I've been wondering whether an i3 530 or Athlon II X4 630 would be better for gaming. While I know the i3 530 is supposed to be an overclocking beast, I also have been told that quad cores are more important for games ... esp newer ones and future games. I realize most of the burdon for gaming is on the video card, but thought I would ask about peoples take on the two processors in question. I would be pairing the CPU up with a rather high end video card, and have seen that there is very little FPS spread on benchmarking tests ... so does it really matter between the i3 530 and the Athlon II X4 630 ??
i would easily take the athlon over the intel there. really if you want an intel you need to spring for the 7xx lineup for gaming for best performance iirc. Im sure it would work, but the real cores will help you out much moreo n the x4 then the 530's virtual cores as , i cant think of any games that can take advantage of virtual cores.
I would go for the i3 530. The lack of L3 cache hurts gaming performance on the Athlon quads. The i3 has hyperthreading and while this won't match a full quad it does boost performance not to mention that fact it overclocks so well it surpasses the athlon quad easily. games still are not fully using quads yet but with hyperthreading, very impressive overclockability and a possible upgrade to the i5 750 I would go intel on this one.
actually lack of L3 cache isn't going to hurt gaming too much, Tom's had an article about this a ways back when the first athlon II's came out and there wasn't much of a difference
While this is true of the duals and even the tri core, the quad still takes a fair hit by the lack of L3. bit-tech done a fantastic article showing why the cheap quads aren't the bargin they're made out to be too. While GPU is more likely to be the limiting factor in most systems the quad still isn't a compelling purchase especially priced so close to the intel. I still stand by the i3 tho since intel is likely to change socket again so hopefully a cheap 750 can be picked up at a later date. Again while phenom hex cores match the i7 920 at stock in heavily multi threaded apps, the i5 and i7's oc like dreams.
TBH for gaming I would go for the Athlon 440 and overclock it. Its very close to the phenom II 720 in performance. Unless your upgrading an AM2+ or AM3 system anything above the phenom II 550/Athlon quads price steps into intel territory especially if your confident overclocking. Since the 440 is so close to the 720 I would tend to avoid the athlon quads or phenom duals. Its different however if you intend to run at stock, and by all means go for the quad.