Budget gaming build : core i3 vs core i5

I'm tight on budget (about $500) and I need to decide to go with the dual core i3 or stretch my budget to get a quad core i5. I'll be gaming at 1600x900 with most probably a gtx 460/gtx 550 ti/hd5770/hd6790. also if i go with i5 i need a good cheap motherboard. any suggestion?
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  1. On that tight a budget, go with the i3, and spend the extra money on a more powerful GPU, that will get you the best gaming performance for your money. The i3 2100 performs quite well in just about any gaming situation, very few games are coded to fully use 4 cores, and even the more heavily threaded games perform reasonably well on the second gen i3s. If you feel you really need a quad core, at that budget you would have to look at AMD's offerings. The Phenom II X4 goes for around the same price as the i3, and also performs well in gaming.

    1600x900 isn't that high a resolution, the GTX 460 will perform well, but something more powerful like a GTX 560Ti, GTX 560, or Radeon HD 6870 or 6950 would handle the really demanding titles better, and would last longer before you would need to upgrade.
  2. i think i'll be sticking with intel. and if i go with an i5, i'd have to get a cheaper card like the hd5770 or gtx 550ti or hd6790. with an i3, i can get a better card like the hd6850. would the i3 with a better card outperform the quad core i5 with a lesser GPU or would the quad core CPU help at my resolution???

    And please, suggestions for a motherboard??? Should i go with an H67 as i do not plan on overclocking?
  3. The i3 with a 6850 will give you better gaming performance over an i5 with a 5770 in just about every situation. The only time this is not true would be if you are playing at a very low resolution (1280x1024 or lower) on a very CPU heavy game (Battlefield 3, Bad Company 2, Grand Theft Auto IV). If you have no intention of overclocking, go for the H67 chipset, the H67 boards tend to be a good deal cheaper than the P67 and Z68 boards, which is a must if you are on that tight of a budget for a gaming build.
  4. ^+1, or an H61, quite a bit cheaper and you don't really lose anything (SATA3 and maybe a couple of usb ports)
  5. i need USB 3.0, H61 doesn't have it right?
  6. No intel chipsets support usb 3.0 natively, it's something added by the motherboard manufacturer's, so you can find it in h61, (use the filter on newegg) but most h61 boards won't have it, just like most (but not all) z68 boards do have it.
  7. there are many things that can be done on a budget. i would recommend staying in the i5 family and also getting a P67, the H series boards leave A LOT out. lack of PCI-E, lack of many OC features, lack of 1333+ ram support, and they are still up there in price comparatively

    this is what i would go with: I tried to keep the i5 but was just not able to. it came to 35.00 over budget to go with a i5 so if you have a case or HD already then perhaps you could do this.

    CPU i3 ram 8GB: http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.746899
    case: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811233067
    HDD: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822145299
    MB: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128487
    video card: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150573
    PSU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817182039
    the video card comes with dirt 3 as well.

    total: 498.93 after mail in rebates.

    just like the CPU if you have a case or HD then you could upgrade to a 6870 video card. there are some for 35.00 more than this card.
  8. ncc74656 said:
    there are many things that can be done on a budget. i would recommend staying in the i5 family and also getting a P67, the H series boards leave A LOT out. lack of PCI-E, lack of many OC features, lack of 1333+ ram support, and they are still up there in price comparatively

    just like the CPU if you have a case or HD then you could upgrade to a 6870 video card. there are some for 35.00 more than this card.


    Lack of PCIE? Do you mean 3.0?

    Overclocking: OP stated he would not.

    1600+ RAM support: Something to consider, but I doubt RAM will be the limiting factor on a budget build.
  9. lack of dual pcie on H61 mb's is what i was refering to
  10. ncc74656 said:
    lack of dual pcie on H61 mb's is what i was refering to


    You mean for SLI/Crossfire ??? Even H67 don't have SLI/Crossfire support right?
  11. yes i meant crossfire/sli. i believe some H67 has 2 pci-e but its piggy backed on by the MB mfg vs intel chipset.
  12. The i5 build will last 2-3 years more. but currently, an i3 + a better GPU will outperform an i5 + weaker GPU.

    I took an i3 2100 (Upgrade from a Pentium 4) and it hasn't disappointed me so far..

    I borrowed a GTS 450 from a friend and could run GTA 4 at 50-60FPS with Custom ENB at 1024x768 (Max Res. Supported by my monitor).
  13. rohit makes a very good point. the i3 will handle things for now and its not to expensive. worth a go as any mid range card 560, 6950 ish wont bottle neck at an i3. you need dual cards or 6990/580's to notice a change in fps from i3 to i5
  14. @ ncc

    +1
  15. okay so an i3 won't bottleneck a mid range card like the 560 ti, right? so unless i'm multitasking, there won't be much difference between an i3 and i5 while gaming?

    also, will an i5 be a lot faster in other areas except gaming like archiving files, copying files, etc.
  16. 008Rohit said:
    The i5 build will last 2-3 years more. but currently, an i3 + a better GPU will outperform an i5 + weaker GPU.

    I took an i3 2100 (Upgrade from a Pentium 4) and it hasn't disappointed me so far..

    I borrowed a GTS 450 from a friend and could run GTA 4 at 50-60FPS with Custom ENB at 1024x768 (Max Res. Supported by my monitor).


    I'm also upgrading from p4 but will be playing at 1600x900.
  17. File copying tends to be more dependent on hard drive speed than CPU speed. You may see slightly better performance with the i5 when archiving if the program you use for archiving is multithreaded. I believe WinRAR can use 4 cores, while WinZip only uses one. Web browsing and basic office tasks will run the same on both CPUs.

    Game performance will be largely the same between both CPUs under most circumstances on all but the most powerful GPU setups, a 560ti would not be bottlenecked. There are only a small handful of games that are really CPU heavy and would benefit from the i5's four cores.
  18. Supernova1138 said:
    File copying tends to be more dependent on hard drive speed than CPU speed. You may see slightly better performance with the i5 when archiving if the program you use for archiving is multithreaded. I believe WinRAR can use 4 cores, while WinZip only uses one. Web browsing and basic office tasks will run the same on both CPUs.

    Game performance will be largely the same between both CPUs under most circumstances on all but the most powerful GPU setups, a 560ti would not be bottlenecked. There are only a small handful of games that are really CPU heavy and would benefit from the i5's four cores.


    thanks. so i wouldn't really be missing much for now if i don't have the budget for an i5, i guess.
  19. finally motherboard. What should i look for in a motherboard. how many pci-3 slots.? ATX or micro-ATX? will a dual slot card run on a motherboard with only one pci-e x16 slot? will a cheap motherboard (h61 or h67) make the cpu and gpu perform below average? i want a mobo that will i will not have the change if i do upgrade later. overclocking not important. do any h67 boards have sli/crossfire support?
  20. H61 and H67 will run any single GPU just fine with no loss in performance, double slot cards will also fit on those boards just fine. If you plan on getting a lot of expansion cards you probably should look for a full size ATX board. MicroATX is fine if you aren't going to use a lot of cards, an don't need the extra expansion room. Unless you want to SLI or Crossfire down the road you don't need to have more than one PCI-E x16 slot. Some H61 and H67 boards might have SLI or Crossfire support, but it is not available natively on those chipsets. I don't know of any models off hand that do.

    Boards that are SLI or Crossfire capable do tend to be more expensive, I'm not sure if you could fit one into your tight budget, not unless you want to go for a cheaper graphics card, and lose out on some performance until you can afford to upgrade to a better GPU, or add a second one. Generally speaking, it is usually better to have one powerful graphics card rather than run two lesser cards. SLI and Crossfire tend to complicate things, you are more likely to run into hardware, problems, heat issues, and driver problems with those setups than you would with a single card. It may not be worth the hassle unless you need a lot of GPU horsepower to drive an ultra high resolution display, or multiple monitors. With a 1600x900 monitor, pretty much any worthwhile dual GPU setup would be overkill. A single mainstream card would be plenty for that resolution, you would only need a second if you really, really wanted to max out Crysis 2, Metro 2033, or Battlefield 3.
  21. Quote:
    how many pci-3 slots.?

    I assume you meant pci-e? As many as you see fit (this can be just 1 for a graphics card). Want SLI/xfire, you need at least 2 (and in 8x/8x configuration).

    Quote:
    ATX or micro-ATX?

    Which ever suits better (price versus function). The mATX are usually cheaper - with less features.

    Quote:
    will a dual slot card run on a motherboard with only one pci-e x16 slot?

    Dual slot means it takes up two vertical spaces, not two connectors - meaning you can't use the slot directly below the one used for the Graphics Card. Answer: yes.

    Quote:
    will a cheap motherboard (h61 or h67) make the cpu and gpu perform below average?

    Nothing directly with a single GPU. Some may argue the lower RAM frequency will lose you a few fps, but nothing over a 5% drop (i.e. 57 vs 60 fps). Short answer: no.

    Quote:
    do any h67 boards have sli/crossfire support?

    Not according to Intel: http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/chipsets/mainstream-chipsets/h67-express-chipset.html
    Note the lack of the pci-e being split into 2 channels. I could be wrong.
  22. Thanks mattyg_nz and Supernova1138.

    I think i'll go with a cheap board and same some $$$!

    One more question on the board. Will there be a lot of difference in speed with a SATA 6gbps board as compared to a SATA 3gbps? i think h67 has 6Gbps and h61 has 3Gbps. i'll be running a standard 7200 rpm 500 gb hard drive (seagate or samsung), not an SSD.
  23. No modern mechanical drive (hard drive) can even use the maximum 3 Gb/s. Few current gen solid state drives benefit (significantly) from the 6Gb/s interface.
    Answer: no.
  24. There are some MFG's that piggy back a second PCI-E slot onto the H series MB's. they can hold dual GPU's but the bandwidth is split so bad that it takes a performance hit.

    Thank you mattyg for pointing this out, i wish more people understood that just because the port is faster does not mean the drive will be. even a 600GB veloci raptor will not max a sata2 port. only SSD's enter into sata 3

    a low end gigabyte P67 MB is about 20 bucks more than a H series, if you want more future proofing you may want to check them out. 89 bucks after rebates. i prefer MSI but i have never seen a failed gigabyte board so im comfortable recommending them.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128487
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