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Help me choose, AMD or Intel for a long life build

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July 9, 2012 11:36:32 PM

I want to ask you fine folks a pre-build planning question before I really start planning a rig. It boils down to AMD or Intel but my primary concern is how long I will be able to use the parts without replacing a major component like the mobo or psu. Details below.

TIME FRAME: I will be building a new PC in about a month.

BUDGET: I will be spending about $1200 before rebates and shipping.

USE: It will be to play games primarily. Games like Dwarf Fortress, Fallout 3, CIV 5, Armada 2526, X3, etc. I will also use it to OCR scanned documents, office work and watching bluerays. I do a fair amount of multitasking, stuff running in the background while I do office work.

It does not have to be the best gaming rig, I just want playable FPS at high-ish settings. I also want to be able to upgrade easily.

RATIONALE: My primary concern is that I have a solid upgrade path. I have a Dell PC that I have been using for nearly 8 years now, and I would continue to upgrade and use it, but the Mobo is a PCI 1.0 and the PSU is the standard 350. Which means no new GPU unless I replace those two components... and at that point why not just build a new rig? I want to build a new rig where I can space out my investment, add a second GPU when I feel like I need one, or put in a new CPU when I see a nice sale.

Anyway. I plan on building a AM3+ system with a very nice mobo and PSU, and a GPU with a open slot for crossfire down the road. I feel like AMD processors, while not as good for gaming as Intel, are good enough, and will not make a major impact on my computing experience. They also come with the benefit that Piledriver will be using an AM3+ socket, and most likely the processors after those will be AM3+ compatible. On the otherhand, if I get an Intel processor I feel like I am stuck with it, unless I want to replace the Mobo.

So my questions are:
Will AMD give me more longevity as far as an upgrade path?
Will I regret not going Intel, or is there some reason why I should go Intel?
Thoughts or any other advice?
July 9, 2012 11:40:18 PM

AMD has a longer upgrade path. AM3+ will be compatible with Piledriver, Steamroller, etc. However, Intel does give you more power. But, socket 1155 will be not be compatible with Haswell. LGA 1150 will debut next year. I suggest you wait for Piledriver which launches this fall and has 10-15% more performance than Bulldozer. If it's a flop, you can get Ivy Bridge, which will probably be a bit cheaper than it is now.
July 9, 2012 11:46:55 PM

obsama1 said:
AMD has a longer upgrade path. AM3+ will be compatible with Piledriver, Steamroller, etc. However, Intel does give you more power. But, socket 1155 will be not be compatible with Haswell. LGA 1150 will debut next year. I suggest you wait for Piledriver which launches this fall and has 10-15% more performance than Bulldozer. If it's a flop, you can get Ivy Bridge, which will probably be a bit cheaper than it is now.



I was thinking something similar. However, I am likely moving from Hawaii to the mainland, and it will save me a bunch of money just to ditch my desktop if I do. that would leave me without a gaming PC for a while. I might just build the AMD, go for a lower end AM3+ proc and replace it when steamroller comes out. not sure.
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July 9, 2012 11:56:12 PM

"I plan on building a AM3+ system " "I will be spending about $1200"

I like AMD as a company and still have 4 AMD desktop systems in production, but cannot see why anyone would build a $1200 system around the current line of AMD processors. In testing an i5 whoops the strongest AMD processors.

Upgrade path for AMD... ? Not clear they can go higher frequency or stronger with their CPUs. Not clear they want to try. Focus is on fusion, laptops.

Upgrade path for Intel... Start with I5 ivy bridge. Stay with I5 ivy. Be stronger than anything on the AMD roadmap.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-cpu-review-o... No AMD CPU in top two performance tiers. Power consumption 125W TDP vs. 65w.

p.s. here is piledriver test, no relief there. "A majority of our benchmarks favor Trinity over Llano thanks to IPC improvements and significantly higher clock rates. Piledriver still gives up significant instruction per cycle throughput compared to the older Stars design, but is better able to compensate than Bulldozer. The result, then, is modest x86 performance. It’s better than Bulldozer, but only a slight step up from what you get Llano. " http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/a10-5800k-a8-5600k-...
July 10, 2012 12:17:07 AM

tsnor:
Will I really be able to tell a difference? How much? It seems we are talking a few FPS in most games. I don't care about that small of a difference. Or is it bigger than I think?

Like here http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/fx-4100-core-i3-210...
Tom's compares the i3 to the FX-4100. Sure the i3 did better, but it seemed to me that the overall FPS stayed above 40 for both and were far more dependent on the GPU than the CPU.

Quote:
The important message here is that, if you're concerned about a processor bottleneck, your favorite games and the performance you want to see from them are more influential than the price of your graphics card. At least up to a Radeon HD 6870 or GeForce GTX 560, we'd expect that to be the case.

What conclusions can we draw from all this? First of all, AMD’s FX-4100 isn't necessarily the disappointment it appeared to be in our sub-$200 gaming processor comparison if you match it up to a comparably entry-level graphics card. Equipped with anything slower than a Radeon HD 6950, you can set your resolution and detail settings as high as possible to maintain a 30 FPS minimum, and in most cases, the graphics card will emerge as your bottleneck. With a higher-end GPU installed (or a CrossFire/SLI arrangement), the CPU's limitations are more likely to be exposed. Oh, and take advantage of AMD's unlocked multiplier ratio to crank the clocks up as high as possible.
July 10, 2012 12:19:52 AM

I'd say to get an i5 then, or if you can wait for a year, Haswell, which is coming out next June, and be what Sandy Bridge was to Nehalem.
July 10, 2012 12:20:46 AM

In some benchmarks, however, the Bulldozer fails to get 60FPS, while the i5 does.
a b À AMD
a b å Intel
July 10, 2012 12:26:31 AM

At a very low budget I can see where it still might be a tossup, but at $1200 Intel wins hands down. The only thing Bulldozer does well is encoding and rendering. Even then at $1200 you can afford an i7 that is just as good at those specific tasks and 30% or more faster everwhere else across the board. Even when comparing low end processors AMD just can't compete with the FX 4100 at 4.5Ghz barely competing with a stock i3 2100.
July 10, 2012 12:32:03 AM

^+1 Intel all the way for speed & efficiency. Games will love it and almost everything else will too. If you do need hyper threading(more cores) go with the i7.
-Bruce
July 10, 2012 12:33:35 AM

used to be AMD. It my Intel rig now is awesome. Do up a i5 ivy or sandy doesn't matter much. If your totally adamant go with an i7 and your gonna be living the dream for a while.
a b å Intel
July 10, 2012 12:41:01 AM

When looking at upgradeability 3 ->5 years downstream, generally you will want to replace the Motherboard, be it Intel or AMD. The CPU is only one part of the equation, equally important is the GPU and Chipsets on The Motherboard. I personnaly prefer AMD GPUs, But for Motherboard Chipsets, Intel is better and provides more frequent updates/improved drivers than AMD.
Both AMD and Intel CPUs are good enough, Unfornatuly AMD has stated it is longer going to compete with Intel - Has to do with manpower and cash.

My Suggestion, Be it AMD or Intel, is go with the best you can afford, and NOT look at upgrading the CPU, But plan on upgrading the MB and the CPU when that time comes. My Last two upgrades have been do to advances in MB chipsets, NOT because I needed a faster CPU.

Bottom Line, You will be happier with an Intel system performance wise, But that is your choice.
July 10, 2012 12:47:56 AM

You guys are starting to talk me into it, but if I am going intel I need to buy a higher end proc right off the bat to future proof it. the benefit is that intel seems to handle crossfire much better than amd currently.

Now I am thinking Intel Core i7-3820. I don't plan on overclocking...
July 10, 2012 1:32:05 AM

Get an i5-3570K, and OC'ed to 4.0GHz, it will play every game for a LONG time. The 3820 isn't a good bang for the buck CPU, unlike the i5 3570K.
July 10, 2012 2:04:16 AM

CorusMaximus said:
tsnor:
Will I really be able to tell a difference? How much? It seems we are talking a few FPS in most games. I don't care about that small of a difference. Or is it bigger than I think? .
[/quote]

Don't know. There is a huge difference between my i7-920 desktop and my e450 laptop. But that's not the same compare as an i5 to a FX-4170.

AMD cpus are also pushed pretty hard. 4+ ghz to match a 3 ghz intel part.


I doubt you can go wrong building a 1200 amd system, but there have been some huge AMD fail gaming system...



The $600 intel rig with weaker video crushed the $1200 AMD FX-6100 system. http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/core-i5-fx-6100-ove...

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/core-i5-fx-6100-ove...

"We weren't hoping for a miracle in picking AMD's FX-6100 for this quarter's mid-range System Builder Marathon machine. It was almost assured that the Core i5-2500K would beat it (after all, the flagship FX-8150 had a hard enough time with Sandy Bridge at launch).

"The real question was whether or not the FX-6100 has what it takes to shift the bottleneck to the dual Radeon HD 6950 CrossFire setup in gaming environments. The answer, unfortunately, is no. In all but one of the 1920x1080 tests with high detail settings, the stock Core i5-2500K and GeForce GTX 460 SLI combination beats the overclocked FX-6100 with its dual Radeon HD 6950s. "

.."Really, though, it's hard to come with any reason to recommend AMD's FX over a Core i5 in an affordable build. Certainly, pairing a couple of AMD's very recommendable Radeon HD 6950s with its less-impressive FX-6100 creates platform imbalance."

July 10, 2012 2:12:33 AM

CorusMaximus said:
You guys are starting to talk me into it, but if I am going intel I need to buy a higher end proc right off the bat to future proof it. the benefit is that intel seems to handle crossfire much better than amd currently.

Now I am thinking Intel Core i7-3820. I don't plan on overclocking...


I don't OC processor either.

Look at a few i5 vs i7 benchmarks. Hyperthreading is not really that useful in a quad core running games. Save the money and go i5.

Since you keep systems for years like I do also think about the power savings over time with IB vs SB or amd. Maybe $200 i5-3550 at 77w max?


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