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Athlon X3 or Phenom II Quad

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February 15, 2012 1:27:38 AM

I have a bit of a puzzler so i'm hoping the community can help me out. I'm upgrading my nephews gaming PC from a Pentium D, he'll have 2gb of DDR 2 800 and an HD4850 so the only question is the CPU of which i have two choices. Now the games he is gonna want to play are Dead Rising II and LA Noire along with some MMOs like Lunia, Perfect world, Asian Free MMO stuff.

Now here is where it gets tricky, I have a Phenom II x4 2.8GHz Deneb that I was planning on sticking in a new PC for my GF but frankly she doesn't care what she gets as long as its faster than her late model P4 so that's in the running, the only other chip I can afford right now is an AMD Athlon II X3 455 Rana.

So my question is for the type of games he is gonna play would the X3 Athlon at 3.3GHz be better than the X4 Deneb at 2.8GHz? Or would the extra core and L3 make enough of a difference to make up for the 500MHz per core speed loss? I'm afraid OCing is right out as I already have a board left over from my most recent upgrade and while it is a nice board it just doesn't OC well at all.

Any help would be most appreciated as frankly other than some shooters like FEAR I don't really game much and since I have a 2.6GHz X6 my experience playing games isn't really applicable. I don't really know much about games and don't know whether raw speed or more cores is the right path here but whatever path I choose needs to last them both for a good 3-5 years. i know my GF only does FB and chat so frankly any multicore will be overkill for her but the boy really needs me to make the right choice, I just don't know if raw speed or more cores is the correct path.

More about : athlon phenom quad

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February 15, 2012 1:53:53 AM

the phenom will be faster than the athlon even with the lower clock rate.

Make sure you get a motherboard that supports both the cpu and ddr2 memory.
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February 15, 2012 6:56:14 AM

BigMack70 said:
Question - where are you getting the Athlon II 455 from? It's about $80 on newegg right now, which puts it at the same price as a Pentium G630, which is a slightly better gaming CPU. If possible, I'd recommend getting the G630.

More to your specific question, I would expect an x3 Rana at 3.3 GHz to perform better in games than an X4 Deneb at 2.8 GHz, but it's not going to be a HUGE difference either way I don't think. It will probably also depend slightly on the game.

So, for the gaming PC, my recommendation would be:
#1 - Pentium G630
#2 - Rana x3
#3 - Deneb x4


I should have probably put that Intel is right out, I already have a nice AMD board and DDR 2 RAM so no go for any Intel.
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February 15, 2012 7:05:31 AM

esrever said:
the phenom will be faster than the athlon even with the lower clock rate.

Make sure you get a motherboard that supports both the cpu and ddr2 memory.



Now you see my problem, you say Deneb, the post directly below you says Rana, i can't seem to find any kind of definite data that will help me decide. And I already have a nice ECS board that supports DDR 2 and the RAM so that's all free and clear, its only the CPU i need to decide on.
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February 15, 2012 7:12:06 AM

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/athlon-l3-cache,241...

keep in mind, the higher the clock the more the deneb pulls ahead due the the L3.

the tests are done at 2.6 ghz but at 3 ghz the athlon starts to show very little scaling while the phenoms are still decent. In gaming its more apparent than general processing.
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February 15, 2012 7:13:11 AM

BigMack70 said:
Revision to my recommendation - just looked around at some benchmarks out of curiosity and it looks like the deneb will edge out the rana in games despite the clock difference.

It's not gonna be a huge difference, though. The G630 is still the best option for ~$80.


Could you point me towards those benchmarks? Because the only ones i've been able to find (Here naturally) is comparing an identically clocked Phenom II to Athlon II which doesn't really tell me anything as what i need to know is which is more important, raw speed (Athlon X3 at 3.3GHz) or quad cores (Deneb at 2.8GHz) and I can't find a single one with CPUs even close to the ones I'm looking at. And as I said Intel would price it right out of my budget as I already have the board and RAM which would both have to be chunked to use the G630.
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February 15, 2012 7:22:17 AM

seems like theres not much to go on but I'd think the phenom will be better very marginally.
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February 15, 2012 7:36:34 AM

esrever said:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/athlon-l3-cache,241...

keep in mind, the higher the clock the more the deneb pulls ahead due the the L3.

the tests are done at 2.6 ghz but at 3 ghz the athlon starts to show very little scaling while the phenoms are still decent. In gaming its more apparent than general processing.


I've looked at that bench and it has BOTH chips at identical speeds and shows them having almost identical scores in games. While I appreciate the effort with this particular problem we are talking about a pretty big difference, one having a 4th core and L3 while the other has 500MHz x3 speed difference on the other and with this board I simply can't OC the Deneb so its claims about deneb OCing higher simply won't help as the defaults is what he is gonna be stuck with. If anyone knows about LA Noire or MMOs and can shed light on whether tis better to have raw clocks or more cores I'd be grateful but this ECS board simply won't OC at all, so there is no way I can bring the deneb any faster than default clocks.

Frankly it was soooo much easier when faster equaled better, now you got arches and IPC and caches and ugh. But if I were to go by that article I should probably just flip a quarter as it says there really isn't a difference until you start OCing or doing apps like video editing which he'll never do, just games. if it were me it'd be simply more cores all the way, but I don't game enough to care about and have been out of the gaming loop for two long to know whether raw clocks or L3 is better. that article makes me even more confused as it says a 200Mhz clock increase is enough to pull the Athlon equal to the Deneb, does that mean a 500Mhz increase would pull it ahead? i just don't know.

But now you see my problem, the guy below you swears it rana, you swear its deneb, and the article says at even clocks its a quarter flip. I've scoured the net but simply can't find any benches with the two chips in a similar situation or even similar chips with a similar situation so i don't know how much speed would make the Athlon better or if its simply cores above all. I've asked all my gamer friends and its been the same, some swear its one, some the other...sigh. maybe there just isn't a right answer here. But I do appreciate the attempt so thanks.
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February 15, 2012 7:44:14 AM

well one thing you gotta consider in those is the gpu bottleneck constraining the games but the phenoms are generally 10% better in games than the athlons given the same clock, to get the same performance, the athlons would need much much more than a 10% bump in clock.

Seems like either one will be decent enough and the difference is small, maybe just flip a coin for it since you don't really lose much either way :) 
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February 15, 2012 7:54:56 AM

Best answer selected by bassbeast.
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February 15, 2012 8:01:42 AM

esrever said:
well one thing you gotta consider in those is the gpu bottleneck constraining the games but the phenoms are generally 10% better in games than the athlons given the same clock, to get the same performance, the athlons would need much much more than a 10% bump in clock.

Seems like either one will be decent enough and the difference is small, maybe just flip a coin for it since you don't really lose much either way :) 



Thanks, if they are really that close as you said i'll give the boy the X4 deneb and the GF the Athlon because in the end she'll be on FB and chat all day so i don't she'd even stress a dual core whereas if its one thing i've learned about kids is they always want the latest games :D  . I just hope his HD4850 will tide him over for now as I'll still have to upgrade his brother down the line but for now at least he got himself a new laptop with one of his college grants and the only game he plays (Star wars KoTOR MMO) plays fine on his laptop so he's happy for now. But thanks for the link, if that article is correct they are so close I might as well just let him have the extra core.
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February 15, 2012 3:32:47 PM

This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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