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Budget Gaming, can't decide on CPU/Mobo options, advice?

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June 8, 2011 7:40:30 PM

I have a $1000 budget, and reserved around $375 for all parts needed except video card, cpu, mobo. For now, leaving out details, because cpu/mobo is my greatest concern at the moment.

Use: Gaming, CAD*, Engineering Modeling*, Watching Movies, Surfing Net
*may or may not happen in ~2 years.
Will OC later, but for now, staying stock

Choice is:
MSI Z68MA-ED55 (B3) and Intel Core i5-2500K totaling $360
or
mobo ASUS P8Z68-V PRO totaling $415

OR

AMD Phenom II X4 975 Black Edition Deneb 3.6GHz and ASUS M4A87TD EVO totaling $267

Do I go with the higher benching Intel CPU or the AMD which leaves more money to throw down on a graphics card?
June 8, 2011 7:54:23 PM

Definitely go with the Intel setup. It's WELL worth the extra money - and will outperform the AMD chip by quite a bit in gaming, and by a huge amount in CAD, Solidworks and that sort of thing. (taking my last year of Industrial Systems Engineering)

You could save a bit of money and go with the P67 chipset boards as well, for most people they do just as much. Asus makes the P67 Pro:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

And MSI has a few P67 models as well like these:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I've had good luck with MSI boards so far, however Asus does seem to have better reviews in general. Here's what I picked for my 2500k if you are curious:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I'd try and get a 560 Ti or at least a GTX 460 in there if I were you as well...
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June 8, 2011 8:11:18 PM

Thanks Jason!

The reason I ask, is because I've read and heard people say that you're Video Card will make or break you're gaming system much more than you're CPU. So am I better off throwing an extra $100 (my swing based on the choice) at the CPU/mobo or at the video card (i.e. from ~$250 up to ~$350).
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June 8, 2011 9:38:17 PM

The video card is more important than the CPU when it comes to some games, however others are the other way around, but generally, most need a balance of both.

Honestly, you'd be better off going with an i3-2100 than a Phenom 955 anyway. Either way, Sandy Bridge is really the way to go right now, unless you are looking at a really low-budget machine.

A 2500k will future-proof you quite a bit more, can be overclocked like crazy, will give you better performance in games and way more performance in normal applications (especially engineering ones). You won't regret buying one. I bought two haha.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/4083/the-sandy-bridge-rev...
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June 9, 2011 3:40:47 PM

Best answer selected by doublepedaldylan.
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June 9, 2011 4:26:51 PM

these have been my questions as well, and it does not seem like there is a straight answer. i guess we need to see more benchmarks. i would say it is highly dependent on the res you will be using, and if the extra pricing is worth it to you. here's my thread: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/312851-31-gaming-syst...
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June 9, 2011 5:07:24 PM

Thanks again Jason!
I'll look into the video cards you sudgested.
Probably going to go with the P67 too.
That last link was incredibly valuable btw, basically solidified the decision.
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June 9, 2011 5:16:48 PM

No problem, enjoy the new build!
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