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I3-3220 + GTX 660 2GB VS i5-3470 + HD 7850 1GB

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November 1, 2012 4:21:19 PM

Which combination would be better for gaming? They are around the same price when added up so which is better?
November 1, 2012 4:35:37 PM

Bigger GPU is generally more necessary so in this case, i3-3220 + GTX 660
November 1, 2012 4:51:39 PM

Sret43rg said:
Which combination would be better for gaming? They are around the same price when added up so which is better?


What games would you play? What resolution? 4x MSAA or FXAA? etc.

Give us a good example of how you would use this system and we can give you a better answer.
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November 1, 2012 5:02:02 PM

I am going to be playing games like Battlefield 3, Skyrim, Dishonored etc. The resolution i will be playing at is 1920x1080 and i don't really care for MSAA or FXAA, i care more about textures and lighting.
November 1, 2012 5:22:33 PM

Sret43rg said:
I am going to be playing games like Battlefield 3, Skyrim, Dishonored etc. The resolution i will be playing at is 1920x1080 and i don't really care for MSAA or FXAA, i care more about textures and lighting.



For Battlefield 3 a 660 is better. Keep in mind that single player mode is largely GPU dependent.

For Skyrim its a tie. Keep in mind that Skyrim is largely CPU dependent.

Here is a pick comparing a 3220 and a similar i5 as the one you listed.



If you are on a strict budget get the i3 combo as usually a beefier GPU will win in more games, although there are CPU dependent games out there.

If you have about $400 for the 2 pieces get the i5 and a 7870 GHz edition. They are as low as 185 after rebate.

But if you cant stretch the $400 get the i3 combo, it will suit your needs.
November 1, 2012 5:34:27 PM

The only thing i am worried about the i3 combo is that will i3 be capable of running games in the future? alot of people have said that it won't be capable of running future games because of its 2 cores and more and more games are needing more than 4 cores, is this true?
November 1, 2012 5:37:20 PM

to an extent its true. but for now most games still only use one thread, some use two ..but very few use more. so you would be fine for atleast 2 years before needing an upgrade
November 1, 2012 5:38:30 PM

In no circumstance would an i3 ever be a better suggestion for gaming over an i5. The i5 architecture offers MUCH more than an i3, and an i3 will not last long playing games not to mention i3's do not have turbo boost. the computer will last longer, perform better, and be up-gradable in the future with an i5. Just because you put in a massive GPU doesn't mean you can play anything that that GPU can, those graphs are scaled with an equivalent CPU to prevent bottlenecking between the two. An i3 will bottleneck much much easier than in i5 in any situation.

TLDR, don't get an i3 for gaming, get the i5.
November 1, 2012 5:40:09 PM

Sret43rg said:
Which combination would be better for gaming? They are around the same price when added up so which is better?

Get a 7870 instead of the 660. It is $200 now and decently stronger. You would be foolish to get a 660 instead.
November 1, 2012 5:43:58 PM

cbeermann said:
In no circumstance would an i3 ever be a better suggestion for gaming over an i5. The i5 architecture offers MUCH more than an i3, and an i3 will not last long playing games not to mention i3's do not have turbo boost. the computer will last longer, perform better, and be up-gradable in the future with an i5. Just because you put in a massive GPU doesn't mean you can play anything that that GPU can, those graphs are scaled with an equivalent CPU to prevent bottlenecking between the two. An i3 will bottleneck much much easier than in i5 in any situation.

TLDR, don't get an i3 for gaming, get the i5.


Like I said, if he can afford the extra $$ get the i5 and 7870 combo. Or 7850 if he cant afford to get the 7870.

And if he had to get an i3, it would be fine for gaming. Although in some games the i5 will be better. If its GPU limited game an i5 does nothing.

Ideally you would want an i5 but if you dont have the $$ for it, you gotta make sacrifices.

If you give us your budget for this purchase we can give you the best of both worlds.
November 1, 2012 5:46:46 PM

Should i post the specs of my budget gaming pc so you can tell me what i should get and what not?
November 1, 2012 5:51:02 PM

Sret43rg said:
Should i post the specs of my budget gaming pc so you can tell me what i should get and what not?


Post what you have picked so far, and what your budget is.

We need to know how much money you have to spend on these parts.
November 1, 2012 5:51:35 PM

Yes, it would be a good idea to post your designed build. It will give everyone an idea of where your are spending the resources. It also allow everyone to make suggestions on parts that will get the same job done for a better price or better reliability.
November 1, 2012 5:53:32 PM

Anyways here they are:

Case: CiT Vantage Midi Mesh Gaming Case (30.99)
CPU: Intel Core I5-3470 Processor 3.2GHz (143.38)
Motherboard: ASRock H77M Motherboard (64.00)
RAM: Crucial Ballistix 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 1600MHz (26.99)
GPU: MSI Overclocked Radeon HD 7850 AMD Graphics Card - 1GB (119.82)
PSU: Corsair CX500 V2 80 Plus Efficiency (46.49)
HDD: Western Digital Cavier Blue 500GB SATAIII 6GB/s 16MB Cache (45.99)
Optical Drive: DVD Writer for PC the 22x Samsung Black (11.96)
Anti-Static Wrist strap: (2.38)

TOTAL: £492 (Not including shipping)

My budget is around £450, MAXIMUM £500, if you have any suggestions please put them forward :D 
November 1, 2012 5:56:53 PM

I'm using a 7850 1GB in my system. It does pretty darn good at 1080p. It won't max out everything, but it does a very nice job especially if you aren't worried too much about msaa and fxaa. The 7870 trades blows with the 580 in performance. So if you have the money a 7870 will be a very nice addition to your system. But if not a 7850 will do a great job too. The main difference is that some games are specially designed for geforce gpus, like batman, borderlands, etc. The main benefit of a geforce gpu like the 660 is that it supports physx, and some of the games are more optimized.
November 1, 2012 5:57:46 PM

If i get the GTX 660 instead of the HD 7850, i will have to use the i3 3220 to balance the budget... which is why i started this topic.
November 1, 2012 5:58:14 PM

Sret43rg said:
If i get the GTX 660 instead of the HD 7850, i will have to use the i3 3220 to balance the budget... which is why i started this topic.


what site are you using?
November 1, 2012 5:58:36 PM

Sret43rg said:
Anyways here they are:

Case: CiT Vantage Midi Mesh Gaming Case (30.99)
CPU: Intel Core I5-3470 Processor 3.2GHz (143.38)
Motherboard: ASRock H77M Motherboard (64.00)
RAM: Crucial Ballistix 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 1600MHz (26.99)
GPU: MSI Overclocked Radeon HD 7850 AMD Graphics Card - 1GB (119.82)
PSU: Corsair CX500 V2 80 Plus Efficiency (46.49)
HDD: Western Digital Cavier Blue 500GB SATAIII 6GB/s 16MB Cache (45.99)
Optical Drive: DVD Writer for PC the 22x Samsung Black (11.96)
Anti-Static Wrist strap: (2.38)

TOTAL: £492 (Not including shipping)

My budget is around £450, MAXIMUM £500, if you have any suggestions please put them forward :D 


That looks just fine to me. got the i5 and the 7850. If it doesnt put you over budget look for a 7870. They can be overclocked extremely well. But only if its within your budget.

Also not that 2.38 makes much of a difference but you dont need the strap.
November 1, 2012 6:01:27 PM

I am using Scan.co.uk and Amazon.co.uk for prices as they are the only sites that i trust.
a b 4 Gaming
November 1, 2012 6:06:00 PM

Right now, the Core i3-3220 with a GTX 660 (or HD 7870) would give better performance in most games.
When/if you buy a new graphics card in a year or two or three, the Core i3 will hold you back more than the Core i5, so things will be the other way round (and by a bigger margin potentially).
November 1, 2012 6:09:15 PM

Sret43rg said:
I am using Scan.co.uk and Amazon.co.uk for prices as they are the only sites that i trust.


Ok, well it looks like the card you chose for 119 is the 1GB version. At 1080p most games maxed out will use around 1.2GB-1.5GB. So you may be limited in that front.

But in order to make your budget you may have to get that card. The next cheapest 2GB one is about 30 more.

I would say for the budget given that is a good system. I'm not all familiar with prices outside US, and I'm sure those prices are more expensive than US retailers.
November 1, 2012 6:13:32 PM

I am still struggling to decide :/  as the GTX 660 is obviously the better card but in order to balance the budget i have to put it with an i3, which will hold the card back in future games that use more than 2 cores, omg this is so hard :( 
November 1, 2012 6:28:25 PM

Sret43rg said:
I am still struggling to decide :/  as the GTX 660 is obviously the better card but in order to balance the budget i have to put it with an i3, which will hold the card back in future games that use more than 2 cores, omg this is so hard :( 


Well you said you dont care much for AA and the like. SO a 7850 should yield you good enough FPS in BF3 and Skyrim.

I know amazon has a store card and financing deals. See if you can take advantage of that and get the more expensive 7870.

Like for newegg here i always get a year to pay it off with no interest. Actually my last build is NO PAYMENTS for a year. So a free system for 12 months. Cant beat that.
November 1, 2012 6:32:26 PM

I would go for the 7850 but in benchmarks it shows that the GTX660 is ALOT better at Battlefield 3 than the 7850 is and much better at skyrim also, so i'm not sure... Will the i3-3220 last me for a good few years before i need to upgrade? thats the main question
November 1, 2012 6:46:31 PM

Sret43rg said:
I would go for the 7850 but in benchmarks it shows that the GTX660 is ALOT better at Battlefield 3 than the 7850 is and much better at skyrim also, so i'm not sure... Will the i3-3220 last me for a good few years before i need to upgrade? thats the main question


Those 2 cards tie on Skyrim.


And the i3 will last you a few years. Its a 3rd gen i3. As more and more games take advantage of 2+ CPU cores then it will become outdated. But any game out right now you wont have to worry about, future titles you will need to upgrade. How long it takes for a majority of games to be more CPU limited is anyone's guess.

I would just get the i3 and 660. Or if you can stretch the extra cash an i5 and 7870.


BTW my 2nd PC has a Core2Duo e8400 and a GTS 250. And I can play Skyrim on medium at around 40+ fps. I can also play batman, LoL, & WoW. Which are the games I mostly play. And that was 3+ years ago I built that system.

Dont be scared by people saying to get the i5, and that the i3 will be obsolete tomorrow. That is simply not true. Its not the best gaming option, but it will do its job for a few years.
November 1, 2012 6:51:57 PM

So you would recommend me to get the i3 3220 and GTX 660 combo? Would a 500 watt Corsair PSU be able to power them?
November 1, 2012 7:04:02 PM

Sret43rg said:
So you would recommend me to get the i3 3220 and GTX 660 combo? Would a 500 watt Corsair PSU be able to power them?


Yes that PSU will be fine.

I would recommend an i5 & 7870 combo if you can afford the extra 50 or so pounds.

But based on your budget the i3 & 660 is what i would recommend.
November 1, 2012 7:15:37 PM

I just hope the i3 can last a few years until i get the money to upgrade to an i5 but thanks for all your help it is really appreciated :D 
a b 4 Gaming
November 1, 2012 7:58:18 PM

Sret43rg said:
I just hope the i3 can last a few years until i get the money to upgrade to an i5 but thanks for all your help it is really appreciated :D 

You'd have to upgrade the motherboard too then, since LGA 1155 will probably be phased out by then.
November 1, 2012 8:08:00 PM

Do you think it would be better going with AMD for the cpu? they are so much cheaper :/ 
a b 4 Gaming
November 1, 2012 8:38:39 PM

I'd get the quad core, heck I was looking at the i3 and the i5 and did the i5 and it was the right decision for me. New games in the future will use 4 cores sooner or later why be forced to upgrade again later do it now and be ready. The new Mechwarrior online game specs a quad core to play it, they are coming sooner then many think.

I've rebuilt 5 gaming machines lately and used the i5-3570 and all have been very happy with the performance most just kept their previous VGA cards one got a GTX 560SE $119, and one got a GTX 570 $219, the 560s aren't a bad value right now.

Looking at your budget the i3-3220 & GTX660 comes out to about $360, and the i5-3470 & the HD 7850 1gb is about $380. So you budget is about $380 USD based on your options. A Intel Core i5-3550 is about $210 & ASUS ENGTX560 DCII it's overclocked to 925MHz and is $169.99 after MIR. Just to add more options to the table.
a b 4 Gaming
November 1, 2012 8:50:12 PM

Sret43rg said:
Do you think it would be better going with AMD for the cpu? they are so much cheaper :/ 

They're cheaper but worse. No better in terms of value, in fact a little worse if you just look at gaming. It's a compromise any way.

It's a very close call, but I'd personally go for the 7850 + Core i5. The good thing about it being a close call is that making the "wrong" choice isn't ever going to be crippling.
November 1, 2012 9:12:03 PM

I am slightly leaning towards the i5+7850 combo however, the i5 makes me have to get the 7850 with only 1GB or vram, and i have searched online and people say that 1GB is not enough nowadays and i will need to get 2GB for it to last longer, is that true?
November 1, 2012 9:31:45 PM

I cannot see why people are recommending the i3. This guy said he wants to play BF3 which in Multiplayer, is one of the most CPU intensive games. Yes you get a "SLIGHTLY" better graphics card but he can easily upgrade that later.

I recommend the i5 and 7850.

A 560ti 1GB can play BF3 on high / ultra with 4 x MSAA at 1080p not a problem, so a 7850 should be just fine as it's a better card.
November 1, 2012 9:45:14 PM

pezonator, i have decided to go with the 7850 however, i will have to go with the 1GB version because of my very tight budget, if i do get a 2GB version, i will have to downgrade my i5 to an i3, is that worth the change? or shall i stick to the 1GB card?
November 1, 2012 9:57:02 PM

I would not downgrade the i5 to an i3. Keep the i5 and get the 1GB version.
a b 4 Gaming
November 1, 2012 10:32:19 PM

1 GB is okay at 1920x1080, as long as you don't go overboard with texture mods.

Even more okay if you keep the AA levels down. AA eats VRAM.
November 1, 2012 10:38:28 PM

How long will a 1GB 7850 last me compared to a 2GB 7850?
November 1, 2012 10:52:41 PM

2GB VRAM is only necessary to maxout settings in crossfire mode.
a b 4 Gaming
November 1, 2012 11:14:01 PM

Sret43rg said:
How long will a 1GB 7850 last me compared to a 2GB 7850?

Without texture mods and with limited AA, it would probably last you just as long as the 2 GB version.
November 1, 2012 11:29:35 PM

Thanks for all the answers!! i really do appreciate it! :D 
!