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AMD FX Vs. Intel Core i3: Exploring Game Performance With Cheap GPUs

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February 23, 2012 3:18:03 AM

Great...AMD is still capable.
Score
11
February 23, 2012 3:27:49 AM

Whats with the line graph Don, it's hard to read especially with the choice of color on the lines. Bring back the bar graphs.:) 
Score
-13
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February 23, 2012 3:28:20 AM

This is a great article, Toms needs more budget rundowns like this and perhaps more games in the test sweet that exploit the cpu difference more...
Score
22
February 23, 2012 3:28:57 AM

I think if you're really budget limited, but need to build a system today, buying 1155 makes a little more sense. Get a decent motherboard, then get an 1155 Celeron G530/540 or Pentium. Then save up some money, and upgrade to an Ivy Bridge CPU later. The i3 is great, but the i5s are a much better deal $/performance.

So if you need a new system and can't afford an i5, just buy a cheap 1155 SB as a placeholder until you can [afford an i5]. Like the conclusion states, the upgrade path is there -- I just think that if it's a temporary step, you might as well save $60 to $80 if you're upgrading in the next 4 months anyway. You'd be surprised how fast the SB budget parts are, and they're fast enough to get you through till IB.

Score
28
a b À AMD
February 23, 2012 3:41:56 AM

would be nice if more benchmarks were done, there are a lot of popular games that would be nice to test like civ 5, l4d2 or similar source game, mw3, SWTOR ect. Even if some of them aren't the most demanding games it would be nice to see them as they would be more relevant than dirt 3 or battlefield 3 single player.
Score
16
February 23, 2012 3:48:50 AM

esreverwould be nice if more benchmarks were done, there are a lot of popular games that would be nice to test like civ 5, l4d2 or similar source game, mw3, SWTOR ect. Even if some of them aren't the most demanding games it would be nice to see them as they would be more relevant than dirt 3 or battlefield 3 single player.


It would be nice if they through Civ 5 or MW3 in but at least on the FPS front, I think BF3 has a bigger following on the PC and the same thing goes for Skyrim. Not sure how many people are still playing Just Cause 2 though. In either case, I think this has more to do with being able to compare these results to the results from past benchmarks they've run.
Score
5
February 23, 2012 3:50:04 AM

Thanks for appreciating our feedback, thank you very much. Great Article As always.
Score
13
February 23, 2012 3:55:07 AM

reyshan said:
Whats with the line graph Don, it's hard to read especially with the choice of color on the lines. Bring back the bar graphs.:) 



The line graph is better way to show it's behaviour over a period of time rather than a flat average, which doesn't explain frequent dips or long stretches of smooth gameplay in fps and such.

A very informative and realistic article, nice work Tom's. Lets hope AMD has something with piledriver.
Score
29
February 23, 2012 4:04:04 AM

Sucks that the Core i3 can't be overclocked like the legendary e4xxx series or the e2160 which you could get a 100% OC with.

If DC Sandy Bridges could be unlocked, they would be so good for gaming.
Score
9
February 23, 2012 4:04:59 AM

Love the FPS graphed over time. Keep using them!
Score
14
February 23, 2012 4:08:35 AM

Brandon SI love my i5 2500k and I will never go back to amd


This is all kinds of wrong... "NEVER" is really idiotic to say in this situation, you don't know, AMD might come out with something that will in the future be the best performer. You son have a lot to learn yet and probably have a lot of living left to do.
Score
16
February 23, 2012 4:15:51 AM

Hey Toms, you want good game for testing cpus ? -> GTA IV
:p 
Score
5
February 23, 2012 4:21:44 AM

Brandon SI love my i5 2500k and I will never go back to amd

That is short sighted. I love my Intel build, but in 4-5 years when I upgrade again I will jump all over AMD if they have something good... but it just is not looking good now.
reyshanWhats with the line graph Don, it's hard to read especially with the choice of color on the lines. Bring back the bar graphs.

I love the line graphs! They show what we need to know, and more than the overly simplistic min/ave/max.
Score
21
February 23, 2012 4:24:25 AM

I complained and complained on the most recent CPU recommendations list that the FX 4100 should not be 3 tiers lower than the i3 2100.

The i3 is the better/faster chip for gaming, but not so much that you should spend a lot upgrading to it from a "somewhat parallel" performing FX 4100.

Quote - "I don’t recommend upgrading your CPU unless the potential replacement is at least three tiers higher. Otherwise, the upgrade is somewhat parallel and you may not notice a worthwhile difference in game performance."

This article at least shows that their will not be a noticeable difference in game performance. And I would go as fas as to say that once overclocked, there would be no difference whatsoever between the FX and an i3 (which is locked and can't be overclocked).

Absolute respect to Toms for taking onboard these points and hopefully rearranging the table for the March CPU hierarchy chart. And it would seem the G860 & i3 should be closer together too.

Score
8
February 23, 2012 4:35:26 AM

Also this "Even a $200 FX-8120 won’t solve your problem; our tests show that chip acts just like the FX-4100 in gaming environments."

and this -

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/fx-8150-zambezi-bul...

The FX 8150 seems to be absolutely equal to an i5 2500k at extreme resolutions 2560x1600, ultra detail levels, x8 AA. Would the FX 4100 deliver the same equal performance at these resolutions?

I've never even seen a monitor that has that kind of resolution. 4 megapixels. However eyefinity and Nvidia surround do. 2.7 megapixels for a 720p 3 screen setup and 5.2 megapixels for a 1680x1050 3 screen setup.

Would a $110 FX4100 deliver the same FPS as a $230 i5 2500k? The FX 8150 did.
Score
-5
February 23, 2012 4:54:56 AM

comptonGet a decent motherboard, then get an 1155 Celeron G530/540 or Pentium.


Totally, I bet you could feed a 6770 just fine with a $50 CPU. No need for these extravagant $120 chips.
Score
4
February 23, 2012 4:56:50 AM

I will still buy AMD, not because they are better or cheaper than Intel i know they arent, but because they are good enough for me and that Intel need to be challenged. To me it seems like "Tom's hardware" is on a crusade to bring down AMD, looking back to the release of the Core i7 cpu's "Tom's Hardware" have used encryption suits in testing cpu performance and made a big point of how excellent Intel cpu's are at encryption, i dont know of anyone besides myself( i use it only for testing ) who use encryption on their computers. I have always felt that the encryption suits "Tom's hardware " employ have been used to show how bad cpu's AMD makes, AMD dont make bad cpu's( to my knowledge that is ), at any given price point up to $800 to $1000 i think most people wouldnt recognize the difference between a AMD and a Intel system in a blind test.

The thing that made me raise my eyebrows in regards to "Tom's Hardware" wasnt any cpu test, but the tests of the HD 79** series, in a test where the results showed better results in most benchmark and trashing the competition in 1, the conclusion from "Tom's Hardware" was the this gpu wasnt any good and i almost felt like "Tom's Hardware" was warning me against buying such a card.

This may just be the rantings of a AMD fanboy, but i think "Tom's Hardware" need to see if they are as objective as they claim to be.
Score
-8
a b À AMD
a b å Intel
February 23, 2012 5:17:24 AM

nice article! you addressed and cleared up a lot of issues concerning the 4100.
good to know that fx 4100 is viable for using with entry level gfx cards. actually it makes more sense to couple the $110~ cpu with a similarly priced gfx card.
as for cpu limitations in cfx/sli: imo those are more likely to come out in budget pcs than higher end pcs as budget gamers might want to upgrade their gfx card or add another for cfx/sli relatively sooner than people who build with cfx/sli in mind or start with 2x cards. intel's h61 and most h67 mobos would be useless for cfx/sli but a lot of cheap p67 and z68 mobos can support cfx/sli. i suspect that a lot of people who bought pcs with llano apus might eventually want to upgrade /add gfx cards without changing their apu and mobo.
another issue most amd users/amd-biased people usually avoid: power consumption. in budget gaming pcs power consumption matters because higher load power consumption results in higher wattage (likely costlier) psu. the locked core i3 uses less power than fx4100, so builders can afford to add higher tdp gfx cards or save money with smaller psu yet use a high perf. gfx card.
overall core i3 is still much more suitable for budget gaming.
Score
3
a b À AMD
a b å Intel
February 23, 2012 5:28:15 AM

ivaroeines said:
something about encryption (read the reply below) and tom's intel bias (totally baseless), something about being amd fanboy and something about the 7970 'preview' article (off topic....) .

phenoms and athlons didn't have aes hardware acceleration. llano apus don't have it either. trinity might have it, but i doubt that. zambezi actually supports aes hardware acceleration. 4/6/8 core (2/3/4 modules) zambezi can outperform 2/4 core intel cpus respectively in encryption benchmarks. some review sites that favored fx8150 used encryption benchmarks (among others) and it's high scores in those benchmarks to pitch it as a 'great cpu'. they also undermined it's power consumption. :) 
intel's sb core i5 and i7 support aes acceleration, core i3 doesn't. so in an encryption benchmark, the core i3 would lose to fx 4100. your claim is baseless.
Score
6
February 23, 2012 5:36:33 AM

One of the best articles I read in a while. Observing the bottlenecks to shift from CPU to GPU and back is great. Also it showed that if the CPUs are paired with adequate GPUs, there is virtualy no difference in most applications.

The 6850 looks to be the best one to use as it becomes the bottleneck at 1080p for most tested games.

Also can we have a similar article with Nvidia cards please ? :-)))
Score
6
February 23, 2012 5:44:23 AM

First things first, I think you review was great. However, next time you use a line graph to show results that won't show up in the frame of the graph please change the scaling on your axis so that we will actually be able to see the results. Thanks :-)
Score
6
February 23, 2012 6:16:00 AM

Wonder if overclocking the FX 4100 would boost it's performance by much.
Score
4
a b À AMD
February 23, 2012 6:42:09 AM

NovuluxWonder if overclocking the FX 4100 would boost it's performance by much.


HEHHEH I'm about to find out when my wife's RMA'd board gets back. :D 

I also have an 8120 that I'm putting through its paces soon, my mobo should be here tomorrow. Unfortunately from what I've seen you can crank these puppies up pretty good, but it doesn't scale well. However I'm running Dev Prev and I expect to see a little better performance boost. Then I'll be loading the Beta (Consumer preview) on the 29th.

I think bulldozer is a viable gaming chip, just because its not faster than a core i5 doesn't mean that it can't perform at all. I am disappointed that it isn't faster, but I have been an AMD guy for so long..I just have to give it a shot. Anyway, there isn't anything especially wrong with these CPUs, other than they could be priced a bit cheaper in line with relative performance. I am seeing the FX 8150 going for $240 now in places.
Last week Microcenter had a deal on the 8120 with a free ($100) Gigabyte mobo. Don't know if thats still happening.
Score
0
a b À AMD
February 23, 2012 6:46:22 AM

BTW, my wife is a casual gamer and the FX 4100 will go with my old HD 4850 so I think she'll be very happy with the performance. She on a 22inch and doesn't want anything bigger. But I also think she'll like the fact that it will be overclocked over 4 Ghz!
Score
1
February 23, 2012 6:46:24 AM

I like my 2500k but have to admit amd wins in bang for buck
lano can do ultra without descrete
Score
-14
February 23, 2012 6:52:44 AM

Funny they did not ramp up the multi on the FX 4100 chip surely as sh** it would but it over the top.
Score
1
February 23, 2012 6:58:18 AM

I think somewhat lost in all this is the fact that the ever popular and overclocked i5-2500k is not that big of an improvement over a stock i5-2400. That is considering it's higher cost plus the cost of an aftermarket cooler.
Score
0
February 23, 2012 7:09:47 AM

I can't help but wonder how a Intel Pentium G620 would do in the sub-$200 cpu comparison. It's very close to the performance of G630 yet it only cost around $50 at my local pc store.
Score
3
February 23, 2012 7:28:32 AM

Finally an article to backup my theory. Did just that, got a capable MB, i3 2100 and will get a ATI GPU for ~€100. Later upgrade to IVY with same MB and faster GPU. Or knowing me sell off the whole rig for not so much and get IVY one :)  Was thinking of getting AMD APU build but couldn't find a setup where money won't be wasted (Vs i3 rig that is).
Score
2
Anonymous
February 23, 2012 7:33:37 AM

How about doing a benchmark using old hardware, for example I've been trying to understand if my current setup compared to a newer hardware, specifically if my CPU is needs changing or GPU?
I have a e4300@3GHz, 1333FSB with a AMD4870, what I would benefit from changing more ? CPU or GPU.
It is hard finding benchmarks for OC cpus, so best I came close to is my CPU is equivalent to E7500 + ~10 %.
Could you add common overclocked CPUs with clocks to tests ?
Score
2
February 23, 2012 8:12:25 AM

The Battlefield 3 benchmarks are meaningless because they are singleplayer benchmarks.
People want to play Battlefield multiplayer and that's an entirely different game that needs a lot of CPU power.

btw: Battlefield 3 doesn't use PhysX.
Score
5
February 23, 2012 8:15:44 AM

ronen1krHow about doing a benchmark using old hardware, for example I've been trying to understand if my current setup compared to a newer hardware, specifically if my CPU is needs changing or GPU?I have a e4300@3GHz, 1333FSB with a AMD4870, what I would benefit from changing more ? CPU or GPU.It is hard finding benchmarks for OC cpus, so best I came close to is my CPU is equivalent to E7500 + ~10 %. Could you add common overclocked CPUs with clocks to tests ?


You can research past benchmarks on your own, but I'd say that your equipment is pretty well mated. If you're looking for an upgrade path, get an 1155 board that will be compatible with your existing RAM and video board together with whatever SB/IB chip fits your budget. Now is probably not the right time for you to upgrade your video board, unless you're compelled to jump to the $500 tiers.
Score
1
February 23, 2012 8:27:28 AM

triny said:
I like my 2500k but have to admit amd wins in bang for buck
lano can do ultra without descrete


Fail.
Score
10
February 23, 2012 8:45:38 AM

Article completelz ignores serious price difference between Intel and AMD motherboard (which is two times bigger, than difference between CPU prices) which leads to wrong conclusions.

With AMD you can save 70$ on CPU+Mainboard and invest it in GPU instead.
Score
-2
February 23, 2012 8:47:10 AM

You forgot that Intel's platforms are usually more expensive than AMDs. E.g. MOBOs based on AMD3+ are cheaper than LGA 1155. With these saved money you can better GPU or (3)6-core AMD.

Why don't you compare 2 (budget oriented) sub 600 - 800 $ platforms, based on AMD and Intell?
Score
0
February 23, 2012 9:50:28 AM

Isn’t overclocking the main AMD feature over Intel in this price range?
Score
5
Anonymous
February 23, 2012 9:58:25 AM

How about testing an A8 against any i3 ,i5 or i7 with integrated graphics?
The AMD integrated graphics card is 3x better than any integrated Intel GPU
Or how about testing an octocore from AMD against an octocore from Intel? 200$ vs 4000$
Most people are completing ignoring that all Sandy Bridge CPUs with the exception of the octocore,sorry hexacore because Intel disables 2 on purpose to prevent them from competing with Xeons...have integrated GPUs
which are all very poor in performance
while AMD dedicated half of their CPU dice to the GPU space which is the equivalent of my 5670 card
Score
-6
February 23, 2012 10:05:57 AM

Great article ! Well just as some of the people say, the cost. AMD Mobos are cheaper and also the FX4100 is $15 cheaper than the I3 for "almost" the same performance... The intel chip is the winner for sure, but hey! with $15 I can jump from a 6770 to a 6850 (if you're lucky but there are those kind of deals everytime).

The AMD AM3+ mobos are cheaper than Intel's mobos, so with the money that you're saving with mobo+processor you can get other parts, better GPU or something else (maybe a good cooler to increase the OC so high that there will not be performance diferences). Thats the real world, for the real BUDGET gamer... For the same money get more! I will not complain about the SB superiority, but I can say that at this range of price AMD is still competitive if we talk about how much you can spent and what you can get.
Score
-4
February 23, 2012 10:09:23 AM

we know that fx 4100 can overclock upto 4ghz with stock cooler which i3 2100 cannot . so why the guys did not try to compare fx 4100 @ 4ghz and a i3 2100 at 3.1ghz..
Score
1
February 23, 2012 10:23:39 AM

I have to say I have always steered away from building budget Intel builds due to the budget Intel motherboards being so basic.

A lot of the cheap Intel boards still have serial and parallel ports on them. For the same price I can get a AM3+ m-atx board with HDMI/e-SATA and maybe even at a push USB3. That to me and my customers is far more useful longterm than a higher IPC rating.
Score
1
a b À AMD
a b å Intel
February 23, 2012 10:56:00 AM

I thought this was a great article, as it portrayed realistic systems and settings. Benchmarks are nice, but are often difficult to translate to the real world.
For those moaning about mobo differences, there are now H61 boards with USB3.0 and SATA 6Gb/s, so it is no longer true that AMD holds a notable chipset edge. While AMD can still claim a lot more SATA 6Gb/s ports, on which you can run RAID-5, past articles have shown that mobo RAID-5 absolutely sucks. They have more PCIE lanes too, but Crossfire and/or SLI performance on AMD systems has also been shown to seriously lag Intel (although I'd like this explored a little because I'm not sure a weaker CPU alone explains the differences).
One point I take from this is if you're willing to come down from "Ultra" on just a few settings, it doesn't take a $2000, 800W rig to play games at GOOD settings; looks like a single HD6850 is quite sufficient.
Score
2
February 23, 2012 10:56:09 AM

darkchazzHey Toms, you want good game for testing cpus ? -> GTA IV


this
Score
4
February 23, 2012 11:11:04 AM

Overclocking aside, this is a great article and many thanks for doing it.

Most individuals are not your high-end component gamers, nor are they interested to be with high-end component costs and the relative effect on enjoyment is very small.

Score
2
February 23, 2012 11:40:41 AM

maybe benchmark some emulators next time? ...like pcsx2, jpcsp, dolphin, and mame?
Score
1
February 23, 2012 11:43:12 AM

Stardude82Totally, I bet you could feed a 6770 just fine with a $50 CPU. No need for these extravagant $120 chips.


Exactly. Not sure the point of a CPU test where the bottleneck is clearly the GPU. AMD fanboys are digging deep here.

Clearly the CPU does not matter if you bottleneck the system somewhere else. Why did these fanboys need to see tests to prove this?? Idiots.
Score
5
February 23, 2012 11:44:00 AM

Having 4 cores CPU and putting it head to head to a 2 core CPU in a single application benchmark is like having a supercharged V8 car put head to head with a normal 4 cylinder in a 50 mph limit zone . I bet the difference between the I3 and I7 is not that shocking in only 1 game application
Score
3
February 23, 2012 11:49:24 AM

bigmack70I have a $110 CPU (960T) @ 4 GHz and a $600 GPU (XFX BE 7970)........ almost no bottlenecking issues on the 7970.It's not that unrealistic a build... you don't need a lot of CPU for most games to max them out at 1080p and get 60fps.


Exactly, a gaming rig is that. Which is why I still do NOT understand AMD's APU direction. Anyone who wants more CPU performance is not going to be satisfied with an integrated GPU. If they want to shake things up, add the equivalent of a 6950 to a dual-core CPU and see how things fall. Why does the best GPU option come attached to the best CPU option. All they will do is eat thermals from each other. Use the die space to make one or the other outstanding. Not mediocre at best for both.
Score
3
February 23, 2012 12:01:44 PM

this is the article i have been searching for.. thx toms for the great research.. now i wonder if i can get toms to research the maximum GPU for certain CPU.. i mean like.. if using core i3, what GPU is the best before getting any GPU bottleneck.. just want to find the perfect balance for limited budget..
Score
1
February 23, 2012 12:03:35 PM

A nice, interesting read! My thoughts...

1) This article makes most sense from a budget perspective, as noted in many places by many people. People looking to build high end rigs are probably better of with Phenoms and Intel.
2) It's also very specifically a gaming article, if the CPU is intended for any other intensive tasks, those factors must be considered.
3)Line graphs FTW!
4) I know why you limit the graph to 60 fps, makes sense, but still, just for the sake of the complete picture, it would be nice if we could see the whole thing.
5) For those saying that Tom's trashed the Tahiti GPUs, iirc the only negative thing they said that the driver/firmware side imlementation of transcoding was broken.
6) For the dude saying that "OMG TEST INTEGRATED GRAPHICS PERFORMANCE" and "AMD's IGP CAN TOTALLY WALK OVER AN i7 WITH HD 3000 GRAPHICS": what the heck man, this isn't even about the IGP. Everyone, including intel, knows that HD3000 sucks compared to Llano's IGP. Even Tom's said that when llano was released. I mean, as BSMonitor says:
BSMonitorExactly. Not sure the point of a CPU test where the bottleneck is clearly the GPU

Comparing an A4 and an i7 using only the IGP isn't a good way to show the advantages of an i7 in gaming. No one who buys an i7 plays at the settings the A4 is limited to, they'd spend on discrete graphics.
Likewise, no one who cares about gaming within $100-$150 would consider an i7.

For the rest read jtt283's post.
Score
0
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