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Gaming system questions

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June 8, 2011 10:56:03 AM

hey guys, i'm buyin a new system and have been at research for like forever.
i simply cannot understand:
1. if i should get the phenom2 955, or intel 2500k. the intel rig would cost a lot more, and i simply cannot find any appropriate benches for gaming. all the benches i have found either don't state if they use a gpu (and then obviously there's a big difference between the results), or are not on the correct res, FHD. (which also is supposed to have a smaller difference between the results).
i have only found two benches: 1. where the 2500k leads by only 13 frames (which supports the decision not to add all that money). 2. where the 2500k leads by a longshot (@ starcraft2). however, i have read that something about the programming in the graphics for this game favors intel, and obviously it does not take advantage of the quad on both processors, which should also reduce the difference between the two.
2. regarding memory, if 4gb 1333mhz CL9 is enough, or if 8gb/lower latency/faster mhz is necessary (i have only seen some charts on this site where there is barely a 1% improvement for gaming).
3. gpu: to go with a 570gtx now (which is highly overkill atm), or get a 6850 and in a year from now either upgrade and sell, or add another card (by then the price will drop for the 2nd card, and i wouldnt be having any overkill that i'm paying for when i don't need it). (even if i were to get two 6850s atm i have seen charts where they kill the 570 (and it's roughly the same price)).

thank you

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June 8, 2011 1:54:06 PM

The i5-2500K will out perform the 955 in games on average: http://www.guru3d.com/article/core-i5-2500k-and-core-i7... It will probably run similar to 1100T in performance of games that are not designed to be optimally ran on a 4 or 6 core CPU (most games unfortunately are not yet). It is up to you if the difference in price justifies the increase/decrease in performance depending on how your looking at it.

Regarding your memory issue: The amount of memory you have is really dependent on your budget. It sounds like you are on a < $1000 budget so I would say 4GB would suffice. Next, you want the speed of your memory to match that of your motherboard's highest natively supported memory speed. Finally, always chose the memory with the lower latency timings given it is in your price point (and is a quality manufacture); I would not pay extra for low latency memory as the performance gains are typically minimal.

Regarding the graphics card: Getting the 570gtx would be a little overkill for your build probably. I would recommend getting a 6950 or 560 Ti as it is in between your two previously suggested cards. Latter on you can then upgrade if you want to a crossfire or sli system with another card.
June 8, 2011 3:00:55 PM

Here's a better set of 2500k benchmarks...
http://www.anandtech.com/show/4083/the-sandy-bridge-rev...

The 2500k absolutely spanks any AMD chip out there (for the moment) when it comes to gaming. I would definitely say that you should go for it.

Memory - it's not going to make a big difference. Overclocking does not depend on memory speed at all any more, and really the performance gains are going to be minimal. I can barely notice any difference between 1333mhz CAS9 and 2000mhz CAS7 RAM (that I'm using now). Also, 4gb really is enough. I've tried 8gb, but honestly, it's better to put more money into your video card, an SSD, or something like that instead.

As for video cards, I'm personally a fan of having one faster one card, rather than a slower one with the chance of SLI / crossfire. I'd say go with that 570. A 560 Ti or a 6950 are also decent options though.
June 8, 2011 4:33:49 PM

@venom i understand there is an 'amd bug' regarding that game?
@jason, the link doesn't help. like i said, it needs to be FHD because the difference gets minimized there.

in general, there is no budget. i'm looking for the wisest way to spend my money. if paying more for memory results in a 1% increase, obviously it's not worth it. same goes for the cpu.
June 8, 2011 4:49:58 PM

All those who posted don't know what exactly the price difference between the two systems in the country he lives in.

To be accurate, the price difference between the cheapest decent 2500K + fair Z68 and 955BE + decent board for OC'ing is roughly 700NIS. In American terms, a little bit more than 200$ in difference.

I'm afraid that despite 2500K would kill the 955BE in multi-tasking, paying 200$ for it isn't justified at all.

As far as I have seen, the difference is really noticed especially in games like SC2 and FC2 which both are actually intel optimized.
Regarding other games, they would like more graphics power rather than CPU power.
E.g Metro 2033 - as we can see, there is a difference of 7 frames at FHD, around the 60 frames for each processor. Not noticebale.
AvP - As far as I remember, the AMD processors take the lead there over the Intels.
BF:BC2 - according to guru3d, at FHD there is one frame difference at FHD.

Now, to all those who would say the processor in the benchmarks is an overclocked 955BE - it's correct, but assuming the GPU isn't bottlenecked, there will be a difference that aspires to zero between 955 and 970.

Since this is the case for most games, I would recommend getting the AMD option, which is actually much more bang4buck friendly, unless SC2 is extremely important to you, or 30 sec less in WinRAR would actually make you more happy.
June 8, 2011 7:42:56 PM

First of all, FHD (1080p) benchmarks for most games are generally less informative. At higher resolutions, the GPU takes over and you will not see the actual performance difference between CPUs. They purposely show lower resolutions on benchmarks because they are benchmarking CPUs, not GPUs. You should also not pick a processor based on two or three GPU dependent games like Bad Company 2 or Metro 2033... I mean you might as well get an Athlon II x3 then since it is so close to the 955 in performance...

Secondly, there is a HUGE difference between these two processors. a) You can overclock the hell out of a 2500k.
b) CPU dependent titles will be drastically affected. There is about a FIFTY (50) percent increase in a lot of these games... Starcraft 2, Far Cry 2, WoW, Dawn of War 2, Dragon Age... And that was comparing a STOCK 3.3ghz processor vs. an overclocked 955.
c) Look at the sheer performance numbers... try passmark or something.

I've used both of those processors myself, and I would spend a lot more than $200 to upgrade from the 955 to a 2500k. I'm an AMD fan, and hope their new stuff is better, but right now they don't even put up a fight.
June 8, 2011 8:11:15 PM

that's exactly the point jason, why would i pay for a better cpu when i would feel no difference-> it'll all be in the hands of the gpu, and fhd is the res i will be using.

the charts you state do not help, i agree with you that in sheer performance there is nothing to compare. however in the gaming world it is irrelevant from what i can see.
i wish you could show me that in the gaming world on FHD (the most important tests) that amd does not put up a fight. then i will spend the extra dough.
June 8, 2011 9:28:14 PM

What I also said is that there are CPU dependent games, and GPU dependent games.
If you are comparing CPUs, either compare games you play, or compare games which depend on CPUs.

Anyway, your 'wish' has been granted...

http://www.guru3d.com/article/core-i5-2500k-and-core-i7...
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/sandy-bridge-core-i...
http://www.overclock3d.net/reviews/cpu_mainboard/i7_260...
http://techreport.com/articles.x/20188/6
http://www.pcper.com/reviews/Processors/Intel-Core-i7-2...
http://www.legitreviews.com/article/1501/12/

Overclocked, the difference becomes even larger. Even a dual core i3-2100 at stock beats up on the 970... Better to go that route than a 955 right now.
June 8, 2011 11:27:41 PM

warsfear said:
@venom i understand there is an 'amd bug' regarding that game?
@jason, the link doesn't help. like i said, it needs to be FHD because the difference gets minimized there.

in general, there is no budget. i'm looking for the wisest way to spend my money. if paying more for memory results in a 1% increase, obviously it's not worth it. same goes for the cpu.


I am not aware of any specific 'bug' to the game I listed however the game may be better suited to an Intel processor due to lack of multithreaded code. I recommend you look at a wide variate of game benchmarks as the two processors will perform quite differently in each game depending on how it was coded. On average though, the Intel chip will be faster in most (but not all) games because many are not programmed with an good sense of multithreading yet.

For an deeper understanding although this is still a little simplified; when doing any calculations on a CPU you basically have two types of process: 1) Parallel - A process where your current step does not depend on data obtained from a previous step and 2) Non-Parallel - A process where your current step does depend on data obtained from the previous step. Parallel problems favor a large number of cores where Non-Parallel problems favor a small number of cores at higher clock speeds. This is where AMD and Intel largely differ as many processors from AMD can outclass Intel processors when doing parallel problems however on the other token when doing Non-Parallel problems it is typically the other way around. As I have said above, games are for the most Non-Parallel at the moment due to software playing catchup to the hardware changes.
June 9, 2011 6:06:49 AM

jasonw223 said:
First of all, FHD (1080p) benchmarks for most games are generally less informative. At higher resolutions, the GPU takes over and you will not see the actual performance difference between CPUs. They purposely show lower resolutions on benchmarks because they are benchmarking CPUs, not GPUs. You should also not pick a processor based on two or three GPU dependent games like Bad Company 2 or Metro 2033... I mean you might as well get an Athlon II x3 then since it is so close to the 955 in performance...

Secondly, there is a HUGE difference between these two processors. a) You can overclock the hell out of a 2500k.
b) CPU dependent titles will be drastically affected. There is about a FIFTY (50) percent increase in a lot of these games... Starcraft 2, Far Cry 2, WoW, Dawn of War 2, Dragon Age... And that was comparing a STOCK 3.3ghz processor vs. an overclocked 955.
c) Look at the sheer performance numbers... try passmark or something.

I've used both of those processors myself, and I would spend a lot more than $200 to upgrade from the 955 to a 2500k. I'm an AMD fan, and hope their new stuff is better, but right now they don't even put up a fight.


The question here is not whether you would spend the extra 200$, but whether he would spens this money. In the US, I evaluate that the price difference between those two systems is around 100$, while here it's doubled.
Also, the OP has stated he is only interested in playing on FHD resolutions.

In addition, in some of the links you have provided there are comparisons in Excel, and benchmarks in which the Phenom II X4 isn't participates - it it irrelevent to the OP.

So I would like you to watch these benchmarks, that are actually CPU dependant.

http://www.legitreviews.com/article/1501/22/
http://www.legitreviews.com/article/1501/20/

As you can see, even at 1680x1050, and so on, the difference would shrink to a value that aspires to zero.

There is more.

http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Core-i5-2500K-vs...
http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Core-i5-2500K-vs...
http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Core-i5-2500K-vs...

Since the GPU in this review is not the strongest, we can see the CPU power in process, which means you'll get similar results.

And let's take another CPU dependant game:

http://benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_conten...

And another game:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/sandy-bridge-core-i...

As you can see, in most cases they are pretty much equal, But I would say this - if Starcraft 2 or Far Cry 2 are very important games, it will be better to spend the extra cash, since these games are private cases in which the Sandy Bridge processor will generate much more frames.

However, I would have to agree with @venum4u. He is correct that most games are not coded as needed, so there is no actual full power utilization. That leads me to believe the situation would improve, and Phenoms are still not a bad choice these days.
Bang4Buck wise - it's best if he would take 955BE and an AM3+ ready board.

June 9, 2011 5:09:46 PM

I'll explain a few things quickly, and I won't bother quoting everything from the last post...

First of all, unless you are living next door to AMD and they have some sort of special deal there, Intel and AMD prices will probably be similar (compared to one another) anywhere. Maybe computer parts are more expensive in general, but a $200 difference in a $2000 system has about the same value as a $100 difference in a $1000 system.

Secondly, I'm assuming the OP will use Windows, and will occasionally do something other than game (like browse the internet, type a document). Excel is valid. And the benchmarks without the Phenom are included to show CPU scaling. Faster CPU = more FPS. It's really not rocket science to see that these are perfectly relevant to a discussion on CPU dependence in gaming...

Next, the reviewer from hardwaresecrets is an idiot. Adding a GT 430 in his system created a GPU bottleneck, where the GPU could not keep up and show the power of each processor. You referencing those three links is hilarious. All three of those games scale a TON with a more powerful processor. This argument is sort of saying that since the speed limit is 60 miles per hour your Kia Rio is as fast as my Porsche.

Some games are highly GPU dependent and will give similar results with different processors. AvP is NOT a CPU dependent game. This is why it does not scale with different processors...

In most cases these processors are NOT equal. You my friend have probably never tried both. Sandy Bridge absolutely dominates the Phenom line of processors. Period.
June 9, 2011 5:34:33 PM

What makes you think his budget is 2000$? You are making tons of false assumptions, e.g the assumption he will use that particular bench in excel and he won't, and his budget assumption.

I have to say I laughed when you mentioned the browsing thing. A P4 woould suffice these actions my friend.

In addition, your ratio argument is not legitimate. 200$ is 200$, your ratio thing has nothing to do with this. 200$ is far from the actual money it would be worth to spend over the 955 to 2500K. 955 would suffice greatly to all of his needs.

I have also brought some CPU dependant games, and also GPU, so... =/

And your last sentence quite blew your Intel Fanboy cover my mate.
Sorry, the OP needs an objective opinion, while you have provided very few gaming benches, and I brought much more.

Since 200$ is a significant amount for him to spend, AND he will play at FHD, it would be a waste to invest this amount of money, while he can invest in faster GPU solutions.
June 9, 2011 6:59:49 PM

I will try and refrain from name-calling in this post... And to start it off, I'm actually an AMD fanboy. I recommended nothing but AMD for a long time on this site, in these forums. I used nothing but AMD myself for years. I had a Phenom 955 and loved it. My favorite motherboard was a Crosshair IV. I hope Bulldozer is awesome - but right now AMD is getting spanked in the desktop CPU arena. You need to be a bit 'objective' yourself.

The assumptions that I've made are a) that he will use Windows, and b) that he will use the internet. The more money you spend on a PC, the costlier it becomes to get more performance. This is the general rule. Do the $2000 builds on here ever suggest using a Phenom processor? There are reasons why they don't. Look at this article:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/overclock-cpu-build...

At 4ghz with SLI 480s it is getting killed in the majority of benchmarks by the previous months i7 build with SLI 470s. And that is an old 1366 i7, which gets destroyed by the new sandy bridge chips.

Some people build computers to do more than 'suffice.'
June 9, 2011 7:01:08 PM

The 2500k offers more 'futureproofing' and so does the gtx 570 you could go with cheaper options now but it might cost you in the long term
June 9, 2011 7:24:21 PM

@jassonw223 - actually, you proved nothing. First, his budget is more like 1400$ rather than the 2000$ false value you have stated.
At most, he will get a single GTX 570, which is not being bottlenecked by the 955BE, especially when it's OCed, so you have provided that link for nothing, completely irrelevant.
The rule that if he has budget, he HAS to spend it on components he doesn't necessarily needs is rule that should not be said or remembered in any case. This rule is a waste one actually.

Again, the fact he would use windows DOES NOT mean he will use excel or any other irrelevant benchmark.

To conclude, while playing on FHD, in most cases the two processors would provide similar results. Deal with that.
June 9, 2011 7:45:51 PM

You're the one who just made up an imaginary budget lol. I haven't done that yet.

You seem to understand CPUs and video cards less and less with each of your posts...

Your third sentence is AWESOME.

Sometimes benchmarks in one program relate to performance in others.

I've owned both. I game at 1080p. They do not provide similar results in the majority of titles for the PC. I listed quite a few benchmarks showing that earlier. I bet one of your parents works for AMD.
June 9, 2011 8:31:08 PM

His budget is 5000NIS which is 1400$. How do I know this? Because I know this guy personally.

Now, when you say that the benchmark in excel would reflect gaming benchmark - I don't know whether I should cry or laugh at you. There is no direct or indirect functional connection between those two factors. Multithreading is one, gaming is another.

Now, I really don't care what results you got. Don't care since I won't get any informative results from you, since you are simply confused. Since most benchmark that I have already showed (and are more in my stash) proved my point, I would rather believe to truthful benches rather than a random user, sorry.

And involving my parents is just low, shame on you. The disrespect and lack of knowledge you are expressing are not needed here. That being said, I will ignore any of your future posts, and recommend the OP personally, since from you he won't gather much info.

Good night, and stop thread crapping please, thank you.
June 9, 2011 8:38:20 PM

The actual price different between 955BE and i5 2500K is 130$ in Israel.
but u don't have to buy 2500K, u can also buy 2400, not an overclock able CPU and still gain more frames then a 955be on oc. the different in price will be less the 100$ including a MB in both cases.
June 9, 2011 8:44:35 PM

First forum post here, yet you are so set in your ways... Kids these days...

The OP stated "in general, there is no budget." in the forum. Sorry I don't know him personally. However, it is good he came on the forums searching for information, because his friends don't seem to have a clue.

A PC is not a console. We do other things than game, even if it is a 'gaming' PC. You are using your PC to post on toms hardware. It would be faster if you had a 2500k.

Your 'informative' results? You mean GPU bottlenecked CPU dependent game benchmarks... or CPU benchmarks in a GPU dependent game? Lol. One-sided much?

And I involved your parents since I did not think you would be old enough, or intelligent enough to work for AMD yourself (the comment that I would normally make).
June 10, 2011 5:22:44 AM

Guy Moshe said:
The actual price different between 955BE and i5 2500K is 130$ in Israel.
but u don't have to buy 2500K, u can also buy 2400, not an overclock able CPU and still gain more frames then a 955be on oc. the different in price will be less the 100$ including a MB in both cases.


You forgot to mention the boards' price differences also exist. He wants to OC, so he needs a decent P67/Z68 (which will cost him 600NIS or more compared to 300-350NIS AMD 770 Gigabyte board), which means around 200$.

The other option you stated is not correct. When the game or app is not intel optimized, 4,0GHz 955 would outperform the i5 2400, and will be still cheaper.

@jasonw223, Although I try hard enough to ignore your mis-informative posts, I just can't. It provides me a 24 hour amusement...
However, I won't attribute a significance who thinks that in order to surf the net or post in toms as needed, you have to take SB over Phenom II.

Also, every benchmark makes a difference. I don't care if you are not interested in seeing those results because you simply don't want to be wrong, but every bench concerning those processors is extremely relevant, it's a shame you cannot understand that

And please refrain from talking about my parents, I know you're trolling, you have already cleared that point.

*And don't call me a kid. Instead, go to hw sites and learn this subject all over again until you understand it all.
June 10, 2011 7:04:00 AM

You my friend are hilarious! I'm really amazed that you are continuing to be so stubborn when you are so clearly wrong! First of all, a Phenom 955 outperforming a 2400? LOL. The i3 2100 spanks the 955. It even beats the 980x in some games. You need to read up a bit. Your value argument had at least a tiny bit of truth in it... quit while you're ahead man.

Second, I love how you are comparing prices of a 2-generation old AMD board to the brand new Sandy Bridge ones. Good job.

And about your benchmarks, I'm just stating the fact that unless he is using a GT 430, your benchmarks are irrelevant, since they are benchmarks bottlenecked by nothing other than.... a GT 430.

And fine, instead of talking about your parents, I will start talking about your mother, kid.
June 11, 2011 9:25:24 AM

that's enough girls.
i guess i've seen valid arguments for both sides. does anyone else have anything to contribute about which to choose?
maybe regarding the upgrade path. would the money be better spend going amd and upgrade the cpu down the road, or sandy now and upgrade further down the road.
also regarding the memory as stated at the beginning, are there any benches to show that it's worth spending extra for faster speed/lower times/8g, etc.
i guess the same for ques for the gpu. buy overkill now (570) and wait much longer to upgrade, or buy a lower end gpu.
!