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E6600 vs. X3 460 -- Should I bother with the X3?

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March 13, 2012 9:55:07 AM

Trying to decide if I should Upgrade my old Intel system or build a new AMD system on a limited budget, or save for a better CPU later.

Should I bother with a new system if I can't afford the higher L2 cache right now? Will I see a big difference with the X3's Speed and 3 cores, or should I wait and save for the FX's 8M L2&L3 cache + 8 cores? (I know it's overkill for a non-gamer but it's a great price and I want futureproofing.)

Current: Core 2 Duo 1.67 Ghz, 1M L2, 65nm, 65w


Athlon X3 460 3.4Ghz 1.5M L2 Triple Core (unlock maybe?) $85 -- $325 w/ New System
vs.
E6600 3Ghz 2M L2 Dual Core $75

or

Later
________
FX-8120 3.1Ghz 8M L2, 8M L3 8-Core 32nm $190

I'm not a gamer at all, and of course I'll be re-using much of my hardware below.

What I'm having trouble with:
Multitasking, Video rendering (movies), TV reception if recording while using CPU elsewhere, slow response in Media Center, Firefox, and Mediamonkey, slow response watching DVD's, 90% CPU when converting video, not able to handle 3 TV tuners at once.


THANK YOU in advance!






Current System:
  • Dell Vostro 200 (2008) and Case (great cooling! Hate to lose it.)
  • Win7 Ultimate Retail 32bit/64bit dual boot
  • CPU: Core 2 Duo 1.67 Ghz, 1M L2, 65nm, 65w
  • Motherboard: LGA 775 G33M02 microATX
  • Ram: 3Gb DDR2 PC2-5300
  • PSU - replacing with 500w now.
  • Video Card - Nvidia GT-430 1GB
  • Hard Drives - 1.65TB on 3 7200 drives
  • TV Card - PCTV 800e USB


    New Build
  • Motherboard: M5A97 Pro AM3+ ATX USB 3.0 2Pci-e $95
  • More about : e6600 460 bother

    a c 203 à CPUs
    March 13, 2012 10:04:06 AM

    So you have about $180 for a CPU/MB/RAM upgrade? (M5A97+Athlon X3 460 cost).

    Lets see what we can get you with a Sandy Bridge upgrade option for the same amount.
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    a c 203 à CPUs
    March 13, 2012 10:25:30 AM

    in the same ballpack (with RAM included)
    CPU: Intel Pentium G860 3.0GHz Dual-Core Processor ($92.88 @ Amazon)
    Motherboard: ASRock H61M/U3S3 Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($69.99 @ Newegg)
    Memory: Kingston ValueRAM 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($26.99 @ Newegg)
    Total: $189.86


    THG: Gaming CPU Hierarchy Chart puts the Pentium G860 and Athlon X3 460 in the same tier.
    Interestingly, a future upgrade from Athlon X3 46 to FX-8120 would keep you in the same tier and would not be a recommended upgrade ( a 'sideways' upgrade).

    THG: Best Gaming CPUs For The Money: March 2012 is giving the nod to the G860


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    March 13, 2012 10:28:35 AM

    WR2 said:
    So you have about $180 for a CPU/MB/RAM upgrade? (M5A97+Athlon X3 460 cost).

    Lets see what we can get you with a Sandy Bridge upgrade option for the same amount.



    No, I have $75-$85 now. If I wait and save I could get the $180-$190 later. I wanted to know if it is worth the trouble to build the new system with the low-Cache $85 cpu now.
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    a c 203 à CPUs
    March 13, 2012 10:28:43 AM

    While the THG article is focused on gaming - the relative CPU performance is still valid for home office/home entertainment and general purpose workloads.
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    a c 203 à CPUs
    March 13, 2012 10:30:22 AM

    You'd also need a new motherboard (and with the M5A97 Pro AM3+) new DDR3 RAM to use the Athlon X3 460 now.
    It won't work with your current GA 775 G33M02 microATX MB.
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    March 13, 2012 10:33:16 AM

    WR2 said:
    in the same ballpack (with RAM included)
    CPU: Intel Pentium G860 3.0GHz Dual-Core Processor ($92.88 @ Amazon)
    Motherboard: ASRock H61M/U3S3 Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($69.99 @ Newegg)
    Memory: Kingston ValueRAM 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($26.99 @ Newegg)
    Total: $189.86


    THG: Gaming CPU Hierarchy Chart puts the Pentium G860 and Athlon X3 460 in the same tier.
    Interestingly, a future upgrade from Athlon X3 46 to FX-8120 would keep you in the same tier and would not be a recommended upgrade ( a 'sideways' upgrade).

    THG: Best Gaming CPUs For The Money: March 2012 is giving the nod to the G860


    Thank you for looking into it.

    I am not a gamer AT ALL. Would the upgrade to the FX-8120 later still keep me in the same tier for multi-taksing and video conversion? I am looking for something that doesn't choke my TV card's reception when I'm doing something in the fore-ground (like processing a large music database.)
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    a c 203 à CPUs
    March 13, 2012 10:34:42 AM

    Going from your current C2D to the E6600 C2D for $75 doesn't look to be a good value either.
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    March 13, 2012 10:39:52 AM

    WR2 said:
    You'd also need a new motherboard (and with the M5A97 Pro AM3+) new DDR3 RAM to use the Athlon X3 460 now.
    It won't work with your current GA 775 G33M02 microATX MB.


    Yes, that is assumed. My full budget is $325 now or $525 later. I posted this question in the new build forum but got no answers. So I figured I'd shorten the post and ask my real question: will a cheap CPU be worth my time?

    http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/339171-31-important-c...

    New Build
  • CPU: Athlon X3 460 3.4Ghz 1.5M L2 Triple Core (unlock maybe?) $85
  • Motherboard: M5A97 Pro AM3+ ATX USB 3.0 2Pci-e $95
  • Ram - 4Gb DDR3 1333 $25
  • Case: ATX Mid Tower case e-Sata or ATX Mid Tower USB 3.0 $60
  • PSU: Antec 500w
  • [/b]
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    a c 203 à CPUs
    March 13, 2012 10:44:23 AM

    For future upgrading with CPUs in the $190 price range (FX 8120 or Core i5-2400) the i5-2400 would have the advantage in heavily multi-tasked applications.

    AMD FX-8150 - 3.6GHz vs Intel Core i5 2400 - 3.1GHz
    (Faster $249 FX-8150 used since FX-8120 not available for comparison).
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    a c 203 à CPUs
    March 13, 2012 10:47:46 AM

    gggirlgeek said:
    Yes, that is assumed. My full budget is $325 now or $525 later. I posted this question in the new build forum but got no answers. So I figured I'd shorten the post and ask my real question: will a cheap CPU be worth my time?
    Yes I believe it will. It's a significant & worthwhile upgrade over your current C2D 1.67Ghz CPU. Either the AMD or Intel options will give you roughly equivalent performance.
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    a c 203 à CPUs
    March 13, 2012 10:52:28 AM

    A performance comparison between AMD Athlon II X3 455 - 3.3GHz vs Intel Pentium G850 - 2.9GHz
    (Athlon II X3 460 & Intel Pentium G860 not available in the database - but you'll get a good idea where they fall).

    Unlocking the 4th core in the X3 460 is possible. It's also possible it won't be stable after the unlock. It's a slight gamble.
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    March 13, 2012 12:04:16 PM

    Thanks for the link to the AnandTech performance comparison page. You can really customize your results. Nice! Too bad they only had the FX-8150 chip, no 8120, 6100 or 4100 (WTF?) These are such good values for the money.

    I got a nice look at my current E2140 compared to the X3 455 (not 460) and, Yeah!, it's worth the trouble! Much better!

    I think my motherboard might make a big difference in my setup as well, like DDR3.

    I have to disagree with THG: Gaming CPU Hierarchy Chart when it comes to the X3 460 vs the Fx-8150. Stomped!! by so many levels.

    As far as i3 or i5 goes, I just don't see a way to get a motherboard in my price range, $100, especially one that would allow me to upgrade to a high-end cpu later.

    Since I can upgrade to the Fx-8150 or better later with the AM3+ motherboard it seems the money on the low-end cpu would be better spent on the AMD now.
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    March 13, 2012 12:10:19 PM

    WR2 said:
    A performance comparison between AMD Athlon II X3 455 - 3.3GHz vs Intel Pentium G850 - 2.9GHz
    (Athlon II X3 460 & Intel Pentium G860 not available in the database - but you'll get a good idea where they fall).

    Unlocking the 4th core in the X3 460 is possible. It's also possible it won't be stable after the unlock. It's a slight gamble.


    Question: Would it be unstable after changing it back to Triple core? Could I try and see without worry?
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    a c 203 à CPUs
    March 13, 2012 12:11:07 PM

    gggirlgeek said:
    As far as i3 or i5 goes, I just don't see a way to get a motherboard in my price range, $100, especially one that would allow me to upgrade to a high-end cpu later.
    They did have some of the FX chips in the comparison DB - just not the one you're currently looking at. It's a new release and will probably make it in the DB shortly.

    Your FX-8120 vs X3 460 would have been a bit closer.

    -> My suggested G860 CPU/ ASRock H61M/U3S3 MB combo meets the upgrade goal all the way to Core i7-2600.
    Not that you'd want to go that high - maybe just the (same price as FX-8120) Core i5-2400 that I mentioned. See the performance comparison above.
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    a c 203 à CPUs
    March 13, 2012 12:12:11 PM

    gggirlgeek said:
    Question: Would it be unstable after changing it back to Triple core? Could I try and see without worry?
    I would think not. And yes you could.
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    a c 203 à CPUs
    March 13, 2012 12:31:20 PM

    Back on that benchmark comparison site..
    Compare the G850 vs Athlon II X4 645 to get an idea about performance comarisons with a G860 & unlocked X3 460
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    March 13, 2012 6:59:13 PM

    Thanks a lot! Now you're making me think. A big task! :D 

    Questions about the Intel G850:
    *Will most programs, including Win7, use L3 cache?
    *It looks like this is Intel's version of an APU. Since I have a video card will this interfere, or waste cpu power that's not needed? (It doesn't take the dual core power away from other things?)
    *Will prices for the i5 come down later? (The Core 2 Duo is the same price it was 5 years ago, so I'm afraid it won't.)
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    a c 203 à CPUs
    March 13, 2012 8:15:44 PM

    All programs/processes will make use of the G850/G860 L3 cache.
    With your GT-430 graphics card it will actually off-load some work from the CPU for things like video encoding/watching DVD, etc. With the monitor hooked up to the GT-430 the HD 2000 on the CPU will be power-gated and be dormant.
    Supply and demand determine prices. But your guess about future i5 / FX-8120 prices would be as good as anyone elses.
    FX-8120 price history
    Core i5-2400 price history
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    Best solution

    a c 203 à CPUs
    March 13, 2012 8:22:51 PM

    I think you can trim $25 off the cost of your PSU.
    Antec EarthWatts EA-430D 430W 80+ BRONZE PSU $45 & free shipping
    Even the EA-380 would be plenty of power for your system & upgrades but with shipping charges it's more than the EA-430D.
    That just about covers the upgrade to Core i3-2120.

    Share
    March 13, 2012 9:44:45 PM

    My 350w is currently giving me problems (DVD won't work if 3rd HDD or PCI card is plugged in. Mouse goes wonky when 3rd HDD or DVD plugged in, etc.) So I want plenty of room. I am planning to get a total of 4 TV tuners and a Blu Ray eventually as well.
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    a c 203 à CPUs
    March 13, 2012 9:47:33 PM

    What make/model & age is your current PSU?

    Even with everything you have mentioned that 430W PSU should be more than plenty.
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    March 13, 2012 11:22:32 PM

    mitunchidamparam said:
    i would say go with x3


    Do you mean compared to the E6600 upgrade or compared to the G860 Intel now on the table?
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    a b à CPUs
    March 14, 2012 12:43:29 AM

    I have a E6600 computer and the speed difference between it and the AMD processor is not that much, (25% or so) I don't think that it would be worth the money. You will need to go for at least a i5 2500k computer (90% or so) to make it worthwhile
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    March 14, 2012 1:48:55 AM

    OK, you guys have sold me. The G860 looks good. I have ordered my new system!

    Thanks for the 430w PSU $44 recommendation, WR2. I did that since it's most likely the age of my current PSU causing the problems.

    I found an ATX mobo on Open Box special P8Z68-V LE $94. I thought I'd take the risk because I wanted the extra PCI and Ram slots. Warranty is 100% with Asus.

    *Case: Redbone U3 $50
    *Ram: 4Gb Cosair DDR3 1600 $30
    *CPU + Heatsink: G860 3Ghz $99

    Re-using my old stuff:

    * Win7 Ultimate 32bit/64bit dual boot (for new system.)
    * Video Card - Nvidia GT-430 1GB
    * Hard Drives - 1.65TB on 3 7200 drives
    * TV Card - PCTV 800e USB
    * 32" Monitor
    * DVDRW
    * Wireless Mouse & Keyboard & 802.11n Card
    * 5.1 surround speakers

    Thanks a lot guys! You helped immensely!

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    March 14, 2012 1:53:18 AM

    Best answer selected by gggirlgeek.
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    March 14, 2012 1:57:44 AM

    Pretty scary for a loooooong time AMD fan-girl to go Intel. Last Intel system was a freebie. But I just couldn't rationalize staying with AMD once I found the P8Z68-V Mobo. i5-2300 or 2400 will be my next upgrade.
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    a c 203 à CPUs
    March 14, 2012 2:07:37 AM

    gggirlgeek said:
    I found an ATX mobo on Open Box special P8Z68-V LE $94. I thought I'd take the risk because I wanted the extra PCI and Ram slots. Warranty is 100% with Asus.
    Nice move. Gives you an option for choosing a K model CPU and doing some future overclocking.
    And P8Z68-V LE has support for the Ivy Bridge CPUs showing up later this year.
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    March 17, 2012 11:53:11 AM

    I have to thank you again, WR2. Just found out that Pentium E6600 at Newegg was not compatible with my old motherboard (G33M02.) Thought it was the same as E6600 Core 2 Duo (I swear Intel's site listed the Pentium too, but I can't find the dang compatibility chart again.) Newegg does not refund or exchange CPU's -- only exact replacements if DOA.

    What a near miss!

    Also, on the Ram side, I wish I had looked at the P8Z68 user manual before buying. I'm sure my ram will work, but, in the 1600mhz category it prefers 1.65v, and really likes Cas Latency 8, which is better than the normal 9.

    I'm sure my Ram is compatible, but there was a better deal, with better timings at the voltage my mobo likes. However, the specific PNY modules (below) are not listed in the manual (I've never had a problem with that though.) PNY DDR3 1600, 8, 1.65v-$26.99. Anandtech says there is little real world difference though.
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    a c 203 à CPUs
    March 17, 2012 12:10:40 PM

    I should have realized that the E6600 might be a Pentium E6600 (Wolfdale) and checked deeper. Not much action in the forums for that vintage lately.

    I think you can under-volt your RAM and run it at DDR3 1333 to get it happy in the new board if need be.
    Check the NewEgg owners feedback remarks for that RAM set. Back on 8/4/2011 by Jammrock:
    "Other Thoughts: I bought a set when I upgraded my computer. My budget was tight and there was a $20 MIR so I grabbed a set. Works as advertised on my Gigabyte Z68 micro ATX board. Liked them so much I got a second set to reach 8 GB. MIR came in promptly with no issues"
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    March 17, 2012 12:43:41 PM

    Yep! I also forgot about the MIR. So I got a better deal after all. :-)

    I'm a little hyper-sensitive about voltage and resistance, etc. because I use an e-cigarette and tried one of the low resistance mods. Killed my batteries. One guy in the news had one explode and is scarred for life.

    I don't overclock or screw with cpu/ram generally. I don't even stress-test. I think it's the reason I've kept all of my PC's for 6+ years, and they were still running when donated. (I have the old-school idea that my devices should last 10+ years. I'm stubborn like that.)

    Oh, and it's not your job to know every motherboard's variations and compatibility, but thank you for the care. Damn knowledgeable too! :love: 
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    April 5, 2012 3:09:34 AM

    Ended up ordering that CL8 ram after all. Decided to get 8GB while the price is still low. But had to go to Tiger to get it. RMA'd the Corsair sticks. I'm using the PAE 32bit patch on my now and it works fine. Will test the new ram and the patch when it get's here. Will compare to a dual boot with 64bit Windows to see how 4 instances of Firefox with 100 tabs open fares -- all while encoding video and playing an HD video in the background. That should tell me something. (Right now WEI has a 7.9 for memory operations though!)

    System is running really nice. I still have some old problems (with picture quality) but now I know it's not a bottle neck. I can trouble shoot other things. Avatar in Blu Ray was AMAZING! Actually made me dizzy. :D 

    You know, I say I'm not a gamer but some sneak peaks I've seen are truly incredible these days -- like being inside a movie. You're not going to believe me but I've only played Atari tennis and Pac Man. I might just give Lord of the Rings a try. What's another good one for my system (no joy stick either)?
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    April 5, 2012 3:30:13 AM

    Stupid noisy side panel fan! Going to mod it with some ear-bud foam I found at the dollar store. The blades were actually touching the metal and sending it into vibration frenzy. Unplugged it and my GPU max temp heated up 10°C. (yes, cables are well managed.)

    Also, did a panty-hose mod on my other fans and my side panel vents (dusty apartment building!)
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