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Phenom II x4 965 BE or Core 2 Duo(Wolfdale) 3.0GHz 6MB

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January 23, 2011 8:00:06 PM

Hi, I was just wondering if anyone out there can help me out with this. I'm planning to build my own PC for gaming for the very first time. I don't have any parts with me yet and I'm really planning this carefully. Let's just say I'm building a mid-range budget PC. I don't have any exact budget yet, since I'm still saving. I really want to get the Intel Core i5-2500K but that's already too much for me, and I have chosen 2 processors that are almost at the same price and based on reviews, both of them are really good. Can anyone help me weigh which is better for a mid-price gaming PC.

A. AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Deneb 3.4GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor HDZ965FBGMBOX

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...



B. Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz 6MB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor BX80570E8400

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Let me just ask which one will give me the best bang for the buck and which one can I pair with good mobo and gpu without spending too much.. please help. Thanks!
a c 131 à CPUs
January 23, 2011 11:09:57 PM

The phenom II x4 at 3.4 should be your choice from those two. If you want more details, read on.

Based on my experiences, each core of the phenom II 3.4GHz is slightly more powerful than each core of the core 2 at 3.0GHz. Usually, the core 2 will perform the same as the phenom II if the phenom II is clocked up to 0.2 or 0.3GHz faster.

Let's check that by comparing the architectures. Phenom IIx2 3.4 vs E8400 3.0:
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/56?vs=204

^as we can see, they average to about the same.

The only difference now is that the phenom IIx4 has 4 cores. This will be useful in many current and upcoming games as 2 cores is starting to not be enough anymore:

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/56?vs=102

^as we can see they average to about the same in any tasks that do not use more than 2 cores. But anything that can use more, the phenom IIx4 will easily be more powerful.

The core 2s are outdated processors that are currently overpriced in all areas. They are not a viable option for a new build unless you can find an insanely good deal. The phenom IIx4 965 will outperform a core 2 quad up to approx. 3.0GHz, as we can see here:
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/49?vs=102

As we can also see, the prices of the core 2 quads are not in line with their performance:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...

The most viable options today in my opinion that are well worth their cost for gaming are as follows:
Athlon IIx3: provides 3 cache limited cores for a good budget gaming machine
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/202?vs=88

Phenom IIx4: provides 4 cores with cache for a mid to high end gaming machine. However, cannot perform at core i5 levels. the 955 is the best bang for your dollar, even if it is 0.2GHz slower than the 965:
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/49?vs=88

Core i5: for gaming there is no point in going higher, especially with the new 2500k's high clockspeeds.
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/288?vs=88

Just for kicks: the old i5 vs the new i5:
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/288?vs=191

Which CPU you choose will depend on your budget and video card setup. Typically, the Athlon IIx3 will be enough for a midrange card up to perhaps a GTX460. After that, the 955 will do well up to a radeon 5870 maybe a bit higher. The i5 should be for the high end cards like the GTX580 and for higher crossfire/SLI configurations. I feel most comfortable with the phenom II 955 if you have the money, even if the Athlon IIx3 will be enough for you.

It also depends on the game. A lot of RTS games are more CPU dependant. FSX is the worst game for CPUs. It can have a low end card and a high end CPU outperforming a mid end CPU with a high end card. Dragon age and GTA4 definitely make great use of 4 cores.
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a c 127 à CPUs
January 24, 2011 5:31:19 PM

As said before, the x4 will be the better choice. The E8400 was an amazing overclocker and also in dual thread applications (apps that can only take advantage of two cores) it would slightly outperform the Phenom II. But in the current day and age, you are better off getting a quad core since most games now can take advantage of the extra cores to offload physics and a few other things.

And as Enzo said, GTA IV loves quad cores. I can't count how many people I saw with a E8400 overclocked to 4GHz+ with a better GPU than me and having worse framerates all because I have a Q6600.
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a c 131 à CPUs
January 24, 2011 5:51:22 PM

jimmysmitty said:
And as Enzo said, GTA IV loves quad cores. I can't count how many people I saw with a E8400 overclocked to 4GHz+ with a better GPU than me and having worse framerates all because I have a Q6600.

A few months back I had a friend with an E6200 overclocked to 3GHz he was jealous of my Athlon IIx4 when it came to dragon age.
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a c 127 à CPUs
January 24, 2011 6:29:56 PM

enzo matrix said:
A few months back I had a friend with an E6200 overclocked to 3GHz he was jealous of my Athlon IIx4 when it came to dragon age.


You mean the E6300?

And yea I can see it. I remember back in 2007 when I built my current rig people kept saying quad cores were pointless and such. I laugh at them since I have been able to upgrade just my GPU while most people have to upgrade CPU and GPU or the whole system.
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a c 131 à CPUs
January 25, 2011 12:17:46 AM

jimmysmitty said:
You mean the E6300?

Yeah.
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