CPU: i3 vs. Phenom II x4 (pros and cons. Not which is better, please)

OK, I've been looking online and I found a couple of threads on Tom's Hardware basically along the lines of "is i3 better or phenom 2?"

I'd rather reword the question and say, what are the pros and cons of each one?

If you prefer one, go ahead and explain why, but don't say Phenom II is better because it has more cores, please. If it were that simple I wouldn't be asking :)


__________________________________________________________

I expect the processor to,

-Play games that are dual and quad threaded
-have overclockability possibility (I've always overclocked my CPU's so I'd like to have this ability.)
-Be able to maintain multiple processes (as we speak I have about 8 tabs and 5 programs open including skype)


But please tell me the pros/cons. Not which is necessarily better since I need to make this decision in the end.

I'll use it with a Radeon HD 6950.


Quick Note: I doubt I will upgrade until 1-2 years from now (regarding CPU). It's a component that I'll be holding on to for some time and I'm saying 1-2 years as a minimum (you know, it always varies but I want to utilize it) so while I know a lot of you will suggest the upgradeability to things like i5-2500k's, I'd rather hear about the power of the two processors.

Not that I'm not considering the eventual upgradeability of the processor mind you! But I don't plan to spend $100-200 a year on processors.


Thanks in advance! Welcome to all Intel and AMD fanboys, but put that aside and recognize the flaws in your favorite cards please please please! :)
17 answers Last reply
More about phenom pros cons better please
  1. i3 pros-

    Much faster then any Phenom II or FX (bulldozer)
    Sandy/Ivy bridge architecture
    More futureproofed then Phenom II
    Low TDP

    Cons
    Cost
    Only 2 cores
    Locked multiplier

    Phenom II pros
    Cheaper then i3 (mostly)
    More cores
    Will slot into AM2+, AM3, and AM3+
    Unlocked multiplier on all

    Cons
    Lower performance
    High TDP
    Higher lithography
    Aged architecture (K10)
  2. Thank you very much. :) I think I might go with the Phenom 2 because of unlocked multiplier.
  3. Nicklovn said:
    Thank you very much. :) I think I might go with the Phenom 2 because of unlocked multiplier.


    Only the Black Editions have unlocked multipliers, actually. The PII X4 965 BE is the de facto standard for anyone getting a PII CPU.
  4. Even though a wide lot of Phenom II have unlocked multipliers, the i series with there lower TDP and better lithography makes it a better candidate. However, unlocked multipliers are exclusive for the i5 and better.

    @DJ

    Non BE Phenom II's nowadays are rare and aren't sold on Newegg.
  5. How do you know if it's BE?

    http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0389134 (Phenom II processor)

    I have a micro center nearby that I can pickup at the store. The i3-2100 is $90.
  6. Anonymous said:
    Non BE Phenom II's nowadays are rare and aren't sold on Newegg.


    That's true, just clearing that part up. Also the mobo needs to be able to support 125W CPU's for them, but most non-OEM boards do.
  7. Nicklovn said:
    How do you know if it's BE?

    http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0389134 (Phenom II processor)


    That one is 95W, so that's a dead giveaway that it's not a Black Edition. All Black Editions that I know of are 125W TDP.
  8. Also, I forgot to add....

    The i3 processor is in box.

    The Phenom II is not. I found a good $20 heatsink on Newegg for this purpose.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103065


    The problem is that most people are saying I should go with the i3. But the big argument against this is the inability to overclock....
  9. Nicklovn said:
    Also, I forgot to add....

    The i3 processor is in box.

    The Phenom II is not. I found a good $20 heatsink on Newegg for this purpose.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103065


    The problem is that most people are saying I should go with the i3. But the big argument against this is the inability to overclock....


    If you HAVE to choose between those two, go with the i3. You won't be able to OC as easily with that PII you linked either (albeit slightly easier than with the i3).
  10. DJDeCiBeL said:
    That one is 95W, so that's a dead giveaway that it's not a Black Edition. All Black Editions that I know of are 125W TDP.



    OK thanks. There's no point in buying an AMD processor if I can't overclock.

    I looked and found the black edition one you spoke of. It's $90.

    So now I'm faced with a decision. Price is 100% equal.


    http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0325874 this is the phenom II BE.
  11. By the way, is there any software available for OCing i3 outside of the bios? Truthfully this is a question purely out of curiosity.

    I suppose I can survive without overclocking :)
  12. Nicklovn said:
    OK thanks. There's no point in buying an AMD processor if I can't overclock.

    I looked and found the black edition one you spoke of. It's $90.

    So now I'm faced with a decision. Price is 100% equal.


    http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0325874 this is the phenom II


    Yep, that makes it a harder decision now.

    If you go with the i3, you can get an i5 or i7 down the road and get a pretty big upgrade from it, and if you go with the 965BE, you have good performance now, but depending on how good Piledriver is, an upgrade may never be worth it coming from the 965BE.

    You would need to get an AM3+ board to even make a Piledriver upgrade possible though.

    Quote:
    By the way, is there any software available for OCing i3 outside of the bios?


    Not really, but even if there was, I wouldn't recommend it. All it would do is what you can do in the BIOS (assuming you get a Z68/Z77 board) which is rase the BCLK to 103-105Mhz..
  13. my phenom II x4 965 has been working very very well.

    Pair it with a decent graphics card and you're set for any game. As long as you have a quadcore cores it really doesn't matter when it comes to CPUs and gaming.
  14. Yeah I didn't think you would recommend it as that software typically goes haha! Oh well.

    I'm tempted to go with the i3-2100.

    One last question:

    My Mobo for the intel says it has a 3.0x16 and 2.0x16 pci express slot.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128550&nm_mc=OTC-pr1c3grabb3r&cm_mmc=OTC-pr1c3grabb3r-_-Motherboards+-+Intel-_-GIGABYTE-_-13128550

    This means I can use dual graphics in the future if I felt the need?


    I'm not really sure if I would want to use dual or buy a single gpu in the future, though. That is, not sure if I'd want to buy a new gpu in, say, 1-2 years or buy a second one of my older gpu.
  15. Nicklovn said:
    Yeah I didn't think you would recommend it as that software typically goes haha! Oh well.

    I'm tempted to go with the i3-2100.

    One last question:

    My Mobo for the intel says it has a 3.0x16 and 2.0x16 pci express slot.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128550&nm_mc=OTC-pr1c3grabb3r&cm_mmc=OTC-pr1c3grabb3r-_-Motherboards+-+Intel-_-GIGABYTE-_-13128550

    This means I can use dual graphics in the future if I felt the need?


    I'm not really sure if I would want to use dual or buy a single gpu in the future, though. That is, not sure if I'd want to buy a new gpu in, say, 1-2 years or buy a second one of my older gpu.


    That board will do Crossfire, but not SLI. The 2.0 slot only runs @ x4 speed and SLI requires the slots that you will be using to run at at least x8.
  16. Thank you very much for your help! You were very helpful! :)
  17. You're welcome. :)
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