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X4 or x6 for gaming

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June 15, 2011 1:24:41 AM

Hello everybody,
I'm looking to make an upgrade on my motherboard and cpu and am not sure which cpu i should choose (i will be using it mainly for gaming)
the motherboard i am going to get is the sabertooth 990fx

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

so what i want to set straight is that will fewer cores be better for gaming since most games dont utilize 6 cores? (some dont even use 4 cores)

and since games tend to use fewer cores the multicore processors decrease the performance of the game since it will only use say maybe 2 cores which will be clocked slower (6 cores @ 4.0 GHZ / 6 cores= 0.67 GHz per core x2 cores being used=1.3 Ghz) so it will be like running the game on a 1.3 Ghz dual core cpu which would totally bottleneck my GPU correct?

so what i was thinking was that 4 cores would mean that each single core has a higher clock which would benefit more toward gaming right?
(4 cores @ 4.0 Ghz/4 cores = 1.0 Ghz per core x2 cores being used = 2 ghz) which would be equivalent to running on a 2.0 Ghz dual core cpu... so with my theory, a 4 core cpu will infact be faster than a 6 core when it comes to gaming correct?

tell me what you think and if you have anything to add to what i just said or if i am correct just say something

also the 2 cpu's i am looking at are the phenom II x4 975 ($180) and the Phenom II x6 1100t ($200)

i haven made any purchases on anything yet so just tell me if i should even get either or if u have a better idea of what i should get.... also i might wait just to see what bulldozer will be like and decide then and if it doesnt really interest me then hopefully those two cpu's will have dropped in price...

also is amd the way to go or intel? i think intel is overpriced but i'd like to hear your opinion and please no fanboy comments... i would like to hear some intelligent replies and please dont start a flame war with anyone...

also i would like to stay at about $450 for this upgrade at the most

thanks in advance

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June 15, 2011 1:37:25 AM

Do the following.
1. Get the 990FX
2. Use and abuse your current CPU.
3. Bulldozer.

Your whole sense how multicore works is incorrect however, a 4Ghz quad has 4 cores running at 4Ghz, and the same for six-cores.
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June 15, 2011 1:44:33 AM

The X4 is always faster than the X6 at the same clockspeed, as the unused cores are still monitored/serviced/'tended to' in the OS, causing a small amount of 'unused core overhead'...

If you intended to burn/rip DVDs, fold/crunch data, and decode videos at the same time as gaming, perhaps then the X6 might make sense....

(As many folks are eagerly awaiting the 8 core BD, I wonder how many are aware the 4 core BD model might be a better choice for gaming.....)
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June 15, 2011 2:11:39 AM

If you are going to spend close to $200 for a CPU, then you really should be looking at 2500K. For $220 you really are getting something that is faster. Just check out Anand's benchmarks:
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/CPU/60

You should be able to get a 955 ($114) up to 975 speeds with little problem. But honestly, that is more or less a side step from your current CPU.
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June 15, 2011 2:18:11 AM

mdd1963 said:
The X4 is always faster than the X6 at the same clockspeed, as the unused cores are still monitored/serviced/'tended to' in the OS, causing a small amount of 'unused core overhead'...

If you intended to burn/rip DVDs, fold/crunch data, and decode videos at the same time as gaming, perhaps then the X6 might make sense....

(As many folks are eagerly awaiting the 8 core BD, I wonder how many are aware the 4 core BD model might be a better choice for gaming.....)

I doubt the unused extra cores would slow down things, as even with a game that uses only but all 4 cores, the other two aren't fully "unused" but loaded with misc background processes.

But I wouldn't really recommend anything over a 955. SBs really out shine the higher X4s and wipeout the X6s at their respective price-points.

(I think people are just waiting for BD period. K10 is almost the new netburst.)
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June 15, 2011 2:20:15 AM

your current setup listed in config is fine for now
wait about six months - year for Bulldozer or Ivy Bridge

also for example a 3.0 ghz quadcore each core runs at 3.0ghz
a six core 3.0 ghz processor has six cores at 3.0ghz
they are not divided

with your budget I would do Sandybridge/Ivy Bridge
clock for clock a new gen Intel is more efficient per clock cycle than
any other mainstream processor
Hopefully Bulldozer evens this up but from reading it seems to be more orientated to server/workstations than enthusiast desktops
so SB/IvyB would probably be better gaming machines
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June 15, 2011 2:33:05 AM

^+1 good idea!
a good I7-8xx will last you for a few more years
a I7-860 is a good choice
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June 15, 2011 2:34:37 AM

Timop said:
I doubt the unused extra cores would slow down things, as even with a game that uses only but all 4 cores, the other two aren't fully "unused" but loaded with misc background processes.

But I wouldn't really recommend anything over a 955. SBs really out shine the higher X4s and wipeout the X6s at their respective price-points.

(I think people are just waiting for BD period. K10 is almost the new netburst.)


+100 Great Advice

at any time there is around 500 threads running on Windows 7
so having more cores will not hurt LOL
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June 15, 2011 2:51:18 AM

Just to touch on things that have been said. My advice is your setup is decent for now, when you upgrade you WILL notice a huge difference. Small tasks on your computer you will notice a difference with an upgraded CPU from your Dual core 3.2GHZ.

My 1055T X6 2.8 GHZ kicks ass. Alt tabbing between games with ease, no lag/stutter, never turn off my PC (im at 14 days up time with 28 max, with a slower CPU I notice the pc slows down after a while and needs a restart). It is so ******* responsive on so many levels. When programs freeze I click restart the program and its next to instant. Plus its more future proof, why pay $150 now and upgrade for another $150 in a year when you can pay $200-$250 now and last longer.

My advice wait for BD to release than see the reviews. Either the BD will be the best bang for the Buck or your saving a next to nothing $70 on a 1100. I predict BD will be worth the money, because its either taking the crown or its gonna be under priced to compete.
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June 15, 2011 4:46:08 AM

I concur with chaosgs. Bulldozer looks very intriguing- but I would still consider phenom ii x6 now however. Either the 1055/1075/1090/ or 1100T. I wouldnt go for the 1035/1045 (if you need a 95w TDP, there is a 1055 version, or the 1065 is 95w).

Look guys I am all about phenom ii x4's and yes they really rock at games. I love those B.E.'s and they OC like nobody's business. But guys, I have a 1090T x6, and so far, I haven't found ANYTHING that it can't smoke. I just got finished playing Crysis 2 with all settings on Very High, and everything else turned on. Highest possible resolution. FRAPS was showing 55- 62 the entire time. Smooth as butter - no stuttering. Oh, and I had Dead Space running in Steam and minimized the background the entire time (with all its settings on high). And finally, I was listening to iTunes at the same time.

The 1090T was plugging right along the whole time, and not stressed at all. Speedfan core temp (and I assume this counts as under load) was 36c. CPU usage was at 36-40 %. WOW. This is an awesome CPU. And it's future looks bright. I don't buy the argument that the unused cores are a crutch.

Can the 955 top me on benchmarks playing games? Sure. But I can still play them. And I can play them damn well as a matter of fact. When someone makes the statement that "an x4 will always be faster than a x6 at the same clock speed." I have to say - Really? How bout we put your 3.4 GHZ against my 3.2 GHZ and we start a little high level HD video encoding, while a game like Crysis 2 runs in the background. Then we'll see sir. Nuff said.

But I still love my x4 AMD brothers.
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June 15, 2011 4:55:08 AM

Wow... that Llano release really has the fanboys frothing...

The fact of the matter here is that an i7-760 will be the most bang for the buck and will beat or match either a 965 or an 1090T (assuming there isn't much going on in the back ground) in Crysis 2.
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June 15, 2011 6:00:22 AM

X4 (BLACK EDITION - nothing else)
OC better and is cheaper
High CPU intensive games tend not to need that many threads as they are made for consoles (ick)
if you are intending to spend extra cash on cpu go i5 (2500) and Z67 mobo.
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June 15, 2011 12:47:22 PM

Stardude82 said:
Oh wait, you have a LGA 1156 setup... just go buy a used i5-7xx or i7-8xx. Your current setup is pretty good but if I was going to spend money, I'd go for this:

http://cgi.ebay.com/Intel-Core-i5-760-Quad-Core-CPU-Lyn...

You'd probably get about $80 for your i3-550 if you went ahead and sold it.

Check out this out:
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/191?vs=186



Considering you already have a 1156 platform then go with the I5-760
it would be a major improvement at only $170 and last you for awhile
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June 15, 2011 3:24:27 PM

king smp said:
why would he want to go with a x 4 965
the I5-760 is $170 USD and beats the 965 in benches
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/191?vs=102
there is a link comparing the two


Don't want to put words in the Op's 'thread' but it looks as if he wants an upgrade path and a crossfire motherboard.

In gaming the processors will be virtually identical no matter how you wish to wrap it.

And, no offense (I generally like Anandtech), but their 'testing' has consistently failed in its objectivity. The latest debacle being yesterday with the Llano DDR3 1333/1866.

I will give him credit for correcting his omission quickly ... this time.


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June 15, 2011 3:37:46 PM

Definitely I have no bias towards AMD or Intel
I was just thinking that since the OP already has a 1156 board
that the I5-760 at $170 was a nice upgrade for now
or he could go for a I7-8xx
Cant argue either would be viable for a couple more years
this way he could hold off and see how Bulldozer and Ivy Bridge turn out
then in a year or two he could sell off mobo/cpu and still get some good money for it

If the OP wants to go Bulldozer and is set on it then the OP should just wait
his system right now is still fine the way it is
but the I5 or I7 would give him some time before he has to upgrade and would cost
under $200 USD

Me personally I am looking to upgrade from a Core2Duo to a Rana x 3 in the next
six months
So yes I do have love for AMD :) 
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June 15, 2011 7:37:52 PM

thanks for all the replies everyone and thanks for correcting me on my whole multicore theory i had :p 

and also i am purchasing a new motherboard and cpu because i want to prepare myself for crossfire so i dont want to just buy a cpu for my lga 1156 motherboard since it doesnt have crossfire and if im getting a new motherboard i might as well buy a newer socket as opposed to another lga 1156 socket....

also is the x4 975 worth it or would it be better to get say a x4 965 and overclock it because im not too sure on how well the 975 overclocks and ive heard the 1100t overclocks pretty good too and the 2500k is also on my mind but i would pair it with a slightly cheaper motherboard as opposed to my sabertooth that i would get with AMD to stay under my budget so im not too sure which way to go right now :/ 
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June 15, 2011 7:48:00 PM

The 2500k wouild be a better way to go IMHO
really is the best performance vs price CPU on the market
you could sell your old mobo/cpu to help make the difference on the 1155 mobo
Although I like AMD alot it cant be argued about the SandyBridge performance
right now
Though I think there limitations on the Crossfire with 1155 boards though I am not sure about the details
I am not really a fan of SLI/CF personally.
Especially with AMD drivers having know issues with CF
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June 15, 2011 8:19:41 PM

http://cgi.ebay.ca/Intel-Core-i5-2500k-CPU-QuadCore-MSI...

what about that? seems like a pretty good deal to me... although ive never bought anything off of ebay before, the idea of buying something off of someone that i have no clue on how reliable they are always scared me but how reliable is ebay for buying things usually?

thanks
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Best solution

a b à CPUs
June 15, 2011 8:29:36 PM

here is same mobo
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
130 with shipping with a rebate

here is cpu
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$220 with free shipping

that is $350 USD with shipping included which is $70 cheaper than Ebay
is there a reason you cant use Newegg?
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June 15, 2011 9:05:34 PM

king smp said:
here is same mobo
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
130 with shipping with a rebate

here is cpu
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$220 with free shipping

that is $350 USD with shipping included which is $70 cheaper than Ebay
is there a reason you cant use Newegg?


lol nope no reason... just didnt check their website for those products (which i usually do :S) but thanks.. i think ill get that combo.. and wow ive saved about 50 bucks guess i can put that towards my second 6870 :p  ... thanks a bunch
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June 15, 2011 9:05:49 PM

Best answer selected by vibrantxxninjas.
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June 15, 2011 10:08:03 PM

No problem
Very glad to help
I use Ebay for used parts but not new
Nothing against AMD but I think you will be very happy with that CPU/Mobo
and you still have a 1156 mobo/cpu which would be easy to sell or make
a great second computer (Home Theater PC?)
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June 16, 2011 3:37:38 AM

You go just go for the X4 955 and overclock it past the 975 it saves money
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