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AMD/Intel CPU comparison for new gaming build

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August 19, 2011 1:31:59 PM

Getting ready to order and build a new gaming PC for a couple of new games on the horizon (BF3 and Tribes:Ascend) as well as finally realize Starcraft II's true beauty after battling it out with integrated level graphics for over a year.

I am trying to do this on a budget, so my question is basically this: What is the main difference between the Intel i5 2500K (widely recognized as THE gaming CPU) and something like a Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition? I'm just trying to justify the $100 price difference between the two and figure out if going with the 2500K is really worth it.

Some thing I picked up on by doing a simple side by side comparison from Newegg:

L2 Cache: AMD = 4 x 512KB
Intel = 4 x 256KB

Manufacturing Tech: AMD = 45nm
Intel = 32nm

Other than the 2500K being about .4 GHz faster with Turbo Boost, those are the only spec differences I could find.

I'm leaning towards going with the AMD and moving that extra $100 towards a better graphics card or ssd.

Thoughts and comments are appreciated!
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August 19, 2011 2:16:37 PM

There is a massive difference, I have just posted this in another thread about how even the i3 is better for gaming than any Phenom quad core.
"Phenom II Quad cores (identical to the 980 except clock speed*) have been around since Jan 2009 and where not a totally new architecture then while the i3 second generation (i3 2100 included) only went on sale this year and are alot better than anything previous to it in terms of what each core can do. Look at it like 4 old dated cores compared to new super cores. The clock speed is 3.3GHz see http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Pro [...] .62.129.64 for a performance comparison. As you can see the i3 wins 6 out of 8 of the gaming tests. "
So as you can see the i3 2100 is better than a Phenom II x4 @3.7GHz The i5 has twice as many cores and has turbo boost. I suggest get the i3 2100 if your graphics card is between a 6770 and a 6870 in performance and get the i5 2500K if your card is better.
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August 19, 2011 3:39:46 PM

If the budget is not a concern then of the options above the i5 2500k wins all the time. The $100 between the two is a small price to pay for the huge gulf in performance difference.

The Phenom 2 X 4's cannot compete with a i5 2500k, that goes for anything in the AMD store right now. I would probably say that the Bulldozer and Piledriver will be competitive but not better.
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May 8, 2013 7:12:45 PM

THIS PART IS "BACKGROUND" SO SKIP IT IF YOU KNOW IT ALREADY. CPU's have two main things to consider. First, the processing speed. Secondly, the amount of cores. If you tend to like doing a lot on your computer while gaming (listening to music, compiling computer programs, or any other "background" task), then more cores are necessary. If you just like to game, then a higher processing speed (along with the most important thing, the graphics card) is more necessary. That being said, let's compare:

An Intel processor, hands-down, has better performance at the same GHz value as an AMD processor. The downside, however, is that they tend to be more expensive.

An AMD processor, which I have done the most research on, will provide a higher multi-core count and GHz value compared to the Intel processor for the same price. Even with this fact, the GHz value, as stated earlier, isn't nearly as powerful as an Intel with that GHz value.

The summary is this. Intel processors let your computer run your games faster, but, at a set budget, you need to pull money away from other parts to keep within your budget. AMD is cheaper, which lets you spend more towards other components, but will not provide the power an Intel would. So, all-in-all, your call to if the processor or the other components are more important.
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May 9, 2013 8:52:49 AM

gogetta said:
Getting ready to order and build a new gaming PC for a couple of new games on the horizon (BF3 and Tribes:Ascend) as well as finally realize Starcraft II's true beauty after battling it out with integrated level graphics for over a year.

I am trying to do this on a budget, so my question is basically this: What is the main difference between the Intel i5 2500K (widely recognized as THE gaming CPU) and something like a Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition? I'm just trying to justify the $100 price difference between the two and figure out if going with the 2500K is really worth it.

Some thing I picked up on by doing a simple side by side comparison from Newegg:

L2 Cache: AMD = 4 x 512KB
Intel = 4 x 256KB

Manufacturing Tech: AMD = 45nm
Intel = 32nm

Other than the 2500K being about .4 GHz faster with Turbo Boost, those are the only spec differences I could find.

I'm leaning towards going with the AMD and moving that extra $100 towards a better graphics card or ssd.

Thoughts and comments are appreciated!


If you want to go with AMD, to get comparable performance to the i5-2500k, you'd need to look at either the FX6300 for $112 and OC it to about 4.5 GHz, or look at the FX8350 if you're not going to OC. Those will give you closer performance to the i5. In that scenario, i5 will win some, and FX will win some...
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