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Best budget processor for a gaming PC rebuild?

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February 16, 2012 7:05:34 PM

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=BX80623I3212...

AMD Phenom II X4 960
http://www.ncix.ca/products/?sku=67670&vpn=HD96ZTWFGRBO...

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.








February 16, 2012 7:10:16 PM

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.
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a b à CPUs
February 16, 2012 7:28:35 PM

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.
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February 16, 2012 8:01:11 PM

I think I'll go with the 2120 then, and add a motherboard(not sure which yet) and some DDR3 RAM in the upgrade.
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a b à CPUs
February 16, 2012 8:08:12 PM

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.
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a c 146 à CPUs
February 16, 2012 8:35:07 PM

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.
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February 16, 2012 9:08:24 PM

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?
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a c 311 à CPUs
February 16, 2012 11:39:35 PM

The i3-2120 is your best choice for gaming.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-cpu-review-o...
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.
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a b à CPUs
February 16, 2012 11:56:23 PM

Aereik said:
Would the z68 be a better choice than the p67x, which I've read is also a good choice?




this is a good article on P67 or Z68 for gaming, here is the summary of it with a link for more info

For a Gaming PC: P67 or Z68?

From a performance point of view, both P67 and Z68 offers identical performance.

The exception to this is when you use a Z68 motherboard in tandem with Virtu (a program that intercepts the dedicated GPU and the IGP calls, to direct the calls to the right GPU (depending on whether you’re gaming with the dedicated GPU or converting videos with the IGP) which actually decrease performance within video games, by 5-10%.

If Virtu is not used, performance is identical on both platforms, but then you’re not using the IGP to convert videos, making P67 just as good as Z68.

On top of that, most Z68 motherboards feature video outputs ports (VGA, DVI and/or HDMI), which take space that could be used for additional USB, FireWire, E-SATA and other actual useful ports that are present on P67.

In short:

If you absolutely want to use Intel’s Quick Sync to convert videos, despite the lower quality of converted videos and that you don’t mind the performance hit (5-10%) in video games, go with a Z68 motherboard. Note that if don’t use Virtu (which is required IF you want to use Quicksync), you will not get that performance hit in video games.
If you don’t care about Quick Sync, don’t intend to use SSD Caching (which as I explained above, you don’t want to use anyway if you maximum performance all the time) and would rather have the extra ports, go either with a P67 motherboard or a Z68 motherboard without the extra ports, unless you can get a good deal on a Z68 motherboard (hence why I recommend one for Tier 4 and 5, due to its killer $100 price.)


http://www.hardware-revolution.com/best-mainstream-gami...

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February 17, 2012 1:40:42 AM

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!
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a b à CPUs
February 17, 2012 1:53:01 AM

Aereik 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=N82E168... - P8Z68 Pro
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - UD3

P67
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - Sabertooth
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - GD65
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February 17, 2012 2:11:06 AM
a b à CPUs
February 17, 2012 2:14:19 AM

Def the ASRock Extreme3. mATX mobos are no good; a lot more heat and less ports
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a c 146 à CPUs
February 17, 2012 3:28:03 AM

Aereik 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.
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a c 185 à CPUs
February 17, 2012 4:02:37 AM

Z68 so you are ensured you can upgrade to ivybridge.
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a b à CPUs
February 17, 2012 10:08:41 AM

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.
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February 20, 2012 2:55:12 PM

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
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a b à CPUs
February 21, 2012 1:36:24 PM

Then do it.
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a c 146 à CPUs
February 21, 2012 5:55:42 PM

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.
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February 22, 2012 11:23:37 PM

Hey everybody! I bought and installed an i3 2120 @ 3.3GHz, H61 motherboard, and DDR3 RAM. My PC is running quite well, so thanks!
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February 22, 2012 11:25:06 PM

Best answer selected by Aereik.
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a b à CPUs
February 22, 2012 11:32:47 PM

This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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