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Phenom II X4 965 vs. i5-2500k

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September 14, 2012 4:55:56 AM

TL;DR: Because of a combo deal, the 965+Motherboard is $120, and the i5+Motherboard is $240. Is the i5 worth it? What kind of frame rate increases can I expect in CPU intensive games? Will a 965 bottleneck a 7850?

Ok, so here's my situation. I'm trying to build a budget gaming computer for around $500-$550, but I could go up to around $600. Microcenter has fantastic processor deals, they sell the 2500k for just $159 boxed. They also sell a boxed Phenom II x4 965 BE for $89. Now, here's the kicker, it's not just $70 cheaper with the Phenom. They have these ridiculous $40 off any motherboard deal with AMD processors. So, a 965+MoBo is just $120, whereas with a 2500k+MoBo, it's $240, double the price. So, clearly the 2500k is better, and if it was just $70, I'd be all for it, but the 965 is such an amazing deal that I'm leaning towards it. So, my question is, with a budget in mind, is the extra $120 worth the performance upgrade of the i5? What kind of frame rate increases would I expect with the i5? Is it going to bottleneck a 7850 in games like BF3 when I pump up the settings? Or how about more CPU intensive games like Skyrim? Thanks for your input guys.

More about : phenom 965 2500k

a c 174 à CPUs
September 14, 2012 5:04:01 AM

The i5 is worth double the cost if the motherboard is good, the i5 itself is usually $200 so good deal if the motherboard is decent. i dont think a 965 will bottleneck a 7850.
In benchmarks and gaming the i5 will beat almost all to any amd cpu out right now, i means its not like its double as good as the amd phenom but google 2500k vs 965 ull get ur answer why spending double will be worth it.
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a c 174 à CPUs
September 14, 2012 5:11:35 AM

If ur budget is around $550 and u dont own a 7850 well then maybe get the 965, the 965 will do greatly at bf3 and skyrim.

the i5/mobo and 7850 will reach ur limit with no ram, case, psu, and what ever else u need yet
Edit: of of course ull have some money left from the i5/mobo/7850 but barely enough for listed above
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September 14, 2012 5:23:06 AM

I'd suggest bumping your gpu up to a 7870 and getting the 965 over the 2500k on your budget, it will give you more gaming performance and definitely better performance in bf3.
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September 14, 2012 5:49:37 AM

+1 - HD7870 and 965BE throw that onto an nice affordable 990FX motherboard.
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September 14, 2012 5:50:41 AM

With the release of the GTX 660, it's incredible performance increase over the 7850 in BF3, and it's significant performance increase over it in every other game, I will be going with that. I also like how Nvidia went with a full size HDMI port this time instead of their typical mini-HDMI. That's $229+$65 PSU+$40 RAM+$40 case+$65 HDD, it hits just at $600 on the AMD side, but $700+ on the Intel side. Looks like I'm going AMD.
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September 14, 2012 5:53:36 AM

7870s are the same price or cheaper than most of the 660s you will find. I'd say its worth it over the 660 if you want aa in games.
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September 14, 2012 6:08:35 AM

965's are EOL and can't compete with Intel. They also run hotter and suck more power. Intel is simply better all round. If you buy a 965 now I guarantee you will be upgrading to Haswell next year. Its too creaky and old.
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September 14, 2012 10:14:13 AM

Hmm creaky, someone should tell my Phenom II x6 that, particularly when I am bouncing off the FPS limiter on skyrim, that be the 120FPS limiter and well hitting around 65FPS on Battlefield 3 with 4XMSAA and other goodies.........very creaking indeed.

The only creaky part is the old memory controller and that is only noticable in memory synthetics. A 965BE + 7870 there is not need to upgrade next year, and if there is, he can go to SteamRoller.
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September 14, 2012 11:06:10 AM

If you are bumping up against the limit of your budget, the I5 is not worth $120 more, no. The 965BE is more than capable of running any game that's out right now. It won't bottleneck a single 7850. It might if you were running crossfire. And yes, I have both AMD and Intel gaming PC's.
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a c 102 à CPUs
September 14, 2012 11:24:57 AM

965 is good to go with the 7850 but if you want to upgrade the GPU in a year or 2 you will wish you got the i5 neither are a bad choice.
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September 14, 2012 9:12:39 PM

sarinaide said:
Hmm creaky, someone should tell my Phenom II x6 that, particularly when I am bouncing off the FPS limiter on skyrim, that be the 120FPS limiter and well hitting around 65FPS on Battlefield 3 with 4XMSAA and other goodies.........very creaking indeed.

The only creaky part is the old memory controller and that is only noticable in memory synthetics. A 965BE + 7870 there is not need to upgrade next year, and if there is, he can go to SteamRoller.


Forget BF3, its well threaded and skyrim is a dull generic RPG port a half decent phone could max out. Look at the Witcher 2 or Crysis 2 or Metro 2033, my minimum frames went through the room with an i5. The Phenom's 2 are obsolete, no wonder they are discontinued.
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a c 174 à CPUs
September 14, 2012 9:34:40 PM

Smeg45 said:
Forget BF3, its well threaded and skyrim is a dull generic RPG port a half decent phone could max out. Look at the Witcher 2 or Crysis 2 or Metro 2033, my minimum frames went through the room with an i5. The Phenom's 2 are obsolete, no wonder they are discontinued.


I get where the phenoms are old and discontinued but there isnt really any great processor amd has at the momment that compares to an i5 and be built on a budget, bulldozer is worse usually than a phenom II and being discontinued doesnt make them obsolete. He cares about BF3 and Skyrim because im guessing that wat he intends to play.

I agree that currently intel has the faster and better cpu out there for gaming but a budget requires using "obsolete" cpus and technically since IB is current gen and so is bulldozer then that makes SB obsolete right?
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September 14, 2012 10:09:04 PM

lazyboy947 said:
I get where the phenoms are old and discontinued but there isnt really any great processor amd has at the momment that compares to an i5 and be built on a budget, bulldozer is worse usually than a phenom II and being discontinued doesnt make them obsolete. He cares about BF3 and Skyrim because im guessing that wat he intends to play.

I agree that currently intel has the faster and better cpu out there for gaming but a budget requires using "obsolete" cpus and technically since IB is current gen and so is bulldozer then that makes SB obsolete right?


That is my point. AMD has no great processor so you buy Intel. Even an i3 3220 is better than anything on AMD's current side. And yes, to me Sandy Bridge is all over. Forget a budget, you are shooting yourself in the foot going AMD - false economy all the way.
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a c 174 à CPUs
September 14, 2012 11:07:14 PM

false economy how? just because bulldozer wasnt better than last gen makes amd terrible?
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September 14, 2012 11:26:11 PM

lazyboy947 said:
false economy how? just because bulldozer wasnt better than last gen makes amd terrible?


Yes. New products are supposed to be going forwards not backwards.
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a c 174 à CPUs
September 14, 2012 11:36:37 PM

moving forwards, requires trying something new and bulldozer wasnt a great idea it happens, doesnt make intel the all mighty supreme manufacturer. There are almost no games that'll utilize 4+ cores beside bf3 multi, so really almost any quad core will do, maybe no phenom I or C2Q so i dont get ur massive hate on amd. Not everyone benchmarks and cares about having a better cpu at double the cost.
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September 14, 2012 11:56:11 PM

lazyboy947 said:
moving forwards, requires trying something new and bulldozer wasnt a great idea it happens, doesnt make intel the all mighty supreme manufacturer. There are almost no games that'll utilize 4+ cores beside bf3 multi, so really almost any quad core will do, maybe no phenom I or C2Q so i dont get ur massive hate on amd. Not everyone benchmarks and cares about having a better cpu at double the cost.


It does. You make a flop product you move somewhere else. There are stacks of games that are well threaded even for dual cores and FX can't even do a good job there. Forget benchmarks, you can feel the difference between a creaky old Phenom and a new i5.
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September 15, 2012 12:13:41 AM

Put the $120 saved into an SSD, there will be no comparison as to how much faster programs will load. granted the I5 2500k will get you ~5-20% higher fps depending on the game, but if its above your monitor's refresh rate with either one, who cares.
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September 15, 2012 12:29:28 AM

noob2222 said:
Put the $120 saved into an SSD, there will be no comparison as to how much faster programs will load. granted the I5 2500k will get you ~5-20% higher fps depending on the game, but if its above your monitor's refresh rate with either one, who cares.


Game load times are irrelevant. Push past 60 and you have liquid smooth gaming.
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September 15, 2012 12:32:08 AM

for you apparently so. I prefer to play when i click go instead of going to make a sandwitch while I wait.

Everybody has different priorities, just because its not yours doesn't mean its not for someone else.
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a c 146 à CPUs
September 15, 2012 12:40:30 AM

I would definetly go with the I5. While the 965 isn't bad the SB and Ivy Bridges I5's out performs it in pretty much all games.
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September 15, 2012 7:56:26 AM

so many intel fanboys in this thread. 965 + 7870 beats a 2500k + 7850 any day and its cheaper.
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September 15, 2012 8:13:16 AM

Indeed, let me hopefully sum the important points.

1. No, the 2500K will not double your FPS for the double the money. It is, however unquestionably more powerful.

2. It's not worth downgrading your GPU below a certain point (7850 IMO) to get a 2500K ever. The question you present as such is too vague.
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a c 146 à CPUs
September 15, 2012 2:11:18 PM

esrever said:
so many intel fanboys in this thread. 965 + 7870 beats a 2500k + 7850 any day and its cheaper.


:pfff:  :pfff: 
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September 16, 2012 6:31:33 PM

Non-AMD users trying to tell me that my Phenoms and FX's cannot play a game. Metro 2033 is rather AMD optimized so it actually does rather well in that game. Be careful what you call obsolete and old, in most instances Denebs and Thubans are indistinguishable from i5/i7, but then again so is a FX 81XX, its just synthetics that get the fanboys jumping.
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September 16, 2012 7:00:26 PM

you can expect about a 20-30% fps difference between the i5 and the phenom. personally, i'd go with the phenom because of the awesome amd motherboard deal you talked about in your question. also, you can overclock a phenom ALMOST to an i5 level with a good cooler.
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a b à CPUs
September 16, 2012 7:16:59 PM

Chase is on the money. 25% more performance for double the cost.
Thread seems to be filled with Intel's advertising agents.

I got myself a 965, cost me £80. Well worth it, considering a 2500k is £165 and is only marginally better.
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September 16, 2012 7:31:53 PM

It depends on the titles and what is being done, in many instances it is so marginal.
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September 16, 2012 8:11:27 PM

Well i didn't really take the time to read everyone responses so sorry if this already been said.

first i wanna say i have a phenom ii 965 so this is an unbiase answer and i can provide proof if needed.

People always say phenom ii are the best bang for your buck but the i5 will be able to play games on max settings alot longer then phenom ii will so that will make up for the more money you spend in the long run. Plus phenom ii 965 can really overclock 4ghz while the i5 can reach well above that. You will eventually overclock if you want to expand the lifespan of your cpu.

I have my phenom ii 965 at 3.9ghz and pretty much all games run beautifully excpet for bf3 64 player multiplayer maps can lag at times. my friends i5 2500k runs it with no problem but he also have a 4.3ghz overclock.

Also how long do you plan on sticking with this cpu? cause the new xbox is coming out within the next year i believe. What that means is games that are ported will have higher system requirements as far as cpu and more games will use more cores since the new xbox is rumour to have 4 cores. Which might be where you start seeing the phenom ii will start struggling with games.

so here the pros and cons of both.

phenom ii
pros:
1.price
2.better motherboard.
3. more money for gpu
4. can play any game out right now.
5.overclockable
6.AMD has 2 more cpu's being release for socket am3+ which make upgrading less expensive.
cons:
1. less life expenctancy for gaming.
2.uses alot more power.
3. lower ipc vs 2500k

i5 2500k
pros:
1.better ipc
2.uses less power.
3.longer life expectancy for gaming.
4.higher overclocking headroom.
cons:
1.sacrficing a better motherboard.
2.price
3.less money for gpu.
4.Need to upgrade motherboard for any future intel intel cpu releases since intel uses difference sockets every cpu release.
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