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Considering switching from AMD to Intel... best upgrade path

Last response: in Systems
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December 26, 2012 12:27:16 AM

I have been using AMD processors since the original socket A athlon, but Intel seems to really be gaining some ground lately. My last major upgrade was back in 2010 and I am considering doing another major upgrade to my system. I'm looking for feedback.

My current specs are as follows:

Processor: AMD Phenom X6 1090T
Mobo: ASUS Crosshair Formula IV (890FX)
Memory: 16GB GSKILL DDR3-2133 11-11-11-30
GFX: Radeon 6950 (Will be upgrading to 7970 or GTX680 at the same time as this upgrade)
HDD: 1TB WD Black, 1.5TB WD green (Will be upgrading to ~500gb SSD at the same time as this upgrade)

I am now torn between 3 upgrade paths. I am not an intel expert by any means, so this is the area I would like input. With AMD, I have always enjoyed easy upgrade paths (before switching to AM3, my AM2 mobo went through 3 processor upgrade), and I don't want to buy an intel socket that will go obsolete in 6 months.

I also have been a bit out of touch with the computer industry the last few years so I am not really sure on the future prospects of intel/amd.

The three upgrades I am currently considering:

Option 1: Stick with AMD:

Processor: FX-8350 $189.99
Mobo: keep current $0
Memeory: keep current $0
GFX: 7970 $369.99
SSD: $380

Total: $939.98

Option 2: Intel socket 1155:

Processor: I7 3770k $309.99
New CPU cooler: ~$100
Mobo: ASUS Maximus V Formula $279.99
Memeory: keep current $0
GFX: 7970 $369.99
SSD: $380

Total: $1439.97

Option 3: Intel socket 2011:

Processor: I7 3820 $269.99
New CPU cooler: ~$100
Mobo: ASUS Rampage IV Formula $377.99
Memeory: keep current $0
GFX: 7970 $369.99
SSD: $380

Total: $1497.97


Clearly, the AMD route is the cheapest, as I can keep my current mobo/cooler. I am not sure if the 8350 is much slower than the 3770/3820, but its definitely not a $500 difference. The biggest question is upgrade ability. My AM3 motherboard is nearing the end of its lifespan (it "barely" supports AM3+ with a couple missing features), so if I go for the FX-8350 it will be my last upgrade on this platform.

The question is whether or not now is a good time to make the leap to intel, and whether or not the 1155/2011 sockets are likely to offer some future upgrade paths.

ps: If pricing looks funny, it is because I am in Canada.

Best solution

a b å Intel
December 26, 2012 12:56:51 AM

Quote:
I have been using AMD processors since the original socket A athlon, but Intel seems to really be gaining some ground lately. My last major upgrade was back in 2010 and I am considering doing another major upgrade to my system. I'm looking for feedback.


Gaining some ground? They've been wiping the floor with AMD for the last several years now. AMD GPUs are better but still... that's a different story.

Quote:
Clearly, the AMD route is the cheapest, as I can keep my current mobo/cooler. I am not sure if the 8350 is much slower than the 3770/3820, but its definitely not a $500 difference. The biggest question is upgrade ability. My AM3 motherboard is nearing the end of its lifespan (it "barely" supports AM3+ with a couple missing features), so if I go for the FX-8350 it will be my last upgrade on this platform.


You can definitely get cheaper components for faster. I'd suggest going with the second option - for most uses you won't benefit from going with LGA 2011 - it's far more expensive for very little payoff. If you're gaming you won't benefit. If you're doing intense video editing then you might - but only a little bit.

Quote:
HDD: 1TB WD Black, 1.5TB WD green (Will be upgrading to ~500gb SSD at the same time as this upgrade)


500GB for an SSD is quite a bit excessive, not to mention the cost per GB is astronomical right now. Just get a 256GB and use your 1TB drive.

Try this:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($219.99 @ Newegg)
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-U9B SE2 37.9 CFM CPU Cooler ($60.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UP4 TH ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($192.86 @ Newegg)
Memory: Mushkin Blackline 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($39.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: A-Data XPG SX900 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($189.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card ($389.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $1093.81
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-12-25 21:56 EST-0500)

That's $500 less than the proposed Intel builds and it is far better than the proposed AMD build. The 8350 is a fairly capable CPU but the Intel is far better.
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December 26, 2012 1:18:14 AM

While AMD was good alternative when you purchased your Phenom X6, things have changed dramatically since then. Your X6 is probably a better suited to gaming than the new FX chip with which you might replace it.

As far as parts suggestions:

Definitely go with both LGA 1155 and an i5 processor unless you have a specific reason (besides its faster) to choose LGA 2011 or an i7 processor.

As far as motherboards, there is no reason to spend more than $200 on a board unless you're expecting a very high overclock (along with liquid cooling).

The CPU motherboard combo that g-unit recommended is a good bet.

I'd go with a smaller SSD. Consider a 256 GB Samsung 840 Pro or if you want something cheaper than either the Intel 335 or the Corsair M4. The only real benefit to having games on your SSD is load times (and in some games I haven't noticed a difference at all).
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December 26, 2012 1:22:57 AM

Thanks for the input. I want the 500gb SSD as my primary partition generally floats around 300gb and I don't want to run over 70-80% full.

I can't be bothered to deal with the headache of installing certain apps on secondary partitions or organizing a bunch of data all the time. I used to do this in the past (run a bunch of partitions drives) and i find it annoying. With 500gb, I can keep all my day-to-day files and applications on one drive (with enough free space to keep drive running quick), and my downloads/media stuff on the disc drive.

In regards to the I5 3570k vs the 3770k do you think the i5 is really better value? How much slower is the 3570 than the 3770? the price difference is $100. Here in Canada, best prices I can get are: $210 for the 3570 or $310 for the 3770.

Also, you speced out a 670, do you feel the nVidia 670 is better than the AMD 7970 at the same or higher price point?

As far as intel "wiping the floor", for me its really about cost vs performance. Until recently, you had to spend $500+ on a processor to get into the range where AMD could not compete. Spending more than maybe $400 on a processor that will last 2-3 years is out of my price range. This is the first time I've been in the market where it really looks like AMD does not have a competitive offering.

Also, my primary use will be gaming (more important... the productivity stuff does fine on the current setup) and productivity (CAD work, programming, etc.).
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a b å Intel
December 26, 2012 1:41:32 AM

Quote:
Thanks for the input. I want the 500gb SSD as my primary partition generally floats around 300gb and I don't want to run over 70-80% full.


You won't if you use the SSD for your OS and main programs only. Store everything else on your secondary. Spending the extra $200 just for the convenience factor is kinda stupid I will have to admit.

Quote:
I can't be bothered to deal with the headache of installing certain apps on secondary partitions or organizing a bunch of data all the time. I used to do this in the past (run a bunch of partitions drives) and i find it annoying. With 500gb, I can keep all my day-to-day files and applications on one drive (with enough free space to keep drive running quick), and my downloads/media stuff on the disc drive.


What kind of day to day files do you use that you need a 500GB SSD for? I can't imagine your Outlook PST file takes up that much room.

Quote:
In regards to the I5 3570k vs the 3770k do you think the i5 is really better value? How much slower is the 3570 than the 3770? the price difference is $100. Here in Canada, best prices I can get are: $210 for the 3570 or $310 for the 3770.


Depends on what the primary use is. If it's gaming no. You pay too much for extra threads that you won't use. If it's photo and video editing yes.

Quote:
Also, you speced out a 670, do you feel the nVidia 670 is better than the AMD 7970 at the same or higher price point?


670 and 680 are equal in terms of performance. The 670 is $100 less. As far as the difference between the 7970 and the 670, the 670 has CUDA hardware acceleration and Phys X- two things that the 7970 doesn't have. For CAD work and things of that nature you will benefit from having that.

Quote:
As far as intel "wiping the floor", for me its really about cost vs performance. Until recently, you had to spend $500+ on a processor to get into the range where AMD could not compete. Spending more than maybe $400 on a processor that will last 2-3 years is out of my price range. This is the first time I've been in the market where it really looks like AMD does not have a competitive offering.


First build I did was in 2007 using a Core 2 Duo E6600 and the CPU only cost me like $250. I've done four full builds and several rebuilds since then. I so far have never had to pay $500 for a CPU. You could use the 3930K but that will be way out of your price range. If you check out benchmarks and performance specifications - since X58 Intel has had a dramatic leap over AMD in every category.

Quote:
Also, my primary use will be gaming (more important... the productivity stuff does fine on the current setup) and productivity (CAD work, programming, etc.).


For games you won't use the 3770K to its' full extent so it's not worth purchasing. The 3570K is all you need. For CAD work and programming - I work with rendering and CAD builds on a daily basis and I've got current versions of Autodesk products to run on way less than a 3570K. So yeah you don't need much to run those programs. It helps but you're spending more than you need.
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January 2, 2013 9:44:12 PM

Best answer selected by rbaird.
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