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Should I spend the extra money on the CPU or GPU?

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May 16, 2012 1:42:54 AM

Hi guys, I'm working on a build this summer and I have to decide on where I want to put a little extra money.

Originally I was going with an i3 2100 and an Evga gtx 560 ti, however, I now have a little extra money to spend and I was wondering whether you would recommend upgrading my gpu to a 570 or my cpu to an i5 2500K. I have an extra 50-75$ to spend from compromising on some other parts, which upgrade do you think would give me the best frame rate in games like BF3 and D3, or in games in general?

Thanks,
Elias

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May 16, 2012 1:54:32 AM
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Well an upgrade to a 570 (although I would get a 7850 because the price is less for similar performance) won't be that much of a difference, as seen in this chart.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-graphics-car...

A i5-2500k may be a better option depending on the motherboard you have (just make sure it is one that you can overclock with). Although this won't get you much improved performance in games as of now it should help in the long run as games are coded for more cores. It should also help in BF3 multiplayer where larger maps with more players requires more from the CPU. You would also need a CPU cooler.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Here are the differences in games- http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-fx-pentium-a...
May 16, 2012 2:03:22 AM

gpu because games rely on that more
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May 16, 2012 2:24:19 AM

gamerkila57 said:
gpu because games rely on that more

Not all the time.
May 16, 2012 2:28:46 AM

BuBzXXL said:
Not all the time.

yea but most
May 16, 2012 11:11:19 AM

Yeah, I saw that, but unfortunately I'm not ordering parts yet :(  so I can't take advantage of that deal. Hopefully I can find something similar when I start to order.
May 16, 2012 11:28:37 AM

I would upgrade to an I5-2300. I know it can't overclock but it will still help and it leaves you some for a factory OCed gpu.
May 16, 2012 1:03:42 PM

I would upgrade the cpu seeing as your current cpu choice is very low end and will be a bottleneck for whatever you play, seeing as part of the gpu response goes through the cpu, making a video card upgrade have a smaller impact than on a processing power oriented computer. In case you are not a diehard intel supporter, I would suggest that you should maybe change your processor to an amd rig instead, seeing as most things do actually work on amd, and it is likely that you will have none or few problems making an amd based rig. AMD processors are extremely cheap compared to intel due to the fact that intel gained popularity and therefore people have trusted intel for a long time. I myself have built both intel and amd rigs for myself and my friends, and I have found that there is nearly no difference between intel and amd in processing capabilities, and have actually found intel to be more likely to break than amd under a maximum stress test such as the one provided by gimps (Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search). In answer to your last question, I would expect that while the gpu has a large impact on your frame rates, since all that data is still being put through the cpu, though to a lesser extent than your gpu, a cpu upgrade would be more beneficial to your framerates.
I hope I helped
KILL3RKING
May 16, 2012 1:04:30 PM

Split the difference on the proc - get an i5-2380p (no int. gpu, $189.99) or i5-2400 ($179 after promo)

I would recommend finding a way to step-up to a 570 if you can within your budget. Battlefield 3 in particular is VERY gpu intensive and you'll notice a distinct difference between a 560ti (which I have in my rig) and a 2.5GB 570 (which my friend was using in an identical rig). Especially at higher settings, the game is cleaner and allows for running ultra (minus AA & motion blur) without any hiccups. I actually would recommend stepping up to a 670 because if you ever SLI'd 2 of those together, you would be capable of running any game that's currently out or will be released in the near future for that matter without any problems.

When in doubt, order parts when you see a deal on what you're looking for if you're not on a time crunch. The money is going to get spent one way or another, you're just getting to shave a little off the price based on the deals you can find. Between Amazon, Microcenter and Newegg, you can find a deal on almost anything.

Bear in mind you probably won't need a power supply much bigger than 700 watts if you're only going to run 1 video card. Might be a way to trim your other parts to get you what you want. I went the AMD route with a ASUS Sabertooth 990FX and an FX-8150. Is it an i7-2600k? No. Is it more than capable of doing what I want it to do (including play games like a champ)? You betcha - no regrets
May 16, 2012 1:22:35 PM

Nothing wrong with the i3-2100 (however you may as well grab the 2120 for a few $ more) so id stick with it.

As for the GPU, 7850 would be recommendation.

MOST games do rely more heavily on the GPU so splashing a little more cash there will yield better FPS for games than upgrading the CPU (especially since not many games make "proper" use of multiple cores past dual core).
May 16, 2012 1:25:32 PM

game junky said:
I went the AMD route with a ASUS Sabertooth 990FX and an FX-8150. Is it an i7-2600k? No. Is it more than capable of doing what I want it to do (including play games like a champ)? You betcha - no regrets


I'd regret buying an FX-8150 if I bought it for the purpose of a gaming PC. The i3-2100 puts it to shame.
May 16, 2012 1:29:54 PM

adgjlsfhk said:
I would upgrade to an I5-2300. I know it can't overclock but it will still help and it leaves you some for a factory OCed gpu.



Yes you can. You can overclock any i5 and i7. Just because it doesn't have an unlocked multiplier doesn't mean you cant overclock it. And you won't be able to get as high of an overclock but that's not the discussion. Intel calls it "limited" unlocked core.

I recommend this for a read.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/4083/the-sandy-bridge-rev...


If you have a part that does support turbo (e.g. Core i5-2400), then you have what’s called a “limited unlocked” core—in other words you can overclock a little bit. These parts are limited to an overclock of 4 processor bins above and beyond the highest turbo frequency. Confused yet? This chart may help:



In this case we’re looking at a Core i5-2500, which runs at 3.3GHz by default. When a single core is active, the chip can turbo up to 3.7GHz. If you want, you can change that turbo state to go as high as 4.1GHz (if your CPU and cooling can keep up).

May 16, 2012 1:30:03 PM

Get I5 2500K and spend more towards Graphics card. Perhaps GTX 580 or 670
May 16, 2012 1:32:55 PM

IMO the best combo would be the $220 i5-2500K and the $240 HD 7850. You can overclock both quite a bit if you want even more performance.

Of course if you can afford spending $100-150 more on the GPU, an HD 7870 or GTX 670 would be even better.
May 16, 2012 1:43:46 PM

Rockdpm said:
Get I5 2500K and spend more towards Graphics card. Perhaps GTX 580 or 670


I'm willing to bet this almost doubles the current proposed budget...?

From OP: "I have an extra 50-75$ to spend from compromising on some other parts"

Pretty sure your suggestion calls for around another $300-400!?

May 16, 2012 1:58:07 PM

At the very least, I'd step up to the i3-2120. It's $5 more and 200Mhz faster.

For $50-$75 you could upgrade to either an i5-2400 for $180 (after promo code) or hd 7850 for <$250.

It would be nice if you could squeeze $110 extra into your budget instead of $75, but if you can't stretch the additional $35, go with the faster i3-2120 and hd 7850. The i3-2120 is a capable gamer, so you should gain more performance with the faster gpu over true quad-core cpu. I don't know what you're choosing for your psu, but you might be able to save some more going with a less powerful unit. The hd 7850 is only a 150w card, so you can easily get by with a quality 450w-500w psu. For example, this Rosewill 530w 80+ is only $35 after promo code.
May 16, 2012 3:09:26 PM

hapkido said:
At the very least, I'd step up to the i3-2120. It's $5 more and 200Mhz faster.

For $50-$75 you could upgrade to either an i5-2400 for $180 (after promo code) or hd 7850 for <$250.

It would be nice if you could squeeze $110 extra into your budget instead of $75, but if you can't stretch the additional $35, go with the faster i3-2120 and hd 7850. The i3-2120 is a capable gamer, so you should gain more performance with the faster gpu over true quad-core cpu. I don't know what you're choosing for your psu, but you might be able to save some more going with a less powerful unit. The hd 7850 is only a 150w card, so you can easily get by with a quality 450w-500w psu. For example, this Rosewill 530w 80+ is only $35 after promo code.

+1
May 16, 2012 5:03:53 PM

Thanks for all the great answers guys! I think I'm gonna spend an extra 50$ and go with a 2500K with a stock cooler. If I feel like overclocking heavily in the future then I'll spend 20$ on the hyper 212+. I'll see if I can sneak in an extra 20-30$ for a 7850, as I just saw a 7850 on newegg for 220$ after rebate.

Just one more question, does the 560 ti or 7850 usually overclock better?

Thanks guys,

Elias
May 16, 2012 6:28:20 PM

i3-2120 is ~$125
i5-2500k is ~$220

If you're going with an i5 with no immediate plans to overlock, get the i5-2400. i5-2500k is a great chip, but you need to overclock it to be worth it. You'll spend $40 extra for the chip and $30 extra for an after-market cpu cooler, so you'll spend $250 to overclock i5-2500k vs. $180 for i5-2400. For gaming, i3-2120 + hd 7850 > i5-2500k + gtx 560ti. The former will get higher fps for less money while using less electricity.

Since you're willing to spend $100 extra just from going from i3-2100 to i5-2500k (before a cooler), you'd be better off putting $60 towards upgrading from a $120 i3-2100 to a $180 i5-2400, and $40 upgrading from a $210 gtx 560ti to a $250 hd 7850. I don't know what psu you have picked out, but that 530w Rosewill 80+ unit I linked earlier is a really good deal at $35. If you had picked out a $60 unit, switching psu would save $25. Upgrading the parts I suggested would cost $100. Your net difference would but $75, which is right at your original budget limit.

edit: To answer your question, hd 7850 is a faster card, period.
May 23, 2012 12:11:22 AM

Best answer selected by elias444.
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