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Here's my build - AMD or Intel?

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April 28, 2012 7:07:55 PM

Howdy -

So, I have everything set for my build so far, but I'm having a HUGE time deciding on the processor. I could really use some help from more experienced builders. This is primarily a gaming build.

I'll be getting a Radeon HD 6950, a 600W power supply, etc. etc. I have the case, RAM, HDD, and everything picked out, except I just cannot decide on the CPU/MOBO.

My budget isn't COMPLETELY tight, but I'd like to keep it as low as possible while still maximizing performance. I'm deciding between a few processors now:

AMD Phenom II X4 965 : $110 on Newegg

AMD FX-4170 : $140 on Newegg

Intel i5-2500k : $180+12 tax = $192 at MicroCenter


Now, I understand that the i5 is clearly the BEST processor, but will I get the same performance from the 4170 or 965? And if so, which of those two would be the better bet for gaming? Mainly be doing GW2 or Diablo 3.

My thought is that any of these processors will be able to run GW2 on Ultra (or near it) with a 6950, so is there any real reason to spend the extra $80+ on the Intel CPU?

More about : build amd intel

April 28, 2012 7:14:33 PM

dont get the fx-4170. 965BE is better for cheaper. I too was deciding between the fx-4170 and 965BE just yesterday but ended up buying the 965BE yesterday. still waiting for it to come in though.
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April 28, 2012 7:20:55 PM

Cpus said:
dont get the fx-4170. 965BE is better for cheaper. I too was deciding between the fx-4170 and 965BE just yesterday but ended up buying the 965BE yesterday. still waiting for it to come in though.


Yeah, that's what I seem to be seeing also. You using it for a gaming build? I just want to be able to run on highest/near highest settings in GW2, Diablo, maybe some first person shooters, etc.

With a 6950, I feel like both the 965BE and the 2500k would both accomplish this, but I'd save $80 going AMD, yeah?
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April 28, 2012 7:25:11 PM

i5-2500k.
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April 28, 2012 7:30:36 PM

amuffin said:
i5-2500k.



Thank you - but if you read my initial post, I realize the 2500k is the BEST processor, but is it overkill to be able to play games on high(est) settings when coupled with a Radeon HD 6950? Will the 965BE perform just as well in games as the 2500k, for $80 less?

But yes, I realize that the 2500k is the best processor overall, but is it worth the extra $80-$90 in my situation? Thank you.
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April 28, 2012 7:46:12 PM

i5-2500k is clearly better, but for moderate gaming, i dont know how much real life difference you will see between the i5 and 965. There is a guy on this forum who upgraded from a 965 to an i5-2500k and he said there was hardly any difference and he wished he spent the money on a better graphics card instead
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April 28, 2012 7:48:03 PM

The 965 is a comparable processor in gaming to the i3-2100 and i3-2120!
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April 28, 2012 8:08:24 PM

Yes, I've seen the comparison of the 965 to the i3, but spending that kind of money on a dual core kind of scares me at this point in CPU tech. Or is that not true?
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April 28, 2012 8:45:00 PM

It's a dual core that performs better than the 8 core fx-8120 in gaming, and performs on par with the 965BE in gaming. Plus, you can upgrade to an i5 or i7 IB or SB.
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April 28, 2012 8:49:07 PM

Good point. Thank you. Also, though - since Intel seems to be far superior, are there any other Intel CPUs worth getting for gaming in the budget area, or does the 2120 pretty much take the top spot in that regard?
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April 28, 2012 8:54:27 PM

i3-2100 or the lower end i5's, such as the i5-2300 and i5-2400. Though I think the 2100 is a more cost/performance processor than the lower end i5's.
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April 28, 2012 8:54:34 PM

for your purpose you probably want to get a quad core. im not sure about guild wars but people who played diablo 3 beta said the game uses 4 cores. the 965 is a great budget quad core but it seems like you have the money to get the i5 + a good graphics card. the i5-2500k can easily be clocked to 4.5 ghz and stay relevant longer. If youre not on a really tight budget i would go for the i5.

Also for the same price of the 6950, you can get a 7850. Its a better graphics card + it consumes less power
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-graphics-car...
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/549?vs=510

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April 28, 2012 8:55:09 PM

If youre overclocking you should obviously get the 965BE since the i3s cant overclock(technically they could but its only like 130MHz) If not I would still recomend the 965BE as games are taking advantage of more cores now.
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April 28, 2012 8:55:35 PM

The i3 is a great processor. The dual core means nothing in terms of performance weakening. The core i3 will smoke all the games you want to play.
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April 28, 2012 8:56:02 PM

i3's don't need to overclock in order to get great performance. :sol: 
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April 28, 2012 9:13:55 PM

rocknrollz said:
The i3 is a great processor. The dual core means nothing in terms of performance weakening. The core i3 will smoke all the games you want to play.


Yeah. That's what I'm starting to see: http://m.tomshardware.com/reviews/build-gaming-pc-overc...

I see they ran this build as an i3-2120 with a 6950 1GB. While it is sometimes bested by an i5 setup, it seems to handle every game very well, regardless, right?

Also, the 6950 I'm looking at is 2GB. I assume that's not much different in terms of performance, but do I have to worry about a bottleneck at all if I go with the 2120? I'm not sure on how that works.

I'm leaning toward saving money and going with the i3 for now, but I'm still trying to figure out if GW2 utilizes 4 cores.
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April 28, 2012 9:15:02 PM

The main difference between the i3 and the 965 be would be the fact that both are similar in power. The pros of the 965 is that it can be overclocked, and having more cores, it has a better time in video encoding if you work with that sector, and some slightly cpu heavier games. What the i3 has is a lower wattage and lower temperature card, with a superior architecture which makes it a solid game cpu, having the drawback that its limited to 2 cores and very limited overclocking abilities.
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April 28, 2012 9:15:30 PM

And thanks for the GPU suggestions. Looking into that now.
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April 28, 2012 9:16:39 PM

You will probably feel the difference in online gaming if there are a lot of people on screen. I know I did when I played BF3 and SWTOR on a dual core vs a quad core. It was night and day for me.

You should go for the 2500k if you can fit it in your budget and you must have the most bang for your buck. The other processors will game just fine should you choose not to.
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April 28, 2012 9:24:07 PM

Jowiso said:
Yeah. That's what I'm starting to see: http://m.tomshardware.com/reviews/build-gaming-pc-overc...

I see they ran this build as an i3-2120 with a 6950 1GB. While it is sometimes bested by an i5 setup, it seems to handle every game very well, regardless, right?

Also, the 6950 I'm looking at is 2GB. I assume that's not much different in terms of performance, but do I have to worry about a bottleneck at all if I go with the 2120? I'm not sure on how that works.

I'm leaning toward saving money and going with the i3 for now, but I'm still trying to figure out if GW2 utilizes 4 cores.


the battlefield 3 benchmark was done in single player. The dual core reportedly has problems in multi-player when the game gets large (50+ players). Same with WoW raid where there are 40-50+ players.

also the i3-2120 wont be a bottleneck for any single graphics card
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April 28, 2012 9:31:14 PM

computernewb said:
the battlefield 3 benchmark was done in single player. The dual core reportedly has problems in multi-player when the game gets large (50+ players). Same with WoW raid where there are 40-50+ players.


Definitely. So, then here's the question. Let's say I definitely want a quad-core CPU, since I'll be playing some MMOs and online games. And let's say I want to spend $180 or less. What CPU do I chose? :??: 
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April 28, 2012 9:34:01 PM

Jowiso said:
Definitely. So, then here's the question. Let's say I definitely want a quad-core CPU, since I'll be playing some MMOs and online games. And let's say I want to spend $180 or less. What CPU do I chose? :??: 


i5-2500k for 180$ is the best deal. you wont need to upgrade your cpu for a while.
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April 28, 2012 10:10:52 PM

Best answer selected by Jowiso.
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