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960T or 2500K?

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April 11, 2012 11:40:21 PM

My friend (I know, "friend") is looking at a new build, but he's on a budget. However, Micro Center has some pretty sweet deals concerning motherboards and processors.

I can get:

Phenom II 960T and an Asus M5A97 for $155.

OR

2500k and Asus P8Z68-M Pro for $255
or
2500K and Asus P8Z68-V LX for $245
or
2500K and GA-Z68AP-D3 for $215


I'm actually really torn here. You've got what is arguably the best budget-performance chip out there and a Z68 motherboard for under $300. On the other hand, you get a hexa-core* cpu and a sweet motherboard for under $160!

Help me out here, Toms Hardware. Got any ideas?

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April 11, 2012 11:45:22 PM

whats his actual budget? the $100 difference is a lot when you choose the other parts.

If he is a gamer, spend more on a gpu and the system will perform better.
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April 12, 2012 12:04:09 AM

None of those LGA1155 boards are the best hence the price! As stated above based on budget then the 960T allows more for a GPU!
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April 12, 2012 12:45:26 AM

esrever said:
whats his actual budget? the $100 difference is a lot when you choose the other parts.

If he is a gamer, spend more on a gpu and the system will perform better.

Yeah, he plays Skyrim and others. I'm thinking of getting a 6870 or comparable next-gen AMD when he upgrades form his 8600. His budget is about 300 or so, but it also includes a graphics card.
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April 12, 2012 1:00:21 AM

OK, so with that in mind:

AMD: $300 - $155 (CPU + Mobo) = $145 for GPU
Intel: $300 - $215 (CPU + Mobo) = $85 for GPU

First off, I'd say he needs a bigger budget. Even with the cheaper AMD platform, that's still only $145 for a GPU which is barely enough for the cheapest 6850. With the Intel platform, $85... well that's no gaming system there. I really would push for the Intel platform, but if money is a significant problem, the AMD platform and a better GPU would serve the best in the short term.
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April 12, 2012 1:07:43 AM

you'd definately want a 6870 or better gpu. I would say the AMD system because his budget is rather low.
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Best solution

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April 12, 2012 2:02:53 AM

It depends how long he wants this for, cause with the 2500k build if he wants to game, he'll need to either increase his budget, or get a *** card and spend heaps upgrading it.

It also depends on his monitor, if it's only a 1366x768 or 1280x1024 then the 960T with the 6870 would per fect (my current setup actually) and will handle even STALKER with Enhanced DX11 Dynamic Lighting with 50+ fps

Not to mention the 960T can be unlocked to a hex core, which for games like BF3 and hopefully future games will hold their own against the IX series.

Going from a X4 to an X6 in BF = 15fps
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April 12, 2012 2:05:05 AM

Well the problem is even with the AMD system, he would still need a bigger budget for the 6870
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April 12, 2012 2:07:34 AM

the 6870 can be had for $140 with rebates. should be too much of a problem.
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April 12, 2012 6:59:21 AM

Stick with the 960T, get a mobo that can unlock cores (fingers crossed!) and a 7870. Push the budget on the GPU. At 1080p, which is what you'd want to play at, the GPU is more important than the CPU. Some upcoming games will support DirectX 11 and tessellation is better on the 7xxx series.
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April 12, 2012 10:55:46 AM

there is nothing wrong with a 6850. heck even a 6770 will run skyrim maxed out at 1080p, cpu counts quite a lot with skyrim. You should look at an i3 2100 for an intel budget cpu. It gives equal, and in the case of skyrim, BETTER performance than any amd cpu. It also gives you an upgrade path to an i5/i7 later on. AMD has no upgrade path. And also remember that you are not accounting for a power supply. the beefier vid card and cpu you get, the more power you need to run it. You are going to want to get a good 500w unit for the i5/960t + 6870 combo spending $80 will get you a good psu. If you went the lower power consumption i3 2100, you could probably go with a 6850 and get a 380w antec earthwatts for around $50, and still be faster than the proposed AMD setup. a 6870 with an i3 2100 and you would want to bump up to a good quality/good brand 450w unit. I dont know if Ram and a case are in the budget, but you need to think about that.
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April 12, 2012 12:27:28 PM

Skyrim responds too well to sandy-bridge cpus to ignore it!

Look for some "Skyrim scaling with cpus benchmarks" in google. I would say it would be better to go for i3-21XX stock, than even a 960T unlocked, OCed cpu. (Using the Phenom II X6 as reference).

As soon you better define the cpu usage (which games, softwares you gonna use) I could review my own commentary and recommend the 960T through.
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April 22, 2012 2:42:44 AM

Best answer selected by TheMissingpiece.
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