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Upgrading my machine: AMD Phenom II X4 965 vs. Intel Core i5-2500

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November 21, 2011 10:54:19 PM

Hi everyone -

I'm sure this is a tired discussion, I'm just hoping to get some more informed/personal feedback than what I've been able to find in my research online so far -

I'm running right now on an Intel Core2 Duo, with 4 GB of RAM and an nVidia GeForce 460 SE. With the recent release of Battlefield 3 and the upcoming release of Star Wars: The Old Republic, I'd like to give my machine a modest upgrade to be able to run these games relatively seamlessly at high graphics settings. I'm on a budget so I probably won't be upgrading the video card right now, what I'm looking to upgrade is my CPU and motherboard (and I'll probably throw 8 GB of RAM in there as well).

Being on a budget is why I've been looking at the Phenom II X4s as well as the i5s and considering the fact that they're about $70 cheaper (and their motherboards seem to be as well). From what I understand, the new i5 Sandy Bridge blows away the Phenom II X4s. My question is essentially this: Running at stock speeds, is the difference in these processors' performance while gaming going to be significant, or is it simply a question of the i5s being much more future-proofed than the X4s?

Any and all feedback would be appreciated, I simply don't know/can't find enough to definitively answer this question for myself. Additionally if anyone has any suggestions regarding good motherboards for either of these processors, I'd welcome that input as well.

Thanks!
a c 186 à CPUs
November 22, 2011 12:01:03 AM

i5-2500k, these are future proof but i do not think there will be any difference. Its just by next year the phenom won't give you good performance in games while the 2500k will still perform greatly. Also you can upgrade to the new ivybridges in case it does become slower in the next few years.
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a c 83 à CPUs
November 22, 2011 1:01:56 AM

Phenom II X4 can still handle games just fine, most of the time you will be GPU limited in games. Switch to a high end graphics solution and you'll find Phenom II falling behind as the GPU bottleneck is eliminated. Either one will handle today's games, but you'll find the Phenom unable to deliver playable performance long before an I5 in the future, how far out that is I don't know. If you do decide to overclock, the I5 will gain even more advantage as it can overclock further and has more performance to gain than any Phenom II processor.

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November 22, 2011 5:30:10 AM

+1 i5 2500
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a c 478 à CPUs
November 22, 2011 6:37:26 AM

Generally speaking, most games are not CPU dependent and in those cases the difference in gaming performance will be small between a Phenom II X4 and Core i5-2500k as long as the resolution is high enough. Below 1680 x 1050 resolution, I would say the difference will become noticeable because the video card is not being stressed as much compared to higher resolutions.

Personally, i would go with the i5-2500k since I encode movies from time to time so processing power becomes important to me.
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November 22, 2011 6:53:13 AM

amuffin said:
Its just by next year the phenom won't give you good performance in games while the 2500k will still perform greatly.


Holy crap this is the first I had heard of the phenom becoming obsolete in the next year for gaming... Could you post the link where you got this information? This is interesting...
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November 22, 2011 6:56:01 AM

i5 2500k rockssssssss!!!!!! just buy it with good mobo and after 3 years buy the ivy bridge...:-)))000
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a c 478 à CPUs
November 22, 2011 7:05:16 AM

pell380 said:
... and after 3 years buy the ivy bridge...:-)))000


After that amount of time it is generally not worth buying a older CPU since prices tend to go up because no new IB CPUs will be manufactured and people looking to upgrade their systems will buy the remaining stock leaving less available IB CPUs for others to upgrade.
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a c 186 à CPUs
November 22, 2011 7:11:35 AM

redsunrises said:
Holy crap this is the first I had heard of the phenom becoming obsolete in the next year for gaming... Could you post the link where you got this information? This is interesting...

Its just a thought because ivybridge will be out and it will kind of be an outdated cpu.
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a c 83 à CPUs
November 22, 2011 8:22:36 AM

redsunrises said:
Holy crap this is the first I had heard of the phenom becoming obsolete in the next year for gaming... Could you post the link where you got this information? This is interesting...


Phenom II is already incapable of handling high end SLI/Crossfire configurations, and sadly Bulldozer is no better for it. Phenom II has been on market for nearly 3 whole years, when it launched it's competition was Core2Quad, and it's already incapable of pulling 60fps steady in some of the more cpu intensive games. I personally doubt we'll see a game it cannot run for a few years, but it's really showing it's age.
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November 22, 2011 8:33:13 AM

if you can afford an i5 2500k go for it.

Also, I imagine an i3 would be better at games than the phenom mentioned
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November 22, 2011 12:06:50 PM

kvandervort said:
I'm running right now on an Intel Core2 Duo, with 4 GB of RAM and an nVidia GeForce 460 SE. With the recent release of Battlefield 3 and the upcoming release of Star Wars: The Old Republic, I'd like to give my machine a modest upgrade to be able to run these games relatively seamlessly at high graphics settings. I'm on a budget so I probably won't be upgrading the video card right now, what I'm looking to upgrade is my CPU and motherboard (and I'll probably throw 8 GB of RAM in there as well).


The Phenom II's current place in the market is to be a cheaper quad-core alternative to Intel's lineup. If you can afford an i5, there is no question which is the superior choice. That said, Battlefield 3 should run just as well on a Phenom II as a Core i5, as its so GPU-bottlenecked. But RPGs tend to be pretty heavy on the processor, and I expect The Old Republic would benefit from a Core i5.

You can probably skip the RAM upgrade if you want to save some cash. 8GB is reasonable at today's RAM prices but most games will not fully tax 4GB.
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November 23, 2011 1:48:38 AM

Awesome, thank you all very much for your input, I really appreciate it. I think I'll spend the extra couple bucks and get the i5.
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November 23, 2011 1:50:37 AM

Best answer selected by kvandervort.
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