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Best Gaming CPUs For The Money: January 2012 (Archive)

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Anonymous
January 15, 2013 1:05:28 PM

Wow... serious AMD Bias in this article, I mean... an Athlon II x4? Really???

Tom's if you're going to mention those POS CPU's, then at least throw the Core2Duo and Quad in there. An e8600 completely smashes the Athlon II x4. ANY CORE 2 QUAD will put any Athlon II CPU to shame. Do you guys at Tom's hate the Core 2 or something? AMD sucks, has for the past few years, please stop trying to make them look better than they are, it's embarrassing!
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-104
January 15, 2013 1:15:02 PM

Does this look different from last year, AMD parts look more reasonably placed yet leaves a lot to be desired in many regards but I will leave that out as long as some Intel entrants seemingly very oddly placed.

I would say that the FX8350/8320 possibly should occupy the bottom of tier 1, the FX6300, 4170, 6200 and 1100T top of tier 2 and some Trinity parts need to be buffed up a notch or two as in many instances the 5800K rivaled the 3220 in many gaming metrics discrete performance. that said compared to last years articles this is far more realistic and I wonder why a whole year went to pass before this realization.
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21
Related resources
January 15, 2013 1:19:29 PM

I am no fan of reverse order posts, but since you keep the same article link month after month, maybe you should put the newest comments first.
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53
January 15, 2013 1:23:39 PM

funny how valid the phenom II x4 are.....i have a 975 and a 980 but no more amd boards.....maybe i should try to trade them for something
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13
January 15, 2013 1:29:49 PM

nice to see some shake ups in the hierarchy charts. really looking forward to the new gaming cpu roundup article. :) 
i am glad that pentiums are gone (finally), woulda been happier to see the core i3s lose recommendation as well. this is 2013, ht or not, dual core desktop cpus need to pack up and phase themselves out.
too bad fx is still in the same tier as core i3, always makes me laugh. :D 
i suspect that amd fanboys will groan at how the fx4300's core/thread count is mentioned as 2(4) same as core i3. i remember fanboy(s) launching solo PR campaigns to make sure people say that "it's 4 Real cores, darn it!" reminding me of stan lee's "it's spider'-'man, not spiderman!"....
i fully expect amd fanboys raving about how quadcore cpus made a surging come back and taking budget crowns, totally winning and stuff... :whistle: 
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-30
January 15, 2013 1:42:04 PM

It just looks more realistic.
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-15
January 15, 2013 2:34:20 PM

Quote:
Benchmark data makes it clear that Intel's Hyper-Threading technology is effective in mitigating the limitations of a dual-core CPU in games.

Woah, what? :o 

I can't wait to see that benchmark data now! 'Hyperthreading = useless for gaming' has been the mantra for years and years, this could really shake things up.
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0
January 15, 2013 2:59:57 PM

Sakkura said:
Quote:
Benchmark data makes it clear that Intel's Hyper-Threading technology is effective in mitigating the limitations of a dual-core CPU in games.

Woah, what? :o 

I can't wait to see that benchmark data now! 'Hyperthreading = useless for gaming' has been the mantra for years and years, this could really shake things up.


It shows up in the Far Cry 3 Benchmarks right here on Tom's.

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38
January 15, 2013 3:30:41 PM

ronch79You can buy the FX-8350 for $200 or less.Tigerdirect: http://www.tigerdirect.com/applica [...] CatId=7339Microcenter: http://www.microcenter.com/product [...] _ProcessorI hope you guys do a better job looking for prices next time. It's not like Microcenter and Tigerdirect are not well-known in the enthusiast community, to which these monthly articles are aimed at.


Tigerdirect is having a short-term sale, and Microcenter has no on-line option so you have to live close to one. Regardless, it doesn't have an impact on the recommendations as the Core i5 is a much better performer in games for the $.

You need to do a better job of criticizing. Try reading the first page, it'll help. :) 

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17
January 15, 2013 3:33:05 PM

antiglobalAMD FX-4300 has 4 cores and 4 threads, not 2 cores and 4 threads.


That's subjective as it's a hybrid. But since Windows 8 calls it a 2 core/4 thread processor that's how I'll list it.
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31
January 15, 2013 3:34:26 PM

JustPosting101Wow... serious AMD Bias in this article, I mean... an Athlon II x4? Really???


Interesting you should accuse bias before you've seen the objective benchmarks we're about to release...

Maybe you should look for bias in the mirror... ;) 
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73
January 15, 2013 3:46:17 PM

dscudella said:
It shows up in the Far Cry 3 Benchmarks right here on Tom's.

I thought that was just an outlier. Like when the FX 8350 outpaced everything Intel offers in Medal of Honor: Warfighter.
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-8
January 15, 2013 3:54:13 PM

CleeveTigerdirect is having a short-term sale, and Microcenter has no on-line option so you have to live close to one. Regardless, it doesn't have an impact on the recommendations as the Core i5 is a much better performer in games for the $.You need to do a better job of criticizing. Try reading the first page, it'll help.


Hehe Cleeve, did you just respond to a month old post, nice to see this format with reusing the same link and thus responses are causing you "problems" too.
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7
January 15, 2013 3:57:41 PM

CleeveThat's subjective as it's a hybrid. But since Windows 8 calls it a 2 core/4 thread processor that's how I'll list it.


But just because Windows sees it that way, does that mean all apps will?
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1
January 15, 2013 4:08:22 PM

So absolutely no gain in any modern game from the additional threads of an i7-3770K?
In which case, why suggest anything more than a 3570K?

Side Note: Anything that equals a Core 2 Quad Q8400 isn't good enough any more. You'll be bottle-necked. Just my personal experience.
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0
January 15, 2013 4:13:21 PM

JonnyDough said:
But just because Windows sees it that way, does that mean all apps will?

Apps don't see it at all. They just hand the work over to Windows, which then decides how to assign it.
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12
January 15, 2013 4:15:52 PM

ojasSo absolutely no gain in any modern game from the additional threads of an i7-3770K?In which case, why suggest anything more than a 3570K?Side Note: Anything that equals a Core 2 Quad Q8400 isn't good enough any more. You'll be bottle-necked. Just my personal experience.


Most sites don't, and I don't know if this one does either. That's not to say that future games won't take advantage of extra cache, higher clock speeds, more threads than modern games do.
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1
January 15, 2013 4:15:54 PM

JonnyDoughBut just because Windows sees it that way, does that mean all apps will?


I don't understand the relevancy of how apps see it.

Apps see four threads if they see anything at all. The same thing they see with a hyperthreaded dual-core processor or a true quad-core.
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11
January 15, 2013 4:16:45 PM

SakkuraApps don't see it at all. They just hand the work over to Windows, which then decides how to assign it.


Some apps are written for a single core, does this not pertain to this?
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0
January 15, 2013 4:19:07 PM

lothdkHehe Cleeve, did you just respond to a month old post, nice to see this format with reusing the same link and thus responses are causing you "problems" too.


Well, I didn't respond before, so I responded now. :) 

I know the comment situation is far from ideal, I never said otherwise. Just the reality of keeping a static URL for the monthly updates. The web team should remove the old responses soon...
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8
January 15, 2013 4:20:17 PM

ojasSo absolutely no gain in any modern game from the additional threads of an i7-3770K?
In which case, why suggest anything more than a 3570K?


Read the page. :) 
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1
January 15, 2013 5:05:08 PM

i cant believe you checked 4300 the and missed the 6300 ... ahh for the love of Talos
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-2
January 15, 2013 5:22:16 PM

Been a long time since i have seen a amd athlon/phenom on the tom's recommended list.
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4
January 15, 2013 5:24:38 PM

emad_ramlawii cant believe you checked 4300 the and missed the 6300 ... ahh for the love of Talos


What do you mean, Emad?
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1
January 15, 2013 5:42:47 PM

AMD CPUs made the list........ arrrrrrrr....... HEART ATTACK!!!!!!


Bout time ;) 
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-1
January 15, 2013 5:47:22 PM

m32AMD CPUs made the list........ arrrrrrrr....... HEART ATTACK!!!!!!Bout time

It's called pleasing your advertisers, talk about u-turn. How can you recommend that Athlon over the faster Pentiums when it gets trounced in pretty much every benchmark I have ever seen?
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-10
January 15, 2013 6:08:35 PM

ChilledLJ said:
It's called pleasing your advertisers, talk about u-turn. How can you recommend that Athlon over the faster Pentiums when it gets trounced in pretty much every benchmark I have ever seen?

They say they have new benchmarks to show why. I'm anxious to see them though, because it is quite a shift.
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6
January 15, 2013 6:38:07 PM

phenom and athlon for under $100, are you kidding me? these havnt been available for well over a year here in Australia. Are you also going to add second hand cpu's and prices to the list? How does anyone find them in stock still? has newegg been hoarding them? I think you should only put cpu's still in production on this list.
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-9
January 15, 2013 6:58:28 PM

ChilledLJHow can you recommend that Athlon over the faster Pentiums when it gets trounced in pretty much every benchmark I have ever seen?


That's easy. You haven't seen the ones were about to publish.
Simply put, games are using more threads, plus CPU-centric effects like FXAA are shifting the bottlenecks.

ChilledLJIt's called pleasing your advertisers, talk about u-turn.


Not sure what that has to do with advertisers. Are you suggesting that there's no objective reason that its possible for games to be taking advantage of more threads the industry moves toward parallelism?

That doesn't seem like a well thought out position.
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6
January 15, 2013 6:59:31 PM

iam2thecrowephenom and athlon for under $100, are you kidding me? these havnt been available for well over a year here in Australia. Are you also going to add second hand cpu's and prices to the list? How does anyone find them in stock still? has newegg been hoarding them? I think you should only put cpu's still in production on this list.


Athlon II and Phenom II has been available at Newegg, Amazon, Tigerdirect, and a few other sites (at least in the USA) ever since they came out. Occasionally, only certain models are available, but there's been at least a few models around since they came out (still, at least in the USA).

SakkuraThey say they have new benchmarks to show why. I'm anxious to see them though, because it is quite a shift.


Well ,as time goes on, many games get updated and many newer games come out. As things get modernized, they often get multi-threading improvements. Even old decent frequency Athlon II x4s tend to beat out the best SB/IB Pentiums when it comes to software that can make use of all four cores effectively.

SakkuraI thought that was just an outlier. Like when the FX 8350 outpaced everything Intel offers in Medal of Honor: Warfighter.


Hyper-Threading on the i3s tends to be much more effective than on the i7s and old Pentium 4s because current software often scales effectively on the i3s to make decent use out of it. The i7s have too many threads with Hyper-Threading for even most modern games and back in the day with P4, most games were single threaded, Hyper-Threading was not a mature technology, and older versions of Windows didn't have very good support for it, if any at all. There are still many games where Hyper-Threading doesn't even help the current i3s, but there are many more where it can and does matter and current operating systems support it properly.
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3
January 15, 2013 7:00:36 PM

iam2thecrowe these havnt been available for well over a year here in Australia.


Read the first page, please. The list is North America-centric, and these processors are still available here. Use your discretion in other areas in conjunction with the hierarchy chart in that case.
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9
January 15, 2013 7:01:05 PM

Newegg has many Phenom II x2's, x3's & x4's in stock and ready to ship, with free shipping. I've never seen the 965 BE out of stock here in the US.
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5
January 15, 2013 7:05:05 PM

iam2thecrowe said:
phenom and athlon for under $100, are you kidding me? these havnt been available for well over a year here in Australia. Are you also going to add second hand cpu's and prices to the list? How does anyone find them in stock still? has newegg been hoarding them? I think you should only put cpu's still in production on this list.

I went to a local price comparison site and found the Athlon II x4 640 at 15 different etailers in _Denmark_, and the Phenom II x4 965 at 20 different etailers. That means practically all the dingy little stores in one tiny little country managed to stock these things.
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4
January 15, 2013 7:18:56 PM

Sakkura said:
They say they have new benchmarks to show why. I'm anxious to see them though, because it is quite a shift.


Not a huge shift, really. The hyperthreaded Core i3's still beat out AMD's best, but the margins are much lower. It's the dual core Pentiums that took a real hit. Of course, they're still better than Athlon II and Phenom II X2s, but we're just saying stay away from all 2 core/2 thread CPUs for a bit of futureproof-ness if you're building a rig.

Sakkura said:
'Hyperthreading = useless for gaming' has been the mantra for years and years, this could really shake things up.


I don't know. Even in our last sub-$200 CPU gaming comparo, the hyperthreaded i3s did much better than the pentiums.

I think once you hit quad-core i5's hyperthreading becomes ineffective, but for dual-core Intel chips it's helped for a long time.
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7
January 15, 2013 7:34:34 PM

cleeve said:
Well, I didn't respond before, so I responded now. :) 

I know the comment situation is far from ideal, I never said otherwise. Just the reality of keeping a static URL for the monthly updates. The web team should remove the old responses soon...


All sorted!
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2
Anonymous
January 15, 2013 8:14:30 PM

How is it possible any Athlon II ranks higher then the FX 4100 and the fx 6100. both of the FX chips have higher clock rates and 8mb of L3 cache. The Athlon II does not even have L3 cache.
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-3
January 15, 2013 8:29:21 PM

The Athlon II X4 640 and Phenom II X4 965 have been put down as 40nm and not 45. Minor point. :) 

stevelvl - the 4300 should realistically banish any recommendation for the 4100 and 6100, even with its hobbled L3 cache.
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5
January 15, 2013 8:31:21 PM

no love for the i7-3770k, I got mine from microcenter for $209, amazing deal.
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2
January 15, 2013 8:33:51 PM

edlivianno love for the i7-3770k, I got mine from microcenter for $209, amazing deal.

Sad face, thats how much I paid for my 3570k

Its nice to see AMD bumped up a tier to where I think they perform in gaming (compared to December's list)
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2
January 15, 2013 8:37:28 PM

stevelvlHow is it possible any Athlon II ranks higher then the FX 4100 and the fx 6100. both of the FX chips have higher clock rates and 8mb of L3 cache. The Athlon II does not even have L3 cache.


Pricing and actual performance. Remember, L3 cache is not everything; CPUs are very complex and have many different factors in performance even not counting drivers, instruction sets, operating systems, programs, and more. L3 is just one of many factors. For example, the FX-4100 has a multi-threading bottle-neck due to its modular architecture being flawed (AMD's modules in Bulldozer and Piledriver were not designed to handle the full throughput that the cores are capable of) and many other issues, only some of which are shared with the fairly different Family 10h architecture implementation used in Athlon II. As for the FX-6100, it has the same issues as the FX-4100, but even lower clock frequencies and its additional module doesn't always make up for those lower frequencies.
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0
January 15, 2013 8:57:14 PM


silverblue said:
The Athlon II X4 640 and Phenom II X4 965 have been put down as 40nm and not 45. Minor point. :) 

stevelvl - the 4300 should realistically banish any recommendation for the 4100 and 6100, even with its hobbled L3 cache.


Ding! Ding! Ding!

Though, AMD has been doing 40nm since the HD4770s, and the APU *SIMD Engines* on Trinity and Richlands are 40nm Turks.


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-2
January 15, 2013 9:11:36 PM

Wisecracker said:
Ding! Ding! Ding!

Though, AMD has been doing 40nm since the HD4770s, and the APU *SIMD Engines* on Trinity and Richlands are 40nm Turks.


Trinity does not have a Turks GPU and the GPU in Trinity is 32nm. Richlands is not Turks either and I'm willing to bet that it's not 40nm even without checking.
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0
January 15, 2013 11:02:58 PM

SakkuraWoah, what? I can't wait to see that benchmark data now! 'Hyperthreading = useless for gaming' has been the mantra for years and years, this could really shake things up.

As I understand, if Windows is not assigning threads correctly, then HT can be a problem. Similar to AMD module problem, when windows assigns two threads to two cores in a single module, while other modules stay idle.. If you assign two threads to intels first core and its HT virtual core, rather than two separate cores, it creates a problem. But in i3, all four threads are usually ocupied in games. When a game will benefit from more than 4 cores, then i7 will be faster in games thanks to HT. Until then i5 is a better choice
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1
January 15, 2013 11:59:00 PM

It's kind of funny that the whole "MOAR CORES!" thing is actually paying off for AMD.
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5
January 16, 2013 12:36:23 AM

I'm really dumb. its 4 cores. windows lists as 2 cores 4 threads so that is properly scheduled u nubs.
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-12
January 16, 2013 2:53:59 AM

fourzeroninetoms is really dumb. its 4 cores. windows lists as 2 cores 4 threads so that is properly scheduled u nubs.


While I agree with your point on the CPU, I can't give a thumbs up for it given how much of an ass you were about it.
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2
January 16, 2013 3:23:35 AM

So when are we going to see something that represents a generational shift at the highend? There are currently THIRTY CPU's in the top performance tier. The Sandy bridge CPU's just crossed their 2 year anniversary (1/9/2011) and they are still in the top tier. Are we ever going to see a CPU that necessitates a higher tier? Obviously with 30 CPU's, there has to be some significant general performance differences between the slowest and the fastest. So is the reason these CPU's are all clumped together a software problem and not a hardware one?
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1
January 16, 2013 4:29:31 AM

SakkuraWoah, what? I can't wait to see that benchmark data now! 'Hyperthreading = useless for gaming' has been the mantra for years and years, this could really shake things up.


My take on this is that more than four threads is generally useless for gaming. As such a Pentium w/ 2C/2T < i3 w/ 2C/4T, but an i5 w/ 4C/4T ~= i7 w/ 4C/8T (in terms of gaming).

It's not the hyperthreading itself, it's the number of threads.

+1 to a new page per column and not reusing the old ones BTW.
Score
2
January 16, 2013 7:15:22 AM

antiglobalNo, it has 4 physical cores. And I don't use globalist Microsoft's products, I use Linux. Ubuntu, to be precise. And Linux sees and uses all 4 cores.


If I was to hazard a guess, I'd say that MS had it recognized as a dual core with four threads to piggyback on some of the Hyper-Threading optimizations instead of remaking the wheel for AMD's modular architecture's bottle-neck with using both cores of a module extensively. I agree, it's a quad core CPU, but it was probably easier to let Windows treat it as a dual-core with two threads per core than add more bloat to Windows to optimize for it. Linux, AFAIK, has a more advanced scheduler and such and was had support to some extent for AMD's modular architecture's bottle-neck, so that's probably why it didn't get a similar trick done.
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1
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