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Phenom ii x4 955BE OC'ed vs. i3-2100

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May 27, 2011 6:15:29 AM

I have seen plenty of benchmarks comparing the 955, 965, or 970 to the i3-2100, and the Phenom wins in some places, the i3 in others. I want to know two things: first, how would the Phenom compare to the i3 once the Phenom has been OC'ed to 3.8-4.0Ghz? And second, am I best off getting the 955BE or the 965BE? Is there any differance other than the 200Mhz clock increase? Because a clock increase on a BE chip is pointless. The Phenom would be cooled by a Spire Thermax ii Eclipse in a well ventilated case, so basically the best possible air cooling.

More about : phenom 955be 2100

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May 27, 2011 9:08:22 AM

It really depends what you are doing and what video card you have.

You can push the i3-2100 up another 200Mhz. You can look up the 980's benchmarks which runs at 3.7 Ghz and running at the higher clocks, the Phenom is either competitive or winning at those speeds.

Generally, speaking CPU's are "binned" so that the higher quality silicon gets the higher clock speed and overclocking bares that out. However,
I don't think the 965 or greater is worth it since you get very close to the i5-2400 in price.


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May 27, 2011 10:11:09 AM

For the best bang for the buck I would get the 955, it's cheap now. Or you can wait for the new Bulldozer CPUs due in early June. Anyway even if you get the Phenom II X4 you should get an AM3+ socket motherboard.
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May 27, 2011 11:28:05 AM

Nnymrod said:
... am I best off getting the 955BE or the 965BE?

Any individual 965BE might be a better overclocker. Better enough to be worth the price difference? The only way to find out is to buy one.

Consensus among AMD builders is that the price difference is not worth it.

Stardude82 said:

Generally, speaking CPU's are "binned" so that the higher quality silicon gets the higher clock speed ...

It is not a case of "higher quality silicon". Two CPU's cut from the same area of the wafer can have different OC characteristics because of random production differences.

And demand affects binning. Because the 955's are in greater demand, there's a pretty good chance of someone getting a 965 that was binned as a 955
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May 27, 2011 12:03:20 PM

The I3 is a better gaming CPU with limited overclock, the 955 is better for some desktop aplications, and allows "fun factor " overclocking.
The 955 is a good buy, the I3 offers more gaming power. Final overclock on 955 vs 965 depends on individual chip.
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May 27, 2011 12:08:07 PM

an i3 2100 beats a phenom II up to 3.6ghz in every single gaming benchmark i have seen, most of the time by a significant margin. This is something i have been looking into recently and have done a fair bit of research. There are very few games where a 3.7ghz phenom or above will pull ahead slightly. If your looking at a new purchase you also have to factor in an aftermarket cooler if you want to get your phenom overclocked enough to make up the difference and a decent motherboard and power supply to overclock it. the core i3 uses a LOT less power and is upgradeable to an i5 or i7. Phenom is pretty much the end of the line for AM3 motherboards. Some are supposedly "bulldozer compatable", although this is not confirmed from what i have seen. Im holding out for bulldozer benches and am3+ motherboards to make my next upgrade decision.
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May 27, 2011 7:35:33 PM

All the same, if you want to go for fun, get a 5200+ (Deneb, $40) and see what you can get out of it. If it's a dud, Llano will be out soon. My 5000+ fully unlocked and got up to 3Ghz.
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May 27, 2011 8:26:24 PM

I kind of agree with all the above except im not sure you can overclock the i3 even 200MHz. The 955 is better because boards are cheaper (Massively if you want crossfire) and it can overclock but for gaming the i3 is just more powerful even with the 955 overclocked. Outside of gaming the 955 is a better buy even at stock.
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May 27, 2011 8:37:13 PM

the Phenom is a real quadcore and it has the ability to overclock it until you break it, LOL, whereas the corei3 is dual core and blocked for overclocking. in my opinion you get more with that phenom2X4 for your money than with the corei3.
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May 27, 2011 9:28:21 PM

You can overclock a i3-2100.

The 955BE is an incredible deal at the new price.

I say if you mainly game and wan't a low power consumption cpu, go i3-2100.

If your main dig's are not gaming, and you don't care about power consumption, go 955.

The only other thing though is the AM3 mobo's really don't have any upgrade path unless AMD introduces AM3 32nm cpu's, which I doubt will happen, but it would be a ace in the hat for AMD to continue making better cpu's for all those with AM3 mobo's. This is something Intel basically never does for you.
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May 27, 2011 9:35:14 PM

geekapproved said:
You can overclock a i3-2100.

The 955BE is an incredible deal at the new price.

I say if you mainly game and wan't a low power consumption cpu, go i3-2100.

If your main dig's are not gaming, and you don't care about power consumption, go 955.

The only other thing though is the AM3 mobo's really don't have any upgrade path unless AMD introduces AM3 32nm cpu's, which I doubt will happen, but it would be a ace in the hat for AMD to continue making better cpu's for all those with AM3 mobo's. This is something Intel basically never does for you.

There are a few AM3+ motherboads out, but only a few worth buying. Also, how do you OC a 2100, I am not saying it's impossible, I just had heard you can't. Is it really possible, or did you mean to say it can't be OCed? My vote goes to the Phenom II X4 955 because you can OC, and later games will utilize all 4 cores and it will destroy the i3 2100.
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May 28, 2011 2:53:26 AM

The i3 2100 multiplier is locked. and it does not support Turbo-Boost. There are changes that can raise performance slightly.
The P2 955 overclocks very well.
In real world terms the I3 2100 2 core hyperthreading and the p2 955 4 core are almost evenly matched for now and the immediate future, with the I3 at the bottom of new technology and the 955 at the top. [end of life]
An I3 board will support I5 and I7, and overclock the K models if you choose the P67 or Z68 motherboards.
The P2 980 is the last pre Bulldozer chip, AM3+ is due, which is a possibilty.
Unless your goal is matching wits with 955 chip for overclock or you have an AMD motherboard already, the I3 is best choice, an I5 2400 or 2500K being the upgrade path.
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May 28, 2011 4:39:07 AM

Thanks for all the replies :)  still thinking about which chip to build from, both have advantages...
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May 28, 2011 5:40:18 AM

Nnymrod said:
Thanks for all the replies :)  still thinking about which chip to build from, both have advantages...

The Phenom II is best when OC'ed and when games will take all 4 cores, the AMD will be even better than before. Grab the X4 955 and OC the heck out of it! ;) 
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May 28, 2011 5:43:33 AM

I would get the AMD quad as well only with an AM3+ mobo for future.
If you wait for a couple of weeks or so, the new AM3+ CPUs will be available -> more choices, smaller prices.
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May 28, 2011 8:38:13 AM

HostileDonut said:
There are a few AM3+ motherboads out, but only a few worth buying. Also, how do you OC a 2100, I am not saying it's impossible, I just had heard you can't. Is it really possible, or did you mean to say it can't be OCed? My vote goes to the Phenom II X4 955 because you can OC, and later games will utilize all 4 cores and it will destroy the i3 2100.

i disagee, the i3 beats quad core AMD's even in games that use more than 2 cores, showing just how weak per-core performance is in AMD at the moment compared to SB. In games that dont take much advantage of more than 2 cores the phenom gets destroyed. and at least you can upgrade the i3 to an i5 or i7. Then you also need a better cooler when you overclock a phenom to add to the cost.
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May 28, 2011 4:51:51 PM

iam2thecrowe said:
i disagee, the i3 beats quad core AMD's even in games that use more than 2 cores, showing just how weak per-core performance is in AMD at the moment compared to SB. In games that dont take much advantage of more than 2 cores the phenom gets destroyed. and at least you can upgrade the i3 to an i5 or i7. Then you also need a better cooler when you overclock a phenom to add to the cost.

Yeah, they overclock very well and he wants to OC. I know that the 3.2Ghz will get destroyed... 4.xxGhz won't though.
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May 28, 2011 5:22:18 PM

Personally I'd want my upgrade option to be the i5-2500k instead of BullDozer in the future (however I'd just jump for the 2500k, if I didn't convince myself to stick it out with my Q9550 til Ivy), especially for games.

However, I guess it's a tad too early to tell exactly how BD will perform.
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May 28, 2011 5:28:37 PM

i3-2100 is faster than X4 at 3.7ghz in gaming, even in games that use more than 2 cores.

4ghz, no.

But you give up upgradeability with the AM3 platform.
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May 28, 2011 5:59:18 PM

Raidur said:
Personally I'd want my upgrade option to be the i5-2500k instead of BullDozer in the future (however I'd just jump for the 2500k, if I didn't convince myself to stick it out with my Q9550 til Ivy), especially for games.

However, I guess it's a tad too early to tell exactly how BD will perform.

Well, if you grab a AM3+ board there is. ASrock has a few nice ones.
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May 28, 2011 6:04:51 PM

I know, I'm saying I'd rather have my upgrade option in the future be a quad core SB than a *core BD.
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