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Intel QX6800 vs i5 3450 vs AMD FX-81xx series

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September 24, 2012 4:03:42 PM

Howdy,

Up until now I've been running a system with a Core2Extreme QX6800 and 6GB DDR2 ram, using Reaper x64 (DAW). It was running very solidly and powerfully and I'd never been near touching the ram or CPU limit. But then my motherboard died and I have to look for either a replacement motherboard, or a new system altogether.

It'll be for music production and music production only.

I don't have that much cash to spend, so my first option is obviously to replace the motherboard and keep using my old (socket 775) system. That would be by far the cheapest option, but I'm not sure how I feel about throwing more money at old technology.

So the next option is to build a new system altogether. I've been looking at either an AMD Fx-8120/8150, or an i5 3450. I want to keep costs to a minimum, but I also want to have a system that performs better than the one I've been running up until now.

As I said my current system had more than enough power to deal with what I'd been throwing at it, so for me that was powerful enough.

The AMD vs Intel debate is confusing me. I'm seeing a lot of criticism for the FX-81xx chips, but most of the criticism has come from a gaming POV, of which I'll be doing none. The downside to going for Intel is that the socket 1155 is now pretty much over and a new socket is on the way. Whereas AMD's 3+ is new and there will be room to upgrade later if needs be. That said, with Intel I could always upgrade to an i7 down the line when they become cheaper because of newer chips on the new socket. I don't really care about using older tech if it's giving me the power I need.

Most of all I want a system that's more powerful/efficient than what I have already, otherwise what's the point in spending all the cash to upgrade? The only comparisons I can find between my current QX6800 and other chips places the FX-81xx at similar performance to it, and the i5 above. But again, that was in gaming. I can find no info on how they perform in music applications (multicore/multithread). Reaper has excellent multicore/thread support.

Any advice here?

Thanks a million.
a b à CPUs
September 24, 2012 5:10:33 PM

It largely depends upon the kind of software you use. The FX 81xx chips do very well in highly threaded multi-core optimized software. They mostly meet or slighly exceed i5 level's f performance. See the following link,
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/windows-7-hotfix-bu...

With PD releasing in about a month's time, you make see even better performing chips from AMD. But honestly speaking, since your looking to save money, and your old system never was really breaking sweat, even a Phenom II x4 965 will be more than sufficient for you, at a MUCH cheaper price :) 
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Being AM3+ compatible, you can always upgrade to a FX- Vishera chip down the road when they become dirt cheap themselves !! :D 

The core i5's are also an equally good option, and they are fast in almost all kinds of applications. If you don't mind spending a bit more for the i5, then go that route :)  They have an added bonus of consuming a little less power than the FX chips. Money is the only issue here :) 
a c 103 à CPUs
a c 83 V Motherboard
September 24, 2012 6:00:37 PM

Or just buy a cheap socket 775 off ebay that supports the X6800 and then save up to replace the whole guts when Intel Haswell or AMD Piledriver are released and performance is known.
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September 24, 2012 6:22:13 PM

Cheers for the replies.

I'm using Reaper x64 which has good multicore and multithread support.

I can get a new i5 3450 system for ~€400 and then sell my old ram and CPU to make a little back. So the difference between replacing just my motherboard and PSU and getting a whole new system isn't really that much.

I'm sort of leaning towards an i5 3450, which is the same price as an FX-8150.

Would that be a good choice, or is the difference not really noticeable.

I suppose, most of all I'd like to know if either of those will out perform my QX6800. I'm not against using an older system so long as it's doing what I need (and the QX6800 was), but better power consumption etc is important too, though less so.

a b à CPUs
a b V Motherboard
September 24, 2012 6:42:21 PM

They will both outperform your QX6800 by more than 50% but the FX is the better option from the two because
A : you can upgrade to Piledriver and (hopefully) streamroller CPU's
B : they can be overclocked extremely easily.

Or like the other said you could just buy a good motherboard that supports your CPU and a good cooler and overclock it.This way it won't be that much slower than the AMD FX or Intel Core i5.
September 24, 2012 7:04:49 PM

Thanks a mil. It's good to hear some feedback for the FX series. It's a difficult one to gauge because the only info I can find re the FX series is from a gaming point of view, but on paper they certainly seem good for my needs with more cores/threads. Most of all they're cheaper!

Great to hear either choice will outperform the QX6800 though, that's my main concern. I'm not really pushed on overclocking tbh...
September 25, 2012 1:24:56 PM

Anyone else with any input?
September 25, 2012 9:59:10 PM

Visit the threads mentioning FX CPU benchmarks ... Terrible ! ... You should go for i5 3450/3470 ... you'll get PCI-E 3.0 + DDR3 upto 2800 Mhz bus compatibility + HDMI 1.4 .. The 22nm chip sucks around 77 Watts; where outperformed by its own Phenom X6 generations, the FX demands 125 Watt power in its so called future proof socket .. 70 percent processor market is owned by Intel (20% AMD,10% Others) where just .5% out of that 20% owns an FX .. how many software developer you know of who are willing to increase development costs to make their software adapted for bulldozer architecture ?? FX 8120 got beat by i3 2120 as well as their own previous generation 955BE/1100T ... so think wise ..
a c 99 à CPUs
a b V Motherboard
September 26, 2012 3:46:50 AM

pinksoir said:
Anyone else with any input?


I would try to replace the dead motherboard with an identical model to the dead one if at all possible. Your old system was perfectly adequate by your comments and this will be the least expensive option. Also, if you use the same motherboard, all you need to do is swap it in and you are good to go. If you get a new board, you will need to reinstall Windows and your programs. This is a royal PITA to do especially with any high-end licensed software such as your DAW stuff probably is. All of that stuff I have ever dealt with was murder to reinstall as you needed to fiddle with a bunch of dongles or worse, practically submit a DNA sample to the company and then they will give you an unlock code just for that installation. They may also decide to not give you another unlock code and browbeat you into buying a new version of their software for lots of $$$$$ because the old version you already paid for is "no longer supported" (more like "no longer giving the vendor any income.") We bought spare motherboards by the case and reinstalled the OS + program from a preinstalled image so we just had to do the painful activation/registration crap ONCE. That worked well unless somebody lost a damned dongle.

If you cannot find an identical or near-identical LGA775 board, then here's what I would do, in ranked order.

1. Find a non-identical LGA775 board that will handle your QX6800. You possibly will have to reinstall Windows but this will be less expensive than getting a new board/RAM/CPU/OS/etc.

2. Get the FX-8150 system. The FXes are decent CPUs for multithreaded work and both the CPUs and AM3+ boards less expensive than their Intel counterparts. FXes get ragged for performing lower than high-clocked Intel CPUs mainly with crappy console port games which are poorly multithreaded, tested with either outrageous multi-GPU setups or with absurdly low resolutions like 1024x768 low quality "to try to isolate the CPU." If your QX6800 was enough CPU, an FX-8150 will be noticeably more than enough CPU.

3. Get an Intel i5 system. This will cost more than an FX system and likely give you no benefit as you weren't really limited by your QX6800 system.
September 26, 2012 11:39:32 AM

Thanks for the replies guys. I decided to go for an i5 3470 system. It comes in only €10 more expensive than an FX-8150 system, so purely for the ability to upgrade to an i7 down the line I went that route. It should serve me for a good few years.

It was a tough decision, but in the end I think it's the best. I now have 8GB of DDR2 ram I can sell (~€100) and a QX6800 (also ~€100) on the second hand market, so the price between replacing the motherboard and PSU and going for a whole new system isn't that much really.

I can't find the same motherboard, or even one with the same chipset for a reasonable price, though I could buy another 775 motherboard. The thing is, my old system was pretty loud so I'm really looking for something much quieter and more power efficient. So I felt Ivy Bridge was the way to go...

Thanks for all the input. It was very much appreciated.
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