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CPU build advice FX4100, 13-2100 or i5-2500k?

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February 1, 2012 6:34:06 PM

Hi guys. I need some advice. I'm in the process of putting together the specs for a new build. The PC is for my parents who live out of state. I'm visiting them later this month, so I'm looking to order parts now. I was originally planning on building an AMD 960 BE based system, but recently noticed that the free mobo bundle deal for that CPU is no longer offered at my local Microcenter. Niether is the i3-2100 mobo savings bundle. I'm going to buy whichever CPU I pick at Microcenter due to them having the cheapest prices by far. Here are my narrowed options.

FX4100 + Asus M5A78L-M LX PLUS = $109.99 bundle

mobo
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...


i3-2100 = $99 + Asus P8H61-M LE/CSM R3 - $69 = $169 total

mobo
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...



Intel Core i5 2500K + ASUS P8H61-M LE/CSM R3 - $199



Where this PC is for my parents, it will be used for more casual tasks like web surfing, video watching, some work software like quickbooks, and casual to lite gaming. I'd prefer to go with the FX bundle since it's the cheapest, and likely sufficient for their needs. I'm just leary of the criticisms the CPU recieves from lots of posters. I know the i5-2500k is superior in terms of performance, and dollar for dollar value. I missed out on the i3 bundle last month unfortunately that would have made it my hands down choice. I will be purchasing a video card regardless of which CPU/mobo I choose, so onboard graphics aren't of concern to me. I'll also most likely be using the stock cooling since my parents won't O.C., and won't be playing games like BF3. Although I might try when I visit. :) 

Anyhow, all advice is appreciated.

More about : cpu build advice fx4100 2100 2500k

February 1, 2012 6:46:32 PM

The FX bundle would be great for them, and will handle newer games ( i know mine does, just not so great ) if paired with a decent GPU.
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February 1, 2012 6:47:02 PM

I'd suggest the i5-2400 plus that same H61. good quad core, excellent value for the money.
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February 1, 2012 6:47:16 PM

I'd say get the i3, the 2500k serves no purpose since i doubt they will overclock. If you think they need the i5 get a non k model and save about ~$20.
The i3 is a good step up over the FX series. Your really won't see much change between all 3 cpu's for what they do, but in games the i3 and i5 are your best option. i3 then you have a nice upgrade path to IB if they ever need it.
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February 1, 2012 6:47:22 PM

Tough call. But unless theyare going to really game alot I would suggest the 4100 Its cheap effective and for that bundle price really unbeatable. The other 2 are faster but I doubt they will notice any if at all any type of slow down. I just bought my wife and android 7 impression and it only has a 1 gig processor and 512 mb ram with a micro sd she can get up to 16 gig for storage.

I mention it as with those specs her web browsing isn't really slow so for just web browsing the 4100 would be more then perfect lol. The 2100 and the 2500 would kind of just sit there unable to really test their muscles to be honest. But if they game alot (hence being able to use alot more cpu power) then a 2100 would work as well. I see what you mean a tough decision lol I'm about to go in circles about it myself ROFL
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February 1, 2012 6:52:06 PM

I would prefer a phenom x4 bundle or an i3 2100. FX has had a lot of troubles with bios issues on new mobos. Do you have access to a different amd proc to install and flash bios before installing the fx4100? if not, the 2100 or 2120 is the best bet, imo.

Have you considered an A8? http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

This can handle light gaming as well as all the other tasks your parents will throw at it without having to purchase a GPU.
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February 1, 2012 6:52:57 PM

i5 2500k
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February 1, 2012 6:58:03 PM

Thanks for such quick replies guys. I appreciate it a lot.

If the system were for me, or for gaming, then I'd go with either intel cpu over the 4100. It's too bad I missed out on last months 2100 mobo bundle. If I opt for the 4100 I can put the extra $60 toward other components, namely the GPU. Maybe a 6770. Were the reviews on the FX not so underwhelming it'd be an easier decision. I've built a half a dozen Phenom builds (I personally went with an i5-750 for my gaming), but never an FX. Thanks again for the opinions.

One other question I guess. If I went with the FX 4100, which motherboard would you bundle it with? These are the two "free" mobo options with the FX4100 bundle.

Gigabyte GA-78LMT-S2P Socket AM3+ 760G mATX AMD Motherboard
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

or

ASUS M5A78L-M LX PLUS Socket AM3+ 760G mATX AMD Motherboard
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
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February 1, 2012 7:02:41 PM

real world said:
Thanks for such quick replies guys. I appreciate it a lot.

If the system were for me, or for gaming, then I'd go with either intel cpu over the 4100. It's too bad I missed out on last months 2100 mobo bundle. If I opt for the 4100 I can put the extra $60 toward other components, namely the GPU. Maybe a 6770. Were the reviews on the FX not so underwhelming it'd be an easier decision. I've built a half a dozen Phenom builds (I personally went with an i5-750 for my gaming), but never an FX. Thanks again for the opinions.

One other question I guess. If I went with the FX 4100, which motherboard would you bundle it with? These are the two "free" mobo options with the FX4100 bundle.

Gigabyte GA-78LMT-S2P Socket AM3+ 760G mATX AMD Motherboard
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

or

ASUS M5A78L-M LX PLUS Socket AM3+ 760G mATX AMD Motherboard
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...


They both say AM3+ but on a 760 chipset i wouldn't trust it. Personally if you want to take your chances (i've seen it not work out with some people complaining about wrong bundled motherboards) I'd go for the ASUS board.
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February 1, 2012 7:06:12 PM

ebola28 said:
I would prefer a phenom x4 bundle or an i3 2100. FX has had a lot of troubles with bios issues on new mobos. Do you have access to a different amd proc to install and flash bios before installing the fx4100? if not, the 2100 or 2120 is the best bet, imo.

Have you considered an A8? http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

This can handle light gaming as well as all the other tasks your parents will throw at it without having to purchase a GPU.



The issues with the FX 4100 are what have me concerned a little bit. I've never had any issues with previous AMD builds. Matter of fact I'm on one of them right now. Someone in another thread mentioned the A8, but where it's not bundled for savings, I'd opt for the i5-2500k bundle instead ($200 + tax). Microcenter is giving $50 off the mobo when u bundle the cpu. I'm just not sure if I need to spend the $100 difference from the FX for my parents needs. Were it for me, then absolutely since I do more demanding things with my PC. My worry is the FX will give me problems, or them problems once I'm gone.
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February 1, 2012 7:08:27 PM

real world said:
The issues with the FX 4100 are what have me concerned a little bit. I've never had any issues with previous AMD builds. Matter of fact I'm on one of them right now. Someone in another thread mentioned the A8, but where it's not bundled for savings, I'd opt for the i5-2500k bundle instead ($200 + tax). Microcenter is giving $50 off the mobo when u bundle the cpu. I'm just not sure if I need to spend the $100 difference from the FX for my parents needs. Were it for me, then absolutely since I do more demanding things with my PC. My worry is the FX will give me problems, or them problems once I'm gone.


FX by itself doesn't cause any problems, but when you pair it with a non 900 chipset you run the risk of issues (like the 760 chipset bundled with them).
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February 1, 2012 7:09:22 PM

omega21xx said:
They both say AM3+ but on a 760 chipset i wouldn't trust it. Personally if you want to take your chances (i've seen it not work out with some people complaining about wrong bundled motherboards) I'd go for the ASUS board.



Thanks dude. I personally prefer Asus whenever possible. There are certain brands that tend to make quality stuff more often than not. Although not always. Corsair and their CX400 PSU comes to mind with respect to a name I trust, making a crap product.
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February 1, 2012 7:14:18 PM

real world said:
Thanks dude. I personally prefer Asus whenever possible. There are certain brands that tend to make quality stuff more often than not. Although not always. Corsair and their CX400 PSU comes to mind with respect to a name I trust, making a crap product.


Both Gigabyte and ASUS make very reliable boards, Their QA is much better than biostar, msi, asrock, or lower companies like ECS or Foxconn. Not that some boards don't have good value, just that once you go lower your chances of a DOA board is a little higher. I like ASRock for example. Great products and price, but i will admit i've had a few bad boards through all the builds i've done.
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February 1, 2012 7:47:01 PM

omega21xx said:
Both Gigabyte and ASUS make very reliable boards, Their QA is much better than biostar, msi, asrock, or lower companies like ECS or Foxconn. Not that some boards don't have good value, just that once you go lower your chances of a DOA board is a little higher. I like ASRock for example. Great products and price, but i will admit i've had a few bad boards through all the builds i've done.



I've done some more researching about that BIOS issue and the FX. Apparently if the BIOS on the mobo is pre-FX it won't post unless it's updated. BIOS 0510 is the minimum required to post. While I can't imagine that a retailer like Microcenter would bundle a CPU with a mobo that wouldn't post right out of the box, I wouldn't be surprised if they did.
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February 1, 2012 7:51:33 PM

real world said:
I've done some more researching about that BIOS issue and the FX. Apparently if the BIOS on the mobo is pre-FX it won't post unless it's updated. BIOS 0510 is the minimum required to post. While I can't imagine that a retailer like Microcenter would bundle a CPU with a mobo that wouldn't post right out of the box, I wouldn't be surprised if they did.


A rebranded 760 with am3+ should have the necessary bios, but i would never trust anything lower than a 900 series motherboard with an FX cpu, heard too many stories about problems with bios supported FX chips on lower chipsets than 900.
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February 1, 2012 8:08:00 PM

omega21xx said:
A rebranded 760 with am3+ should have the necessary bios, but i would never trust anything lower than a 900 series motherboard with an FX cpu, heard too many stories about problems with bios supported FX chips on lower chipsets than 900.



Maybe what I'll do if I want to save the coin so badly, is buy the combo at the local Microcenter, and try to run it through one of my PC's here at work, or at home first. That way if it doesn't post, I won't be stuck in another state with a useless board and cpu. If not, I'll overkill and go with the i5-2500k. The jump to the i5 over the i3 is worth $30.

If I opt for the i5, should I invest in a Hyper 212, or will the stock cooler be sufficient? With all my office and non-gaming builds the stock coolers have worked fine. I went Hyper 212 in my i5-750 gaming rig though. Stock cooler or Hyper 212?
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February 1, 2012 8:14:18 PM

real world said:
Maybe what I'll do if I want to save the coin so badly, is buy the combo at the local Microcenter, and try to run it through one of my PC's here at work, or at home first. That way if it doesn't post, I won't be stuck in another state with a useless board and cpu. If not, I'll overkill and go with the i5-2500k. The jump to the i5 over the i3 is worth $30.

If I opt for the i5, should I invest in a Hyper 212, or will the stock cooler be sufficient? With all my office and non-gaming builds the stock coolers have worked fine. I went Hyper 212 in my i5-750 gaming rig though. Stock cooler or Hyper 212?


Stock cooler is fine unless you plan to overclock their system. If they are annoyed by the noise the fan makes then get a CM 212+ to make it quieter. You can spend around the same for a near silent/passive silent cpu cooler too that will work fine at stock settings. it's up to whether overclocking is planned or noise is a problem.
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February 2, 2012 4:42:51 AM

if it doesn't post, drop one of your phenom procs in and update the bios that way. swap the proc out for the fx and you should be set.

For people that don't have access to an am3 proc, its almost impossible. Since you are running amd currently, if the mobo bios isn't new enough, you should still be fine, albeit a little more work.
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