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Core i3 530 vs. Phenom II X2 555 Pros and Cons

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May 10, 2010 6:59:12 PM

Hi all. As the title says, I'm debating between getting a 555 and a 530. I have done some reading and know that the i3 outperforms the 555 in most things, but that the 555 wins in a few games. For now the PC will just be used for everyday tasks and maybe a few games. I am planning on doing a good overclock on whichever one I get. I would also like to attempt unlock the cores on the 555 assuming this motherboard supports that.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The price difference is not a huge issue, though if you recommend the 555 I would save a bit, and I'm trying to keep costs low. Another key thing is that I want this system to be upgradable. I'm thinking that the i3 won't win out in this area. On the other hand, I do get more performance now from it...

Two other quick questions. Does that mobo have USB 3.0 ports? I can't seem to find that exact board on the Asus website, only the /USB3 one... Then, if I was thinking about just using a 2GB DDR3 stick I have laying around, would my performance be hindered more with either of them? Would it be best to just drop another $115 on 4GB?

I know in the end I need to make up my own mind, but I'd just like a little help from the experts to help me along. Thanks guys!
May 10, 2010 7:07:34 PM

I would like to suggest a different CPU instead of those two. I'd get the X4 620/630/635 or even the X3 440. The X4s would straight up beat the i3 and X2, and the X3 would do that once unlocked and overclocked.

I would personally spend the little extra on 4 GB of RAM.

Alright, after that, here's the pros/cons to the X2 and i3 (and my alternatives):

X2
Pros: Cheaper, more future proof (AM3 socket is still alive, Intel is moving on to the LGA1155 next year), lots of appeal for tinkering, potential to be a true quad core

Cons: Slower at stock, no integrated graphics, may not unlock the extra cores

i3
Pros: Powerful, "fake" quad core (dual with hyperthreading), has powerful integrated graphics, excellent for overclocking, runs very cool

Cons: True dual core, more expensive, on a dead-end socket

X3 440
Pros: More powerful than the X2, very cheap, can unlock/overclock to a high level, AM3 socket

Cons: Might not unlock, slighly less powerful than the i3 at stock

X4s
Pros: True quad core, more powerful than the i3 at stock, AM3 socket

Cons: Expensive
May 10, 2010 7:15:33 PM

Didn't realize that. I usually just stick to the X3 425/440... The 635's price must have dropped since I last looked at it.
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May 10, 2010 7:20:41 PM

Two questions about the Athlon IIs... One, it was my understanding that they were not unlockable, at least the newer ones since they have no L3 cache either. Is this true? Two, how well do they overclock? Again, I'm not really going to be needing a quad core right now, but i figured unlocking the 555 and the HT on the i3 would be cool, (as would just plain having an extra core or two) ;) . I really see both of your value points, thanks for the insight!
May 10, 2010 7:23:55 PM

They're unlockable, they just don't have a L3 cache. That means that the can't technically turn into a Phenom X4 CPU, but they'll perform like one. The L3 cache doesn't actually do a whole lot anyway. It's just something they can charge extra for.

The X3/X4 Athlons overclock very well. In fact, they overclock just as well (possibly better if it's the 440 or 635) as the X2 would.
May 10, 2010 7:32:12 PM

Alright, that helps a lot. So I'm thinking a X3 440 right now. Now, could you guys tell if the mobo supported USB 3.0? It probably does, I just can't find anywhere where it says it... Thank you, again!
May 10, 2010 10:49:58 PM

No I dont think it does. Even thought the specs make no mention of USB at all, even 2.0. Generally USB 3.0 are a different color than USB 2.0, so you as the user can plug stuff in where you want it.

In this case, all the back USB ports are black, indicating they are all 2.0. At least to me.
May 11, 2010 12:41:59 AM

OP if I were you I would go with what MadAdmiral suggested because it would save you some money and give you some extra performance as well.

Plus I think theres a possibility that he literally knows everything. :o 
May 11, 2010 12:59:04 AM

There are no Deneb based duals. The 555 is a Callisto, and is able to unlock. I don't believe anyone mentioned the Regor X2, as that's most certainly an out of date CPU.

And I certainly don't know everything...
May 11, 2010 3:18:52 AM

I consider any true dual core as out of date. How long do you think a dual core will last without a noticeable slow down? I wouldn't put money on anything over a year...

Fair enough on the Callisto/Deneb point.

Of course, all of that is just what is possible. You never know if a chip will be stable when unlocked until you actually have it and try.
!