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CPU with HD 6850 : Athlon II or Phenom II or Core i3

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January 23, 2011 5:16:01 AM

Hello,
I am building a gaming PC using Asus Radeon HD6850 1GB on a budget.
I plan to game at 1680x1050 with med-high details. The games include GTA IV, BF:BC2, Metro 2033 etc.
For cpu, I am looking at Athlon II X3 445 or Athlon II X4 635 or Core i3 530 but prefer X3 due to lower cost.
Will the X3 be a bottleneck for the HD6850?
Is a higher end cpu needed?

I would love to get core i5 or new Sandy Bridge line but its too expensive atm. I am not interested in video encoding/decoding. Is the extra cost worth the benefits?
(Am in India - so the cost goes up from 8K for Athlon II X3 + ASUS mobo to 15K for core i5 + Intel mobo)

TIA
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January 23, 2011 5:50:44 AM

You'll be just fine at that resolution with any of those processors. Yes, the X4 can push the card just a bit more, and the i3 530 about the same amount more, but you will not notice it at that resolution. Heck, you won't notice the difference between the 3 of them at any resolution, honestly. Go with the X3. As for an i5 or SB, for gaming, you're not really going to notice that much of a difference. Yes, you may get higher framerates, but (again...at that resolution) you're not going to be anywhere close to needing to worry about framerates dropping low enough to cause even the slightest bit of hesitation/stuttering in any of those games. Metro is demanding, and GTAIV is a POS console port that runs like crap on 90% of PCs, but you should be just fine regardless of which of those 3 procs you choose.
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January 23, 2011 11:54:36 AM

Why don't you wait for the new Sandybridge i3 line (LGA 1155) like the i3 -2120 or i3-2100?
They should be coming very soon expected around Feb 20,2011.
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January 23, 2011 11:55:39 AM

I would stay away from the AThlon II for gaming purposes. If you must, the X3 445 is the best deal.

i3 is a beast for gaming, but your only getting 2 cores and the Athlon II will spank it in multi-tasking (non-gaming) scenarios.
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January 23, 2011 2:01:57 PM

Thanks for all your replies.

@GeekApproved - I dont care much for non-gaming applications (firefox or office take very little processing power). Any specific reason for avoiding Athlon II?
By i3, did you mean the new SB or the current available? I read in some of the reviews that the extra core of X3 will be useful for games like GTA IV. Does the i3 make a significant impact?

@jj463rd - That was my initial plan but my cpu went kaput last week and I am without a pc right now :( 
Intel has not announced any plans for releasing SB in india and i heard rumors that they wont be coming before Q2 2011.

Just read http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-processor-co...
and again Core i3 seems good buy - I am very confused here
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January 23, 2011 4:45:43 PM

You mentioned Phenom II in the post title. The black edition Phenom II's, both x2 and x4, with C3 stepping, are all excellent gaming cpu's. x2 555 and x4 955 would be my recommendations.
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January 24, 2011 12:17:02 PM

So you would recommend x2 and x4 but not x3??

I was talking about current i3 for gaming.

Read the "best gaming cpu's for the money Dec. 10" on this site under articles and then cpu.
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January 24, 2011 12:48:42 PM

The Athlon II x3s are great value the i3s are slightly better but the chips and mobos are more expensive you also tend to get alot more features on AMD boards.
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January 24, 2011 3:07:42 PM

Went through a lot of sites and reviews and i3 seems to the best option right now - it is consistently beating the athlon X3 by more than 5 fps in most benchmarks.
I have decided to go for it.
Thanks for all your help :) 
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January 24, 2011 3:48:28 PM

Yes the i3 beat the X3 in most gaming, BUT it's more expensive. So go to the article I referred you to and it tells you what is the best gaming cpu for your budget.
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