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How future proof can a processor be in relation to the price

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  • CPUs
  • Phenom
  • AMD
  • Processors
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January 30, 2011 6:01:41 PM

If for example, I buy a completely new rig right now which will be used 90% for gaming, how many years from now will I be able to use it without having the need to replace it?

For example, the AMD Phenom II 970 Black Edition processor was released last September 2010. If I buy this processor right now for $196, will I still be able to play games which will be released 3, 4, or 5 years from now? - This is how my question really goes like but I'm not only interested in this specific processor. I have a few in mind that I hope you can help me with. The following processors are:

Intel Core i7 - 2600K -> released January 2011

Intel Core i5 - 2400 -> released January 2011

AMD Phenom II x4 975 BE -> released January 2011

AMD Phenom II x4 970 BE -> released September 2010

AMD Phenom II x 4 965 BE -> released November 2009

AMD Phenom II x6 1100T BE -> released December 2010

I already know the pros and cons of these processors and I know which one is the best. My only question right now is how future proof are these processors.. Thanks..

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a c 159 à CPUs
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January 30, 2011 6:07:47 PM

Do you have a crystal ball? Who knows what the future games will require. Most of the cpus you listed are ahead of the curve. It's more a matter of video card specs.
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January 30, 2011 6:14:43 PM

o1die said:
Do you have a crystal ball? Who knows what the future games will require. Most of the cpus you listed are ahead of the curve. It's more a matter of video card specs.


Thanks for replying. I liked it by the way. :na: 
You're right. I know there's no way to really predict how long these processors are going to remain useful. But I'm asking for your opinion based on your experience. Like for example, have you ever experienced buying a processor and having the need to replace it after just a year or can you or anyone at least give me a rough estimate of how long your rigs stay useful? During my collage years, I wasn't able to play that much games so I lack the experience to say how many years a processor will last.
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January 30, 2011 6:27:20 PM

If a processor plays the games you currently have without problems now, it will play those same games indefinitely without problems... it's the new games coming out that yu have to worry about, and like o1die says, no one knows what the future will bring.
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January 30, 2011 6:30:00 PM

i think any brand new rig with components up to date will need at least 3 years before your upgrade will be useful

i bought the 890FXA-UD5 for this reason , lets say after 2.5 years i will upgrade my CPU to the best AM3 CPU at that time , buy a newer graphics card and my rig will be up to date

then maybe after 2 more years i will sell it and build a new one

it all depends on how you use it , if you maintain it well like cleaning the dust from it every month or so it will live with you for more than you imagine

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January 30, 2011 6:55:13 PM

TheScorpion said:
i think any brand new rig with components up to date will need at least 3 years before your upgrade will be useful

i bought the 890FXA-UD5 for this reason , lets say after 2.5 years i will upgrade my CPU to the best AM3 CPU at that time , buy a newer graphics card and my rig will be up to date

then maybe after 2 more years i will sell it and build a new one

it all depends on how you use it , if you maintain it well like cleaning the dust from it every month or so it will live with you for more than you imagine


When did you buy your rig? I'm planning to do the same. I'm planning to buy the best and latest motherboard on the market and buy the cheapest processor (cheap but good enough for gaming), then just upgrade when I am able to save. My original plan was to buy a Gigabyte P67 UD5 motherboard then buy the i5 - 2400 now, then just upgrade to the i5 2500K or i7 - 2600 after about a year or two, depending upon when I've saved enough money. Will the Sandy Bridge i7 2600 still be useful after 5 years? I know Intel will be producing newer processors which have a different socket type, so I'm already considering the i7 - 2600 to be the best processor for the motherboard after about 3 years or so.
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January 30, 2011 7:08:13 PM

I would guess it would be okay for at least 3 years. All though, it is impossible to tell. Every 18 months hardware becomes obsolete, so i think 3 years is the limit if you want the most hardcore gaming possible. If you can settle for less, even though most gamers won't, it will probably last 5 years.
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January 30, 2011 7:12:06 PM

I was thinking that companies who build games haven't really maximized the use of quad core processors so I'm guessing that in the upcoming years, games will need only about 4 cores and it will take more than 3 years for those companies to make games which require 6 cores or more. I do hope I'm right.

Thanks to everyone who replied.
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January 30, 2011 7:18:28 PM

The GPUs outdate far faster than the CPUs, especially due to overclocking allowing you to compensate to a much larger level with CPUs.

I have a computer with a perfectly fine Core2Extreme X9000 (albeit no longer in use), now that's an old core, and quite fantastic at release, and when playing Crysis it certainly isn't the bottleneck. Getting a newer GPU into the computer certainly allows for playable framerates at 1600*1050 with all but AA maxed.

I'd say you can futureproof quite a lot, or alteast you could. I expect that future gaming trends are going to lean more towards CPU tasks soon, but on the other hand, I thought that a while back, and the game engines instead utilised the immense power of the GPU to a much greater level.

So really it's hard to say, but I've never had a CPU that has lasted less than 4 years, however after a while the mobos fall behind the GPU needs and such, so you just end up having to update it all.
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January 30, 2011 7:33:37 PM

@emmanuelxian07

my rig is 3 months old now , i didn't finish buying stuff for it already
installed my HSF two days ago and i'm looking for a good LED TV/Screen to build a good looking office :) 
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a c 83 à CPUs
a b À AMD
January 30, 2011 8:34:04 PM

Those Phenom X4 processors are all within 5% performance of each other, to try and compare life span by release date is just silly, as they've basically got the same lifespan left in them if you buy them today.

Honestly the I5 2400 will probably last the longest from now compared to what it's $ value is, it's far better than any Phenom II processor, even beats the X6 in almost all tasks.
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a b à CPUs
January 30, 2011 9:17:40 PM

Hard to say, and a lot of it depends on your GPU too of course for gaming. Put it this way, anything you buy right now will be junk in 5-6 years. It depends on what kind of gains are made in processing at the current time too

That said, the i5 2500K would be a much better investment over the AMD 970 Quad since it's only a few bucks more, and beats it soundly in every benchmark. Not to mention, you can squeeze a lot of extra life out of it by overclocking it eventually and it will be much easier to take over 4 ghz than an AMD would be
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January 30, 2011 11:21:45 PM

I will say my old 8400 was great for 4 years. then I jumped to an I7 930 which I will use for 4 to 5 years. I think it all depends on you gpu and do you want the newest tech.
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