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What games NEED an i5

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a c 103 à CPUs
September 5, 2012 9:56:45 AM

On a budget gaming PC are there any games that need an i5 with a mid range GPU ie 6870-7870. I have never played it but I understand large maps on BF3 need a quad core, but are they unplayable on an i3 or even a pentium G and do lower settings make it playable on them or does it really need an i5? Also will AMD FX or phenom IIs do the job? Are there any other games that its essential to get an i5?

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a b à CPUs
September 5, 2012 10:14:38 AM

No games need an i5. In fact most games don't even use more than 2 cores and even the ones that do (like BF3)are very playable with a good dual core (i3 or so). In fact a quad core is ''necessary'' on BF only on multiplayer (due to the high amount of players and stuff that happen at the same time).
Now I assume a FX or a Phenom II x4 will give you better performance on multiplayer BF3 compared to a dual core but as you probably know the i5 will beat them all
a b à CPUs
September 5, 2012 11:41:18 AM

BF3 multiplayer works on i3 just fine. There's nothing that NEED an i5 (to play). Some games MIGHT need one to completely max out.
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a b à CPUs
September 5, 2012 11:48:09 AM

Most games are starting to use 4 cores well and while a Core i3 will do a very good job at playing them you will see a performance jump when upgrading to a Core i5.There are even some extreme cases (BF3) where even an AMD FX CPU can outperform a Core i5.
There are currently some issues with dual cores and gaming like in battlefield there are dissapearing NPC's but you can still game fine with a Core i3.
And still if you plan to not upgrade a PC for a while a Phenom II X4 is still a better choice than a Core i3 for gaming.
a c 478 à CPUs
September 5, 2012 12:17:22 PM

The vast majority of games coming out in the future will use 2 cores. There will be small number of games that will be capable of using up to 4 cores. Which games will use 4 cores? I don't know.
a b à CPUs
September 5, 2012 12:52:47 PM

Dual cores still do ok for most use and a lot of the older games out there are single or dual threaded only as well many of the latest games that still use the same engines as the older games from a few years back. For general use I suggest having a decent quad, it keeps up with everything you throw at it and it smooths out any of the lag. I got tired of using dual cores especially when it came to multiboxing wow and playing skyrim.
September 5, 2012 12:54:49 PM

At the moment most of the benefit of the i5 vs i3 is with the extra L3 cache it provides. There aren't really many games at all which take proper advantage of the extra threads. Getting a quad core is really a small performance boost on todays titles and a bit of proofing against tomorrows titles.

The trouble is that its £100 for an i3 and £150 for an i5 (roughly!) so its hard to justify spending two thirds of the cost for half the potential performance.

I wouldn't touch AMD these days, they are too far down the casual APU road.
a b à CPUs
September 5, 2012 1:37:51 PM

I actually was wondering this myself and yesterday I switched out my I3 2120 with an I5 2400, fired up BF3 multiplayer and fraps. Looked at my frame rate and ... no noticeable change. So then I went with a G850 did the same thing, and the difference was 3-5 fps from an I5 2400 to a G850 in BF3. One more thing to add. On the I3 in task manager, cpu usage across all 4 cores (2 physical 2 hyperthreaded) was around 85% - 100%. The I5 was around 85% also on all cores. The G850 was constantly at 100% on both cores.

So for BF3 multiplayer it looks like the sweet spot in CPUs is between a G series and an I3, after that it seems to make less of a difference. At least on my setup at work.

Currently an I5 2400, 8GB DDR3 1600, HD 6670 DDR3 @ 900Mhz core and memory.
a c 103 à CPUs
September 5, 2012 7:47:41 PM

Thanks for the answers guys, so I am correct in only advising people to get an i5 if it leaves at least enough in the budget for a Radeon 7850 otherwise don't let it cut into the GPU budget? Does that sound about right?
a b à CPUs
September 5, 2012 7:50:41 PM

A 7850 and i5 are good enough to play any game at high or ultra at 1080p. But, don't go lower.
a b à CPUs
September 5, 2012 7:54:10 PM

Also, keep in mind Crytek said that Crysis 3 will melt your PC. You'd definitely need an i5 for that. ;) 
a c 78 à CPUs
September 5, 2012 8:16:50 PM

No game "needs" an i5. Its a question really of your individual expectations. Even Crysis 3, is not going to melt your PC and stuff. Seeing is believing, BF3 was thought to be a super duper CPU intensive game, and in fact it is to an extent, in multiplayer but in answer to your query, yes Phenom IIs and FX "do the job" just fine on BF3. Even at 1080p resolution.

simon12 said:
Thanks for the answers guys, so I am correct in only advising people to get an i5 if it leaves at least enough in the budget for a Radeon 7850 otherwise don't let it cut into the GPU budget? Does that sound about right?



Sounds about right yes. Video cards are and still will be for a very long time the biggest deciding factor in gaming performance. Yes an i5 is the "Best gaming" CPU on the market, but when you cut into your GPU budget for the priviledge of having one, you'd actually hurt gaming performance, not help it. For example, an i3 or a Phenom II with a 7870 would cost about the same as a i5-3570K with a 6850/6870. The i5 would be embarrassed quite badly in gaming performance against those 2 "lesser" CPUs with better video cards. This is not going to change, as consoles still dictate the gaming market. The biggest thing you want to do is have a balance between the CPU and GPU. I'd say that i3s and Phenom IIs are a good balance up to and including 7870, GTX 660 TI performance level. Anything higher than that will work, but I'd consider an i5-2500k/3570K at that point.

I'll hold my breath on Crysis 3 being a CPU killer. Fact is, if it is, it probably won't sell very well. This is the method in which consoles hold influence over the gaming market. PCs of course have the potential to play games at quality settings and resolutions consoles could only dream about, the problem is, PC gaming is already more expensive than console gaming. The cost to develop games that leave consoles in the dust, well, imagine if a single game cost you $150 to $200 (just randomly making up a number), would you pay it? On top of that pay $1000+ for a good gaming PC to handle the game? Or would you go buy an Xbox 360 or whatever for $400-500 and the same game, albeit scaled down to run on the console for $59.99?
a b à CPUs
September 5, 2012 8:39:49 PM

not many, but if you do more than just play games it's nice to have. and the ability to have things running in the background without interfering with gameplay is also appreciated. if all you want is games, go i3. if you want something more & abit of flexibility for the future, try not buying beer for a week & put the £30 you saved onto your cpu budget :D 
a b à CPUs
September 5, 2012 9:10:28 PM

An i3 is fine for casual and semi-hardcore gamers. But, the i5 will give you better FPS by 10-15FPS or so due to more L3. The very few games that can utilize four cores will make the i5 really show its potential. The i3 will choke when you start to do serious multitasking while the i5 won't. i3 is fine if you don't want to shell out more money for 10-15 more FPS. Depends on the user.
a c 78 à CPUs
September 5, 2012 10:04:43 PM

obsama1 said:
An i3 is fine for casual and semi-hardcore gamers. But, the i5 will give you better FPS by 10-15FPS or so due to more L3. The very few games that can utilize four cores will make the i5 really show its potential. The i3 will choke when you start to do serious multitasking while the i5 won't. i3 is fine if you don't want to shell out more money for 10-15 more FPS. Depends on the user.

Its not the L3 cache per se that gives the i5 an advantage. The L3 cache only comes into play, just like games using more than 2 cores, it depends. Although its not an exact science since we're talking 2 different architectures, but Tom's did an article once showing the Athlon II vs the Phenom II at matched clock rates (the difference between the CPUs being that the Athlon II doesn't have an L3 cache). I can try to find the link if you're really curious, but the gist of it was, it depended on the application whether the L3 cache had a substantial impact, it varied anywhere from 5-25% depending on the application as I recall.

The i5 has an advantage over the i3, you're on the right track, because of background programs, I think. i3 has HyperThreading, which is pretty nice, but as demonstrated in 4 thread performance with even the slightly weaker individual cores of the Phenom II, HyperThreading is not the same thing as having 4 physical cores. While your game might not use more than 2 cores, there can still be an indirect impact.
September 5, 2012 10:10:43 PM

obsama1 said:
A 7850 and i5 are good enough to play any game at high or ultra at 1080p. But, don't go lower.


I heard that 7770 are very cost effective for the performance!
a b à CPUs
September 5, 2012 10:12:32 PM

Good explanation, thanks.
a b à CPUs
September 5, 2012 10:18:22 PM

It's not about performance per dollar. The 6450 has good performance per dollar, but it's not a great GPU for gaming. The 7850 is a great GPU because it OC's well, and plays any game on high or ultra.
a c 78 à CPUs
September 5, 2012 10:59:44 PM

s-h-a-w-n said:
I heard that 7770 are very cost effective for the performance!

Depends once again, on your expectations. If you're playing games like Call of Duty fully maxed at 1280x1024, or Minecraft, League of Legends, World of Warcraft, than yes, the 7770 is a hell of a card to game on,. But if you're talking about playing BF3 in ultra settings with full anti-aliasing at 1920x1080, then no, a 7770 will disappoint you greatly.
September 5, 2012 11:10:49 PM

Indeed, a motivated gamer will pay 200$ for a 7850 and even 250$ for a 7870 and have outstanding results, but considering the price and the performance, 130$ for a 7770 is very interesting. Its 80W power consumption is also noticeable, you only need a 6pin molex from the power supply.
a c 78 à CPUs
September 5, 2012 11:15:32 PM

Don't forget a 7850 only uses a single 6 pin power connector as well lol. Of course it uses more power, but the GPU is also more powerful.
a c 103 à CPUs
September 6, 2012 8:07:18 AM

Thanks guys I just started this thread to confirm what I already thought which you have. There is just to many people posting in this forum telling people they need an i5 on any gaming PC. But I suppose there is also enough telling people they cannot even play games on less than a 660Ti.
Thanks again you can consider my question answered but feel free to continue the discussion if you like.
a b à CPUs
September 6, 2012 9:26:27 AM

7850 FTW....blew one the other day....went overboard on the overclock but I was testing so I did it for science.
September 6, 2012 10:05:38 AM

sarinaide said:
7850 FTW....blew one the other day....went overboard on the overclock but I was testing so I did it for science.

How do you blow a GPU by just OC'ing? I want to know so I know what no to do to my precious HD7850 lol (great card by the way, I could hardly recommend a more expensive card for 1080p single monitor setup gaming!)
a b à CPUs
September 6, 2012 10:53:49 AM

When you roll with hardware testers and benchmarkers/reviewers things get broke.

Pushed to many mV through it lasted about a week before dying. Ran a 1375mhz core though.
a b à CPUs
September 6, 2012 11:25:15 AM

As far as I remember.
GTA 4 needs true quad core.
LA Noire have a nice performance boost too.
a b à CPUs
September 6, 2012 12:24:57 PM

I need to add some AMD fanbroski here....yes a AMD Phenom II and FX will do things just fine believe it or not.
!