an X6 and 1366 chip sitting here, need to order a board for one of them when I make up my mind. With MicroCenter selling the i7-930 for $200 it makes up for the increased mobo cost of the X58, making base cost basically equal vs. the 1090t with an equivalent Gigabyte UD5 board for either chipset.

Does anybody know if Bulldozer is supposed to make the switch to tri-channel memory. The AMD is looking like the better deal if Intel is going to change the socket for X68, and Bulldozer remains AM3. With integrated Sata3 on the AMD SB it is a little more future proof w/o an add on board for expanded storage, though there are only a few SSD's that can saturate the current 3Gb pipe so how relevant that really is is also questionable.

Decisions... Decisions...
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May 7, 2010 7:20:18 PM

Nobody knows for sure whether or not Sandy Bridge is going to work on any 1366/1156 sockets but we've heard nothing but bad news lately.

If Bulldozer beats nehalem IPC AM3 could be a better option.

Either way nehalem runs higher end GPU setups mucho better than Phenom II so IMO 1366 would be the 'safer' route, if you plan on overclocking. And you won't have to upgrade your CPU to keep up when you need that higher-end GPU setup.

A tough choice indeed. :/ 

If you can get an i7 for $200 i'd jump on that. $200 i7 is the best price/performance possible for a CPU.
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May 8, 2010 6:24:30 AM

jennyh said:
The chances of Bulldozer dropping into AM3 are very high, AM2+ I doubt very much.


I think the problem with AM2+ won't be compatibility. Even if it is compatible, very few boards will get the bios update. AM2 boards in theory should all support AM3, but in reality very few get the bios.
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May 8, 2010 6:31:55 AM

Balzer said:
Same here can't decide.

Have an X6 and 1366 chip sitting here, need to order a board for one of them when I make up my mind. With MicroCenter selling the i7-930 for $200 it makes up for the increased mobo cost of the X58, making base cost basically equal vs. the 1090t with an equivalent Gigabyte UD5 board for either chipset.

Does anybody know if Bulldozer is supposed to make the switch to tri-channel memory. The AMD is looking like the better deal if Intel is going to change the socket for X68, and Bulldozer remains AM3. With integrated Sata3 on the AMD SB it is a little more future proof w/o an add on board for expanded storage, though there are only a few SSD's that can saturate the current 3Gb pipe so how relevant that really is is also questionable.

Decisions... Decisions...


There is no doubt in my mind that Bulldozer will work with AM3. The roadmaps say it is. And if there is one thing AMD has been, its dead reliable with its their socket roadmaps.

If anything, they are better than their word. The X6 for example is on the roadmap as an AM3 only part and yet it works in AM2+.

I wouldn't be surprised if it worked in AM2+ either. But like I said earlier, it matters not if bios updates are not forthcoming. And only a few AM2+ board would get it.
May 15, 2010 12:27:19 AM

Best answer selected by src1425.
May 15, 2010 1:18:09 AM

AM3 have alot of new processors coming out in the future. Its also cheaper too. I'll stick to AM3 and get a new Graphics Card...
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