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A8-3870k bundle, is it good?

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May 20, 2012 9:24:07 PM

hello, after a bit of research into what computer i should build, i finally decided to build one around the A8-3870K processor, when i noticed newegg had the following $500.99 combo:

•MSI A75MA-G55 FM1 AMD A75 (Hudson D3) SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
•AMD A8-3870K Unlocked Llano 3.0GHz Socket FM1 100W Quad-Core Desktop APU (CPU + GPU) with DirectX 11 Graphic AMD Radeon HD ...
•G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL9D-8GBXL
•Seagate Barracuda ST31000524AS 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
•Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit - OEM
•LITE-ON DVD Burner - Bulk Black SATA Model iHAS124-04 - OEM
•Thermaltake VL84301W2Z V3 Black Edition with 430W Power Supply ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

now, i was already planning to build a computer with either this processor or the i3-2120; two processors which have more power then i need(this would be a "netflix" computer, some beatmaking/recording, and very light gaming) i had managed to save $700 for this build, but if i don't need to spend all of it, i'd rather not.

i want to know if this build is good enough or if there are some weak links in it. in other words, is there a better way to spend those $500 dollars knowing that this will be a mostly general-use computer?

on a side note, i'd like to say that most my gaming is done on xbox, hence my choice in processor. between the llano and sandy, i hear that llano has better graphics, capable of light gaming. i also figure that if i do get into computer gaming, i could always get one of those crossfire GPUs later on.

also, i've heard students can get a discount on windows, if that's true, please take this into account for the budget.

More about : 3870k bundle good

May 20, 2012 10:32:35 PM

You can get a Pentium G620 a mother board and a Radeon HD6670 for $130 on newegg and that will out perform the A8-3870k and its iGPU.
Pentium G620 w/ mobo Combo
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
GIGABYTE GV-R667D3-1GI Radeon HD 6670 1GB 128-bit
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Spend about $60 on 8GB of Ram, $80 on a 1TB HD, $20 on a DVD Burner, and $60 on a case and PSU. In total it would be about $350. For an extra $50 you could get an i3.

For $500 I would build an i3 system with a nice GPU. Like a 560ti or something.
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May 21, 2012 12:04:50 AM

thanks for your help, JAA
ok so i'm not all that tech savvy(this would actually be my first from-scratch build), but how does the g620(2.6GHz) outperform the A8(3.0GHz)?
does it have something to do with the A8 having to "power" both the cpu and the gpu?
because if running the built-in gpu will hurt the cpu's performance, would i be better off getting both a cpu and a gpu? if so i guess the i3 would be better. i simply thought that the A8's gpu would be enough to run low-end games.

however, if i have to get a gpu, i'd like to get one that would give me the option to later on add a second one; should i decide to get into some heavier gaming, i'd like to be able to simply add another vid. card instead of replacing it with a new one, so i don't end up with a card that i won't even use.

just to clarify, upgradeability(if that's a word) is a very important factor for me.
i don't want the "cheapest" build; i only want to avoid overspending on something that i don't need(e.i. a gpu if the apu is enough to run older games or newer games on low settings; like the sims maybe).
i want a "budget" computer, but one that gives me the most options to upgrade later on without leaving me with extra componets, in case my needs happen to change in the future.
i know that i won't be able to switch from low-end to high-end gaming; but i would like the option to switch from low-end to mid-range. for example, i might buy one 4gig RAM, and later on add another 2-4; start off with built-in gpu, then later crossfire another gpu, or start off with one gpu and then later on add a second.
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May 21, 2012 3:26:45 AM

The G620 paired with a Radeon HD6670 will outperform an A8-3870K and its on board graphics. Check out this comparison.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/pentium-g620-amd-a8...

In the combo you picked your paying $220.00 for the A8-3870K and a motherboard. Even if you subtract the $46.94 in savings that's $173.00.

On the other hand with the two combos in my previous post you get the Pentium G620, a Radeon HD6670, and a motherboard for $130. That's better performance for $43 less.

As far as future upgrading, the G620 is a socket 1155 so you could upgrade up to an i3/i5/i7. The motherboard supports all of those.
On the other hand the A8-3870K is an FM1 socket so you really can't upgrade. Newegg doesn't have a better FM1 CPU.

You could definitely go from low end to high end gaming with a G620 build as long as you have a strong enough PSU. You could upgrade the CPU and Graphics card in the future to say an i5-2500K and a much stronger graphics card.

Also when it comes to crossfire sometimes people have issues with microstuttering. Also be aware that A8-3870K can only crossfire with certain GPUs and the 6670 is the highest one.
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a b B Homebuilt system
May 21, 2012 3:38:13 AM

i usually wouldnt support combos where theres more than 4 items bundled together, because usually, there's one or more items in there that are subpar, and would build something with combos of 2 or 3 instead because i get what i choose.
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a c 118 B Homebuilt system
May 21, 2012 5:17:26 AM

Something you should consider with the G620 over the llano is that you are sacrificing a quad core CPU for a dual core. I looked at that article, and I think both are great choices, you should note however since you did state that gaming is not the primary purpose of this computer from their conclusion page:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/pentium-g620-amd-a8...

Quote:
What conclusions can be drawn from this data, then? Clearly, the A8-3870K is a better platform for general productivity, particularly when you run threaded applications (or do a lot of multi-tasking) able to leverage four physical cores. The Pentium G620 and discrete Radeon card combine to form a superior gaming system.


As your original post pointed out this is basically going to be an HTPC, which in my opinion would make the Llano the better choice.

I will add to this part of the conclusion page:
Quote:
And how about each platform's upgrade path? This is an especially critical point for gamers.


NEITHER of them have an upgrade path really as far as CPU, the FM1 socket is set to be retired with the next generation of AMD APU's and Intel is retiring LGA1155 early next year with the release of Haswell.
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a c 118 B Homebuilt system
May 21, 2012 5:27:04 AM

Quote:
ok so i'm not all that tech savvy(this would actually be my first from-scratch build), but how does the g620(2.6GHz) outperform the A8(3.0GHz)?


I can answer this as well. Its a common misconception that higher clock speeds=better performance.

This simply is not the case, it gets into a lot of technical speak, but really it comes down to how efficiently the CPU's design can work. Intel tends to have better individual core performance than AMD, however again, for the purposes of your purchase. The Llano has 4 physical cores, the Pentium G620 has 2.

AMD tends to run their default clock speeds higher to compensate for their lower individual core performance.

What is a "core"? A core for all intents and purposes, if you have a dual core processor your computer "thinks" you have 2 processors. Its able to divide the work load to get more done effectively.

Now in some respects, software technology is behind hardware. There are many programs, (including games) that are not capable of making use of more than 1 or 2 cores. This is the only reason in my estimate that the G620 is able to pull ahead of the Llano in games.

There is only 1 or 2 games on the market currently capable of using 4 cores, (Battlefield 3 for example), however, I question how effectively it does use them because from every benchmark I've seen when CPUs are paired with a high power graphics card, all CPUs tested seem to perform identically.
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May 21, 2012 5:29:06 AM

@nekulturny
You don't consider going from a Pentium G620 to an i5 or i7 an upgrade? Eventually the prices of these will go down and they are better than an A8-3870K.
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a c 118 B Homebuilt system
May 21, 2012 5:32:04 AM

jaa228 said:
@nekulturny
You don't consider going from a Pentium G620 to an i5 or i7 an upgrade? Eventually the prices of these will go down and they are better than an A8-3870K.



That depends on what you consider an upgrade? Quarter 1 2013 Intel will be introducing Haswell on the LGA1150 socket, there will be no backwards compatibility with LGA1155. My opinion is, you should buy a system that will meet your needs for 2 to 4 years (depending on your budget), both systems CAN do that based on the OP's stated needs.

If for example you bought the G620 system today, with the intention of upgrading the CPU say in December, in my opinion, you just wasted money. If you think you're going to need to upgrade a CPU within a year of purchase, you should have waited til you had the money to buy what you needed a year ago. Its irresponsible financial planning to do otherwise.

Also Intel does not drop the prices of their CPUs. You will notice they have not dropped the price of Sandy's now that Ivy is out. AMD prices competitively, Intel does not feel the need to do so. While its no secret, that I personally am not a fan of Intel's business practices, I don't dispute that Intel in general makes superior products. My personal bias aside, I think in the case of the OPs stated system needs the Llano is the better choice.
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May 21, 2012 11:50:11 PM

thanks for your all your help. after reviewing all your opinions, i believe that i will go with an i3-2120 build, even if the G620 is "good enough", i think that the i3 will be a better choice in the long run, as i'd rather not wake up 3-6 months from now and realize that i need to upgrade to an i3.

if i ever choose to upgrade, i don't think i'll ever(well not ever, but maybe 5 years-ish) need more power than an i7 can offer. i hadn't realized that the A8 did not have any upgrade options, and since the i3 is well within my budget, i think i can spare the extra money for the performance upgrade from the G620.

i'll probably stick with the onboard graphics until skyrim online comes out; as i won't be doing much gaming until then(exept maybe the sims, and if the graphics aren't good enough, me and my xbox can get along fine until i upgrade). that will also give me more time to save up some money for a better card than the Radeon HD6670, and free up more of my budget for other stuff, like a case with super-good ventilation and a better psu.
once agian, thank you for all your help.
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a c 118 B Homebuilt system
May 22, 2012 5:33:10 AM

Good luck with it. So long as you understand the i3 is a dual core CPU as well. Honestly, I think either one will be fine for 2 to 4 years based on your stated expectations. Intel has a fairly large price gap between their dual core and quad core CPUs. Although the i3 has something the G620 does not. Something called "HyperThreading". Hyperthreading basically "pretends" the CPU has 4 cores.

While its not quite as good as having 4 "true cores" in applications that can make use of the extra cores, it is quite efficient. And from the Intel side of the spectrum, its the best performing CPU you're going to get at that price point. (As Intel's entry-level quad core starts at $180 for the i5-2300).

I think that you may not have fully understood me about the upgrade path. All of the current Intel CPUs, be it Pentiums, i3/i5/i7 use the LGA1155 socket, this socket will be discontinued early 2013 in favor of a new socket. Which means, you may have difficulty finding a CPU upgrade 2 years from now, likely impossible 5 years down the road without buying a new motherboard. This is unfortunately typical in the world of computers.

AMD typically does have a better reputation of offering backwards compatibility when they change sockets, however last fall they broke this tradition with the introduction of Bulldozer FX on the AM3+ socket, Phenom IIs/Athlon IIs, are forward compatible with AM3+ however, FX CPUs are not backward compatible with the prior AM3. As with Llano, AMD is likely to break tradition again with the upcoming next generation of Fusion (currently llano is on the FM1 socket, and the next generation will be FM2)
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May 22, 2012 10:58:49 AM

2606581,11,1119315 said:

I think that you may not have fully understood me about the upgrade path. All of the current Intel CPUs, be it Pentiums, i3/i5/i7 use the LGA1155 socket, this socket will be discontinued early 2013 in favor of a new socket. Which means, you may have difficulty finding a CPU upgrade 2 years from now, likely impossible 5 years down the road without buying a new motherboard. This is unfortunately typical in the world of computers.
quotemsg]

ok so wait, one more question: i understand that in the future i will no longer be able to upgrade to the newer CPUs that come out, since they won't be compatible with the LGA1155 socket; but does the introduction of the new socket type mean that the current i5/i7 processors(which use the LGA1155) will no longer be available?
because what i was planning on eventually doing(like maybe 2-3 years) was upgrading from the i3 to the i5 or 7, if the i3 no longer meets my needs.

i figure a good computer may have a 5-7 year lifetime, including upgrades. after that time period, it might be more beneficial to simply build a newer model than hunt down upgrade options.
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a c 118 B Homebuilt system
May 22, 2012 11:18:04 AM

Will they be available and when? Theres no guarantee

Take for example Intel CPUs that were available on the prior Intel socket (LGA1156). 1156 was used first in 2009.

Yes there are a few still floating around on newegg, nothing but dual cores, Intel does not produce them anymore, so they're just collecting dust in a warehouse:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...

LGA775 is previous to LGA1156, still a few of them floating around in inventory, pretty pitiful selection:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...

Just to give you an idea of things, Intel tends to use a socket for about 2 years, and moves on, unfortunately thats just the way it is. I don't want to scare you out of anything, none of the parts you buy are going to become obsolete overnight, it will be a slow process.

Theres no reason to think that an i3 will not meet your needs for a computer years, if you have to buy a new motherboard for a new CPU, thats just how it is. I will say that its usually cheaper and better for your performance to build a cheap system that will last you 2 to 4 years, than to spend a ton of money on a top of the line system and expect it to last you 7 years.

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May 22, 2012 9:55:38 PM

Best answer selected by ethererebus.
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