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Which Processor Should I Buy: Midlevel Gaming

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November 14, 2010 6:07:10 PM

Hey, I currently have:

-AMD Athlon 64 X2 5600+ (dual core 2.9)
-3gb of 667mhz ram
-Crappy AM2 Motherboard
-Sapphire Radeon 5770 graphics
-(585w psu)

So, I obviously need a new processor and motherboard, and new ram. I have narrowed the processors down a bunch, to essentially 4.

-Athlon II X4 640 (Quad core at 3.0--no L3) -$100
-Phenom II x2 555 BE (Dual core at 3.2--Black Edition) -$91
-Phenom II X4 945 (Quad core at 3.0) -$135
-Phenom II x4 955 BE (Quad core at 3.2--Black Edition) -$155

I know that L3's good, BE's good, all that stuff, but the price of that athlon is awesome, the phenom x2 555 gets great benchmarks even though its only dualcore, and the phenom 945 is a much better deal than the 955.

So, in the end, I am wondering how much of a difference Black Edition, Quadcore, and L3 can make. And yes, I know, thats about the broadest question I could ask.

And, how much ram do you think I would need, to say, run fallout just fine with my stuff, and whatever processor you recommend? It runs OK now on medium-high.

And, just to demonstrate just how clueless I am, how many case fans would you recommend in a mid-tower case with this stuff?

Thanks, for whatever questions you answer out of my huge list :??: 

-jkm130
a c 213 à CPUs
November 14, 2010 6:25:00 PM

Go for the Athlon II X4 640, the lack of L3 isnt going to hurt you too much, and you could OC it if needed.

4GB of ram is plenty for gaming, you only need more if you want to do a lot of video/photo editing.

Im a bit concerned about the 585W PSU, the only ones i can think of right now are super sketchy but you dont have a high power system so it should be okay.
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November 14, 2010 6:29:52 PM

i would go with the 555 because i think you can unlock and 4core is better than 2 for most gams
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a c 88 à CPUs
November 14, 2010 6:31:25 PM

I would go with any of the quad cores. phenom BE if you are into overclocking and want to spend the extra. Athlon x4 if your budget is tight. If your not going to overclock then just get the 945. I wouldn't go with the dual core if you can afford a quad. More and more games are utilising more than 2 cores now. 3gb ram is the most you really need for a 32 bit os as it cant utilise much more than that. If you go for win7 64 bit then 4gb+ is best. At lease one decent rear exhaust fan is fine.
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November 14, 2010 6:37:58 PM

iam2thecrowe said:
I would go with any of the quad cores. phenom BE if you are into overclocking and want to spend the extra. Athlon x4 if your budget is tight. If your not going to overclock then just get the 945. I wouldn't go with the dual core if you can afford a quad. More and more games are utilising more than 2 cores now. 3gb ram is the most you really need for a 32 bit os as it cant utilise much more than that. If you go for win7 64 bit then 4gb+ is best. At lease one decent rear exhaust fan is fine.


Awesome, that pretty much covers everything. But, I am just a bit confused about the black edition. I know they have better coolers..right? But what else is different about them? Basically, would i need a new cpu cooler if i didnt get a BE?

And Robin Banks UK, what do you mean by unlock? I thought you could only "unlock" certain x3's to make them x4's?

And hunter315, the 640 is actually my top pick right now, but the same question up there about the BE's applies here. I just want to be safe with a stock cooler, so would the non-BE 640 still be alright?

Thanks for all the really quick help!
-jkm130
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a c 213 à CPUs
November 14, 2010 6:42:51 PM

I believe all of the AM3 coolers are the same. The whole point behind a stock heatsink is that it will work perfectly fine for the system at stock settings, as long as you arent overclocking the stock heatsink on any of those will be fine.

Technically you can unlock any of the Phenom IIs to be quad cores, if you are lucky, there is only about a 40% success rate.
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a c 83 à CPUs
November 14, 2010 6:43:00 PM

^ Phenom II X2 is a disabled Phenom II X4, but personally not worth the risk since the Athlon II X4 was released in my opinion.

The only difference with BE chips is the unlocked multiplier to make overclocking easier, I think the nicer heatsinks come with any chip rated at 125W. If your not overclocking than the stock heatsink that comes with any of those processors should be just fine.
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a c 105 à CPUs
November 14, 2010 6:46:23 PM

the 640 runs cool so it will be fine with stock cooling, I have an athlon II x3 435 and phenom II x4 955. of the four you listed I would get the phenom II's before the the athlon II x4 640. the athlon II x4 640 will be fine with an ATI 5770 (as would any of the other three CPUs) but its a CPU that really doesn't do anything well. It gets beaten by phenom II x2 CPUs in dual core optimized games and it gets beaten by Phenom II x3&4 in multi-core optimized games. the athlon II's are not bad CPUs but they are far from good ones, they just are what they are.
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November 14, 2010 8:23:29 PM

Hmm.. well I know i don't want to unlock anything and screw anything up, but idk. If black edition stuff isnt that great of an advantage, I guess the phenom II x4 945 would be the best option, because i dont see myself overclocking the cpu.

So, assuming I get a 945, what would the ideal ram be? I was thinking either 4 or 6 gigs, because 8 just seems like youre overshooting what an application could need.
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a c 105 à CPUs
November 14, 2010 8:32:36 PM

in just about any normal application including gaming, you won't see a difference between 4GB and 6GB of ram. if your OS is 32bit then it won't see it either.
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November 14, 2010 8:49:33 PM

ct1615 said:
in just about any normal application including gaming, you won't see a difference between 4GB and 6GB of ram. if your OS is 32bit then it won't see it either.


Agreed - if your OS is 32 bit you probably won't even see 4GB.
Dave
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November 14, 2010 9:27:34 PM

stillerfan15 said:
Agreed - if your OS is 32 bit you probably won't even see 4GB.
Dave


Sorry i meant to include it in my last post, i am running Windows 7- 64 bit.
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a c 213 à CPUs
November 14, 2010 9:42:53 PM

Unless you are getting an i7 that can use triple channel memory there is no real reason to get 6GB, 4GB is plenty unless you start doing a lot of video/photo editing. Games are usually 32 bit applications and as such are restricted to 2GB of memory.
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November 15, 2010 3:02:31 AM

Your case fan question doesn't seem to have been address, so I will chime in on that. I have an Antec 300 with all of its 5 fan ports used (and two on the cpu heatsink). The more fans the merrier, just remember to check the decibels put out by each one. I have two Rosewill fans in the front that produce more noise than the rest combined. Scythe, Xigmatec and Antec are my personal recommendations (in that order).
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a c 105 à CPUs
November 15, 2010 3:16:47 AM

ginnai said:
Your case fan question doesn't seem to have been address, so I will chime in on that. I have an Antec 300 with all of its 5 fan ports used (and two on the cpu heatsink). The more fans the merrier, just remember to check the decibels put out by each one. I have two Rosewill fans in the front that produce more noise than the rest combined. Scythe, Xigmatec and Antec are my personal recommendations (in that order).


i have the same case, its a fantastic case for keeping hardware cool. one thing, i find the side panel fan useless. ive tested it as intake and exhaust with various video cards. its always increased video card temp.
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