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Is AMD a viable option right now?

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December 13, 2012 2:41:08 PM

hey everyone. i am a pc gamer and have been for about a year now ( loved that i switched ). but i have a phenom 2 x4 945 which is kinda dated and i want to upgrade. i have been looking at newegg for awhile and amd is always less expensive than intel but the drawback is performance. but how bad are these new amd chips? i was looking into a 2500k but i dont want to shove that kind of money into my rig if its purely gaming oriented. like all i have is games on it. so its not for anything but gaming. so i want to know if amd is really a viable option for my needs.

any help is greatly appreciated :) 

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December 13, 2012 3:21:02 PM

schecterplayer said:
hey everyone. i am a pc gamer and have been for about a year now ( loved that i switched ). but i have a phenom 2 x4 945 which is kinda dated and i want to upgrade. i have been looking at newegg for awhile and amd is always less expensive than intel but the drawback is performance. but how bad are these new amd chips? i was looking into a 2500k but i dont want to shove that kind of money into my rig if its purely gaming oriented. like all i have is games on it. so its not for anything but gaming. so i want to know if amd is really a viable option for my needs.

any help is greatly appreciated :) 


Why do you want to switch. The Phenom II is old but it is still a good CPU and can handle pretty much all games just fine. If you feel it's a little slow overclock it if you haven't done that yet.
As for the second part the I5 is much better than both the Phenom II and Piledriver when it comes to gaming. It is not overkill for a gaming computer in fact it is probably one of the best CPU's for gaming in terms of price to performance.
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December 13, 2012 3:24:53 PM


The FX-6300 has the most bang for the buck and sits between the i3 and i5 performance wise. If your motherboard supports that you should see a noticeable improvement in gaming.

Hard to beat for a $139 upgrade.
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December 13, 2012 3:34:57 PM

Thats fine but I would still try overclocking first IF it hasn't been done yet. If he did overclock and still gettin performance problems then I would upgrade.
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December 13, 2012 3:37:35 PM

hey all thanks for the feedback. i just wanna make clear i have a overclock from 3 to 3.45 on my cpu and still get massive fps drops in gw2 on higher settings. like 60 to 1 fps when turning. unless u guys think i really dont need to upgrade. i really love my rig now but i mean come on its from 2008
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December 13, 2012 3:42:10 PM

What GPU do you have - if you have a decent GPU then you shouldn't be getting drops like that - your GPU may be the performance problem. Also, the Piledriver chips really are not as good as the Phenoms. My mates 8Core FX is slightly slower than my 4ghz Phenom 970BE.
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December 13, 2012 3:44:00 PM

also i keep my pc clean as a whistle. always newest drivers and everything
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December 13, 2012 3:45:38 PM

schecterplayer said:
also i keep my pc clean as a whistle. always newest drivers and everything

But what GPU are you using?
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December 13, 2012 3:45:57 PM

Flightsimluke said:
What GPU do you have - if you have a decent GPU then you shouldn't be getting drops like that - your GPU may be the performance problem. Also, the Piledriver chips really are not as good as the Phenoms. My mates 8Core FX is slightly slower than my 4ghz Phenom 970BE.


definatly not an issue with the gpu. i have the msi gtx 660
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December 13, 2012 3:47:01 PM

What gpu, motherboard, ram do you have? If you board can take a new AMD gpu easily, then it's a cheaper upgrade than a new MB + intel cpu. As said, OC'ing can help, but what gpu do you have, what games are you playing, what resolution?
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December 13, 2012 3:47:52 PM

Hmmm, you really shouldn't get such large drops - that's a good combo - no bottlenecks there. Sorry, but I'm stumped!
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December 13, 2012 3:50:24 PM

i have the gtx 660 and am not going to an amd. i love nvidia. why would i upgrade from a 660? i have oc'd to 3.45. my motherboard is a biostar ta790gx 128m with 5 gigs ddr2 ram. now the ram is odd. i have 3 sticks of 1 gig and 1 stick of 2 gigs all at different timings
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December 13, 2012 3:54:10 PM

Flightsimluke said:
Hmmm, you really shouldn't get such large drops - that's a good combo - no bottlenecks there. Sorry, but I'm stumped!


my freind has a 3570k and a 660 and he plays gw2 maxed settings constant 60 fps
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December 13, 2012 3:56:39 PM

now what if i was to upgrade to say a phenom 2 970? how much would i get?
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December 13, 2012 3:57:43 PM

You shouldn't really have a problem with the 660 and Phenom II. While the Phenom II is old it shouldn't bottleneck a GTX 660.
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December 13, 2012 4:00:48 PM

Overclocking is the way to go.

In my experience, most Phenom II's can overclock to 3.9Ghz - 4.1Ghz quite easily.

I can't recall ever not being able to get a Phenom II to 3.9Ghz or more with a decent cooler (CM-212). At those speeds you will be very close if not equal to Sandy Bridge I-5 performance in most situations.

My Phenom II 965 @ 4.1Ghz is just as fast as my 2500K at stock speeds.

The FX-6300 is a great CPU at it's price point.
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December 13, 2012 4:03:45 PM

Ahh, DDR2 RAM - that may just be your problem!
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December 13, 2012 4:04:22 PM

Any unlocked Phenom II X4 "Black Edition" (955, 965, 970) should get to 4.0 Ghz with a decent air cooler. You should notice a decent difference in most games with an extra 600 Mhz over what your locked X4 945 can do. I have an X4 980 BE @ 4.0 Ghz paired with a GTX 670 and they do fine together, but I don't play MMOs (just single player RPGs). Multiplayer scenarios do tax a CPU more than single player games.
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December 13, 2012 4:04:41 PM

my motherboard is very odd. i cant for the life of me change the voltages. i cant run a single gpu in 16x. it runs 8x. i have been through every forum out there and it just seems my board sucks. the only way i can overclock is through the bios an using the werid auto overclock system. which again doesnt even auto change voltages
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December 13, 2012 4:06:46 PM

Flightsimluke said:
Ahh, DDR2 RAM - that may just be your problem!

how is ddr2 ram my problem...
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December 13, 2012 4:12:23 PM

schecterplayer said:
how is ddr2 ram my problem...


It's slower and has less bandwith than DDR3.
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December 13, 2012 4:12:35 PM

how much worse is the 965 than say the 980? cuz i cant find anything apart from the 965
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December 13, 2012 4:16:07 PM

schecterplayer said:
how much worse is the 965 than say the 980? cuz i cant find anything apart from the 965


Not much. In terms of gaming there won't be a huge noticable difference in performance.
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December 13, 2012 4:20:44 PM

rds1220 said:
Not much. In terms of gaming there won't be a huge noticable difference in performance.

so a phenom 2 965 that i can overclock properly will greatly improve over my 945? plus appearently ddr3 makes a big difference?
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December 13, 2012 4:27:02 PM

The 965 and 980 will be an improvement over the 945 but wouldn't say it will be a great or huge improvement.
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December 13, 2012 4:31:56 PM

rds1220 said:
The 965 and 980 will be an improvement over the 945 but wouldn't say it will be a great or huge improvement.

say if i overclock to 4.0. i was told earlier that it would compare to the i5 then
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December 13, 2012 5:08:32 PM

just for gaming the FX-6300 is the best option. its performance is little lower than the i5 3470, but its good. very good. avoid switching to intel, the mobo+cpu will cost more than just the fx 6300.

if you really wanna game and multi task, whilst playing games look at the 8320.
its single threaded performance beats the i5 and multithreading leaves the i5 in the dust. for gaming its a good cpu (however the i5 tops with 10 more fps) however you can multitask much much more. it costs more, 10 pounds i presume (im british, so i dont use USD)
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December 13, 2012 5:31:47 PM

If your board is DDR2, it's probably not going to be able to handle a FX chip, so you're going to need a new board, chip, ram, no matter if you go AMD or Intel.
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December 13, 2012 6:43:15 PM

Sounds like it's stuck in Crossfire x8 mode. Could be slowing you down.

Also I've always matched DIMMS.
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December 13, 2012 6:44:42 PM

schecterplayer said:
how much worse is the 965 than say the 980? cuz i cant find anything apart from the 965

Thats all you will find these days, I knew I should've grabbed a couple of backup 975's hehe
Moto
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December 13, 2012 6:56:52 PM

Flomps said:
just for gaming the FX-6300 is the best option. its performance is little lower than the i5 3470, but its good. very good. avoid switching to intel, the mobo+cpu will cost more than just the fx 6300.

if you really wanna game and multi task, whilst playing games look at the 8320.
its single threaded performance beats the i5 and multithreading leaves the i5 in the dust. for gaming its a good cpu (however the i5 tops with 10 more fps) however you can multitask much much more. it costs more, 10 pounds i presume (im british, so i dont use USD)



That pretty much covers it really. The FX 6300 is the go to mid budget gaming chip at the moment, the FPS difference between this and a stock i5 is bragging rights not game playability. The i5 can over clock as well but reviews have said that the 6300 over clocks well also. enough for it to beat a stock i5 3570

Mactronix :) 
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December 13, 2012 7:04:58 PM

GW 2 isn't too demanding on the gpu.



The game does use the Havok physics engine and seems most games with it don't fare well with AMD.

If you can push your clocks towards 3.8-4.0 ghz should help quite a bit.

not sure about the odd memory config wether it would have any adverse effect. ddr2 is slower but not enough to push single digit fps.
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December 13, 2012 7:14:06 PM

schecterplayer said:
i have the gtx 660 and am not going to an amd. i love nvidia. why would i upgrade from a 660? i have oc'd to 3.45. my motherboard is a biostar ta790gx 128m with 5 gigs ddr2 ram. now the ram is odd. i have 3 sticks of 1 gig and 1 stick of 2 gigs all at different timings



I would first check the memory. Having such mismatched memory could create latency and hurt performance. Forget dual channel, your controller must be running single channel, halving the available bandwidth.

because your CPU shouldn't drop yor game that low, try to find what is holding it back. The problem is not your CPU, nor your video card.
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December 13, 2012 7:20:31 PM

pat said:
I would first check the memory. Having such mismatched memory could create latency and hurt performance. Forget dual channel, your controller must be running single channel, halving the available bandwidth.

because your CPU shouldn't drop yor game that low, try to find what is holding it back. The problem is not your CPU, nor your video card.

good point to check the memory channel.

http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/cpus/2009/04/23/amd-ph...

download and run sisoft sandra's memory benchmark. If your hitting 10 gb/s or close to it you should be ok, if your in the 5gb range, your mis-match is causing the cpu to run single channel mode.
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December 13, 2012 9:03:24 PM

Your old 790 board will not take a newer FX CPU. Going from a PII 945 to a PII 965 is not going to do much for you either; maybe give you another 500MHz? The extreme drops you're seeing are probably platform-related.
In any case, if you plan a complete rebuild, Intel is the way to go. Check out the Best Gaming CPUs for the Money article; there is no longer any price point at which Intel does not outperform AMD in games.
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December 14, 2012 11:27:01 AM

Of course all of that doesn't answer the question. Is AMD a viable option? Absolutely. During the GW2 beta, I had my two systems (in .sig) configured with the GPUs reversed, to test (strong CPU + moderate GPU) vs. (moderate CPU + strong GPU). The AMD rig with a HD7870 clearly outperformed the Intel rig with a HD7770, although the Intel rig actually felt smoother, with less variability in FPS. The game has been better optimized since then. I've played GW2 on my father's E6750+HD6670, and AMD offerings are certainly stronger than that old CPU.
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December 14, 2012 1:00:50 PM

I also failed to address the original question lol, I'm a firm yes as well :) 
Moto
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