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Time to Upgrade! (AMD vs. Intel)

So up until recently my rig has been able to keep up with almost everything I’ve thrown at it, but I think at long last it’s time to upgrade some of the core components. I suspect my aging mobo/cpu combo is the true bottleneck. Starcraft II just isn’t as fun at 10 fps.

My current build:
GPU: SAPPHIRE 100283-3L Radeon HD 5770 1GB
CPU: AMD Phenom 9600 Agena 2.3GHz Socket AM2+
MBO: GIGABYTE GA-M57SLI-S4 AM2 NVIDIA nForce 570
RAM: CORSAIR XMS2 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400)

The graphics card was recently updated, so I’m not too concerned there. My question is, given all the hoopla surrounding Bulldozer and Sandy Bridge – what would the Hivemind recommend that a value conscious gamer like myself do to upgrade my aging system?

1. Do I wait for Bulldozer to come out in June, or am I not really in a position to benefit from the new technology given that I already have a decent GPU (isn’t ‘fusion’ their big sales pitch)?

2. Do I just shell out now for a decent AMD based upgrade at $290?
- $120 on an AMD Phenom II X4 955 3.2Ghz (Quad-Core)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103808
- $130 (after MIR) on a MSI 890FXA-GD65 AM3 AMD 890FX
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813130565
- $40 on a pair of G.SKILL Ripjaws 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231277

3. Or do I go for a similarly priced Intel based upgrade using the new Sandy Bridge cpu?
- $125 Intel Core i3-2100 Sandy Bridge 3.1GHz (Dual-Core)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115078
- $130 MSI P67A-G43 (B3) LGA 1155
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813130583
- $40 on a pair of G.SKILL Ripjaws 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231277

TLDR: Given that I’m looking to spend around $300 (flexible if there’s decent value) - should I:
Wait for Bulldozer?
Upgrade now with Phenom?
Upgrade now with Sandy Bridge?

I’m very much open to any recommendations regarding the components I listed above.

Thank you!
16 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about time upgrade intel
  1. I'd say since you already have an AM2+ board why not save some cash and just buy the X4 955 and drop it right in? That way you can buy a decent heatsink or small water block setup and overclock the living snot out of it. Also if your motherboard supports it why not go for a second 5570 or maybe even upgrade to a 6850 BIOS modded to a 6870?

    That's just my thoughts. Based on what you've put up there for what you do either setup is going to flatten Starcraft 2. I'd say if you're already bought into AMD why change things? if you stick with them you could eventually go Crossfire down the road with 2 graphics cards. Not to mention I think a x4 955 overclocked to high heaven and having the additional cores would flatten an i3 even an SB one.
  2. If you live around a Micro Center, you can get a Core i5 2500K for $179 which is a nice jump above both of those
  3. Thanks overclcokingrocks - but unfortunately, my board is only AM2, which as far as I understand means I can handle an AM2+ CPU, but not an AM3 like the X4 955. Hence, I think I'm due for a CPU and MOBO upgrade. But I'll take your comment as a +1 for AMD vs Intel.
  4. Best answer
    According to the Gigabyte CPU support list a C3 stepping 95W Phenom II 955 is supported with the latest BIOS on your board.
    http://www.gigabyte.com/support-downloads/cpu-support-popup.aspx?pid=2287
  5. GPUs are more important than CPUs for games. Both choices would work well
    For Amd you would want a black socket am3+ to have an upgrade path.
    Just how Bulldozer performance or prices will compare no one knows.

    Intel is here and you are buying into the bottom of an existing upgrade path, with a long way to go.
    The decision is written in your stars.

    As far as I know there is a 95 watt Phenom II 945 Black Edition, I do not believe I've seen 95 watt 955.
    ONLY one at newegg $120 and a $10 gift card 125 watts
    Q2) Tntel will use half the power.
  6. Thanks freakykiwi - I stand corrected - it seems the most value conscious decision would be to buy a Phenom II X4 945 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103809 or even a 95 watt 955 if I can find one. Seems I may be able to push back the big upgrade for at least a while longer.

    I'm a little concerned by what I found on the Gigabyte site regarding AM3 CPU's on AM2 Mobo's:

    "If you install an AMD AM3/AM2+ CPU on AM2 motherboard, the system bus speed will downgrade from HT3.0(5200 MT/s) to HT1.0 (2000 MT/s); however, the frequency of AM2+ CPU will not be impacted."

    I wonder if it's really worth it given that I may still wind up with a bottleneck at my mobo. Think this will impact gaming performance? Should I just update all of the components now or hold out a while longer?

    Thanks again for all the responses!
  7. This is a tough choice to make.

    I just completed a build with a sandy bridge core i5 2400. I don't really play games or edit video, but the old Pentium D 820 was starting to show its age. It was definitely the bottleneck in the old system.

    I guess it all comes down to dollars and cents. If money isn't a big concern I would say the Intel sandy bridge would probably give the best performance, but if dollars are tight you many consider a Phenom ii x2 with decent mobo. Many combo deals abound and with a decent GPU and maybe an SSD an AMD system could still perform well.
  8. I'm new to this site and I don't know if I should post a suggestion with my lacking knowledge, but wasn't there something wrong with sandy bridge before? I heard rumors of recall. Also, I was wondering if someone could check out a build for me since I have no knowledge about computers whatsoever. I tried posting a new topic but the site wouldn't let me . Please advise..
  9. jason32894 said:
    I'm new to this site and I don't know if I should post a suggestion with my lacking knowledge, but wasn't there something wrong with sandy bridge before? I heard rumors of recall. Also, I was wondering if someone could check out a build for me since I have no knowledge about computers whatsoever. I tried posting a new topic but the site wouldn't let me . Please advise..



    no it was not the cpu it was the motherboard also what you prob?
  10. What's up with the *** ?
  11. faub_NPA said:
    Thanks freakykiwi - I stand corrected - it seems the most value conscious decision would be to buy *** Phenom II X4 945 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103809 or even *** 95 watt 955 if I can find one. Seems I may be able to push back the big upgrade for at least *** while longer.

    I'm *** little concerned by what I found on the Gigabyte site regarding AM3 CPU's on AM2 Mobo's:

    "If you install an AMD AM3/AM2+ CPU on AM2 motherboard, the system bus speed will downgrade from HT3.0(5200 MT/s) to HT1.0 (2000 MT/s); however, the frequency of AM2+ CPU will not be impacted."

    I wonder if it's really worth it given that I may still wind up with *** bottleneck at my mobo. Think this will impact gaming performance? Should I just update all of the components now or hold out *** while longer?

    Thanks again for all the responses!



    Don't be.

    Though the theoretical bandwidth between the two is significant, in practice (and performance) you will not notice the difference (primarily because you are using DDR2 800).

    Though the PhII would be sweet, take look at the AMD Athlon II X4 640 Propus 3.0GHz - $90 this weekend with Promo Code EMCYTZT458 (valid until 11:59PM PDT on Sunday, 5/15/2011).

    Purchase one of these $30 aftermarket coolers.

    Install yer new stuff, boot-up and enter the BIOS.

    Drop the HT to 4x
    Drop the memory from 400 to 333.
    Raise your CPU voltage to 1.3825v

    You now have the headroom to raise the system clock (CPU freq) up to 240MHz. Start at 220MHz and test for temps and stability --- when comfortable work your way up at 5MHz per try.

    You may add another 0.125v if necessary and remain in spec. With the clock at 240MHz your RAMs will return to spec 800MHz.

    In order to reduce stress on your CPU (if you feel it is necessary) you may drop your CPU multiplier down from *15*.

    I'm not familiar with your motherboard but I suspect with patient tweaking you should run 15x240MHz without too much difficulty. That should blow thyne Olde Phenom at 2.3GHz away - LOL

    And when you are ready to move on to new platform the 640 IMC will run DDR3 memory --- and should work quite well in the AM3/AM3+ motherboards with DDR3.

    [:jaydeejohn:5]


    edit: not sure why the letter *** becomes ***
  12. Wisecracker said:
    Don't be.

    Though the theoretical bandwidth between the two is significant, in practice (and performance) you will not notice the difference (primarily because you are using DDR2 800).

    Though the PhII would be sweet, take look at the AMD Athlon II X4 640 Propus 3.0GHz - $90 this weekend with Promo Code EMCYTZT458 (valid until 11:59PM PDT on Sunday, 5/15/2011).

    Purchase one of these $30 aftermarket coolers.

    Install yer new stuff, boot-up and enter the BIOS.

    Drop the HT to 4x
    Drop the memory from 400 to 333.
    Raise your CPU voltage to 1.3825v

    You now have the headroom to raise the system clock (CPU freq) up to 240MHz. Start at 220MHz and test for temps and stability --- when comfortable work your way up at 5MHz per try.

    You may add another 0.125v if necessary and remain in spec. With the clock at 240MHz your RAMs will return to spec 800MHz.

    In order to reduce stress on your CPU (if you feel it is necessary) you may drop your CPU multiplier down from *15*.

    I'm not familiar with your motherboard but I suspect with patient tweaking you should run 15x240MHz without too much difficulty. That should blow thyne Olde Phenom at 2.3GHz away - LOL

    And when you are ready to move on to new platform the 640 IMC will run DDR3 memory --- and should work quite well in the AM3/AM3+ motherboards with DDR3.

    [:jaydeejohn:5]


    edit: not sure why the letter *** becomes ***



    That's completely wrong.

    faub_NPA, you need to:

    ***$#* ** ##@* and then to &^^@@!!!3.14*** but make sure you don't ****** ^^^ %^$*

    Otherwise your PC might %%$$$###!!!

    :D
  13. mosox said:
    That's completely wrong.

    faub_NPA, you need to:

    ***$#* ** ##@* and then to &^^@@!!!3.14*** but make sure you don't ****** ^^^ %^$*

    Otherwise your PC might %%$$$###!!!

    :D


    It's the fooking first letter in the alphabet ferchrisakes :lol:

    Don't you have the AthlonII Quad?

    (I would have used an *** there but the letter *** seems to now be *** Scarlet *** as far as the $!&#! curse filter is concerned)
  14. Best answer selected by faub_NPA.
  15. Quote:
    your mobo supports the phenom II 955, as far as i saw, link:
    http://www.gigabyte.com/products/product-page.aspx?pid=2287#ov
    CPU Support list:
    http://www.gigabyte.com/support-downloads/cpu-support-popup.aspx?pid=2287
    AMD Phenom II X4 955 3200MHz 512KBx4 6MB Deneb 45nm C3 125W 4000 N/A
    AMD Phenom II X4 955 3200MHz 512KBx4 6MB Deneb 45nm C3 95W 4000 F15E
    AMD Phenom II X4 955 3200MHz 512KBx4 6MB Deneb 45nm C2 125W 4000 N/A

    [EDIT]:
    by the time i pressed post and page refreshed i found all posts, but anyways i dont know how many times ive described HT to people, anyways HT3--->1.0 will not give any real world performance difference and the costs saved by just a CPU upgrade rather than a full RAM,CPU,Mobo upgrade can instead be put towards something else (eg. new bike for the summer months ahead =D)



    Thanks ps3hacker12, but please note that the two cpu's I highlighted above are not supported. I'll have to find either a 95W 955 or go with the 95W 945 thats available on newegg:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103809
  16. This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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