AMD vs Intel

Hey folks,

I'm looking to build another gaming system in the next week or two, but debating between AMD and Intel in the final build. I haven't built an AMD system in more than 5 years, but they've always seemed to beat Intel dollar for dollar for the same performance profile. I am trying to stay under $2,000 for the whole system (in fact I wanted to be around $1,500 but I couldn't keep the GTX480 or SSD in that price range, so $2,000 is my new target.) I already have a 24" monitor (1920x1200) and keyboard/mouse I'll be using so I'm not including those.

Based off NewEgg I'm seeing about a $250 difference between the two proposed builds, but I'm not if they are competitive performance wise, so I'm hoping someone here might be able to offer some advice. I also considered building a P55/i7-860 version, but I figured the performance drop from the X58 wouldn't be worth the cost savings.

>> Base System:

Case: Coolermaster Storm Sniper Black Mesh
PSU: Corsair CMPSU-850TX
GPU: EVGA GeForce GTX480 Superclock FTW 1.5GB
HDD1: 40GB Corsair Force 40 Gaming MLC SSD [boot]
HDD2: WD Caviar Black 1TB/64MB SATA 6.0Gb/s HDD [data]
DVD: Samsung SH-B083L 8x Blu-Ray Player & DVDRW Combo
OS: Windows 7 Home Premium [64-bit OEM]

I have a GTX260 in the system this is replacing that I might throw in there for a dedicated PhysX processor if that really does anything useful. I could increase the size of the SSD if needed but it seemed like 40GB should normally be more than enough for a basic OS drive.

>> AMD Build:

MB: GigaByte GA-890FXA-UD5
CPU: AMD Phenom™II X4 965 Black 3.4 GHz
Mem: Kingston HyperX 4GB (2GBx2) DDR3/1800MHz SDRAM

>> Intel X58 Build

MB: GigaByte GA-X58A-UD3R (wanted the UD7 but I heard the UD3 was just as good)
CPU: Intel® Core™ i7-950 3.06 GHz
Mem: Kingston HyperX 6GB (2GBx3) DDR3/1800MHz SDRAM

I'll probably do a slight overclock (~10-15%) on both systems which is why I have spec'd the 1800MHz RAM.

I figure that there isn't a whole lot of benefit to looking at the 6-core processors given most game applications won't really scale much beyond 4 cores, if they scale at all... though I will be using this system for some multimedia and infrequent virtual pc use as well, which could use it, but I don't want to drop the extra money if not really worth it.

If the AMD system doesn't really beat the pants off the Intel system for $250 difference, it may not be worth while to get the AMD system, unless there are other compelling advantages (heat seems a good one, and AMD always seemed to run cooler.)

Thanks in advance for any suggestions or advice!
9 answers Last reply
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  1. Well, if cost is not an issue I think most folks will tell you that the Intel system will be significantly faster. I support AMD for competition reasons and I have always been satisfied with my systems and always able to run any games I like. For about 3 years typically.

    We are at a point right now where newer CPU's, chipsets and the like are coming in the next 6 months or so. Not that this is a bad time to buy, but it appears that both AM3 and LGA 1366/1156 are reaching their limits- as far as upgrading in the future goes.

    Having said that, I think going with the core i7 is the best bet for you. That's because even though AMD systems can play any games available now, you are keeping your system for a couple of years. I think the i7 plus X58 and the video card you suggested will be viable for quite some time.

    I think you'd be satisfied with the AMD build as well, but if you can afford the best, why not?

    There will always be something bigger and better coming along so I would build your system for about 2 grand knowing that you built the best system you could at this time and order with confidence.
  2. OK so you are doing it all wrong :)

    That's the standard line anyway.

    How in the world does this all add up to 2K? Where are you shopping?

    Give me a minute and I'll give you a list.
  3. i7-930 and Asus P6X58D-E -475
    This is all the processor you need.

    Mushkin Enhanced Blackline 6GB -145

    850TX and Gigabyte GTX 460 1GB -330

    Gigabyte GTX 460 1GB and LG Blu-ray combo drive -290

    G.skill 120GB SSD (sandforce) -280
    You need more than 40GB. This is very fast and great value.

    Caviar Black 1.5TB -110

    Storm Sniper and Win 7 -230

    CM Hyper 212 -30

    That gives you two cool-running cards that will beat a GTX 480, and after shipping you are still way under 2K
  4. Heh, well my first inclination was to build a system around the i7-980X and probably end up dropping $4K or so (I spent roughly $5,200 on my last system a few years back with a QX9770 and a pair of GTX280's when they first came out), but I am trying to be more conservative. My goal was to try to see if I could get a reasonable system for about half my normal budget, that would last me at least another year or two. My main machine is still working fine, but has started to have some problems, so I want to get a replacement in-line and transition over all my stuff before the old one starts to have any serious issues, keeping the old one as a secondary machine for dual boxing and misc.

    My system from 2 upgrades back was AMD based and while cheaper, was way faster than the Intel equivalent at the time. I was hoping that if I dropped $1,500-$2,000 on an AMD machine now, it would perform closer to a $3,000 Intel machine... however, based on buzznut's comments above, and some I've read elsewhere, I guess AMD doesn't have the competitive edge it once had, so that is probably not the best path.

    I'm looking for a very strong single video card solution, since my experience with SLI has not been too great... at least not with air cooling, which is why I was looking at the single GTX480 vs 2x GTX460. My goal this time is to build a system that is at least as powerful as my primary (which has to power a 30" 2560x1600 monitor), but runs cooler, quieter, and won't break the bank. I also want a sandforce SSD based boot drive for performance (vs the raptors in raid-0 which I run on my current system.)

    As for the specific parts and pricing, that was all from newegg. The AMD system was roughly $1650 before taxes, shipping, and misc parts (CPU cooler, etc.) and the Intel system was roughly $1850. That also doesn't include any discounts or combos, but also leaves room for accessories and small part upgrades.

    Proximon's alternative comes in at around $1890 which isn't much different, though it does offer the larger SSD, but is SLI based and relies on special combo prices. It does give me more to think about.

    I'm also considering going through a custom builder to save myself some grief this time around, but that too will come with something of a price penalty as trade off for a warranty, assuming I can get everything I want... from what I've seen I can get pretty much everything I want so far, but it'll cost me about 10% more than newegg's non-combo pricing.

    Thanks for the feedback!
  5. ^ I would happily wait till Q1 2011 and go with either the LGA 1365 chips or the AMD Bulldozer, which ever is better...
  6. gkay09 said:
    ^ I would happily wait till Q1 2011 and go with either the LGA 1365 chips or the AMD Bulldozer, which ever is better...

    Yeah I've also been thinking about that... I'm not entirely in a hurry to upgrade since my main pc is still working, but I also need a good secondary system sooner than later, so if I can't come up with a reasonable solution soon I may just hold off until after the new year.
  7. ^ Then I dont think you would have to worry about the current CPUs are the chipsets, also about the graphic cards as both ATI and Nvidia will be launching their newer cards by EOY...
  8. To quote Anand:

    "Sandy Bridge is Intel’s 2011 performance mainstream architecture refresh. It won’t take the place of the 6-core Gulftown based Core i7 processors at the top of the charts, but it’ll occupy the competitive space below it."

    "The CPUs will require a new socket (LGA-1155) and all new motherboards based on Intel’s forthcoming 6-series chipsets. "
  9. ^^ My bad...Yes the socket which will replace LGA 1366 is LGA 2011...

    And Yes, Sandy Bridge wont take the place of the Nehalem or Gulftown, but Lynfield and the LGA 2011 will replace the LGA 1366 and will get 8-12 Core parts...
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