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New System - HD5850 + Corei7 920 + 6GB or HD5870 + Phenom 11 965 + 4GB

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
April 13, 2010 10:20:10 AM


I am running an old system on a radeon 9600 pro, and will be building a new PC from scratch in the next 4 weeks. I have a query as to the best option available to me. I'll be using it for gaming and browsing on a 1900 x 1200 26 inch LCD. I don't plan on overclocking now, but may do in the future

My question is a) which will be better for gaming now (is 4GB enough for a 5870) and b) if I crossfire in the future will I be CPU/Ram limited on the Phenom setup? any general thoughts would be welcome. The core i7 option works out about £100 more expensive

Option 1

Phenom II 965
ASUS Crosshair III
Radeon 5870
4GB of DDR3

Option 2

Core i7 920
ASRock X58 Extreme LGA 1366
Radeon 5850
6GB of DDR3

Common Components
Thermaltake Xaser III tower case
Corsair 750 TX PSU
WD Caviar Black 750 GB
Seagate 7200.12 250GB

P.S. 1st post :) 

a b U Graphics card
April 13, 2010 10:52:46 AM

The phenom will do great for gaming, and will be able to match that 5870 pretty well.
However, if you are planning to crossfire in the future, the i7 might be a better choice.

I'd probably go with the phenom, though (or perhaps an i5) as it is almist as good in single GPU gaming setups as the i7, it is cheaper and I've realized that my plans for crossfire/upgrades rarely work out as planned and also because I prefer to get maximum performance right now instead of maybe getting it in the future.

The phenom build is also cheaper. :D 

Both builds will do fine, though. The Phenom build will probably be a little bit faster at gaming and the i7 will be faster at everything else.
a c 130 U Graphics card
April 13, 2010 12:06:57 PM

The phenom and the i7 perform the same in-game. go with the one with the faster card.
a b U Graphics card
April 13, 2010 12:31:25 PM

In a couple weeks the new AMD Thuban 6-core and Zosma 4-core CPU's will be released. May as well wait for them and see how they compare before making a final decision.

Still, the same basic rule applies - for gaming performance, get the fastest GPU you can afford.

Take a good look at this very recent article to see how CPU speed and performance affect gaming performance while an identical GPU is used.,2588...
April 13, 2010 1:16:27 PM

I concur with RazberyBandit. If you can afford a 5850 or 5870, go for those. In regard to the CPU, maybe wait a few weeks and see what kind of performance the new AMD chips bring to the table. There have been a few engineering samples tested and the 6 core Thuban is just about on par with the i7-965; plus it planned to be quite affordable ($300 ish?). If you go ahead with building though, you may be able to find a decent deal on i7-930 (essentially the new variant of the 920)
May 11, 2010 11:07:01 PM

Just to update, I didnt wait and went for a Phenm II 965 with a 5870. Runs like a dream and has no problem driving my 26 inch monitor at full value. I'm glad I didnt wait for the 6 cores, as it would make very little (if any) difference to my usage

Thanks for the help guys