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Best budget processor for a gaming PC rebuild?

My motherboard and CPU are toast (used to have a Phenom II x4 940 and Asus m4a78 pro). I need to replace them. My price range is about $250 for both, so I've been considering:

Intel Core i3 2120 3.3GHz
http://www.ncix.ca/products/?sku=59192&vpn=BX80623I32120&manufacture=Intel

AMD Phenom II X4 960
http://www.ncix.ca/products/?sku=67670&vpn=HD96ZTWFGRBOX&manufacture=AMD

Don't know what motherboard I will be using, but I could use suggestions.

Components I will be using it with:

Radeon 4870 512mb GPU
Silencer 610 EPS12V 610W PSU
LG 22x DVD drive
OCZ DDR2 PC2-6400 800MHz 4(2x2)GB Ram (might upgrade)
WD 5400rpm 640GB Hard drive

With my old setup I could play WoW, Starcraft 2, Dragon Age: Origins, etc. and most games at med-high settings. I'd like to be able to still accomplish that. Mind that I am shopping in Canada.
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More about best budget processor gaming rebuild
  1. Id go with the 2120, its a great budget cpu and will play games better then the 960t. if you OC the 960t it probably will be close tho. if you get a i3 you can upgrade to a i5 or i7 down the line if you want also.
  2. Go for the i3
  3. Best answer
    you will need to purchase DDR3 ram for the i3, the 960T may work in an AM2+ mobo but you would be buying old tech just to re-use DDR2 RAM.
    you won't notice a real world difference gaming between the two but intel has the better upgrade path.
  4. I think I'll go with the 2120 then, and add a motherboard(not sure which yet) and some DDR3 RAM in the upgrade.
  5. You could also consider the Pentium G630 or G860 (the former being slightly slower than the latter). They're S1155 CPUs, so the upgrade path to i5 or i7 is still open, and are rated well as budget gaming CPUs.
  6. For the I3 I would say get a Z68 motherboard. The Z68 is the latest (for now) Intel chipset and will be backwards compatible with Ivy Bridges when they are released. If you get the I3 now you'll have a motherboard that can accept Ivy Bridges if you decide to upgrade in the future, you wont have to change the motherboard or RAM. If you go with AMD I would look at an AM3 + board with 990 chipset. I would say go with the I3 for now with the Z68 motherboard.
  7. rds1220 said:
    For the I3 I would say get a Z68 motherboard. The Z68 the latest (for now) Intel chipset and will be backwards compatible with Ivy Bridges when they are released. If you get the I3 now you'll have a motherboard that can can accept Ivy Bridges if you decide to upgrade in the future, you wont have to change the motherboard or RAM. If you with AMD I would look at an AM3 + board with 990 chipset. I would say go with the I3 for now with the Z68 motherboard.


    Would the z68 be a better choice than the p67x, which I've read is also a good choice?
  8. The i3-2120 is your best choice for gaming.
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-cpu-review-overclock,3106-5.html
    I have built several budget gaming systems for others using the slightly slower i3-2100 and one with the i3-2120. The hyper threaded dual core runs like a quad core, and shows up in Windows as a quad core. The Sandy Bridge architecture is way better than the Phenom II architecture for gaming.
  9. Thanks for the information everyone, I appreciate it. I hope to pick up an Intel Core i3 2120 tomorrow, and either a z68 or p67 (depending on in-store price and availability)
    motherboard to go with it. Thanks!
  10. Anonymous said:
    Thanks for the information everyone, I appreciate it. I hope to pick up an Intel Core i3 2120 tomorrow, and either a z68 or p67 (depending on in-store price and availability)
    motherboard to go with it. Thanks!

    Z68
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131790 - P8Z68 Pro
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128506 - UD3

    P67
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131702 - Sabertooth
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813130574 - GD65
  11. Def the ASRock Extreme3. mATX mobos are no good; a lot more heat and less ports
  12. Anonymous said:
    Would the z68 be a better choice than the p67x, which I've read is also a good choice?


    They will give pretty much the same performance but I'm pretty sure the P67 isn't going to be backwards compatible with Ivy Bridges.
  13. Z68 so you are ensured you can upgrade to ivybridge.
  14. Question is can he really buy an i3 2120, Z68 mobo and DDR3 RAM modules (4gb) for his budget of $250 dollars in Canada ?

    I may be wrong but i think not.
  15. Uther39 said:
    Question is can he really buy an i3 2120, Z68 mobo and DDR3 RAM modules (4gb) for his budget of $250 dollars in Canada ?

    I may be wrong but i think not.


    I can get it all with a slight increase to my budget.
    i3= 139.99
    z68= 109.99
    ddr3=27.88
    =278 + tax
  16. Then do it.
  17. If it's not that big of a deal to increase the spending a little then go with the I3 2120 with a Z68 board and RAM.
  18. Hey everybody! I bought and installed an i3 2120 @ 3.3GHz, H61 motherboard, and DDR3 RAM. My PC is running quite well, so thanks!
  19. Best answer selected by Aereik.
  20. This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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