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First Build... CPU i5 2500k or Athlon II X3 450?

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June 17, 2012 4:26:53 PM

I am in the process of putting together my first build. Right now, all I need is a CPU, motherboard and video card. I was planning on going with an i5 2500k CPU, a Gigabyte GA-P67X-UD3-B3 motherboard, a Radeon 6850 and a Cooler Master 212 CPU cooler. This setup, from what I have researched, seems pretty solid for my price range. However, I just noticed that the "AMD Athlon II X3 450 Rana 3.2GHz" is under $80, while the 2500k is $220. Now, I have to admit my knowledge in the area of computer hardware is very, very limited, but the AMD card seems fairly comparable to the 2500k. All I really want to do is be able to play games that aren't very graphically intensive (Diablo 3, Starcraft 2, Warhammer Dawn of War 2... possibly Skyrim) at their maximum settings and have a little wiggle room where I don't need to upgrade the CPU in the next few years. Would it perhaps be best to go with the AMD and save some money/buy a better video card (7850, maybe). If so, any thoughts on a decent motherboard for my needs? Or would I be best to stick with the 2500k?

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June 17, 2012 4:32:02 PM
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i5 2500k is far superior to athlon ii x4. but, with a less powerful gfx card and less demanding games, the difference might not be apparent to all.
2500k is will hold it's own longer than the athlon. the athlon ii x3 450 used to be choice of budget gamers, it's a good cpu on it's own.
it comes down to your full budget, current specs, preference (gaming, general purpose, video editing etc).
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June 17, 2012 4:32:23 PM

vegeta13613 said:
I am in the process of putting together my first build. Right now, all I need is a CPU, motherboard and video card. I was planning on going with an i5 2500k CPU, a Gigabyte GA-P67X-UD3-B3 motherboard, a Radeon 6850 and a Cooler Master 212 CPU cooler. This setup, from what I have researched, seems pretty solid for my price range. However, I just noticed that the "AMD Athlon II X3 450 Rana 3.2GHz" is under $80, while the 2500k is $220. Now, I have to admit my knowledge in the area of computer hardware is very, very limited, but the AMD card seems fairly comparable to the 2500k. All I really want to do is be able to play games that aren't very graphically intensive (Diablo 3, Starcraft 2, Warhammer Dawn of War 2... possibly Skyrim) at their maximum settings and have a little wiggle room where I don't need to upgrade the CPU in the next few years. Would it perhaps be best to go with the AMD and save some money/buy a better video card (7850, maybe). If so, any thoughts on a decent motherboard for my needs? Or would I be best to stick with the 2500k?


The Athlon comparable to the I5 in performance, not really. The I5 will beat out the Athlon in pretty much all gaming benchmarks. I personally would go as far as saying the Athlon is a low-end CPU by todays standards. It was good about 5 years ago but now it would get beaten out by an I3 or I5. Right now for gaming the I5 is the best price to performance. AMD has nothing that can outright beat the I5.
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June 17, 2012 4:45:34 PM

So, it is sounding that (of course) the $220 Intel CPU is a fair amount better, but the sub-$80 AMD CPU may be more than enough for my needs. The Athelon should provide more than enough power for Diablo 3 on maximum settings when combined with a Radeon 6850oc. Perhaps try this build, then if it works well, use it as a HTPC/secondary low-end gaming machine, then build with the 2500K as my main machine in a year or so? Any thoughts on a cheapish motherboard if I go with the AMD CPU? I would look into this, but as I have said before, I am new to this, and I find motherboards to be the most confusing component.
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June 17, 2012 4:53:44 PM

just for comparison's sake, athlon ii x3 450 (stock speed) vs core i5 2400:
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/189?vs=363
if you get athlon, i'd suggest a 900 chipset motherboard for future upgradability. for example, asrock 970 chipset motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
in a year, you'll have haswell cpus as a choice. if intel phases out sandy bridge cpus (2500k is part of sb lineup), then the available choices might be ivy bridge core i5 or haswell.
June 17, 2012 4:55:38 PM

And now it gets even more confusing for me... I just saw that the i5-3570K is on sale this weekend. $220, the same as the 2500k. Now leaning back to Intel. :??:  I assume that everyone is of the mind that I should jump in on the i5-3570K? If so (sorry once again for my ignorance), probably stick with the Gigabyte GA-P67X-UD3-B3 motherboard and Cooler Master 212 in case I want to overclock in the future?
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June 17, 2012 4:59:29 PM

it's actually not that confusing. intel releases new platform every year and phases out cpus from previous platform - thus selling more cpus and forcing users. :)  both amd and intel phase out products. between 2500k and 3570k, imo the 2500k is better for being the better overclocker. if you have access to microcenter, you can get a 2500k for $170
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
the catch is that you will have to buy it from their store. the cpu is for in-store pickup only.
June 17, 2012 5:01:58 PM

de5_Roy said:
it's actually not that confusing. intel releases new platform every year and phases out cpus from previous platform. between 2500k and 3570k, imo the 2500k is better for being the better overclocker. if you have access to microcenter, you can get a 2500k for $170
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
the catch is that you will have to buy it from their store. the cpu is for in-store pickup only.


Okay, so since I am so new at this, I was a bit worried about installing a non-stock fan and figuring out how to overclock. So, it may be best to go with the 3750k and save $30 on a after-market CPU cooler, right? No microcenter in my area.
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June 17, 2012 5:03:33 PM

The I5 3570K is the newest CPU's from Intel. They are the Ivy bridges CPU's that were just released a couple months ago. Really there is not that much of a performance difference between the I5 2500k and the 3570K. The biggest change is that the new Ivy Bridges has better integrated graphics over the Sandy bridges processors but as a gamer that doesn't matter because you'll probably be using a dedicated graphics card. If you can get the 3570K on sale than ok go for it but if not it's not worth the extra money for only a slight performance increase and better integrated graphics, which is something you aren't going to use if you have a dedicated graphics card. You would be better off spending the money on the I5 2500k. Also Ivy Bridges tends to run hotter when overclocked compared to the I5 2500k.
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June 17, 2012 5:27:48 PM

A pentium g will beat the athlon in price and performance if you wanted to spend less. http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-fx-pentium-a... And it would still allow you to upgrade to at least an IB or SB i7. Either setup will play those games. IMO I'd go with the i5 because it's easier to upgrade a gpu than a cpu and a gpu upgrade is usually the necessary upgrade to keep a rig lasting longer. Or if you do go with the low end rig now and later buy a better haswell rig then go with the pentium g+6850.

What you really need to do is decide what you want now and what you will do later. Picking the components is the easy part.

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June 17, 2012 5:38:59 PM

As a rule, game performance is determined more by the graphics card than the cpu. This is particularly true if you want high graphics settings.

Your thought to go cheaper on the cpu and more on the graphics card is a valid idea. Just the athlon is not a particularly effective gaming cpu by today's standards. Read this study on <$200 gaming cpu's. Compare the $60 i3-G550 to the athlon x3:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-gaming-cpu-cor...

Consider how you could rearrange your current budget.
3570K for $220, and 6870 for $140 = $360 budget for both.
Or, a G850 for $88 and a GTX570 for about $250.

But, the 3570K is as good as it gets, and should run anything that comes out for quite a long time.
You could go that route, and plan on upgrading the graphics card sooner rather than later.

As to the motherboard, I would go with the newer Z77 based boards; they are no more expensive, and have some extra features which the gamer does not usually use. Look at M-atx format which has only 4 expansion slots. How many would you use? For most of us, the answer is none, excepting for the graphics card.

One good place to save budget is the case.

Post a link to the exact parts you are thinking of.
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June 17, 2012 6:53:10 PM

i3-2100+GTX 480
Pentium G860+GTX 480
June 17, 2012 7:32:53 PM

geofelt said:

One good place to save budget is the case.

Post a link to the exact parts you are thinking of.


As I said, I have all pieces, minus the motherboard, video card and CPU. I have a Haf 912 case, Silencer MK II 750w PSU, 8GB DDR3 1333 Ram, etc. I am still a bit confused, as there seems to be a little back and forth on if I should go for the 3570k or 2500k. It is sounding like (from both here and research I have done elsewhere), if I don't overclock the 3570 may be a better choice. Perhaps I should go for the 3570k and not overclock? That way I save myself $30 on an aftermarket cooler and a bit of hassle trying to figure out how to overclock. And perhaps get a slightly cheaper motherboard than the Gigabyte GA-P67X-UD3-B3, as I won't be overclocking?
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June 17, 2012 9:43:37 PM

vegeta13613 said:
As I said, I have all pieces, minus the motherboard, video card and CPU. I have a Haf 912 case, Silencer MK II 750w PSU, 8GB DDR3 1333 Ram, etc. I am still a bit confused, as there seems to be a little back and forth on if I should go for the 3570k or 2500k. It is sounding like (from both here and research I have done elsewhere), if I don't overclock the 3570 may be a better choice. Perhaps I should go for the 3570k and not overclock? That way I save myself $30 on an aftermarket cooler and a bit of hassle trying to figure out how to overclock. And perhaps get a slightly cheaper motherboard than the Gigabyte GA-P67X-UD3-B3, as I won't be overclocking?


Both the 2500K and the 3570K overclock equally well for conservative overclocks. It is only when the 3570K is pushed to the max that heat issues arise. In the meantime, it is 5% faster, clock for clock, and it starts at one multiplier higher. You can overclock with a P67 motherboard too if you want. Preserve your option with a "K"
For an easy overclock, you just increase the multiplier from the default to 35 to 40-43 and you are done. It is only a hassle when you are pushing the limits.
Regardless, I would buy an aftermarket cooler. They are easier to install, keep your cpu cooler, and are quieter. Well worth the $30 or so.
June 17, 2012 10:29:11 PM

R
geofelt said:
Both the 2500K and the 3570K overclock equally well for conservative overclocks. It is only when the 3570K is pushed to the max that heat issues arise. In the meantime, it is 5% faster, clock for clock, and it starts at one multiplier higher. You can overclock with a P67 motherboard too if you want. Preserve your option with a "K"
For an easy overclock, you just increase the multiplier from the default to 35 to 40-43 and you are done. It is only a hassle when you are pushing the limits.
Regardless, I would buy an aftermarket cooler. They are easier to install, keep your cpu cooler, and are quieter. Well worth the $30 or so.


More excellent advice. I will go for the 3570k along with a Cooler Master Hyper 212. Thanks alot for the help everyone.
June 18, 2012 12:19:07 AM

Asked around my local computer store. One guy who seemed to know what he was talking about suggested I buy a different motherboard... msi z77a-gd65. I looked online, and it seems to be a pretty good board for my needs. Looks like I will be spending an additional $70.
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June 18, 2012 2:36:46 AM

z77 chipset is better than p67 imo. i forgot to add one thing, if you want to run an ivb cpu on an sb chipset e.g. p67, the p67 mobo has to have the appropriate bios update to be able to run ivb cpu. an sb cpu might have to present (depends on mobo model and features) on the p67 mobo for that bios update. most mobos can't update their bios without a cpu present.
z77 chipset mobos are built to work with ivb cpu out of the box, they don't need that bios update.
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June 18, 2012 2:44:00 AM

vegeta13613 said:
Asked around my local computer store. One guy who seemed to know what he was talking about suggested I buy a different motherboard... msi z77a-gd65. I looked online, and it seems to be a pretty good board for my needs. Looks like I will be spending an additional $70.


I would agree that a Z77 based motherboard is a good idea. They cost no more.
Is there some feature of the msi z77a-gd65 that you need? If msi is a favorite vendor, fine. But, they are all good.

I think you would do well with something less expensive like this ASRock Z77 Pro3 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
June 18, 2012 3:06:34 PM

Motherboards confuse me greatly. This is going to be my first build, and very much a learning experience, so I have no brand loyalty at this point. I saw that the MSI board did have OC Genie, which sounds like it may benefit me as a person with more or less no overclocking knowledge.
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June 18, 2012 3:11:01 PM

IMO those quick one touch overclock buttons are a waste. If you're going to overclock do it right by going into the BIOS and changing the settings. Quick overclock buttons like OC Genie only does a slight overclock it's not going to be on the same level as if you did it in the BIOS.
June 18, 2012 3:14:56 PM

rds1220 said:
IMO those quick one touch overclock buttons are a waste. If you're going to overclock do it right by going into the BIOS and changing the settings. Quick overclock buttons like OC Genie only does a slight overclock it's not going to be on the same level as if you did it in the BIOS.


Actuall, in my case, I think OC Genie would be perfect. I am definitely not going to be doing anything that will put much demand on my CPU. A mild overclock would probably ve good for me, at least for this first build.
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June 18, 2012 3:28:35 PM

vegeta13613 said:
Actuall, in my case, I think OC Genie would be perfect. I am definitely not going to be doing anything that will put much demand on my CPU. A mild overclock would probably ve good for me, at least for this first build.


The OC features, like OCgenie are actually tend to be more agressive than you want. To my mind, a conservative OC is one which does not increase cpu voltage. That is simply accomplished by just raising the multiplier from the default 35 to 40-43, letting the voltage default to auto.

Today, every Z77 motherboard has the basic necessities.
A X16 pci-e slot.
6gb sata.
USB3.0.

As to extras:
You will pay more for more robust voltage components which are only needed for record level overclocking.
You will pay more for extra pci-e slots for sli and cf.
X16/X16 costs more than X8/X8.; the difference is negligible.
The license to enable sli costs a bit more.
All motherboard HD sound is good. You might pay more for premium sound chips, but I can't tell the difference.
A full ATX motherboard has more components, and may well cost more than a Micro ATX motherboard with only 4 expansion slots.
June 18, 2012 3:40:58 PM

geofelt said:
The OC features, like OCgenie are actually tend to be more agressive than you want. To my mind, a conservative OC is one which does not increase cpu voltage. That is simply accomplished by just raising the multiplier from the default 35 to 40-43, letting the voltage default to auto.

Today, every Z77 motherboard has the basic necessities.
A X16 pci-e slot.
6gb sata.
USB3.0.

As to extras:
You will pay more for more robust voltage components which are only needed for record level overclocking.
You will pay more for extra pci-e slots for sli and cf.
X16/X16 costs more than X8/X8.; the difference is negligible.
The license to enable sli costs a bit more.
All motherboard HD sound is good. You might pay more for premium sound chips, but I can't tell the difference.
A full ATX motherboard has more components, and may well cost more than a Micro ATX motherboard with only 4 expansion slots.


Excellent. So, it is sounding like the the $100 ASRock should be enough for my needs. Honestly the 3750k is probably even overkill for me at stock speeds, so I'll just put in the Cooler Master 212 when I put the CPU in, then wait to overclock.
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June 19, 2012 2:08:51 AM

They made ocing really easy on SB and IB and it is better to manually do it rather than the auto oc. There is an article comparing different company's auto-oc features to a person. And of course the person won hands down for lowest voltage and highest oc. I'm sure the 3570k will be plenty at stock and would say to oc later if you need more power. A cooler is still a good idea for already stated reasons; that stock cooler is just plain horrible.
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June 19, 2012 5:19:05 AM

I forgot about mentioning that. Even if you are going to use Overclock Genie you’ll still want to get an aftermarket cooler.
July 6, 2012 10:37:08 PM

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