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I3-2120 or FX-4100?

AMD FX-4100
CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB 1600
Sapphire Radeon HD 6870
ASUS M5A97 AM3+
CX500 500W PSU

or

Intel i3-2120
G.SKILL Ripjaws X 8GB 1333
Sapphire Radeon HD 6870
MSI PH61A-P35
CX500 500W PSU

So based on real-world gaming benchmarks, I've noticed that the i3 is much more suited for gaming than the Bulldozer FX-4100. However, I've read that many games in the near future will most likely start using a third or fourth core, so I'm hesitating with the Sandy Bridge. The two builds are around the same price, with the monitor, keyboard, and mice, so which one is better prepared for gaming for the next 3-4 years?
29 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about 2120 4100
  1. i3 no question. A Phenom 2 955 would actually be better for gaming that the FX-4100.

    With the i3 you can easily drop a quad core i5/i7 into the motherboard at a later date if you want to as well.

    If you wanted to spend a little more and get a Z68 motherboard for the i3, that would leave you even more options for upgrades later.

    That said, unless you have a specific reason for pairing the G.Skill RAM with the i3, I'd go with the Corsair RAM in the Intel build that you have listed in with the AMD one.
  2. http://www.legitreviews.com/article/1766/

    most of the benchmarks fall in favor of the FX 4100 at higher resolutions

    Its overclockable , and the intel isnt

    the M5A97 is feature laden compared to an H61 mb .
    You could also consider the Asrock Extreme4 which can SLI and crossfire
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157262

    There is a problem with windows 7 and the FX . Windows cant see the cores as cores so it cant optimise threading so turbo boost kicks in . There is a hotfix coming presently that will increase performance by 5 -15 % depending on workload
  3. Yargnit said:
    i3 no question. A Phenom 2 955 would actually be better for gaming that the FX-4100.

    With the i3 you can easily drop a quad core i5/i7 into the motherboard at a later date if you want to as well.

    If you wanted to spend a little more and get a Z68 motherboard for the i3, that would leave you even more options for upgrades later.

    That said, unless you have a specific reason for pairing the G.Skill RAM with the i3, I'd go with the Corsair RAM in the Intel build that you have listed in with the AMD one.


    WRONG !
  4. Outlander_04 said:
    WRONG !


    And yet everywhere else pretty much says avoid Bulldozer, go with Intel or Phenom.

    Maybe Piledriver will fix the Bulldozer core, but not yet. Bulldozers clock/clock is even or slightly worse than Phenom, and not even in the same league as Intel. I really wanted it to be good, but it just isn't. :\
  5. Outlander_04 said:
    http://www.legitreviews.com/article/1766/

    most of the benchmarks fall in favor of the FX 4100 at higher resolutions

    Its overclockable , and the intel isnt

    the M5A97 is feature laden compared to an H61 mb .
    You could also consider the Asrock Extreme4 which can SLI and crossfire
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157262

    There is a problem with windows 7 and the FX . Windows cant see the cores as cores so it cant optimise threading so turbo boost kicks in . There is a hotfix coming presently that will increase performance by 5 -15 % depending on workload

    So does Windows 7 recognize the FX as a dual core instead of a quad? If so, does the FX work completely fine despite this?
  6. Quote:
    There is a problem with windows 7 and the FX . Windows cant see the cores as cores so it cant optimise threading so turbo boost kicks in . There is a hotfix coming presently that will increase performance by 5 -15 % depending on workload


    I thought they released that hotfix in mid December and it actually decreased performance?

    Link is from here.

    http://www.tomshardware.com/news/amd-fx8150-bulldozer-windows7-patch,14304.html

    http://ht4u.net/news/24857_patch_soll_bulldozer_unter_windows_7_beschleunigen_-_ergebnisse_enttaeuschen/
  7. Also remember you CAN overclock the i3 using the Turbo Boost up to 400Mhz or 4 "bins" over stock.
  8. So which one would be better for gaming in the long run? Would it be better to get the FX just for its extra two cores in case games start using more cores? I'm not planning to upgrade in a long time once I put this build together, so which one would be more reliable for gaming in the future?
  9. I know its not in your choices, but if you want to somewhat future proof your build, go with the i5-2400, its about $50 more if u can afford it.
  10. anort3 said:
    Also remember you CAN overclock the i3 using the Turbo Boost up to 400Mhz or 4 "bins" over stock.

    no you can't. core i3 doesn't have turbo boost. only speed increase will come from bclk increase.
    core i5 and i7 have turbo boost. the non-k core i5 and i7 can be overclocked above their stock speed by raising turbo multiplier. the core i5 and i7 can also take advantage of minor speed boost from bclk increase.
  11. Yargnit said:
    And yet everywhere else pretty much says avoid Bulldozer, go with Intel or Phenom.

    Maybe Piledriver will fix the Bulldozer core, but not yet. Bulldozers clock/clock is even or slightly worse than Phenom, and not even in the same league as Intel. I really wanted it to be good, but it just isn't. :\

    if OP goes with am3+, he will have a dual module, unlocked, semi-quadcore cpu with a gaming capable gfx card, a feature rich mobo with 4 ram slots among other things. for gaming that config would be slightly better than the i3 one. then there's the possibility that piledriver may fix bd's errors. OP can always upgrade to an fx 8120 if things don't turn out right.
    Austiin said:
    So which one would be better for gaming in the long run? Would it be better to get the FX just for its extra two cores in case games start using more cores? I'm not planning to upgrade in a long time once I put this build together, so which one would be more reliable for gaming in the future?

    depends on your definition of 'a long time'. it's impossible to say what will be good for long run. the best bets can be high end core i7 (i5 2500k and i7 2600k) and sb-e (i7 3xxx + x79). you'll notice how many x58 system owners skipped upgrading to sb, sbe and may be ivb too and go straight for ivb-e or haswell. but you'll have to pay for that much assurance.
    unfortunately fx 4100 performs similarly to a core i3, not much better. on the plus side, you can disregard power consumption and overclock the 4100. make sure you have a good psu and cpu cooler.
  12. de5_Roy said:
    no you can't. core i3 doesn't have turbo boost. only speed increase will come from bclk increase.
    core i5 and i7 have turbo boost. the non-k core i5 and i7 can be overclocked above their stock speed by raising turbo multiplier. the core i5 and i7 can also take advantage of minor speed boost from bclk increase.



    Whoops. I screwed the old pooch on that one. Sorry about that OP.
  13. i wouldn't recommend bulldozer, just go with i3 and an h61 mobo, you are set for ivy bridge in the coming years
  14. Best answer
    OP, while both builds have their strengths and weakness, I believe you would be happy with either build.

    The main points of difference between the two platforms would be Lower Power and Higher IPC (Intel) vs More Cores and Highly Overclockable (AMD).

    At stock settings and in general, both platforms perform fairly similarly, Intel winning some, AMD others.
    In many lightly threaded applications, Intel will win due to the higher IPC.
    In other more demanding applications AMD will win due to a higher core count.

    Austiin said:
    So which one would be better for gaming in the long run? Would it be better to get the FX just for its extra two cores in case games start using more cores? I'm not planning to upgrade in a long time once I put this build together, so which one would be more reliable for gaming in the future?


    If I had to chose between only these two systems and I knew I would not be able to upgrade for quiet some time, I would defiantly chose the AMD FX 4100 build.

    To start, with the FX build you will have four cores vs the i3's two.
    While this may not give the FX an immediate edge over the i3, multi-threading is the future and in the long run you will be in a better position.

    The FX is also quite overclockable where the i3's max clock speed is essentially fixed.
    This will give you the option, with a little work, to increase your performance any time you feel the need for it.
    Overclocked, I would expect the FX to handily beat the i3 in nearly every metric.

    Keep in mind, at higher resolutions and graphical settings, the CPU becomes less important to performance.
    This is because your GPU will become a bottleneck at higher settings/resolutions and it will not matter how fast information is fed to it.

    Finally, I find the ASUS motherboard to be quite a bit nicer than the MSI.
    The layout, build quality (especially in the cooling department) and features are just a step above.

    In the end though, I believe you will be equally happy with either build.
    Both are plenty fast enough for day to day usage and should be quite comparable in current games.

    anort3 said:
    Quote:
    There is a problem with windows 7 and the FX . Windows cant see the cores as cores so it cant optimise threading so turbo boost kicks in . There is a hotfix coming presently that will increase performance by 5 -15 % depending on workload


    I thought they released that hotfix in mid December and it actually decreased performance?


    Yes, there was a hotfix, but it was pulled because it did decrease performance under some situations.

    The real issue with Windows 7's scheduler is that it sees a Bulldozer module as a single core with hyperthreading (À la Intel).
    In reality, a Bulldozer module is essentially two dedicated cores, just with some shared resources.

    Now, how is this an issue you ask?
    It all has to do with the CPU's turbo settings.

    AMD's Turbo Core allows Windows to dynamically increase the speed of active modules beyond the base clock.
    In order to determine if it has the TDP headroom available to increase performance, one of the main items that is checked is the number of active modules.
    The less modules in active use, the more TDP headroom available to dynamically overclock.

    Now, Windows scheduler, as it is currently implemented, is scheduling threads to cores based on Intel's hyperthreading model.
    That is to say, Windows thinks that Core 0 is a 'true' core with full performance and Core 1 is a lower performing core.
    This pattern is repeated for as many hyperthreaded cores exist in your CPU.
    In order then to give you the best performance, Windows will schedule threads to fill alternate cores first, filling in the odd cores only when necessary.

    While this works great for Intel's multi-threading model, it will never allow an AMD Bulldozer CPU to reach its highest Turbo Core setting as it forces more modules than necessary to be in operation during lightly threaded operations.

    While fixing the Windows scheduler will not be a miracle cure for Bulldozers' woes, it could defiantly boost performance by allowing the CPU to Turbo faster and more often.
  15. Fx-4100 flop. :non: :non: :non: :non: :non:
    Go for i5 2400 or Phenom II x4
  16. FX-4100 i would go instead of the i3, first well i don't think you do gaming 24/7, lets say you go hardcore at 15-20hours a day and there are times where you might want to check out movie/music editing or something that makes uses of 4 cores, so i believe you should go with it, overall fx4100 is also good and for it's price it ain't so bad
  17. Wait till the i5 2550k, 2450p, and 2380p get released( said to be early february) If one of these new chips doesnt fall in your price range, and they should be relatively inexpensive because they dont have integrated graphics, then at the very least, some of the current i3 and i5 chips should drop in price.

    Edited to fix a typo
  18. Intel is introducing Ivy Bridge, in April, so your already buying obsolete board with Intel.

    Although Fx 4100 has some poor benchmarks in single thread aps, the board archecture is ahead of intel current chipset.

    I would recomd waiting...April.
  19. P
    Austiin said:
    So which one would be better for gaming in the long run? Would it be better to get the FX just for its extra two cores in case games start using more cores? I'm not planning to upgrade in a long time once I put this build together, so which one would be more reliable for gaming in the future?


    If they put a gun to my head today to upgrade Intel would be the choice, if I can afford the much higher price....otherwise AMD.
  20. Intel i-3 is good right now.
    for futerproof go with the FX.

    The question is do you want to pay more later (intel) or less later (AMD) ?
  21. i was betting on piledriver being halfway decent, that's why recommended the fx config. besides, the h61 mobo has only 2 ram slots. :(
    a future proof build would be
    core i5 2500k + z68 (asrock extreme3 gen3/ asus z68 vpro/ gb z68 ud3h b3) + 4/8 gb ram ddr3 1333 dual ch kit + gtx 560ti + cooler master hyper 212 evo
    more future proof:
    core i7 3820 + x79 (asrock/gb with 4 ram slots) + 8 gb quad ch kit + radeon hd 7850 2 gb + some good lcs
    near-future future proof build:
    ivb core i5 (3550k?) k cpu + z75 (asus/gb) + 4/8 gb ddr3 1600 dual ch kit + radeon hd 7850 / gtx 660/660ti 2 gb + coolermaster hyper 212 evo
  22. Austiin said:
    So does Windows 7 recognize the FX as a dual core instead of a quad? If so, does the FX work completely fine despite this?



    Bulldozer cores are paired in modules . Windows sees two threads in a module, but treats the module as a single core so it tends to thread to the next module rather than the next core . That means modules dont go idle , which means the module being used cant turbo up in speed .
    Windows 8 doesnt have this problem so BD performs better on Win 7 .
    Microsoft released a partial hotfix in December that they lashed together . For some users it harmed performance . For others there was a performance increase . They withdrew the hotfix , but are working to get this sorted .

    Expect it in a few weeks .

    The FX 4100 is the king of the budget processors with many advantages over the intel i3 . The intel fanboys should show some real world results rather than shooting off at the mouth that the FX is flop .
    With it benching better than the i3 thats a hard position to justify . Perhaps thats why they dont try
  23. @Outlander_04: here's what amd says on the scheduler patch that was released recently.
    http://blogs.amd.com/play/2012/01/11/early-results-achieved-with-amd-fx-processor-using-windows%C2%AE-7-scheduler-update/
    from what i've read on amd's and other sites, windows 8 (initial testing) offers up to 10% improvement. on windows 7, the improvement is 1-2%. heavily threaded apps get nothing as they are already programmed to take advantage of more threads.
    if you or anyone has read about 20/25-30% improvement - that is made up by fanboys and overzealous amd hopefuls. even pre-patch amd expected 10-15% with windows 8. if amd and ms does manage to bring out 20% improvement that remains to be seen.
    edit: btw by the time windows 8 comes out (according to the latest rumors, oct 2012) trinity and piledriver (rumored to be backwards compatible with am3+) might become available.
  24. de5_Roy said:
    @Outlander_04: here's what amd says on the scheduler patch that was released recently.
    http://blogs.amd.com/play/2012/01/11/early-results-achieved-with-amd-fx-processor-using-windows%C2%AE-7-scheduler-update/
    from what i've read on amd's and other sites, windows 8 (initial testing) offers 10% improvement. on 7 the improvement is 1-2%. heavily threaded apps get nothing as they are already programmed to take advantage of more threads.
    if you or anyone has read about 20% improvement - that is made up by fanboys and overzealous amd hopefuls. even pre-patch amd expected 10-15% with windows 8. even if amd and ms manages to bring out 20% improvement that remains to be seen.


    5- 15 % are the figures I have read , but that will depend on the processor with the 6 and 8 core models likely to benefit most , and , as you say , the application too since a multithreaded apps will be using all cores available and will get no improvement .
    The hotfix released and withdrawn in december was not complete . Ultimately expect it to bring win 7 and win 8 performance in line and be an auto update of Win 7 .

    For those still claiming the 2120 is faster please look at
    http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu_lookup.php?cpu=AMD+FX-4100+Quad-Core
  25. Quote:
    For those still claiming the 2120 is faster please look at
    http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu_lo [...] +Quad-Core


    That is actually not a very compelling argument to buy it. If anything that chart highlights how weak it actually is. Slower than a 2.83Ghz Core2Quad Q9550 from 2007? ouch.....and an Athlon II X4 631. Not too impressive for a 3.6Ghz quad from late 2011. At least you can overclock the crap out of it.
  26. I took a gamble last summer anticipating that Bulldozer might not match Sandy Bridge, but would still be decent. I am sorely disappointed at how badly Bulldozer sucks, and/or how much power it needs if you overclock it enough so it doesn't suck [as much]. That said, the Asus Sabertooth 990FX mobo I chose is remarkably feature rich, and the 970BE I'm using runs everything I throw at it nicely. I'd rather have a much nicer mobo (e.g. 990FX) and an "acceptable" CPU (Phenom II) than a POS mobo (H61) and a slightly faster CPU (i3). If I had it to do over, I would likely have chosen Z68 with an i5 to get both, but I'm guessing that's not in your budget any more than it was in mine.

    Edit: I'm really hoping Piledriver "gets it right." If not, I will relegate AMD to the bottom-budget builds only.
  27. Best answer selected by Austiin.
  28. Outlander_04 said:
    5- 15 % are the figures I have read , but that will depend on the processor with the 6 and 8 core models likely to benefit most , and , as you say , the application too since a multithreaded apps will be using all cores available and will get no improvement .
    The hotfix released and withdrawn in december was not complete . Ultimately expect it to bring win 7 and win 8 performance in line and be an auto update of Win 7 .

    For those still claiming the 2120 is faster please look at
    http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu_lookup.php?cpu=AMD+FX-4100+Quad-Core


    http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cpu/display/amd-fx-8120-6100-4100.html

    Actual benchmarks, you know...

    Not only does the 4100 not even come close to the 2120 in any single test, in most tests the 2120 was beating the 8150. Even the budget G860 kicked the 4100 around.
  29. phenom II 980 BE
    CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB 1600
    Sapphire Radeon HD 6870
    ASUS M5A97 AM3+
    CX500 500W PSU

    or

    Intel i3-2130
    G.SKILL Ripjaws X 8GB 1333
    Sapphire Radeon HD 6870
    MSI PH61A-P35
    CX500 500W PSU
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