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I5 vs AMD CPU for gaming: Worth the upgrade?

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December 7, 2012 8:33:18 PM

Okay, so I currently have an AMD FX4100 and obviously an AM3+ motherboard. I am finding I am getting low performance in games. I would like to have some increase in my gaming performance, however I am on a budget.
I have been considering an i5 2500k/3570k for a long time, however I would have to get a new motherboard making an upgrade very expensive.
I am wondering what AMD processors are decent for gaming ( I am aware that intel are better).
I am considering phenom ii CPUs and the FX8350.
Or, is the i5 really worth the extra £80 I would need to spend on a new motherboard plus the extra £15 over the FX8350 or even more over a phenom X4/X6?
Thanks
December 7, 2012 8:38:47 PM

P.S I don't need max settings: I just want playable framerates on fairly CPU-intensive games at medium settings (40+FPS for me).
I have an HD6870 card.
December 7, 2012 8:44:26 PM

What GPU do you have?
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December 7, 2012 8:46:40 PM

HD6870
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December 7, 2012 8:54:09 PM

Several things friend. 1) Your graphics card is considered old, if you bought a new one, the changes in performance can be considered astronomical. 2) The Phenom II, if anything, is a downgrade considering your current processor. 3) The 2500K & the 3570K are amazing for gaming, and I would recommend them, but only if you have the money.

If anything, I'd do a total system upgrade, because you get better performance with Intel due to the inclusion of PCI-e 3.0 x16 on motherboards (more bandwidth - better graphical performance). Again, at the end of the day, it's all about budget. If you have enough, upgrade everything! If not, GPU now, everything else later. :) 
December 7, 2012 9:03:19 PM

My Graphics card runs bf3 on high settings, I'm okay with its performance. I only bought it a couple of months ago and I have no qualms with its performance.

However, for more CPU-Intensive games such as MMOs I believe that my CPU is holding me back.

If I were to upgrade my cpu to intel like you said, an i3 2120 would be within my budget.

This might also be a good idea because I'd have an intel motherboard that I could upgrade to an i5 in 6 months or so when I find the funds.

But right now I'm in a hurry to upgrade my PC because at the moment Planetside 2 is unplayable. (20-30fps lowest settings).
I3 or 8350?
Plus, if I were to upgrade my GPU, what would you recomend? I've looked at the 7850/7870/GTX660 but it just doesn't seem worth it due to only 20%ish performance increases over my current 6870. I don't want to spend more than the cost of these cards.
Thanks
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December 7, 2012 9:06:03 PM

I say i3 because you can get a nice motherboard with that and put the i5 with it, and then, on top of that, the i3 really is much more efficient IMO due to core architecture compared to the 8350. Because what an 8350 is is your 4100 with twice the amount of cores thats slightly better (cores do not really add on to performance in games). So I say Core i3! Make sure it has hyper threading (acts like a quad core).

Also, I am quite the fan of the GTX 660ti because, when overclocking, you can reach the performance of a 680, which is a very powerful card!
December 7, 2012 9:13:43 PM

Alright, thanks for the responses!
I think I'll get either an i3 2100 or 2120.
Any recommendations on mobos? Looking at the P67.
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December 7, 2012 9:17:46 PM

Get a Z77 motherboard, offers SATA III support, PCI-e 3.0, and USB 3.0, MSI has a good one on sale through Newegg for 120$, I'd recommend it!
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December 7, 2012 9:41:43 PM

Since I haven't seen anyone suggest this how about buying a CPU cooler(212 Evo) and overclocking that FX-4100. Those quadcore FX CPU's really take a hit when any game that is CPU intensive comes into play. This would be the cheapest route to hold you over until you can save some more money. Don't get me wrong the 2500k/3570k would be great, but considering you're on a budget you would be looking at having to dish out even more money to be able to go that route.

With GW2 for example you can see where a increase in clock speed yields a significant increase in performance.

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December 7, 2012 9:48:59 PM

Honestly... IF your considering getting the i5 6 months from now :/ . DON'T DO IT! Save your money, June 2013 is the predicted date for Haswell (10% increase from ivy *predicted*) to drop from Intel. Then you'll have the latest and greatest and by that time be able to afford a new gpu as well.

Just my .02 cents but if your patient you won't regret it.
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December 7, 2012 9:59:40 PM

Good point unoriginal1 & Orlean thats true, that is true. It's all up to him really - but overclocking doesn't really solve core efficiency.
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December 8, 2012 6:35:05 PM

Theres absolutely no point in ditching an FX-4100, AND buying a new motherboard if as far as you're upgrading to is an i3. Seriously, YES, the i3 is a better processor, but even Tom's recommends in their CPU hierarchy (which I don't necessarily agree with but many users on this forum throw it out there), even they say theres no point unless you're going up at least 3 tiers.

What I disagree with is that the i3 is really 3 tiers higher. 2, maybe.. But if you're talking about buying a new motherboard, I wouldn't do it unless you're thinking i5. And even then for gaming performance, you might want to think about video card.

BTW, what resolution monitor are you playing on? Maybe I didn't read the thread thoroughly enough, but I don't see that this was covered.

As far as the P67 chipset, my advice is, get a more modern one.. P67 is Sandy Bridge generation. Its alright, but just for the sake of more modern and negligible price difference, Z77 is most recent.

payturr said:
I say i3 because you can get a nice motherboard with that and put the i5 with it, and then, on top of that, the i3 really is much more efficient IMO due to core architecture compared to the 8350. Because what an 8350 is is your 4100 with twice the amount of cores thats slightly better (cores do not really add on to performance in games). So I say Core i3! Make sure it has hyper threading (acts like a quad core).

Also, I am quite the fan of the GTX 660ti because, when overclocking, you can reach the performance of a 680, which is a very powerful card!


No game on the market uses HyperThreading, and likely no game ever will. Yes, HyperThread i3s are 2 core 4 thread, but HyperThreads aren't the same thing as cores, they never can be. Now as far as cores adding performance to games, depends on the game in question. There are quite a few out there that can and do make use of 4 cores. Battlefield 3 is known to use AT LEAST all 6 cores in a Phenom II 1100T, debatable, but from evidence I've seen it will use all 8 on an FX-8350.
December 9, 2012 12:57:46 AM

unoriginal1 said:
Honestly... IF your considering getting the i5 6 months from now :/ . DON'T DO IT! Save your money, June 2013 is the predicted date for Haswell (10% increase from ivy *predicted*) to drop from Intel. Then you'll have the latest and greatest and by that time be able to afford a new gpu as well.

Just my .02 cents but if your patient you won't regret it.


Wouldn't you expect a new series of processors like Haswell to be super expensive at launch?
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December 9, 2012 1:44:50 AM

lordvr said:
Wouldn't you expect a new series of processors like Haswell to be super expensive at launch?

Intel typically maintains consistent pricing in that, they don't begin the sale of a new gen CPU at a higher price and lower it later. Now, that being said, with the release of Ivy Bridge, we did see a price increase over equivilent Sandy Bridge chips ranging from $10-20. If the i5-3570K MSRP is $230 now, Haswell equivalent K model it might be $240-245 (since i5-2500Ks were $220). But, no you don't typically see Intel chips drop in price over time, not even when a new generation replaces them.
December 9, 2012 2:01:26 AM

Honestly you could also look towards an FX-6300. From what I've seen its decent. Would get you by for a lot longer.
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December 9, 2012 4:51:46 AM

Yeah.. AS far as waiting for Haswell. I mean, if you find your game performance lacking in the games you want to play at the settings you want to play them, you can go ahead and upgrade. Haswell will probably be about 10% increase in performance over Ivy, thats about typically what you can expect with a new generation CPU based on history, but 10% really isn't that compelling in terms of actual gameplay experience. In simple terms, Haswell isn't worth the wait.

But its at least worth overclocking that CPU first, you can invest $30 bucks in a decent CPU cooler like a 212+ or Evo (both perform about the same even though the evo is the newer one), but thats a CPU cooler you can use for Intel later if you make the switch.
December 9, 2012 6:54:54 AM

If you want an upgrade, keep the Mobo and put an fx 6300 in it, then O'C that and it should be a pretty decent boost in performance.
December 9, 2012 8:49:45 AM

nekulturny said:
No game on the market uses HyperThreading, and likely no game ever will. Yes, HyperThread i3s are 2 core 4 thread, but HyperThreads aren't the same thing as cores, they never can be. Now as far as cores adding performance to games, depends on the game in question. There are quite a few out there that can and do make use of 4 cores. Battlefield 3 is known to use AT LEAST all 6 cores in a Phenom II 1100T, debatable, but from evidence I've seen it will use all 8 on an FX-8350.


A bit out of topic, I'm trying to build a cheap HTPC/Budget Gaming PC. So I really don't lose anything if I use a Pentium without HyperThreading over an i3 for games? Should I just use the money saved for a better video card?
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December 9, 2012 9:58:01 AM

vazurahan said:
A bit out of topic, I'm trying to build a cheap HTPC/Budget Gaming PC. So I really don't lose anything if I use a Pentium without HyperThreading over an i3 for games? Should I just use the money saved for a better video card?



You wouldn't lose anything no. If its just a low end PC. The Pentiums are actually pretty decent for what they are, and game surprisingly well. But, I probably wouldn't go higher on the video card than the 7850 or GTX 650 range on the video card. Just for the sake of balance. HT can have an indirect impact on gaming performance, in that it can handle some of the background programs that the computer is running while you're gaming, not a large impact though, since background programs don't really use up that much resources to begin with (your firewall, printer software, that kind of stuff). But any game you're playing itself isn't coded to recognize/utilize HyperThreads.
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December 9, 2012 10:28:23 AM

the i3 3220 only out preforms your processor by max of 5 fps in skyrim windows 8 the only tests i could find and then your outperforms the i3 in diablo3 windows 8
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December 9, 2012 10:30:56 AM

oh and thats 5 fps at 1680x 1050 @ with 180+ fps
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December 10, 2012 3:07:18 PM

lordvr said:
Wouldn't you expect a new series of processors like Haswell to be super expensive at launch?


No. It wouldn't. Look at Ivy, $10 to $20 difference from sandy.

I still say that it's the best idea to wait for Haswell.. And i'd wait for the next series of graphics cards. The 8xxx series drops soon right?

Reasoning for Haswell. 1) newer technology, more efficient faster.. better. 2) Its the beginning of a new socket, Ivy is the last for that socket. After Haswell your going to have Broadwell... So you have some future updatability.

All in all it's OP's choice but his current machine can manage for 6 months in my opinion.
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December 10, 2012 3:26:04 PM

I would say hold on a bit longer and don't upgrade just yet.
If you do want to upgrade then the Fx6300 might be a good choice.

Wait for haswell, trust me its worth it.
December 10, 2012 3:33:14 PM

Grab a FX 8350 since you already have the AM+3 board and OC the cpu and your video card. You will be able to run anything that's out right now smoothly.

You really don't need to OC the FX 8350 as mine barely breaks a sweat in anything I run with it.

Your best route money wise atm is to OC the 4100 and upgrade your video card.
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December 16, 2012 12:36:49 AM

give us your full system specs.. how much RAM do you have? CPUs are not the only thing affecting gaming especially MMOs..
!