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What is the difference

Last response: in CPUs
January 18, 2011 6:16:11 PM

Hello there, at the moment looking at either going with an i3 540 pre overclocked to 4.2 GHz or a i5 2500k pre overclocked to 4.2 GHz, what I really want to know is what is the difference between the two chips *for me*?

My intended use of my system is everyday internet browsing, listening to music on WMP and playing games like world of warcraft, left 4 dead, counter strike source and call of duty black ops on high / ultra settings and maybe a few newer titles but quite happy to play those on lower resolutions and settings.

So for those uses what are the differences as at the moment an i5 for me is a real stretch on the wallet whereas the i3 build I can get a nice case for and 460 GTX 1gb card rather than a 768 mb card that I would have with the i5 build.

here are the two builds:

i3 build
Gladiator Core i3 540 Pre-Built Overclocked Bundle
• Intel® Core™ i3-540 Overclocked @ 4.20GHz - Dual Core CPU
• 4GB Mushkin Silverline 1333MHz 9-9-9-24
• MSI H55M-ED55 Micro-ATX Motherboard
• Coolermaster Hyper TX3 CPU Cooler
• Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound
• Pre-Assembled & Tested
• 1 Years Warranty

Coolermaster CM 690 II Advanced Pure Black Gaming Midi Tower Case
NZXT Lexa-S Midi Tower Gaming Case - Black

Corsair TX Series 650W ATX2.2 SLI/Crossfire Compliant Power Supply

1TB Samsung HD103SJ SpinPoint F3 SATA-II 3.5" Hard Drive

Gigabyte GeForce GTX 460 OC 1024MB

Operating system:Windows 7 ultimate 64 bit OEM

i5 build

Gladiator Core i5 2500K P67 Basic Pre-Built Overclocked Bundle
• Intel® 2nd Generation Core™ i5-2500K Overclocked @ 4.30GHz - Four Thread CPU
• 4GB Mushkin Silverline 1333MHz 9-9-9-24
• Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD3 Intel P67 (Socket 1155) DDR3 PCI-Express Motherboard
• Gelid Tranquillo CPU Cooler
• Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound
• Pre-Assembled & Tested
• 1 Years Warranty

Xigmatek Asgard Pure Black Edition Gaming Case
Fitted with an extra 120mm Yate Loon Fan on the rear

Corsair TX Series 650W ATX2.2 SLI/Crossfire Compliant Power Supply

1TB Samsung HD103SJ SpinPoint F3 SATA-II 3.5" Hard Drive

Gigabyte GeForce GTX 460 OC 768MB

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-Bit - OEM


More about : difference

January 18, 2011 6:21:31 PM

if im right in thinking the i5 is a quad core and the i3 is a dual core i may be wrong i'm no expert on intels. im too poor to afford them so save my self the heartache and dont look at them :p 
January 18, 2011 6:23:57 PM

Yep I know the physical difference in the chips but I am interested in the difference in performance for the tasks I mentioned, thanks anyway though.
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January 18, 2011 6:40:21 PM

sorry im a little tired and skimmed your post. after rewading it properly i would say the i3 should do you more than enough for what your looking at very few games use quad cores and you dont need 4 cores for net.
one thing to look into though is wow can be very fussy about what you use. while it shouldn't be a problem dont be expecting massive performance in WoW while it should be more than enough for 60fps constant wow can be very wierd. the engine it runs on itn't well optimized and aimed more at ancient hardware
January 18, 2011 6:40:59 PM

January 18, 2011 6:59:24 PM

Ancient hardware? i3s are hardly P4's now are they?!
January 18, 2011 7:01:49 PM

you read it the wrong way round ;)  i mean wow is optimized for ancient hardware not that the i3 is ancient hardware
a b à CPUs
January 18, 2011 9:01:45 PM

I'm running L4D2 on a Q6600 and a 1st-gen DX10 8800GTS 320MB... and its decent. Either system you propose will make my system run home crying... :) 

Your GPU will probably do most of the heavy lifting with your CoD play.

You'll be able to do the same things with both systems... The Sandy Bridge probably only buys you a year or so of 'extra' time (being a 1-generation newer platform) before you feel like you need to upgrade. The better GPU will cut into that... Dropping in an (hopefully) cheap LGA1156 i7 a few years from now could extend out the system life even more. The nicer case will make the time more enjoyable... and can be carried over to the next system. So for the long-term... the less expensive i3 route is probably a good fit for you. Best of luck!
a b à CPUs
January 19, 2011 5:27:30 AM

Windows 7 Pro has everything you will use. Ultimate just costs more and sounds cooler.

I know you don't want to hear it, but you should build the system yourself. If you can name all the parts that go in a computer, you can build one. Then you'll get a better computer for 2/3 the cost. If you get the i5-2500K, it will overclock like a champ with minimal effort. With the money you'll save, you can get yourself a Radeon 6950 and unlock it to a 6970 or just buy a GTX 570 outright.

But if those are your only choices, I say wait 3 weeks and buy the i5-2500K with the GTX 460 1GB. If you must pull the trigger now, then get the i3 w/ GTX 460 1GB and your games will look better. For me, I'd buy a GTX 470.
January 19, 2011 12:28:38 PM

It is not a matter of waiting a few weeks for more money, I sat down with my wife and we worked out a budget for my build, as this is a luxury for me and me alone I cannot take the piss and ask if I can spend another £100.

Also only the mobo,cpu, cpu cooler and ram are pre-built, the rest I'll build myself (I know how to build a computer from scratch anyway)
and the price of the bundles is the same as the components anyways and in the case of the i3 £20 cheaper.
January 19, 2011 1:34:27 PM

for what your using it the i3 should be more than enough. games are only just starting to add quad core support and even the games that do have quad core support like bad company 2 will run perfectly fine on a high clocked dual core like the i3.
a b à CPUs
January 19, 2011 2:31:36 PM

I disagree with a LOT of people here. Games have been scaling well with Quads for some time. The reason people don't notice is that duals aren't the bottleneck...yet. But I'm seeing a LOT of games with around 50% usage on 4 cores, but 80% usage on two, and wonder how much longer any sort of dual is doable...

An i3 is fine for now, worst case, you can upgrade to an ivy bridge i5 later on. But with the low cost of SB i5's, I fail to see why most people need to go i3 instead, and face an upgrade later down the road.
a b à CPUs
January 19, 2011 8:34:15 PM

I'd still say i5-2500K w/ no graphics and use your current card. Upgrade to a GTX 460 1GB on a sale in the next three weeks for the same price as you've found the 768MB. No sense on skimping on the most limiting part of your system (graphics). Then you can SLI a second GTX 460 1GB next year and think your whole setup is awesome. You'll run into lots of limitations of the 768MB memory in the next two years.