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Athlon II X4 640 vs. i5 2500K build - non-gaming pc

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January 20, 2011 7:37:26 PM

Ok, I’m trying to decide which way to go with my build.

The PC will be used for the following (in order): media storage (pictures, home hd video, ripped dvd’s, etc.), streaming video to XBOX as an extender as well as a television in another room, video encoding, video editing, and eventually as a DVR. (it will not be use for gaming)

I was almost set to pull the trigger on an Athlon II X4 640 build, but now that I’ve read a bunch of stuff on the new i5 2500K, I’m not sure if I should spend a little more and go that route.

AMD Build:

CPU: Athlon II X4 640 - $189.62 w/tax (CPU/MB combo)
Motherboard: ASUS M4A88TD-V EVO/USB3 – (included in price of CPU/MB combo above)
Power Supply: Antec EarthWatts Green EA-380D Green 380W - $39.99
Memory: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) - $48.99
HDD: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB - $54.99 (already purchase on sale)
OS: Windows 7 Home Premium - $89.99

Total Cost: $423.58


Intel Build:

CPU: Intel Core i5 2500K - $193.94 w/tax
Motherboard: ASUS P8H67-M LE LGA 1155 Intel H67 - $107.74 w/tax
Power Supply: Antec EarthWatts Green EA-380D Green 380W - $39.99
Memory: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) - $48.99
HDD: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB - $54.99 (already purchase on sale)
OS: Windows 7 Home Premium - $89.99

Total Cost: $540.64

I’m not really worried about the case or noise of the machine since it will not be in the room with either TV. I’ll probably just use a Dell case I have laying around, or purchase a cheap case.

I’ll also eventually add a tuner card and BluRay burner to whichever build I choose to go with, and probably another 1 or 2TB hard drive.

So, in your expert opinions, is the i5 2500K build worth the ~$120 extra in price? If I go the AMD route, I can use the extra $120 for a SSD or the tuner card or BluRay burner.

I’m starting to lean towards the i5 2500K because I’m looking for a more “future proof” PC and have the option to OC it in the future.

Also, are there any changes any of you would make with either build?

Thanks!

January 20, 2011 7:44:22 PM

I would recommend at least a 450w psu or larger if you want to add a vid card but it looks like you don't need it. other than that the mobo needs to be upgraded to a p67 board with the 2500k for overclocking or drop it to the 2500 sandy bridge if you do not want to oc. other than that it looks fine.
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January 20, 2011 7:44:41 PM

i5. No debate.

The i5 is easily a good 50-75% more powerful than the X4. That includes the onboard graphics. I wouldn't want to rely simply on a motherboard to provide HD content smoothly. It should do alright, but I'd want some backup. With the AMD build, that means a discrete GPU, specifically the cheapest HD 5xxx card you can find. With the i5, you don't need that. I'm also not a fan of the Athlon X4s. The Athlon X3s are a better choice, as they're cheaper and can be more powerful. You don't need a quad core for an HTPC.

You could also wait for the Sandy Bridge i3s to come out. They'll likely be around $120ish.

I like these G.Skill 2x2 GB 1600 mhz CL 9 sticks better. They're a touch cheaper, and they'll be faster. It'll help if you want to overclock.
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January 20, 2011 9:52:55 PM

stick with the 2500K even on the H board, as it has the Intel 3000 on-die GPU.

the Intell 3000 GPU is the MUST HAVE item for video encoding. Toms points out that it converts a 4-minute 1920x1080 interlaced clip to 1024x768 iPad h.264 clip in *22 seconds*
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January 21, 2011 12:51:32 AM

thanks for the information everyone.

the microcenter near me is currently only seeling the i5 2500K ($179) or the i5 2400 ($149).


if i opt for the 2500K, and a P67 motherboard so i can OC, will the Intel 2000 PGU be good enough for video editing/encoding and streaming? if not, is there a "cheaper" video card that i could get that would match or be better than the 3000 GPU? (i'm not really familiar with video cards) or, should i just get a H67 motherboard and not worry about OCing now (if i ever want to, i can get a new motherboard in a few years)?

atypicallemon recommended a larger psu. these are currently on sale at newegg:

Antec EarthWatts Green EA-380D Green 380W - $39.99
Antec EarthWatts Green EA-430D Green 430W - $44.99
Antec EarthWatts Green EA-500D Green 500W - $49.99

would the 430W be enough, or should i go for the 500W?

thanks
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January 21, 2011 12:58:42 AM

To use the i5's integrated graphics (the Intel 3000), you are required to get an H67 board. That would limit you're overclocking, so you should get the 2400.

The 3000 you're talking about is onboard graphics, enhanced by the CPU. That's what it means to be "on-die" or integrated. It's pretty weak, and any discrete card would be better. Of course, it's technically free with the CPU and board...

A discrete card would really help with the editing and encoding. It doesn't really matter for streaming.

The 380W would be enough for some of the lesser cards. If you were looking at a card that's bigger than the HD 5770, the 500W should be the one you're looking at.
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January 21, 2011 12:49:16 PM

are the only processors (i3, i5, or i7) that have the 3000 graphics the "K" version chips?

MadAdmiral, so you're saying that a HD 5770 card would be better than the 3000 integrated graphics anyway?

so, would going for the 2500K + P67 + discrete gpu be the best option?

but it sounds like the 2500K + H67 w/Intel 3000 & integrated graphics would be better for encoding/editing.

is there going to be a i3 "K" version coming out?
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January 21, 2011 1:45:19 PM

No, all the Sandy Bridge (the 2xxx) chips have 3000 graphics. Or something close to it.

Yes, and basically ANY discrete video card would have better graphics.

The 2500/H67 (the H67 isn't good for overclocking, so don't get the "K" version with it) would be the cheapest option. It would be worse for video editing/encoding (less graphics processing power). The 2500K/P67/discrete would be more expensive, but more powerful for encoding/editing. They're roughly equal for video playback.

No idea on the release of the new i3s. I can't imagine it'd be much longer.
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January 21, 2011 1:58:34 PM

I say i5 all the way, since performance wise, in real life applications, the i5 2xxx series is FAR superior then then pretty much any AMD CPU out there.

I would suggest you pop in like an HD 5650 video card (~$99) and you would be set, for quite a while, and you would enjoy great graphics and a wonderful CPU.

And I do agree, unless you want to OC dont get the 2500k, but if you do, that thing can OC like crazy.
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January 21, 2011 2:12:49 PM

What 5650? It's a mobile card. And $100 would buy you the HD 5770, a clear cut gaming card. I'd get the HD 5450 for $30. It's not a lot of power, but more than enough for an HTPC. Or if you're really in the encoding/editing, check out some of the cheap nVidia cards( like the GT 430 $60), as they'd be better than the cheap ATI cards for those tasks.

Even if you weren't sure you wanted to overclock, if you decide on the P67/discrete card route, I'd still get the "K" version. The possibility of overclocking is worth $15.
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January 21, 2011 2:26:20 PM

so, for my needs, and if i do not plan to OC, do you recommend the i5 2400 w/ H67 board (would i still need to get a descrete PGU?) or the i5 2500K w/ P67 board and descrete GPU.

here's what i'm looking at (price wise) for each setup (CPU/MB/GPU):


i5 2400 ($149) + H67 motherboard ($100) w/o GPU = $249
i5 2400 ($149) + H67 motherboard ($100) + GPU (~$70) = $319
i5 2500K ($179) + P67 motherboard ($130) + GPU (~$70) = $379


i know that the last option would give the best performance, but in your opinion, would it be worth the extra $130 for a non-gaming pc?


again, i'm not very familiar with GPUs. so, the nvidia cards would be better for encoding/editing, and the ati cards are more for gaming?

any recommendations on which brands are better?
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Best solution

January 21, 2011 2:57:05 PM

If you go with the H67, you don't need a discrete GPU. It would help with the encoding/editing. I'd probably go with the i5-2500K, P67 and a discrete GPU. You get the most power and the most flexibility that way.

You don't have to get a $70 GPU. You could easily pick up an older nVidia card for less.

Typically, nVidia GPUs aren't extremely powerful for gaming, but pack a lot of extras that make them excel in non-gaming applications. ATI cards are typically cheaper for the same power, but aren't very good outside of gaming.

Brand of the video card makes very little difference. Get what's cheap or what has the best warrranty.
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January 21, 2011 3:09:51 PM

Can I just clarify as im not sure if this has already been said:
1. Only the chips ending K have the 3000 integrated graphics the non Ks have 2000 which is not as good. Only the K series can overclock.
2. H67 can use the integrated graphics but cannot overclock.
3. P67 cannot use the integrated graphics but can overclock.
4. Either can use a discrete card if needed but the P67 needs one..
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January 21, 2011 4:18:11 PM

Thanks for all the great, helpful information!
I think I’m going to go for the following build…

i5 2500K Build:

CPU: Intel Core i5 2500K - $193.94 w/tax
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD3 - $137.74 w/tax
CPU Cooler: COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus - $32.31 w/tax
GPU: EVGA 512-P3-1240-LR GeForce GT 240 - $41.99 after rebate
Power Supply: Antec EarthWatts Green EA-500D Green 500W - $49.99
Memory: G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) - $47.99
HDD: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB - $54.99 (already purchased on sale)
OS: Windows 7 Home Premium - $89.99

Total Cost: $648.94


does this gpu look okay?
would i be able to get by with the 380W antec for $10 less?
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January 21, 2011 6:16:21 PM

Admiral: the intel 3000 GPU, which is about as powerful as a 5450, but has incredible video encoding capabilities, is *only* on the 2600K and 2500K models. all other models (the 2500, 2400, 2300), have the Intel 2000, which is only as good as most other on-motherboard video cards. It was a specific complaint in the Tom's hardware article
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January 25, 2011 4:54:18 PM

can someone help me with the PSU for my build above (380W, 430W, or 500W)?

fyi...i may opt for 8GB of RAM instead of 4GB.

and any recommendation on a GPU would be appreciated.

thanks!
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January 25, 2011 4:58:49 PM

I'd get the 430W since you want a GPU. I'd also check out the GT 430 as a GPU. That's a good cheap one.
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January 25, 2011 5:08:02 PM

thanks, so the 500W PSU isn't really worth it for the $5 extra in price?
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January 25, 2011 5:12:27 PM

more wattage you get, the more upgrades you can do without having to update your PSU. So I would say its worth the extra $5
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January 25, 2011 5:18:20 PM

Either way, you can't really go wrong. I don't think you'd ever need more than 430W for what you're doing, but I could easily justify the $5 added cost. It's really up to you.
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January 28, 2011 1:20:14 AM

Best answer selected by bigfish12.
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