I am thinking about upgrading my older systems and wondering what the best route to go would be. My goal is to have four PC's fairly equivilent to eachother aside from video card, I move those down the line as I upgrade my main rig. I wont be OCing these systems, I just want good performance at stock and to last 3-5years. Their only purpose is for LAN parties twice a month-ish.
My main rig is an i5 2500K/MSI Z68-GD65 G3. My others are two AMD Phenom II X2 555 and one X4 965. Mobo's are Asus M3A79T-Deluxe, M4A89GTD-USB3/PRO and Crosshair V. I know the Crosshair/965 is a fairly good system already but let me further explain.
For me, In real world based on and normal PC activities like web surfing, youtube and extracting, I don't see much difference in performance between the 965 and the 2500K. Where the 2500K excels for me is SC2 gameplay which is a high priority. SC2 load times are also near par between the 965 and 2500K.
I plan to keep the Crosshair V and put a piledriver on it giving me a nice AMD and Intel system. This also free's up the 965 for one of my other boards. However, my other two 555 systems are a little dated. I would like to save money where ever possible but I don't really have a 'set' budget though I'm trying to keep it around $400-500C for CPU/mobo per system, but less is better. I will also be selling the old cpu/mobo to recoupe some cash.
Should I put a 965 on the M3A79T-Del and M4A89GTD? Would you keep these mobo's or is there another AMD route I should go? Or should I switch over to Intel i3 2xxx or i5 2500 (no K)? If I do intel I will go with the MSI Z68-GD45 G3 as it suits my basic needs. Reason I ask about the i3 is because most of my application does not require a quadcore. I know it would benefit in some games but I mostly play RTS, and very few FPS. I tend to find a game I like and stick with it for years, ie I'm still playing AoE3 and DoW. How close in performance is i3 vs i5? Will the i3 be more or less on par with 965? Will the i3 be a signifigant upgrade from the X2 555? Am I just insane and should leave well enough alone?
Regardless, I would like to know what I'm gaining and what your input is. Also note all systems will have 2x4gb ram and currently using Radeon 5850/4870/4850 Video cards.
The normal load of applications that you are running are largely single-threaded so you would do well with a processor like the Intel® Core™ i3-2100. Heck except for the gaming you can pick up the Intel Core i3-2105 w/ Intel HD 3000 graphics and skip the dedicated video card. Matched with an H67 or Z68 and you have a very reasonable system that has the performance to deal with most applications short of higher end gaming.
The i3-2130 would be my preference for budget gaming, but it will not do real well in the more serious multi-threaded strategy games. It's fine for smaller maps and fine in MMOs and shooters.
I would go with an i5-2400 if the budget allows.
I think though that you should look at unlocking cores on those 555s and overclocking them. You might just be surprised at the performance gains.
The i5 2500 (not K) is only $20 more than the 2400, would it not be worth while to pay the extra?
If I was able to get 4 cores from the 555 it would be equivilent to the 955 which would be acceptable for me. I heard systems become unstable if you unlock cores, is this true?
Also, I did some googling and it seems the 965 and i3 2120 are roughly neck-in-neck with gaming performance. While the 2120 does dominate it in some aspects, being as I already own a 965 and am happy with its performance I think I will rule out the i3 and move to an i5 or 965.
On the AMD unlocking, it depends. There are two different types of 555... one has a core or cores that didn't pass inspection, and the other was just created because they ran out of the other kind, from healthy CPU cores.
I wouldn't suggest any big investment in that process. I'm just saying if you can pull it off cheaply it might be worthwhile. Likewise I think the straight 555s will OC well. As I recall you can match the performance of the stronger Core 2 Duos very easily, and that would also give you some nice gains.