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CPU: i3-3240 vs FX-8320 vs i5 Haswell? Is this a good build?

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December 13, 2013 8:05:03 AM

I noticed that several people were going with a $150 FX-8320 instead of a $200 i5 processor in their high-performance builds. According to http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-cpu-review-o... , i5 Haswells are a performance tier above the FX-8320. According to that same page, i3-3240, which is only $109, is in the same tier of performance as FX-8320. By logic, wouldn't be a much better value to include the i3-3240 alongside a high-end graphics card than it would be to use an FX-8320? If so, is this a good build? I'm trying to keep the price as low as I can and I won't be overclocking but I'm still skeptical about the motherboard:

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/2jF4z
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/2jF4z/by_merchant/
Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/2jF4z/benchmarks/

CPU: Intel Core i3-3240 3.4GHz Dual-Core Processor ($109.99 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: ASRock H61M-DGS Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($44.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: G.Skill Sniper 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($52.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($59.98 @ OutletPC)
Video Card: Gigabyte Radeon R9 290 4GB Video Card ($457.98 @ SuperBiiz)
Case: Antec One ATX Mid Tower Case ($29.99 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 500W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($29.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($14.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $800.90
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-12-13 11:01 EST-0500)
December 13, 2013 8:36:06 AM

Wait what? FX 8320 is by far better than i3 3240. Even in passmark score it's 2 times better than i3 3240.

If you go with this system, that GPU will be bottlenecked by the CPU.

This is better in my opinion

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD FX-8320 3.5GHz 8-Core Processor ($139.99 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: Asus M5A99FX PRO R2.0 ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($126.98 @ SuperBiiz)
Memory: G.Skill Sniper 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($52.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($59.98 @ OutletPC)
Video Card: Asus Radeon R9 280X 3GB Video Card ($319.99 @ B&H)
Case: Antec One ATX Mid Tower Case ($29.99 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: Antec High Current Gamer 620W 80+ Bronze Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply ($82.79 @ NCIX US)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($14.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $827.70
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-12-13 11:46 EST-0500)

small changes can be made, like EVO MB and addition of CPU cooler.

PS: I left the case, although I am not sure that it is the best option. I don't know your budget.
December 13, 2013 10:34:56 AM

Foldalot said:
Wait what? FX 8320 is by far better than i3 3240. Even in passmark score it's 2 times better than i3 3240.

If you go with this system, that GPU will be bottlenecked by the CPU.

This is better in my opinion

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD FX-8320 3.5GHz 8-Core Processor ($139.99 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: Asus M5A99FX PRO R2.0 ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($126.98 @ SuperBiiz)
Memory: G.Skill Sniper 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($52.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($59.98 @ OutletPC)
Video Card: Asus Radeon R9 280X 3GB Video Card ($319.99 @ B&H)
Case: Antec One ATX Mid Tower Case ($29.99 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: Antec High Current Gamer 620W 80+ Bronze Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply ($82.79 @ NCIX US)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($14.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $827.70
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-12-13 11:46 EST-0500)

small changes can be made, like EVO MB and addition of CPU cooler.

PS: I left the case, although I am not sure that it is the best option. I don't know your budget.


Oh okay, I was under the impression that they were roughly equal in terms of performance because of that list. Guess I was wrong. As for the build you posted, will I really need a motherboard that expensive if I'm not overclocking? The reason I decided not to overclock was so I could take the money out of buying a more-expensive motherboard and fan and put it into a higher-end GPU.

Also, how does the FX-8320 compare to the i5-4430 and the i5-4670(K)?

And my budget is really high performance as cheap as possible. I'm trying to get all my parts other than the processors under $50 so my family members can get them for me for Christmas (I know they'll ask). But at the same time I don't want the parts to be cheap that will drastically hinder performance.
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December 13, 2013 10:48:20 AM

twneal said:


Oh okay, I was under the impression that they were roughly equal in terms of performance because of that list. Guess I was wrong. As for the build you posted, will I really need a motherboard that expensive if I'm not overclocking? The reason I decided not to overclock was so I could take the money out of buying a more-expensive motherboard and fan and put it into a higher-end GPU.

Also, how does the FX-8320 compare to the i5-4430 and the i5-4670(K)?


i5 4670k is a better CPU, but when it comes to performance/value ratio I'd go with FX 8320. I think that you should get i5 4570 which would enable you to take a cheaper motherboard. r9 280x is a powerful GPU, and a better option than r9 290 (not performance-wise) in my opinion. There's no point in getting a very powerful GPU if the CPU is going to bottleneck it. You need to have a well optimized PC.

Here's another option :

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-4570 3.2GHz Quad-Core Processor ($194.99 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: ASRock H81M Micro ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($59.99 @ Mwave)
Memory: G.Skill Sniper 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($52.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($59.98 @ OutletPC)
Video Card: Asus Radeon R9 280X 3GB Video Card ($319.99 @ B&H)
Case: Antec One ATX Mid Tower Case ($29.99 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: Corsair CX 600W 80+ Bronze Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply ($44.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($14.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $777.91
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-12-13 13:50 EST-0500)

I am not sure if you can get a lower price MB, yet to be a decent one.

December 13, 2013 10:42:57 PM

Foldalot said:
twneal said:


Oh okay, I was under the impression that they were roughly equal in terms of performance because of that list. Guess I was wrong. As for the build you posted, will I really need a motherboard that expensive if I'm not overclocking? The reason I decided not to overclock was so I could take the money out of buying a more-expensive motherboard and fan and put it into a higher-end GPU.

Also, how does the FX-8320 compare to the i5-4430 and the i5-4670(K)?


i5 4670k is a better CPU, but when it comes to performance/value ratio I'd go with FX 8320. I think that you should get i5 4570 which would enable you to take a cheaper motherboard. r9 280x is a powerful GPU, and a better option than r9 290 (not performance-wise) in my opinion. There's no point in getting a very powerful GPU if the CPU is going to bottleneck it. You need to have a well optimized PC.

Here's another option :

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-4570 3.2GHz Quad-Core Processor ($194.99 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: ASRock H81M Micro ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($59.99 @ Mwave)
Memory: G.Skill Sniper 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($52.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($59.98 @ OutletPC)
Video Card: Asus Radeon R9 280X 3GB Video Card ($319.99 @ B&H)
Case: Antec One ATX Mid Tower Case ($29.99 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: Corsair CX 600W 80+ Bronze Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply ($44.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($14.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $777.91
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-12-13 13:50 EST-0500)

I am not sure if you can get a lower price MB, yet to be a decent one.



Oh, I thought the i5 was sufficient for any GPU out there right now. Thank you for pointing that out! Hypothetically, what would I need to avoid bottlenecking highest-end GPUs such as R9 290, Titan, etc? An i7 Haswell?
December 14, 2013 12:12:27 AM

An i5 will not bottleneck any gpu in games. You can pair a GTX 780 ti with an i5 and it should be performing well in games.
December 14, 2013 12:27:27 AM

I never mentioned that i5 (4670k, 3570k) will be a bottleneck for high-end GPUs. I was referring to i3 3240 and a cheap non OC mobo.

twneal said:


Oh, I thought the i5 was sufficient for any GPU out there right now. Thank you for pointing that out! Hypothetically, what would I need to avoid bottlenecking highest-end GPUs such as R9 290, Titan, etc? An i7 Haswell?


Since you want to stay with Intel, my recommendation is i5 4670k, which will allow you to take any high end GPU you like. If there is some bottlenecking in the future in high CPU demanding games, you can just overclock and you'll be fine.

December 14, 2013 12:35:49 AM

realchaos said:
An i5 will not bottleneck any gpu in games. You can pair a GTX 780 ti with an i5 and it should be performing well in games.


Thanks for the clarification! Why then does everyone keep suggesting R9 280x every time I post a build with R9 290? What is undesirable about a 290 with the build Foldable posted instead of a 280x?
December 14, 2013 12:38:18 AM

There are complains about r9 290 getting hot and making fan noise like a jet plane. You'll need to buy a cooling fan with it.





You'll need to wait for non-reference card
December 14, 2013 1:03:57 AM

Yeah the R9-290 is just bad right now due to the reference cooler. However, once the aftermarket coolers come out then I'm sure it will become a very popular card because it performs very well for the price.

Also, it's mostly due to your budget. In order to fit a R9-290 in there, you're going to be forced to go with lower quality components for the other parts which is not good.
December 14, 2013 1:10:54 AM

Thank you!

Foldalot said:
Since you want to stay with Intel, my recommendation is i5 4670k, which will allow you to take any high end GPU you like. If there is some bottlenecking in the future in high CPU demanding games, you can just overclock and you'll be fine.


I'm not quite as stuck on Intel as you may think. I just want to have extreme performance at the lowest price point possible. If I can get a better bang for the buck with an AMD CPU + motherboard than an Intel combination, I'd rather go with that. I will probably ask for a majority of the parts for Christmas and buy the GPU later, so I will probably just wait for the R9 290 non-reference model to come out.

My budget for the CPU + motherboard alone is $250ish, though the cheaper it can be without significantly affecting performance, the better. Suggestions?

December 14, 2013 2:19:16 AM

realchaos said:
At that budget, you're better off with AMD. You can get this:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD FX-8320 3.5GHz 8-Core Processor ($139.99 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD3 ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($115.98 @ SuperBiiz)
Total: $255.97
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-12-14 04:16 EST-0500)

And then add an aftermarket cpu cooler to overclock.


Thank you so much! Any reason I shouldn't go with the $77 MSI 970A-G46 or the $93 Asus M5A97 R2.0 instead of the $116 Gigabyte motherboard you specified? The two would both be easier on the wallet and seems they can overclock as well. Don't know much about motherboards though so I need some guidance.
December 14, 2013 11:17:51 AM

The MSI 970A-G46 uses lower quality VRM heatsinks so it can't overclock that good.
The Asus M5A97 R2.0 is one of the best 970 chipset motherboards that has great VRM heatsinks, but it's still a 970 chipset. The Gigabyte is based off of the 990FX chipset that overclocks much better.
December 14, 2013 7:12:09 PM

realchaos said:
The MSI 970A-G46 uses lower quality VRM heatsinks so it can't overclock that good.
The Asus M5A97 R2.0 is one of the best 970 chipset motherboards that has great VRM heatsinks, but it's still a 970 chipset. The Gigabyte is based off of the 990FX chipset that overclocks much better.


So if I went with the Asus as opposed to the Gigabyte, would I be giving up a significant amount of performance potential? And would I be at risk of bottlenecking my high-end GPU? Or is the Asus also a smart choice?
December 14, 2013 8:36:26 PM

The Asus is a smart choice, it won't bottleneck any gpu. However, another big difference between a 970 and 990FX chipset is that the 990FX can crossfire/SLI while the 970 cannot.
With that said, you may be giving up on a significant amount of potential performance. You're losing the ability to crossfire/SLI and you're losing the ability to overclock better. Those are huge deal breakers.
December 14, 2013 10:00:43 PM

realchaos said:
The Asus is a smart choice, it won't bottleneck any gpu. However, another big difference between a 970 and 990FX chipset is that the 990FX can crossfire/SLI while the 970 cannot.
With that said, you may be giving up on a significant amount of potential performance. You're losing the ability to crossfire/SLI and you're losing the ability to overclock better. Those are huge deal breakers.


Am I still giving up a significant amount of performance if I will be sticking to a single GPU?
December 14, 2013 10:50:04 PM

Yeah the 970 chipset is only meant for very moderate OC. Especially with an 8 core, it's more recommended and optimal to go with a 990FX motherboard.
!