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Confused about CPUs

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May 3, 2010 9:28:08 PM

Hey all,
I'm trying to decide what processor to go with for my budget gaming machine, but am confused with the different types available.
I have selected an AMD MSI 785GT-E63 motherboard http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813130266 and I figure an AMD cpu would be best for compatibility.

What's confusing me is this: which is better, Athlon or Phenom and what is the difference between Phenom X2-X4 and Phenom II X2-X4? Is the II the next generation of Athlon/Phenom multi-cores?
What do you think would be the best one for gaming, ie: SCII/Diablo 3, FEAR and maybe the Cataclysm xpac.
I'm trying to keep the price under 100 but could go a bit higher, the one I was looking at is the AMD Phenom X4 9850 http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103286.

Also, I was recomended an AMD Athlon II X3 http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103843 but I read somewhere that the tri-core processors are not that great, is this true? and if so, is it the same for both Athlon and Phenom and the Phenom II X3?

Thanks :) 

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May 3, 2010 9:49:14 PM

Go for the 6 core version, if you can find it for around $200. Tigerdirect had the 1055T for this price after rebate. The new 6 cores work with many boards, but check to see if you need to flash the bios before purchasing, or borrow an older cpu to flash.
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May 3, 2010 9:54:37 PM

Stay away from Phenom I. AthlonII does not have the L3 cache the PhenomII has. A PhenomII 720 is under a hundred bucks now and you have a chance of unlocking the 4th core.
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May 3, 2010 10:21:39 PM

No need for six cores if you are only gaming, especially if you are on a budget. It would be a waste of cash. The athlon II X3 is probably the best value for the money ATM, tri cores are good for gaming and the stock Athlon II X3s are actually faster than the stock X4s due to the higher stock clocks.

There is no point to get dual cores now when tri or quad-cores only cost a little more.

As MISRy said, stay away from Phenom I. They ran hot, were poor overclockers and were not very fast. The Phenom II 720 is a solid choice if you can get it for <100 bucks.

What GPU are you planning to get? An Athlon II X3 (especially if you overclock it) usually wont be a bottleneck unless you go for a 5870 or faster.
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May 3, 2010 11:23:10 PM

For the GPU, I was looking at the HIS H467QS1GH Radeon HD 4670 1GB for $84.49 or the SAPPHIRE 100295HDMI Radeon HD 4670 for 69.99, but am open for other suggestions for around the same prices.
As for the Phenom II 720, I'm concerned with all of the reviews of people claiming that they received the chip with broken pins due to it falling out of it's casing during shipping because it wasn't taped closed, but other than that, I'm happy with the price.

Here's the link to my newegg wish list. I've kept the first MB I was looking at which is now out of stock and I have both gfx cards in there as well.
http://secure.newegg.ca/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx?...


@cadder: Thanks for the link =)

edit: I'll probably be upgrading some of this later on, anything is better than my current 6 year old machine =P
edit 2: Just noticed that the case I chose COOLER MASTER Elite RC-310 doesn't have any additional fans:
Quote:
Cooling System
Rear: 120 x 25mm fan x 1 / 1200 RPM / 17 dBA (pre-install) ; 80mm / 90mm (optional)
Front: 120 x 25 mm fan x 1(optional)
Side: 80 / 90 / 120 mm fan x 1 (optional)

which size fans do you think would be adequate for this case/parts and would I need more than one?
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May 4, 2010 6:41:54 PM

I would recomend you to get a cheaper Athlon II X3 and spend more on the GPU instead of getting a Phenom II and a 4670. The GPU is much more important and going from a 4670 to let's say a 5750 will make a big difference, while going from an Athlon II X3 to a Phenom II X3 wont.
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May 5, 2010 2:22:24 AM

cobot said:
I would recomend you to get a cheaper Athlon II X3 and spend more on the GPU instead of getting a Phenom II and a 4670. The GPU is much more important and going from a 4670 to let's say a 5750 will make a big difference, while going from an Athlon II X3 to a Phenom II X3 wont.


Agreed. In gaming the GPU is usually much more important than the CPU.
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May 5, 2010 4:53:42 AM

AMD Athelon is the best processor i suggest you to take if you are really thinking of system which supports gaming.
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May 5, 2010 5:07:24 AM

For budget gaming systems, AMD Athlon II builds tend to be your best option since they allow for you to spend more of your budget on the GPU than had you went with a Ph II or core i3,5,7 series. Now that said, shop around. Sometimes you can find really good combo deals that will allow you to get that better CPU and GPU. Microcenter if you have one nearby has had some really nice ones and often you can find good deals on newegg as well. Tiger direct sometimes have nice barebones setups for the budget gamer as well.
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May 5, 2010 2:38:35 PM

Go with the Athlon IIx3 2.9GHz. Use the near $25 saved to upgrade your GPU to a radeon 5670. That thing's more powerful than a 3870 and requires little power.

Don't worry about a more powerful CPU unless you are getting a radeon 5850 or faster.
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May 5, 2010 8:35:34 PM

Makes sense, I'll go with the Athlon IIx3 then. Is there any noticeable difference between the 2.9 and 3.0 GHz? the 3.0 is only a dollar more. (The 3.0 says Triple-Core Desktop Processor and the 2.9 says Triple-Core Desktop Processor ).
If the MB I chose says it has (1)PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot and (1)PCI Express x1 slot, can I use another card and enable CrossFire with the 5670, or are they two different types of PCI-E slots?
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May 5, 2010 8:42:59 PM

100mhz is well worth a dollar. :) 
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May 5, 2010 9:04:22 PM

Raidur said:
100mhz is well worth a dollar. :) 

For sure. I only suggested the 2.9GHz because on newegg last I checked it was $10 lower than the 3GHz. Definitely worth the $1.
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May 12, 2010 12:02:44 AM

Best answer selected by sparda1.
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