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Minimum CPU with a GTX 480

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June 20, 2012 1:04:32 PM

I'm planning my first gaming rig build and have come up with a list of components which I THINK will do the job.

I'm not on a strict budget but as it's my first build I figured I'd learn more (and risk less) if I kept the cost as low as possible to do the job.

Here's my list of components so far...

Asus P8Z68-V LX - £75
Nvidia GeForce GTX 480 - £150
Intel i5 2500k - £130
16GB DDR3 (4x4GB) - £80
Corsair TX 650W PSU - £72
Seagate Barracuda 1 TB - £65
Xigmatek Midgard Case - £55

The only component I'm wondering about is the CPU. I've chosen the Intel i5 2500k for no other reason than everything I read says it's pretty darn good, but if I wanted to shrink the overall price further then that's one place to do it.

My question is, if my GPU is very capable, which the GTX 480 apparently is, how important is the CPU anyway?

I read that most games don't even take advantage of quad cores so would I see similar performance with an i3 with the same GPU...?

If gaming is all about the graphics then what exactly is the CPU doing anyway...?

Many thanks to Tomshardware for all the great articles and all the forum contributors in advance...

Drew

More about : minimum cpu gtx 480

June 20, 2012 1:27:48 PM

2500k,the best gaming cpu out there!
just overclock it if you want otherwise it's a great cpu for it's price.anything more expensive will not show any worthy difference.
June 20, 2012 1:40:05 PM

An i3-21xx will give you the same performance in almost all games. Your minimum framerate might drop lower than the i5 would, but you'll still have no problem averaging 40-60fps in any game on Ultra. There's yet to be a game made that a Sandy Bridge i3 can't play smoothly.
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June 20, 2012 1:45:16 PM

jessterman21 said:
An i3-21xx will give you the same performance in almost all games. Your minimum framerate might drop lower than the i5 would, but you'll still have no problem averaging 40-60fps in any game on Ultra. There's yet to be a game made that a Sandy Bridge i3 can't play smoothly.


2500k> 21xx cpus in terms of gaming.
otherwise,can you show me the benchmarks where 21xx performs same as 2500k?
June 20, 2012 1:48:30 PM

like hekkfire24 said the 2500K is an awesome CPU.One of the best ones you can get.

Basicly in games the CPU is mostly used to calculate physics and AI.Also the way PC games are played (if im not mistaken) is that.The game data is loaded in the HDD and sent to the RAM.From there it goes to the CPU which processes it and sends it to the GPU which processes it again and displays it on your screen.So, you see if your CPU isnt fast enough a lot of GPU power goes to waste.

If you are going to downgrade anything , Downgrade the case to an NZXT Gamma - 30£ or downgrade the ram to a pair of 4GB sticks like http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Vengeance-PC3-15000-1866m....

This way you won't lose ANY performance and you will also be able to achieve a higher CPU Overclock.
June 20, 2012 2:02:12 PM

hellfire24 said:
2500k> 21xx cpus in terms of gaming.
otherwise,can you show me the benchmarks where 21xx performs same as 2500k?

Well, when I say the same, I mean there's no visible difference. The i3-2100 has no problems hitting an average of 60+fps in any game that's not an RTS. You may get slightly more 25-30fps stutters in a 64-player match in BF3 multi, but other than that, there's no discernable difference.

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/289?vs=288&i=60....
http://www.anandtech.com/show/4083/the-sandy-bridge-rev...

And Max Payne 3 benchmarks for an example of a newer game.
http://www.geforce.com/optimize/guides/max-payne-3-benc...
June 20, 2012 2:11:12 PM

jessterman21 said:
Well, when I say the same, I mean there's no visible difference. The i3-2100 has no problems hitting an average of 60+fps in any game. You may get slightly more 25-30fps stutters in a 64-player match in BF3 multi, but other than that, there's no discernable difference.


let's take example of a demanding game like crysis-
http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/cpus/2011/07/01/intel-...
2500k-67 fps
2100-55 fps.
is that enough sir?
June 20, 2012 2:31:59 PM

hellfire24 said:
let's take example of a demanding game like crysis-
http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/cpus/2011/07/01/intel-...
2500k-67 fps
2100-55 fps.
is that enough sir?

55-60fps is there really a difference? :pt1cable:  Most games are butter-smooth at 50fps IMO.

Anyways, my point is, you can get the i3-2100 for 55% of the cost of an i5-2500K, and still get 80-90% of the gaming performance - even overclocked.

PigEonCake, if you've got the cash, go for an i5 - but if it will put you over budget, you'll still be fine gaming with an i3-2100.
June 20, 2012 3:12:38 PM

jessterman21 said:
55-60fps is there really a difference? :pt1cable:  Most games are butter-smooth at 50fps IMO.

Anyways, my point is, you can get the i3-2100 for 55% of the cost of an i5-2500K, and still get 80-90% of the gaming performance - even overclocked.

PigEonCake, if you've got the cash, go for an i5 - but if it will put you over budget, you'll still be fine gaming with an i3-2100.


90% performance???? FYI,my dad has got 2100,so i know what it can do and what not.it's good for him but no where near a 2500k when it comes to gaming.overclocking 2100 is almost impossible due to locked multipliers where as 2500k overclocks like a champ.
next time bring some benchmarks to back you up instead of some funny picture of yours.
June 20, 2012 4:14:20 PM

hellfire24 said:
90% performance???? FYI,my dad has got 2100,so i know what it can do and what not.it's good for him but no where near a 2500k when it comes to gaming.overclocking 2100 is almost impossible due to locked multipliers where as 2500k overclocks like a champ.
next time bring some benchmarks to back you up instead of some funny picture of yours.

I know all about those CPUs and their capabilities. I linked some benchmarks in my 2nd post. I totally agree that the i5 plays games better, but solely in gaming, you get a better bang for your buck with the i3. I'm just saying you're not missing much in almost all games if you go with the i3 vs. i5.
June 20, 2012 5:30:30 PM

Quote:
other options available.....:
i3-2120 and i5-2300 through i5-2400

as for the AMD vs Intel debate I have all the CPU's in question.
I'd have to go with an Intel solution over AMD right now.

y u change ur name bro? :p 
June 20, 2012 6:18:20 PM

jessterman21 said:
I know all about those CPUs and their capabilities.

no you don't.can you prove that a 2100 will provide the 90% performance of a 2500k?

edit:+1 for 2400.
June 20, 2012 6:53:29 PM

Since you're too lazy to look at the benchmarks I linked... And I said about 80-90% btw - not including most RTS games...

Max Payne 3 shows the i3-2100 at 93fps and the new i7-3770K at 107fps. That's 87% right there. The i3-2120 performs 5-6% better than the 2100, and the i5-2500K performs slightly under the i7-3770K, so there's one example.

Fallout 3: i3-2100 86.4fps vs. i5-2500K 90.3fps = 96%.
Left 4 Dead: 121fps vs. 142.7fps = 85%
Far Cry 2: 59.2fps vs. 78.9 = 75%
Crysis Warhead: 89.5fps vs. 91.6fps = 98%
Dragon Age Origins: 123.4fps vs. 159.4fps = 78%
Dawn of War II: 66.1fps vs. 82.3fps = 81%
World of Warcraft: 94.1fps vs. 119.4fps = 79%

Please note that in all cases, the performance differences go completely unnoticed on a 60Hz monitor.

And Tom's article comparing CPUs under $200 shows the i3-2100 at 85% of the i5-2500K at 4.0GHz.

PigeonCake wants to spend less without losing too much performance. The i3-21xx series will give great performance (55fps+) in almost all games, and the performance loss versus the cash you'll save over an i5 is worth it IMO.
June 20, 2012 7:01:47 PM

jessterman21 said:


Your minimum framerate might drop lower than the i5 would, but you'll still have no problem averaging 40-60fps in any game on Ultra.



Thanks jessterman21,

I'm currently gaming on a Mid 2010 13" MacBook Pro (via a Windows 7 Bootcamp partition) and has
2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
4 GB 1067 MHz DDR3 Memory and
Integrated NVIDIA GeForce 320M 256 MB graphics.

You may laugh at this; I'd almost be disappointed if you didn't... however playing MW2, if I turn the resolution down to 1024x768 and turn the textures and details down to minimum then I get between 60 to 90 fps, which is definitely playable.

I am however keen to stop slumming it and avoid anything that risks lowering the frame rate, even minimum frame rate, and I definately notice it when it gets down to about 40fps so I may as well stick to the i5.

Thanks for the feedback... :D 
June 20, 2012 7:03:11 PM

definitely consider the i5 2400, it's awesome. Only take the 2500K if you want to OC, otherwise 2400 ftw!

edit: or maybe the i5 3450 (ivy bridge) it is actually cheaper than a 2400 at my local retailer...
June 20, 2012 7:04:01 PM

Kamen_BG said:

If you are going to downgrade anything, downgrade the case to an NZXT Gamma - £30,


Thanks Kamen_BG, Case advice taken... I can get the NZXT Gamma for £38.15 here...

http://www.ipc-nottingham.com/index.php/component/virtu...

Kamen_BG said:

or downgrade the ram to a pair of 4GB sticks like

http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Vengeance-PC3-15000-1866m....

This way you won't lose ANY performance and you will also be able to achieve a higher CPU over-clock.


Again, advice taken...
I found some articles that said anything more than 8GB was pointless but didn't explain why. I just figured that if I got 16GB, even if the system didn't use it, it would hurt the performance ... Clearly this isn't the case...

Does anyone know of good articles that explain the relationship between RAM, the CPU and over-clocking...?
June 20, 2012 7:09:42 PM

Thomas_89 said:
definitely consider the i5 2400, it's awesome. Only take the 2500K if you want to OC, otherwise 2400 ftw!

edit: or maybe the i5 3450 (ivy bridge) it is actually cheaper than a 2400 at my local retailer...

I agree - the non-K i5s are at a pretty good price point right now, I'm sure you can find a deal somewhere across the pond.
June 20, 2012 7:28:32 PM

Thomas_89 said:


definitely consider the i5 2400, it's awesome. Only take the 2500K if you want to OC, otherwise 2400 ftw!

edit: or maybe the i5 3450 (ivy bridge) it is actually cheaper than a 2400 at my local retailer...



Well this is my first PC build so the last thing I want to do is just spend tonnes of cash, but not really know why and consequently learn nothing...

I guess I won't be jumping straight into over-clocking but would like to be able to a bit later so I'll stick with the i5 for now...

hellfire24, jessterman21, urban legend

I used to sell PCs for a living, and recognise the temptation that customers had to up the spec as much as possible through fear of getting stuck with a donkey for the next 3 years.

The idea behind my project is to not just buy the thing with the biggest numbers on it like an i7 3xxx thinking it's the best bit of kit around without properly knowing why. From my research in to CPUs I've discovered that the i5 is the dog's nuts but also that the actual difference between that and an i3 or i7 isn't as great as you'd think...

I guess the discussion above proves that to be correct so thanks for thrashing through all that...(I'll let you settle the details among yourselves, like gentlemen, I hope...)

I think for the price difference I might as well stay with the i5... It's only about £50 more expensive but sounds like it might be worth it after all, particularly if it's over-clockable...

Makes sense that the CPU is as future proof as possible also rather than over-clocking an i3 from the outset.
June 20, 2012 7:52:43 PM

Revised spec list is...

Asus P8Z68-V LX - £75

Nvidia GeForce GTX 480 - £150

Intel i5 2500k - £130
Corsair TX 650W PSU - £72
Seagate Barracuda 1 TB - £65

and now...

Corsair Vengeance 8 GB : 2 x 4 GB - £35

Nzxt Gamma Case - £38

Total: £565

That's knocked £62 off the total without affecting the performance, nor buying over spec parts AND retaining it's over-clock potential...

Awesome...

Thanks guys...
June 20, 2012 7:54:23 PM

Quote:


yes, dual channel kits please.!



Are these dual channel...?

Oh crap...I think I need to read a good article on RAM...

Any suggestions...?
June 20, 2012 8:39:54 PM

Quote:

look for these specs in-particular and the manufacturer will not matter.
8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 1600 9-9-9-24 CL9 1.5V

I prefer Corsair or Muskin Enhanced for RAM, G Skill I heard was good.


Thanks Urban...what am I looking at here...?

8GB (2x4GB) - Self explanatory

DDR3 - "DDR3 SDRAM, an abbreviation for double data rate type three synchronous dynamic random access memory" - Wikipedia

1600 [Mhz] - This is the speed of the RAM...no?

9-9-9-24 - Badly chosen lottery numbers...?

CL9 - Library shelf number...?

1.5V - The type of batteries the RAM will need...?

June 20, 2012 8:54:36 PM

PigeonCake said:
Thanks Urban...what am I looking at here...?

8GB (2x4GB) - Self explanatory

DDR3 - "DDR3 SDRAM, an abbreviation for double data rate type three synchronous dynamic random access memory" - Wikipedia

1600 [Mhz] - This is the speed of the RAM...no?

9-9-9-24 - Badly chosen lottery numbers...?

CL9 - Library shelf number...?

1.5V - The type of batteries the RAM will need...?

This one made me LOL
June 27, 2012 6:31:00 PM

Kamen_BG said:

downgrade the ram to a pair of 4GB sticks like http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Vengeance-PC3-15000-1866m....
This way you won't lose ANY performance and you will also be able to achieve a higher CPU Overclock.



WAIT A MINUTE....!

The ASUS P8Z68 V LX has four RAM slots, no...?

http://uk.asus.com/Motherboards/Intel_Socket_1155/P8Z68...

Quote:

"Memory: 4 x DIMM, Max. 32GB, DDR3 2200(O.C.)/2133(O.C.)/1866(O.C.)/1600/1333/1066 MHz Non-ECC, Un-buffered Memory, Dual Channel Memory Architecture"


Wouldn't it be better to get 4 x 2GB RAM sticks to fill all four slots rather than 2 x 4GB sticks which will only fill 2 slots...?
June 27, 2012 6:42:14 PM

No, it is not. 2x4GB is better as it leaves you options to add more later when you need it.
June 27, 2012 7:34:25 PM

azeem40 said:

No, it is not.


Thanks azeem40 ...

Is there no performance gain from having the same amount of RAM spread over more pins...?

I thought there would have been...?
!