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Intel vs AMD - budget/midrange gaming?

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Last response: in CPUs
April 16, 2012 3:42:16 PM

Hi there
For a budget to midrange gaming system, for where i am only concerned about playing Diablo 3, League of Legends and maybe WoW - would i be best off going for AMD or Intel cpus?
I know an i5 2500k is a fantastic CPU for gaming, but if i could save some money and go for a cheaper CPU that would run all of those games just fine - i would prefer though!
Could anyone vouch for either company, and advise a model?

I have maximum of £150 for a CPU, but obviously wouldn't mind spending less if i can get something that would do the job for cheaper!

Many thanks in advance :) 

More about : intel amd budget midrange gaming

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April 16, 2012 4:05:22 PM


Phenom II X4 975 BE $149.99

Phenom II X4 965 BE $119.99

FX 6100 $149.99

FX 4170 $139.99

For $170 you can get a FX 6200 and $180 a FX 8120 if you want to spend the extra.

I would consider the 965 or 975 though for best budget / performance ratio.
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April 16, 2012 4:15:50 PM

Hi, thanks for responding! Looks like a great CPU, will it be hefty enough for the games i have listed?

Getting a HD 6850, i think! :) 
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April 16, 2012 4:19:00 PM

It's a great CPU for gaming.

Have you saved enough in your overall budget to move up to a HD 6870?
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April 16, 2012 4:23:39 PM

Best scenario:

Cheapest and best performing CPU and Motherboard, factoring more to a graphics.

X4 965 BE is still a gaming grunt, throw it onto a cheap 970 mobo and factor the rest towards a better GPU. 6870 is solid, if you can push for a HD 78XX card it will be worth your while.
April 16, 2012 4:24:41 PM

I heard the stock fan is really loud, but a pretty easy fix i guess to just get an aftermarket cooler!

I might have enough after saving money on the CPU + Motherboard yes, but i am concerned about power usuage. I will only have a 550w psu! :( 
Is the 6870 a big step up from the 6850?

Thanks agian! :) 
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April 16, 2012 4:28:44 PM

Depends on the 550w, overclocked the heck out of a 2500K with a GTX 570 on a Coolermaster GX550 Bronze, and it coped well.

The 6870 will have faster GPU and DRAM speeds, more stream processors so it will play better than a 6850.
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April 16, 2012 4:29:27 PM

What make/model of PSU? It's the 'right sized' for a Phenom II X4 965/HD 6870 system.

HD 6870 is not a huge step in performance or power requirements but probably worth an extra £30.
What resolution is your monitor?
April 16, 2012 4:34:38 PM

Sorry, it's an OCZ 600w. Not sure if that's a good brand! :o 

I will be playing at 1440x900. From what i can see, Diablo 3 isn't THAT demanding - but would still like something sufficient without going overkill :) 
Thanks again for all the advice guys, a real help :) 
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April 16, 2012 4:44:15 PM

Maybe the OCZ ModXStream Pro 600W? You'll be OK.

And for 1440x900 - the HD 6850 is fine.
Any chance of a 1920x1080 LCD upgrade? For that you might want to spring for the 6870,
April 16, 2012 5:53:58 PM

AMD for performance and cost.....can't beat them really. Especially the Phenom II.
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April 16, 2012 7:02:32 PM

For a mid-range budget I would go AMD. Yes intel has some great CPU's but their price point would cause you to sacrifice on other aspects of your build. Try looking into the 960T if you can get your hands on one for a good price it's a very cool CPU.
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April 16, 2012 8:35:56 PM

I have a 960T, even @ 1280x1024 when I unlocked it to an X6, i gained 20% FPS specifically on BF3, which should be a benchmark for modern games - ie, they're heavily threaded to make use of extra cores.

So moral of the story, if you can, pick up an X6, whilst it will be under utilized at the moment, it will be worth it in the future, or as I did, pick up a 960T and get a motherboard that can 'unlock' the other 2 cores.

I believe there's about a 60% chance you can successfully unlock all cores.

On a side note, if you do go with a phenom II, if you OC get a cheap after market cooler, the stock coolers (as always are very crap.) something like an CM 212 + or 212 Evo can keep your CPU cooler, resulting in better and more stable overclocks, and much better component life.

Also don't forget to OC the Northbridge, the Phenoms in particular are quite receptive to an extra NB speed boost.
April 17, 2012 2:52:12 PM

Hi all! Thanks for the replies.
A quick question, which kinda relates to this but saves opening another thread - what is the difference between ATX and Micro ATX motherboards, other than size?
Can i use a mini-atx in a 'normal' sized case?
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April 17, 2012 3:03:50 PM

Micro ATX should fit in any normal sized cases.

Are mini-ATX and micro ATX the same board? 'Cause there are mini-ITX motherboards out there too.

April 17, 2012 3:20:31 PM

What are the drawbacks of going Micro ATX in a normal sized case?
Are there less expansion slots or something?

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April 17, 2012 3:37:53 PM

Less expansion slots on the motherboard itself. Such as only 1 PCI-e x16 graphics card slot.
Might be less USB ports, less SATA ports and that kind of stuff too.
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April 17, 2012 3:38:41 PM

Are there less expansion slots or something?

That's the main difference, yes, but they usually have less features overall than their regular ATX equivalents, as well. Less PCB space means features have to be cut down somewhere.
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April 17, 2012 7:44:57 PM

Unless you are deliberatly trying to fit it into a small wee case, don't bother with an mini ATX as you are kneecapping yourself in the long run, but limited your expansion ability in the future. If you have a full size case, there is no advantage, only disadvantages to going with the a smaller mobo.