I am looking at either an AMD/HD 4250 or i3/i5/integrated system. I'm still debating the CPU choice, but I'm wondering about graphics.
Mild gaming, if any, and lots of Google Earth spread across two 27" displays, are the main graphics uses.
I know the HD 4250 is lower-end, but how would it compare to the integrated graphics of the i3/i5 series, and, secondarily, is there an NVIDIA equivalent (just so I can search the web for more comparisons, HD 4250 vs i3 in google doesn't give a whole lot)
The graphics on I3 and I5 is a lot better than older intel offerings it comes close to the HD42xx and even beats it in few benchmarks but overall the HD42xx is considered better http://www.anandtech.com/show/2901/4 it is not by much though.
The case I am using will not support a discrete card, so I am looking at integrated. The Mini-ITX Asus MB I'm looking at for AM3-based CPUs has HD 4250 integrated, and the Gigabyte MB for i3/i5 of course uses Intel's.
Now, I have a 120w PicoPSU, and a secondard 60w PS I can use as well if needed. So I'm looking especially at low power, low heat devices. The case doesn't have a lot of airflow or power.
So I've narrowed it down some and here are the pro's and con's as I see it:
-Phenom II X2/3/4 (945 probably)
-95w on the high end, maybe buy an X2 or X3 and hope to unlock cores
-MB I'm looking at supports RAID and integrated wifi
-Up to four physical cores
-HD 4250 NB/SB heatsink is said to get very hot
-MB may have problems using both DVI and HDMI at the same time
-i3-530, only 73w, dual core with hyperthreading
-i5-661, 87w, not cheap
-MB does not support RAID or wifi
-Chipset heatsink stays cool
With the AMD setup I'm stuck with HD 4250 graphics forever, but I can use any AM3 CPU in the sub-95w range, so if, in time, six (or more) core CPUs come out with very lower power consumption, I have an upgrade path.
On the other hand, with the Intel setup, I can use all 1156 CPUs, and if Intel puts out an iX series with more cores/faster graphics/whatever, I have an upgrade path there as well.
The Phenom is the cheapest, with the most L3 cache. The i3 runs the fastest, clockspeed-wise (over 4Ghz on air with stock cooler from what I've read). Both Intel CPUs support hyperthreading but only have two cores -- For a Win7 system doing basic desktop stuff but *lots* of multitasking, would I be better served by two hyperthreaded Intel cores or four physical AMD cores?
Given the price, if I were to swear off the i5 completely, would a Phenom II X4 945 kill an i3-530 (let's say I get the i3 to above 4Ghz)?
What case will you use? There are many single-slot low-profile cards thaat takes up no space and no power.
But as you're limited to Dual-core i5s only, the Phenoms becomes much better choices. A Phenom 945 will do 3.6Ghz happily on the stock cooler. Performance wise, the 635 is on par with the i3, while the 945 trade blows with the i5.
Though a thing to point out, there will NOT be 1156 based quads with IGP, so there will no upgrades with Intel. All new CPUs will be LGA1155 which is incompatible with 1156.
The thing is, with heavy multi-tasking the Phenom will shine through, 4 real cores are better than 2HT cores no matter how you cut it. Just make sure you get plenty of RAM (might want to consider 8).
Dont worry about the NB/SB on that ASUS 880G though, you can always put a dab of TIM on there and add a fan.
Thanks. 8GB is the max supported by the MB and is what I plan on using. And thanks for the tip on the NB/SB HS. I won't have a lot of room to put a fan on, but good quality thermal paste is definitely a good idea.