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I want to upgrade CPU and Mobo but I don't know where to start.

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December 11, 2012 9:20:33 PM

Hello gang,

I'm looking into upgrading my CPU because the Core 2 Duo just doesn't cut it anymore. I really want to get into the AMD realm because Intel seems to me (With my little to no experience) to be over-priced compared to the AMD processors of the same "clock speed" and "cache".

So what do I want a new CPU for? Well I really like to game. I really only play WoW and certain Steam games but I REALLY hate lag, waiting for stuff to load, and seeing my PC's Cpu meter "Redlining" at all times. My current CPU is breathing heavy at all times which is kinda not fun.

I also have a new Nvidia Gfx card but its a PCI express 3.0 slot, current mobo is only a 2.0 slot. Don't know if there is a benifit to 3.0 yet but I'm sure there is. They love to change up those slots don't they?

I see they came out with a new "A" series processors that have built in gfx, If I get that will I have to use that or can I use my really nice Nvidia gfx card still? If not that then is the "fx" 8 core the way to go?

Also for the price I will be paying for that is the Intel equivalent a better buy? The i5 Is really all I could afford to go with right now. i7 is just not gonna happen in this life time.

Oh and and mobo+cpu has to work with my other stuff like my hard drive, optic drive, power supply, the switch thing that tells it to turn on lol. I'm sure it all hooks up but if you need exact part number I can get them for you :)  The power supply is also 700 watts so I think were good with power.

Thanks a lot guys. I'm sorry it was so lengthy :kaola: 

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December 11, 2012 9:30:51 PM

Hi mate , personally I'd go with AMD as it's MUCH cheaper than Intel and similar specifications. Now a mistake most people make is that they look at the specifications of the cpu's and compare and believe AMD is the same as Intel but a cheaper version. Incorrect...Intel the actual structure / architecture of it being built is much better and performance wise an i7 would destroy all AMD CPU's with the exception of the octocore FX 8350 which is in similar leagues to the i7's. You should really wait a bit as AMD & Intel are rolling out the next generation cpu's ( amd is bringing out the piledriver & steamroller ).

So your choice , if you wish to upgrade now I can help you out ofcourse. Just hit me up & I'll be more than welcome to help out !
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December 11, 2012 11:00:52 PM

Ok awesome. How soon can we expect to see the new processors? Will they require new Mother boards or will they be compatible with the ones currently out there?
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December 11, 2012 11:57:40 PM

Haswell (new intel form) is coming somewhere in the next 6months or so, its using a new CPU socket so not compatible with current stuff.
Steamroller (the next AMD thing) is supposed to be 2013, but Piledriver was only out recently so I doubt it'll be any time soon. It should be compatible with the same socket (AM3+) though.

As for general advice, for gaming intel is almost always the way to go. There's a lot of good deals on AMD processors and so for value you can get some nice performance, but even pretty lowly intel processors are better for gaming than the vast majority of AMD offerings.
As was mentioned above, clock speed and cores don't make a huge amount of difference unless they are the same type of processor. Also, gaming rarely uses more than two cores, so anything more than a quad right now is essentially wasted.
With that in mind, there is no real benefit in buying an i7 for gaming over an i5.
If you can afford an i5, that is almost undoubtedly the choice to make.

As you haven't listed your budget it's hard to make a specific recommendation, but the options are basically a 3450/3470 or a 3570K if you are interested in overclocking. It's worth noting the 3570K is a fair bit more expensive, and you need to buy a decent cooler for it, and you need a more expensive motherboard, but the performance gain can definitely be worth it. If you are trying to keep costs down, a 3450/3470 offers you a very similar advantages for a fair amount cheaper.

@ PCI express 3.0/2.0. It's not a massive drama. It takes a lot to bottleneck a 2.0 slot and any 3.0 cards run fine in 2.0 slots. 3.0 is just the new standard and covers you for any future upgrades. At the moment it's of little benefit. I don't know what graphics card you have but it's likely it works fine in any 3.0/2.0 slot without any measurable performance loss.
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December 12, 2012 1:40:29 AM

Good advice Rammy! Thank you.

I suspose I don't really have a budget. If these is a particular CPU/Mobo that will be able to withstand new games for awhile then I will just save up for it. If a i5 and I good mobo (or even a i7 if it will last me longer) is the way to go than I would rather save up.

I guess as far as mobo's go I would really like to overclock and have some good audio built into it.

Can you recommend a CPU/Mobo/Ram combo that will get me the most bang for my buck. I don't mind shipping out a little extra for features that will be good for gaming. I think I will also need a fan/liquid cooling thing too, will you help me with that too? =)

Thanks guys, finally making heads and tails of this lol

Edit: Oh and I forgot to ask, do you think it's worth upgrading now or waiting for the new Intel CPU's?
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December 12, 2012 3:15:40 AM

Hmm, I guess the first question is whether or not to wait for new CPUs. That's really a matter of opinion. There's no significant disadvantage in buying now, as the new CPUs are likely to be faster but not so much faster it makes a dramatic difference. I guess buyers remorse is more likely though, any CPU you buy today will probably fall in price a bit, and you'll probably get a bit more for your money. Problem is, that's true at any time really, and a lot of this is speculation. I guess it boils down to how much you want it at the moment. Any (intel) system you buy today will likely have a similar life expectancy and not a lot less performance than any you buy in say 6months, but it will be limited in terms of CPU upgrades.
Bottom line, it's your call.

The i5 v i7 thing isn't likely to change the life expectancy of your system, unless you start needing it for things other than games. Right now most games use at most 2 cores, occasionally up to 4. It's speculation again but it's kinda unlikely to be common to use more than 4 in the foreseeable future. For gaming today an i7 is really a waste of money.

If you are up for overclocking, then the choice is pretty simple.

i5 3570k
Z77 Motherboard (Z77 Extreme 4/Pro4 from ASRock are pretty popular - Asus and Gigabyte versions are also good but tend to be more expensive)
8gb of 1600 Ram. (Any decent brand. Gskill or Corsair Vengeance tend to be cheap and good)

For a cooler, the Hyper 212 Evo is usually really good value. If you want to spend more to get a better overclock then the Noctua NH-D14 is always well reviewed. There's also the Phanteks PH-TC14 which I understand is very very good but huge and expensive. There are liquid cooling alternatives in that price range but unless they are at a good discount they probably won't be competing with air coolers at their prices.
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December 12, 2012 9:48:08 PM

Great information. I could of never figured this out on my own lol.

It's looking like it's going to be about 450$ for everything. That might be a little to expensive to justify for something that I wont be able to upgrade when the new stuff comes out. I can see why Console gaming is so popular! =D

Would this be a comparable option to the i5: http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

It's seems to be the best that AMD has to offer as far as gaming goes. Just wondering if I can get-by with this setup for awhile.

And if I'm understanding correctly, Air cooling is just as viable as liquid cooling? At least at the level of overclocking I'm wanting to put it through (Mild/Moderate overclocking)

Thanks again man
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December 12, 2012 10:28:30 PM

There isn't really a comparable AMD option to an i5 right now. The Piledriver FX43xx, 63xx and 83xx are the current line of AMD performance processors, but they just don't have the legs to keep up with intel. When you start comparing things that are heavily threaded (can use multiple cores) they win a lot of it back, especially when you consider their value. Problem is, games just aren't heavily threaded so you loose a lot of that value.
The AMD trinity series are combined graphics+cpu, good for budget builds, HTPC etc.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($214.99 @ Amazon)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($33.99 @ Mac Mall)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($129.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: Samsung 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($34.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $413.96
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-12-12 19:10 EST-0500)

You can spend more on a cooler and a bit less on a motherboard, but that's basically the type of thing you are looking at for an intel build.

It's perhaps worth mentioning that in recent history CPUs age a lot better than graphics do. I have an old Q6600 intel quad sitting around which is nearly 6 year old tech. If you whacked that in a system with a monster modern graphics card, it'd still run most games really well, as they tend to be way more graphics bound. It'd have limitations for sure, but more or less everything would still run.

As for overclocking, liquid cooling has a lot more potential than air, but for the average person air works better because of cost. A $50 air cooler is almost always better than a $50 liquid cooler. "Proper" water cooling, using a custom loop, radiators etc, is significantly better than most off-the-shelf solutions, but it can get pretty expensive and complicated.
I personally use a cheap all-in-one water cooler (Antec Kuhler 620) but it's because I use a tiny motherboard and fitting a normal cooler to it is awkward. With high end fans it would get solid results but I use low speed ones so it's almost silent. Result is that it's not dramatically better than the stock cooler at idle, though it does do better under load.
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December 12, 2012 11:23:16 PM

Ok I see what your saying. That was my biggest concern that new games would come out and the i5 just wouldnt keep up with them anymore. I can feel better shelling out the money now.

On a side note, I want to upgrade my CPU because my games are kind of choppy and sluggish, but I was just playing them with a cpu monitor up and it never goes past 70% "Cpu load" for either core. Does this mean my CPU doesn't need an upgrade for the games I play because I'm never peaking its load?

I'm wondering now If what I even need is a new CPU.. I just bought this GFX card it's a EVGA nvidia GTX 670 2GB, PLEASE tell me this beast is modern enough to run most of the stuff out there today lol.

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December 12, 2012 11:59:00 PM

yes a 670 can run any game out there but unfortunately its being bottenecked by your core 2 duo and thus not being utilized to the fullest. so you definitely need a new cpu and mobo. id recommend the i5
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December 13, 2012 1:08:35 AM

Ohhhhh. So the CPU and Gfx card actually work together? This is so cool =P

Will the AMD cpu/mobo combo I suggested use the 670 to it's full potential? I hate to keep going back to the Cheaper AMD CPU's when you are all telling me the i5 is the way to go but 400$ is kinda steep. I just can't justify that right now.

I will probably end up going with the i5 anyway just because I want something that will last.
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December 13, 2012 11:42:55 PM

Well I pulled the trigger on the i5 tonight using the build you suggested, Rammy. Thanks a lot guys. =D
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December 13, 2012 11:43:22 PM

Best answer selected by Chrislav7.
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