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$500 Budget Multitasker - Bulldozer?

Last response: in Systems
July 31, 2012 8:01:23 PM

Hey everyone,

I've been looking to upgrade my laptop with the i5-2430m and the integrated graphics because it's simply too slow. It can't keep all. I need a good multitasking machine that can also handle GTA IV at max settings, and GTA V at max settings when it's released. For now I can use an old GT 240 and achieve max settings later when I can afford a high-end GPU.

I'm looking at the 8 core Bulldozers because I've heard they're good at multitasking and I know that the more powerful Sandy Bridge i5 and i7 processors are better for gaming.

Do you think I should go Bulldozer?

Approximate Purchase Date: Late September 2012
Budget Range: $500-$550
System Usage from Most to Least Important: Multitasking, photo editing, gaming, watching movies/TV, surfing the internet, video recording and editing, web design...sometimes all at once.
Parts Not Required:
I can reuse parts from my old desktop from 2009.
-Thermaltake Tr2 600W PSU
-MicroATX case
-SuperMulti CD/DVD drive
-750GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 *For some reason, the manufacturer of my old computer said this was a 5400rpm drive. O_o*

I have an old Dell keyboard laying around and by the time my dad buys his new computer, I'll borrow his 15" monitor and mouse.
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg / Tigerdirect
Country: USA
Parts Preferences:
I want a SSD for windows and some of my programs,

I prefer NVIDIA's drivers, though I'm fine with AMD.

I'm fine with either Intel or AMD, I just don't know if the Sandy/Ivy i5 can multitask the way I need it to.
If I go with Intel, I'll lean toward the non HT ones, I haven't found much use with it enabled in my mobile i5.
Overclocking: Maybe
SLI or Crossfire: Nope - I prefer single card
Monitor Resolution: 1024x768 for now, 1920x1080 X2 or 2560x1440 X2 in the future
Additional Comments:
I don't have sales tax where I live. :) 

My GT 240 worked fine for me with my old system, just my old Wolfdale Pentium couldn't handle FRAPS. I'm fine with using that for a while.

I don't play many demanding games, I only play (in order of their demand) GTA IV, City Car Driving, The Sims 3, Sim City 4, GTA SA, Live For Speed and Fate Of the world.

What I mean by multitasking: 3 web browsers open with 15+ tabs in each, compressing about 300GB of data for upload to my web host, Paint.NET open with a bunch of photos being worked on, LFS is usually open because I edit DDS files in Paint.NET, and some background progams running in the background.

I do share my computer with relatives sometimes so I want the system to be able to alt+tab out of GTA IV so someone can check their email and it won't be the end of the world.

Hopefully I can squeeze this into my budget. I'm just not sure whether I should go for an Intel or the AMD 8 core for this type of computing.
July 31, 2012 8:22:05 PM

For a video card i would recommend a GTX 560SE there about $120 on Newegg.( Its a faster than the GTX 550ti but slower than the GTX 560 and if you go with AMD I wouldn't go with the bulldozer. Instead, go with the Phenom Chipset they are cheaper and IMO better.
July 31, 2012 8:30:24 PM

The reason your games are choking is because of the Sandy integrated graphics on your lappie @@

To answer your question : for today go with a simple i5 3450/H77 or B75 and 8GB DDR3, then snag a serious gaming card down the road. However seeing how you are not buying immediately a few incoming hardware might shake up the scene i.e the GTX 660Ti and the AM3+ Piledrivers so things might not be so clear cut when u are close to pulling the trigger ^^
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August 1, 2012 12:18:17 AM

Yes, I know why the games are performing well, but that's not why I posted here. My old computer worked fine until I fried the motherboard. :p 

I don't want an H or a B chipset if i went with the Intel because I know I might want to overclock and I'm willing to spend a little extra for the peace of mind.

I was looking around on Newegg and I found a combo that was a good deal.
It's a bulldozer one but for $460, that's pretty awesome.
If I added in Windows then it would be $560, but I could try and make that work.

jjlu926- The only reason I would get a Phenom would be to upgrade to another AMD processor in a short time. I'd rather spend the money on a good processor and then upgrade the graphics card at a later time. We all know a GPU upgrade is way easier than a CPU upgrade. ;)  Also I would use the Phenom more for gaming, and for gaming even a Sandy Pentium is better...and cheaper.

batuchka- The Piledrivers are only like 10% better performance wise, not too much of an increase, imo. By "serious gaming card" I assume you mean like the $300+ ones? I'll probably be able to afford one of those when the next generation comes out and I doubt I would need anything hardcore because I'm not a serious gamer. Really the only demanding games I would be playing would be GTA and that's it, and I'm OK with not being able to max out GTA 5.
Edit: I probably could stretch my budget to maybe $650-$700 and get a better graphics card, but I'll have to see what's out there.

Thanks for the advice so far! :) 
August 1, 2012 9:40:33 AM

Until we get Piledrivers tested thoroughly word online wildly varies on how much better it is vs Bulldozer so shall reserve comment on that until then :p 

Wat is important though is what AMD offers to the end user price/performance wise - if Piledriver closes the gap between BD and Ivy IPC wise and has an asking price closer to BD it could well be a home hey not getting hardware today might actually work for ya ^^