LGA 1156 vs. AM3

As I've upgraded my system I had been using the old parts to gradually build another system for my brother until, eventually, my old components were simply worth too much for me to just give away. His system currently consists of:

ASUS M2A-VM AM2 microATX mobo
Athlon 64 X2 3800+ 2.0GHz CPU
4x1GB DDR2-800 mem
GeForce GTS 250

He only games at 1680x1050 but averages around 20 fps in Black Ops and 24 fps in Just Cause 2 with moderately low settings and NO AA. So, after playing around with the resolutions and concluding that the limiting factor is the CPU, here's my question: LGA 1156 or AM3. He's still in high school so obviously we're trying to find the most cost-effective solution. Right now I'm mostly looking at the Core i3 550 ($100 at Micro Center) and either the Phenom II X4 820 ($100 @ NewEgg), Phenom II X3 715 BE ($85 @ NE), or Athlon II X4 640 ($100 @ NE). Another issue is the memory because he has 4GB of decent memory but it looks like most of the new budget mobo's require DDR3 even though they only have 4 slots...which I don't understand...but I could get an AM3/AM2+/AM2 mobo that still uses DDR2, I'm just wondering if that would take a performance hit or if the 4-slot DDR3 mobo's don't even use the 3rd channel so using DDR3 would be pointless...
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More about 1156
  1. IMHO motherboards that accept AM3 processors and use DDR2 memory are not something you want to build. Just not there in the performance / dollar category...

    AM3 vs LGA1156 - Both can be good builds. AM3 is better for your budget and offers an upgrade path down the road as AMD will be making processors for that socket for a while to come. LGA1156 is "dead" meaning what processors you have on the market today is all that will be available (no future proofing LGA1156). AM3 gets the nod from me for those reasons...

    Check out the AMD bundles at Microcenter @ The Athlon X4 640 would be a good start...

    FYI - DDR3 does not designate tripple channel memory. The only tripple channel setups out there now are for LGA1366 and some Xeons. LGA1156 and AM3 are both dual channel memory setups so plan on installing memory in pairs.
  2. I would not bother with 1156 at all, instead, I'd pick the 1155 Sandy Bridge if I was doing intel at all.

    If your budget is under $800 I'd go AMD, at $800+ I'd go Sandy Bridge.
  3. Hmmm...yeah, you know I KNEW that 1156 was dead because I'd heard all about Sandy Bridge but somehow it just never entered my mind when I was comparing the two platforms...that just might be the biggest argument yet in favor of AM3.
  4. I can see why this place (Tom'e Hardware ) is so highly recomended for computer advise. This thread puts some light on my build options.

    The AMD is much cheaper. I read that getting a 6 core over a 2 or 4 core is not wise for gamming.

    You guys rock !
  5. this represents another obstacle...on AM3 for price/performance it seems like the Athlon II X4 640 is the way to go...but it seems that there still aren't any chipsets that support AM3 and SLI...he's already got a GTS 250...a second GTS 250 is the obvious upgrade down the road...

    EDIT: Nvm, found exactly ONE 750a SLI mobo on Newegg for $100 ($80 w/ rebate) that'll work...effind dragon platform...
  6. 'Nother dilemma...made a spreadsheet of the CPU chart benchmarks and it shows that the Core i3 530 is just about on the level with the Athlon II X4 640...and then I found another site that showed side-by-side comparisons of the 550 and the 530 and it showed that the 530 varied from 87.2% of the 550 to 96.8% of the 550 with the average performance differential over 14 separate benchmarks being ~8.8% which means that the i3 550 is actually substantially faster than the Athlon and even faster than the Phenom II X4 925...all this and it's the same price as the Athlon at Micro Center ($100)...

    So now the question is, how important is upgradability? I've gone from the Athlon X2 3800+ in question to a Core 2 Quad Q6600 to an i7 just seems to me that by the time you really NEED a CPU upgrade, it's time to change platforms anyway. Now, granted, my little brother won't be upgrading as often as I am, but how long do we think the AM3 platform will stick around?
  7. well bulldozer will come out this year i think. im pretty sure it will use the AM3+ platform so im not sure if they will work on AM3 or not.
  8. Ugh...okay, so I narrowed it down to 2 sets of components... (an arrow shows price after rebate)
    Intel Core i3 550                                                                $99.99                            Micro Center
    MSI P55-GD65                                                                    $169.99 -> $139.99        Micro Center
    4GB (2x2GB) Patriot Sector 5 DDR3-1333 9-9-9-24            $59.99 -> $29.99            Micro Center
    Total = $355.54 (Micro Center has tax) -> $295.54
    AMD Athlon II X4 640                                                          $95.99                           Micro Center
    MSI NF70-G55 750a SLI                                                      $99.99 -> $79.99           Newegg
    4GB (2x2GB) Patriot Sector 5 DDR3-1333 9-9-9-24             $59.99 -> $29.99            Micro Center
    Total = $268.06 -> $218.06
    By the numbers, this gives the nod to Athlon in terms of price / performance...the processors are the same price, but it seems LGA 1156 is just as bad as AM3 in terms of SLI compatibility...when did all the mobo manufacturers start making everything with Crossfire instead of SLI? ...annoying as hell... I've decided I don't care that LGA 1156 is dead, at the rate new platforms are coming out I think the next CPU upgrade will have to be a new platform no matter what brand I choose now. Anyways, show of hands, is the i3 550 worth the extra $80?
  9. In real world performance, the extra cores of the Athlon II X4 will be worth more than the higher clock of the I3-540.

    Microcenter also gives away a decent DDR3 board with an Athlon II X4 (an MSI 785)
  10. I consider AM3 pretty near dead, perhaps one or two speed bumps left before the current processors hit the wall....

    There will be a new socket/mb format for Bulldozer....virtually certain.
  11. Best answer
    AM3 is promised to support Bulldozer, but so we thought about SB with Intel.

    Now, if this ain't for 1920x1080 ish resolutions and above, you don't "need" a Core i5+ or a Phenom II 970 at all. Even less dual GPUs. I hope we get that right.

    So, having that in ming and taking a look @ASUS, here's what I found about that MoBo: You can have an Athlon II X4 640 or a Phenom II X4 925 with just a BIOS update, but can't OC them because you can't get past the 95W power mark.

    Both processors can be had online for about USD$100 and USD$125 (Athlon II X4 and Phenom II X4 925).

    You could get a beefier video card if you like; prolly a 6850 or a GTX460 would be awsome partners for those CPUs and they ain't so expensive.

    Hope it helps!


    EDIT: And just one thing you've got wrong about "upgrade-ability" IMO... If you got a "good" AM2 board you could have a Phenom II 965 with no problems in it, and prolly with XFire as well. But low end MoBos don't have that life span, so I don't think a cheap MoBo has a lot of room to work with; moreover when you want to keep some expensive parts from your current build. In your particular case, I'd sell the GTS250 and put some extra greenies to get a 6850 or a GTX460. That should give that system like 3 more years if things keep like now.
  12. Best answer selected by bikeracer4487.
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