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Is there any point? Considering i5 2400...

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March 25, 2012 3:18:39 AM

Hi
I've had my current computer for a little over two years now, and it's primarily for gaming purposes. I'm not obsessed with having the best gear and all, it was a budget build to begin with. At this stage i should probably say that I don't know a huge amount about this stuff in general, but hopefully enough to get by. I currently have:

4gb RAM (2 x 2gb)
ATI 5770 graphics card
phenom II 710 3 x 2.6ghz
ask if you need any more information...

Anyway, that all isn't hugely relevant except the card. I'm thinking of upgrading my computer. I've decided to go with intel, because their sandy bridges seem to blow anything AMD has right now out of the water for value, especially given my gaming tendencies. I don't plan on replacing my graphics card yet, it does its job fine. I'll stop beating around the bush and get to the point: I'm choosing probably between an i3 2100 and (big jump) an i5 2400. But the question is, if I go with the 2400, would my graphics card bottleneck its performance too much to make it a worthy investment? I'm also thinking of buying another 2gb of RAM when I upgrade, maybe 4gb.

More about : point 2400

March 25, 2012 3:24:30 AM

Oh also i should say I am not interested in overclocking.
a c 117 à CPUs
March 25, 2012 4:08:51 AM

A 2nd gen Intel cpu will not bottleneck a gpu.
Don't know where you shop but the price difference between a 2400 and 2500K isn't much.
Intel Core i5 2400
http://us.ncix.com/products/?sku=57964&vpn=BX80623I5240...
Intel Core i5 2500K
http://us.ncix.com/products/?sku=57962&vpn=BX80623I5250...
A 2100 would be fine if you're on a budget.
Intel Core i3 2100
http://us.ncix.com/products/?sku=58339&vpn=BX80623I3210...
Choose your mobo wisely.
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/289?vs=363
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a c 265 à CPUs
March 25, 2012 4:26:22 AM
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To give you some insight into 2100 vs. 2400 for gaming, read this article:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-gaming-cpu-cor...

No game, by itself will use more than 2-3gb, so 4gb of ram is ok.
But, if you do some multitasking, or run 64 bit enabled apps, more ram is better.
Ram is cheap, add a 8gb(2 x 4gb) kit for about $40.
Windows will keep more code in ram, ready for instant reuse.

To give you some insight on cpu vs gpu,
run these two tests:

a) Run your games, but lower your resolution and eye candy.
If your FPS increases, it indicates that your cpu is strong enough to drive a better graphics configuration.

b) Limit your cpu, either by reducing the OC, or, in windows power management, limit the maximum cpu% to something like 70%.
If your FPS drops significantly, it is an indicator that your cpu is the limiting factor, and a cpu upgrade is in order.

It is possible that both tests are positive, indicating that you have a well balanced system, and both cpu and gpu need to be upgraded to get better gaming FPS.
March 25, 2012 4:32:49 AM

Thanks guys.
This is the motherboard I'm mainly considering at the moment: http://www.funkykit.com/about-us/6891-review-gigabyte-h...
I want a relatively cheap motherboard with four RAM slots preferably. But I'm not into exploiting all the features many expensive ones have, so I didn't think I'd need to spend that much.

I noticed that the 2500 isn't much more in price, but I just thought it might be overkill because I simply presumed a 2400 would be bottlenecked from the start.

I did see that article but I didn't read all of it, just examined the comparisons graph. Thanks guys! I will also try your proposed tests, Geofelt.
March 25, 2012 5:03:42 AM

geofelt said:

To give you some insight on cpu vs gpu,
run these two tests:

a) Run your games, but lower your resolution and eye candy.
If your FPS increases, it indicates that your cpu is strong enough to drive a better graphics configuration.

b) Limit your cpu, either by reducing the OC, or, in windows power management, limit the maximum cpu% to something like 70%.
If your FPS drops significantly, it is an indicator that your cpu is the limiting factor, and a cpu upgrade is in order.

It is possible that both tests are positive, indicating that you have a well balanced system, and both cpu and gpu need to be upgraded to get better gaming FPS.


I ran the first test. Using Skyrim as my game (it's the newest game I've installed), I ran at low 20s FPS on highest settings, which improved to between 50-60 when I put the settings and res down to medium. But when I lowered the settings further, there was no increase. So it would seem my cpu is good enough to have a better graphics card, no? If by lowering settings further no difference emerges, does that mean anything- could it mean my cpu was limiting my gpu performance?

The second test I can't run, not sure how to limit the power distribution to the cpu- not through the BIOS?
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March 25, 2012 5:59:36 AM

A video card upgrade will give you a quick boost to increasing your FPS dramatically.
A 6870 can be had for about $175 right now http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
and if you believe these charts they should give yoa quite an improvement.
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/296?vs=290
Not dismissing the idea of getting an I5-2400 and that MB, I just happen to be using that very setup right now, but I'm not real sure going that way would give you the same performance increase. No doubt an Intel setup will beat an AMD rig, I just thought I'd give you something to think about.
Willing to hear arguments.
BTW, don't get that MB, get a Z68 MB for around $100-$140. Z boards have some nice extras even if you don't o/c.
a b à CPUs
March 25, 2012 6:25:52 AM

Essentially it comes down to what you need a system for, I can very well assure you that AMD has a good assortment of chips that can cater for a end users needs, the general limitation is that AMD doesn't have a updated enthusiast level chip, but other than that I can say you will bearly notice the difference between a good Phenom II or FX in relation to a i5.

I wouldn't just jump to the intel ship as you will take a big kick in the nuts really. P67 is all but EOL, Z68 is soon following suit and the Z77 platform is insanely expensive for mid level equipment, factor in that SB will start to be factored out you will be paying over the top.

In short there is nothing wrong with AMD if you are looking for a gaming come HTPC come professional PC.
March 25, 2012 6:39:07 AM

^ I do suppose that as motherboard costs rise, so too does the opportunity cost of not just going with a better AMD cpu. I've had lag issues with my computer in the past, and overall I've been mildly unhappy with my 710 x3 phenom II. I've often had lag in games I can't attribute to my card (to the best of my knowledge)- not fps lag. I've had lag in games such as Team Fortress 2- which seems quite odd given how old that game is. My computer also seems to run very hot when I game in general- it reaches 75-80 degrees, and I've been told conflicting things about how worried I should be about that. My case doesn't have a great cooling system, only the default fans.

There are so many variables that are linked to the problems I've had, but overall I'm yet to be convinced by AMD, which is why I'm considering intel. But yes a new AMD chip might well be better value, and this would free up money for me to maybe buy a new graphics card as well.
a b à CPUs
March 25, 2012 6:59:12 AM

If you are keen on sticking with AMD then you can get good quality AMD 990FX boards for good value, and you can pick up a 8120 for $180 which isn't bad shanks at all.

I did a test bench to see if a ECS 990FX board was any good considering how cheap it is and well it is very good for the features you get, just saying you can get a hell of lot still. That said I will obviously tell you that Intel is better if you want enthusiast level performance (only if you go with a 2700k or better though) by virtue of benching of both platforms. As a casual user a 8120 will be really good, unless you can find a X6 around somewhere.
a b à CPUs
March 25, 2012 11:55:34 AM

absorber said:
Hi
I've had my current computer for a little over two years now, and it's primarily for gaming purposes. I'm not obsessed with having the best gear and all, it was a budget build to begin with. At this stage i should probably say that I don't know a huge amount about this stuff in general, but hopefully enough to get by. I currently have:

4gb RAM (2 x 2gb)
ATI 5770 graphics card
phenom II 710 3 x 2.6ghz
ask if you need any more information...

Anyway, that all isn't hugely relevant except the card. I'm thinking of upgrading my computer. I've decided to go with intel, because their sandy bridges seem to blow anything AMD has right now out of the water for value, especially given my gaming tendencies. I don't plan on replacing my graphics card yet, it does its job fine. I'll stop beating around the bush and get to the point: I'm choosing probably between an i3 2100 and (big jump) an i5 2400. But the question is, if I go with the 2400, would my graphics card bottleneck its performance too much to make it a worthy investment? I'm also thinking of buying another 2gb of RAM when I upgrade, maybe 4gb.



I would be interested to know what motherboard you are using, because i feel you would be better served by just replacing your CPU with a Phenom II 960T, then sell your 5770 and with the over all cash saved from paying out for a totaly new Intel system you could probably afford an ATI HD 7870 GPU which together with your new CPU will reap you alot more reward for what you use a PC for.
March 25, 2012 12:15:51 PM

Uther39 said:
I would be interested to know what motherboard you are using, because i feel you would be better served by just replacing your CPU with a Phenom II 960T, then sell your 5770 and with the over all cash saved from paying out for a totaly new Intel system you could probably afford an ATI HD 7870 GPU which together with your new CPU will reap you alot more reward for what you use a PC for.


I'm using a gigabyte 785GT UD3H. Getting a better phenom II is tempting, yeah- even without upgrading my graphics i might hold off for a year longer if I do that before I upgrade. But I didn't think they were really available any more =\.
a b à CPUs
March 25, 2012 1:14:53 PM

From the looks of this Tom's review ya' need a decent CPU and GPU for SkyrimV to get great FPS from the game.
I still think getting a 6850 for around $175 would be the thing to look at right now. It's not like you're throwing your $$ away, that video card will also be good for CPU upgrades whatever you decide.
a b à CPUs
March 25, 2012 1:31:04 PM

absorber said:
I'm using a gigabyte 785GT UD3H. Getting a better phenom II is tempting, yeah- even without upgrading my graphics i might hold off for a year longer if I do that before I upgrade. But I didn't think they were really available any more =\.


in that case defo get the 960t and upgrade your gpu.
a c 265 à CPUs
March 25, 2012 3:09:08 PM

absorber said:
I ran the first test. Using Skyrim as my game (it's the newest game I've installed), I ran at low 20s FPS on highest settings, which improved to between 50-60 when I put the settings and res down to medium. But when I lowered the settings further, there was no increase. So it would seem my cpu is good enough to have a better graphics card, no? If by lowering settings further no difference emerges, does that mean anything- could it mean my cpu was limiting my gpu performance?

The second test I can't run, not sure how to limit the power distribution to the cpu- not through the BIOS?


It seems to me that you would benefit from a stronger GPU. If you upgrade, make it a significant upgrade, or you may be disappointed.
The 5770 is a good card, so a good jump will be to a 6950 or GTX560 class card.

To limit your cpu via software in windows 7:
Go to control panel/power options/change plan settings/change advanced power settings/processor power management/maximum processor state/ set to 50% and see how you do.

You already have a 3 core cpu, which is about as many cores as any game needs. To increase gaming power from the cpu point of view, those cores need to be faster and/or more efficient. You could do that by overclocking the X3 which is worth a try.

Or by replacing it with a higher clocked x3 or x4 that is supported by your motherboard.

If you need to change the motherboard, it is better to go to a sandy bridge or better, ivy bridge cpu and motherboard. They are more efficient, doing more work per clock than amd. It seems that they also oc easier and higher.
a b à CPUs
March 25, 2012 3:19:29 PM

I would rather look at the HD7850.
a b à CPUs
March 25, 2012 3:40:01 PM

sarinaide said:
I would rather look at the HD7850.



So would i, so keep your mobo, buy a 960T and a coolermaster 212 EVO cpu cooler and then buy your 7850.
March 25, 2012 8:38:45 PM

Thanks guys. Would a 600W PSU be enough to handle all that stuff though? That's a big upgrade.
a b à CPUs
March 25, 2012 8:43:40 PM


what make is the psu, if its a decent make then a 600w will be plenty.
March 26, 2012 12:08:07 AM

PSU brand is thermaltake I think- not 100% sure about anything beyond that though.

It'd be a bit more than two years old.
March 26, 2012 12:25:50 AM

Having read the review, I somewhat frustratingly discovered that the 7850s had minor problems despite their otherwise evident good value: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-7870-revi...

I plan on playing a Blizzard game (diablo 3) at its launch in two months- seeing as they've had problems with both starcraft 2 and WoW I'm inclined to wait it out and see if the problems are fixed, or buy a different card.
March 26, 2012 12:40:31 AM

Best answer selected by absorber.
a b à CPUs
March 26, 2012 6:57:34 AM

Ewww Thermaltake, in the 600+ watt bracket I have only tested;

Coolermaster Silent Pro Gold 600w - fully modular and silent, pushed 800w before failing

Corsair TX650M - Modular

XFX Core Edition / XXX 650w
March 26, 2012 7:11:44 AM

sarinaide said:
Ewww Thermaltake, in the 600+ watt bracket I have only tested;

Coolermaster Silent Pro Gold 600w - fully modular and silent, pushed 800w before failing

Corsair TX650M - Modular

XFX Core Edition / XXX 650w

Yeah at time we'd planned on getting some antec psu but they were outta stock so we compromised.
!