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AMD 8120/50 or i5 or i3?

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October 16, 2012 8:13:43 AM

I am an avid programmer and need to buy a system for myself. Until now, I have been working on an IBM Thinkpad T410 which has i7 M620 @2.67Ghz quad core with 8Gb of RAM - but this is what my company bought for my work :) 

Following are the most frequently used applications which I need to run almost throughout the day, every single day:-

- Adobe Photoshop CS5
- Adobe Flex
- Eclipse
- Firefox and Chrome with atleast 50-75 tabs open in parallel ( i believe this needs to be considered, given the amount of memory leaks that FF has - it easily spikes to 1-1.5Gb with over 15% CPU consumption)
- VMWare or VirtualBox running Mac OS X - 2Gb memory dedicated to this instance, and right now I allocate 2 cores to it as well
- no games at all :) 

When I look at my Windows Task Manager right after booting up, in idle condition about 7% of CPU is kept consumed with over 2.5Gb of primary memory..

Given all of the above, I was able to atleast decide on 1 of the factors - given that RAM is cheap, I can/would get 12-16Gb

Now it boils down to price Vs need for me. I need to get a processor which doesn't get too dated in the next 2-3 years; its just not practically and financially feasible for me to keep buying/upgrading a system every 2 years.

Given my span of work, the applications I use and the budget, I have been able to drill down from a plethora of processors to 3:-
- i3
- i5
- AMD (8120/8150)

i7 is just too expensive; so its off the list.
Now, would i3 be good enough? Or do I get an i5 or an equivalent AMD 8120/8150?
Again, there are like 50 variants of i3 (1st gen, 2nd gen, 3rd gen) and over 25 of i5 with price difference ranging between 10-150$!!!! How and what to choose? Which motherboard to go with?

Aah.. I last things, I am not sure if this fits in here, but I'd like hardware that supports high resolutions 1920x1080 is preferable, but a bit more would be awesome as well. This is to ensure that when I'm writing code and moving between tonnes of windows now and then, I don't have to scroll left-right-up-down too much to see my content

More about : amd 8120

October 16, 2012 8:37:12 AM

i5 ivy definately, and the 16GB for your usage.

get a quality motherboard meets your budget
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October 16, 2012 9:02:33 AM

ronsom said:
I am an avid programmer and need to buy a system for myself. Until now, I have been working on an IBM Thinkpad T410 which has i7 M620 @2.67Ghz quad core with 8Gb of RAM - but this is what my company bought for my work :) 

Following are the most frequently used applications which I need to run almost throughout the day, every single day:-

- Adobe Photoshop CS5
- Adobe Flex
- Eclipse
- Firefox and Chrome with atleast 50-75 tabs open in parallel ( i believe this needs to be considered, given the amount of memory leaks that FF has - it easily spikes to 1-1.5Gb with over 15% CPU consumption)
- VMWare or VirtualBox running Mac OS X - 2Gb memory dedicated to this instance, and right now I allocate 2 cores to it as well
- no games at all :) 

When I look at my Windows Task Manager right after booting up, in idle condition about 7% of CPU is kept consumed with over 2.5Gb of primary memory..

Given all of the above, I was able to atleast decide on 1 of the factors - given that RAM is cheap, I can/would get 12-16Gb

Now it boils down to price Vs need for me. I need to get a processor which doesn't get too dated in the next 2-3 years; its just not practically and financially feasible for me to keep buying/upgrading a system every 2 years.

Given my span of work, the applications I use and the budget, I have been able to drill down from a plethora of processors to 3:-
- i3
- i5
- AMD (8120/8150)

i7 is just too expensive; so its off the list.
Now, would i3 be good enough? Or do I get an i5 or an equivalent AMD 8120/8150?
Again, there are like 50 variants of i3 (1st gen, 2nd gen, 3rd gen) and over 25 of i5 with price difference ranging between 10-150$!!!! How and what to choose? Which motherboard to go with?

Actually, the FX-8120s and 8150s are not bad choices for that kind of work load. Although, we are less than a month away from the release of their successor the FX-8350 which is expected to be priced around $200. You might consider holding off til then, they are expected to perform 10-15 percent better than the FX-8150s. i3s are not appropriate choices for that level of intensive multitasking and multi-threaded work.

I know this is largely meant to be a professional system, although, is overclocking the CPU something you would have issue with? That would determine my answer on the motherboard question.
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October 16, 2012 9:32:17 AM

I'm also agree on waiting, if u could wait a little more.....
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October 16, 2012 9:35:58 AM

nekulturny said:
Actually, the FX-8120s and 8150s are not bad choices for that kind of work load. Although, we are less than a month away from the release of their successor the FX-8350 which is expected to be priced around $200. You might consider holding off til then, they are expected to perform 10-15 percent better than the FX-8150s. i3s are not appropriate choices for that level of intensive multitasking and multi-threaded work.

I know this is largely meant to be a professional system, although, is overclocking the CPU something you would have issue with? That would determine my answer on the motherboard question.


Thank you very much for your suggestions..
I can hold on for a month or so, that's not a problem at all. However, when it comes AMD, I've heard quite a lot of good and bad things. Good ones ofcourse that gamers prefer it and that it can be overclocked etc. bad ones include multiple issues running Mac OS X on VMWare or VirtualBox, heating problems requiring additional fans etc. Not sure how true the latter one would be, but I've experienced the former one first hand..

What the the ups and downs of overclocking? I've been using intel system for my entire computer interaction up until now so haven't gotten a chance or need to change things when it comes to hardware - I am more of a software guy, who just wants this system to perform well while running a lot of development applications :) 
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October 16, 2012 9:55:32 AM

Hi,

Actually, Intel has the upper hand for the most part in the gaming market. AMD and Intel have been at it for 40 years now, AMD had a brief moment of shine against Intel in the early-mid 2000s. Mainly because Intel decided to try and do something really stupid with their CPUs that didn't quite pan out.

At any rate, FX CPUs do use a bit more electricity than Intel. The FX CPUs have more cores that individually perform weaker than Intel's CPUs as a brief description. (thats why Intel has the upper hand in gaming, most games do not use more than 2 cores in the processor). Although, your video editing programs are another story. These programs you mentioned all will use 8 cores if the CPU in question has them available.

As it is now, the FX-8150s have a very Dr. Jeckel and Mr. Hyde nature to them, some things the i5 will perform better in, even in multi-threaded applications. The upcoming FX-8350 is at least worth a look since we're so close to the release date. You're talking about running a lot of processes at once.

The FX-8120 is the same CPU as the 8150, its just clocked lower. Its also cheaper, so thats an option as well since both CPUs are fully overclockable. With Intel, to overclock you need a "K model", (IE 2500K, 3570K).

The pros and cons of overclocking (short list- I'm trying to keep everything brief lest I go off on a tangent)

Pros- More performance, less cost (example buying 8120 in lieu of 8150)

Cons-Increased power consumption, need for a better quality motherboard for optimal performance which may cost more, voids warranty (however, its pretty rare to fry a CPU these days unless you do something stupid like jack up the voltage). Need for aftermarket CPU cooler (although FX-8s have been known to hit 4.0GHZ just fine on the stock cooler)

And you have to keep in mind, while almost every CPU has more potential for overclocking, you're only guaranteed the speed you pay for. Not all CPUs overclock the same. For example, one i5-2500K might hit 5.0GHZ, another might not be able to run stable over 4.4GHZ. I know I have more cons than pros, but really the first pro is worth a dozen cons.
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October 16, 2012 10:00:58 AM

Not all of the programs you mentioned I can find benches for, I did find this one:

Adobe Photoshop, it does appear that the FX-8150 is about 60 seconds slower than the i5-2500K in their sample test:
http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/AMD-FX-8150-vs-C...

As far as I know, no site has really benchmarked "multitasking", although with that many tabs open at once along with the additional processes from the virtual machine, I would still lean towards a CPU with more threads, which would be the 8 core FX.

Edit: Although, one other thing comes to mind, if you're talking running a Mac OS as in like Hackintosh (mind you I'm an Apple noob), I don't think you can run it on anything other than an Intel CPU, but I may be wrong.

And another edit: Apparently these guys say they got Hackintosh working with AMD.
http://www.osx86.net/desktops/9746-guide-os-x-10-6-amd....
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October 16, 2012 10:23:54 AM

nekulturny said:
Not all of the programs you mentioned I can find benches for, I did find this one:

Adobe Photoshop, it does appear that the FX-8150 is about 60 seconds slower than the i5-2500K in their sample test:
http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/AMD-FX-8150-vs-C...

As far as I know, no site has really benchmarked "multitasking", although with that many tabs open at once along with the additional processes from the virtual machine, I would still lean towards a CPU with more threads, which would be the 8 core FX.

Edit: Although, one other thing comes to mind, if you're talking running a Mac OS as in like Hackintosh (mind you I'm an Apple noob), I don't think you can run it on anything other than an Intel CPU, but I may be wrong.

And another edit: Apparently these guys say they got Hackintosh working with AMD.
http://www.osx86.net/desktops/9746-guide-os-x-10-6-amd....


Thanks a ton. Thank you soo much for the great insight.

One things that helps for sure is your point about the helplessness that I might feel about not being able to run Hackintosh on AMD.. so it narrows down to Intel then. I don't run that by choice; its just to run and check the cross platform applications that I work on. I basically develop them on Windows and have to run on Windows and Mac to see how it works and performs.

From the reviews and stars that I see on Amazon/newegg, i5 2500K and 3570K seem like good choices, with the latter being Ivy bridge and yet being a dollar cheaper amazes me!

Also, I don't play games at all; well maybe Pocket Tanks some times - twice a year maybe :)  so all the gaming part is totally out. Not sure if I would do overclocking etc - like to keep hardware as is, no hack attempts at that.


For the motherboard, I could find one from Gigabyte, costs about $75 and supports 32Gb of RAM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Now sure how one determines what a good motherboard is like - I just look at what it offers and how people who own it think it fairs with their daily computing requirements..
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October 16, 2012 11:02:24 AM

Best answer selected by ronsom.
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October 16, 2012 11:49:25 AM

Just an advice, if u don't O.C u can skip the -K processor....

Cut the cost or get the best non K that the budget allows or dump it in the other component....

note: The mobo is quite solid but it not intended for O.C.-er
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October 16, 2012 3:33:01 PM

I wouldn't bother trying to get 32 GBs of RAM. It is really rare to use amounts that high. I would stick with 2x 8GBs if you really want to have the option later to go to 32, but I wouldn't just start out with 32 in any event.
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October 16, 2012 11:13:57 PM

Raiddinn said:
I wouldn't bother trying to get 32 GBs of RAM. It is really rare to use amounts that high. I would stick with 2x 8GBs if you really want to have the option later to go to 32, but I wouldn't just start out with 32 in any event.

I agree. 16GB is probably plenty for what you need to do anyway. I know 16GB was major overkill for me, but I don't run high end productivity. Occasionally played with virtual machine for school, but nothing in depth really, and certainly not a daily occurrence.

Another word of caution when choosing RAM for an Intel CPU. 1.5V is a MUST, Also I would suggest 1333mhz RAM since you're not overclocking. (not very much practical performance increase in overclocking the RAM anyway. But the memory controllers on Intels CPUs are very picky about voltage. So make sure you check that when selecting RAM.

The motherboard you're looking at isn't bad, although I personally would prefer an Asus equivalent.

Such as this:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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October 17, 2012 4:08:57 AM

Both Gigabyte and Asus are about even in quality, I would say. I wouldn't pick one over the other based on brand.

Also, do you mean they should take 1.5v rather than 1.65v or 1.5v instead of 1.35v?
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October 17, 2012 4:17:38 AM

Raiddinn said:
Both Gigabyte and Asus are about even in quality, I would say. I wouldn't pick one over the other based on brand.

Also, do you mean they should take 1.5v rather than 1.65v or 1.5v instead of 1.35v?

Eh.. I had a Gigabyte board that costs $180, that had disappointing features, and it died on me after 3 weeks. Still had blue screen BIOS, which I didn't realize at the time was pretty darn pathetic nowadays.. VS My Asus Sabertooth which I replaced it with when it died for the same price. Thats my bias I suppose.

As far as the voltage, I don't know about going lower to 1.35V, but absolutely, I would not use anything higher. Proximon wrote a thread on it I think, I don't have it off the top of my head, I haven't seen the fella in awhile. People have reported stability issues using higher voltage RAM.
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October 17, 2012 6:41:07 AM

i had Asus Deluxe mobo cost around $200 buck that burn the memory stick couple of times (default setting normal usage)..

well i'm still novice those days hehehe... ;) 

so i'm cannot recommend ASUS, well lucks still a factor :D  in electronics...
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October 17, 2012 11:49:43 AM

I guess I won't be getting 32 Gb of primary memory as of now, 16Gb is more than enough. Its just that I don't want to upgrade my system in the next 3 years so keeping that in mind, I was thinking of buying a board that atleast supports that.

There is no bias towards any company that I have for the board, its just that the one from gigabyte has 32Gb support and its cost is on the lower side. BIOS UI or overclocking doesn't bother me at all; its just that I have probably not used the bios menu more than once a year, so having it in 8 bit mode is not a worry :) 

between i5 2500K and 3570K, i guess the 3570 one is the newer version with more or less the same clock speed and a smaller die size (not sure how that matters as they put in the same number of registers in smaller space - transmission delay reduced!! :o  )


There is 1 thing that I noticed though - what is Intel Smart Cache!! Where are the L1, L2, L3 numbers?
Did they put in all 6Mb as L1 <- fastest (just next to register storage) and increases cost, so they might not do it.
Or is it 2,2,2Mb at L1, L2 and L3 levels !! <- this would be a pretty bad design!
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October 17, 2012 1:07:30 PM

Gigabyte was the slowest to adopt real UEFI, instead sticking with Hybrid UEFI which could recognize larger hard drives without the other benefits of UEFI like mouse enabled navigation.

However, they did get on the train eventually, now they have full UEFI on all their new boards.

I don't know why they decided to slow roll the change over to real UEFI, but in any event that is all past tense now.

As for the motherboard dying in three weeks, that sounds kinda RMAish, but if it was OC related I guess that stuff happens. I haven't personally owned any Gigabyte boards, but I have looked at some failure rate numbers and they were on par with Asus/Asrock numbers for the most part.

AFAIK, Intel boards are fine to use 1.35v RAM and indeed it is even encouraged. It saves power, taxes the board/psu less, and I haven't heard any reports of it not working well in any setup.

I do agree, though, 1.65v RAM is old from the days that 1333 RAM was just invented since it was directly transferred over from the slower 800 and 1066 RAM where it was commonplace to have voltages that high. Many years have passed since then and newer specs have been made and tested and the newer DDR3 types are certainly better all around than the older ones. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend 1.35v to anyone unless their motherboard was a really old 6 series board or maybe 790fx.
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October 17, 2012 1:27:10 PM

In regards to die shrinking, it is more about signals not have to travel as far. That reduces the amount of power needed to power a chip while keeping the same level of performance.

Intel alternates in their new processors. One release will have the exact same design as the previous one with a shrunken die for efficiency reasons. The next will have more electronics to take up some of the newly unused space, adding more power. The next will again be about die shrinkage for efficiency reasons. The next will again be adding more electronics to take up the unused space and add more power.

Sometimes they add a tiny bit of the opposite kind in with a new release (why Ivy Bridge is a small improvement in processing power even though it is a die shrinkage release), but usually those changes are small and far from the focus of the whole effort.
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October 17, 2012 2:17:26 PM

Raiddinn said:
Gigabyte was the slowest to adopt real UEFI, instead sticking with Hybrid UEFI which could recognize larger hard drives without the other benefits of UEFI like mouse enabled navigation.

However, they did get on the train eventually, now they have full UEFI on all their new boards.

I don't know why they decided to slow roll the change over to real UEFI, but in any event that is all past tense now.

As for the motherboard dying in three weeks, that sounds kinda RMAish, but if it was OC related I guess that stuff happens. I haven't personally owned any Gigabyte boards, but I have looked at some failure rate numbers and they were on par with Asus/Asrock numbers for the most part.

AFAIK, Intel boards are fine to use 1.35v RAM and indeed it is even encouraged. It saves power, taxes the board/psu less, and I haven't heard any reports of it not working well in any setup.

I do agree, though, 1.65v RAM is old from the days that 1333 RAM was just invented since it was directly transferred over from the slower 800 and 1066 RAM where it was commonplace to have voltages that high. Many years have passed since then and newer specs have been made and tested and the newer DDR3 types are certainly better all around than the older ones. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend 1.35v to anyone unless their motherboard was a really old 6 series board or maybe 790fx.

Yea.. Uhh. no overclocks were involved in the Gigabyte board dying. I just booted it up one morning and it said "Main Bios failure, blah blah blah, attempting to recover from HPA, HPA not available, shutdown. Lather, rinse, and repeat. I wanted to run my system for like a month or so to make sure it was all stable since it was my first system build before I OC'd. Good thing I did. As far as the RMA, Gigabyte tech were rude, unknowledgeable (is that even a word?) and generally unhelpful. They ended up passing the buck back to TigerDirect. At that point, I had made up my mind to not replace the board with another Gigabyte. I called TD, and their sales rep was more helpful (not because he had to, but I guess just to make conversation, he came up with a couple ideas that were more intelligent than anything Gigabyte's rep did--- IE. Breadboarding)

To be fair, I'm sure Asus's customer service are just as useuless, the difference is as far as I'm concerned is I haven't had to deal with them. :kaola: 
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