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Average FPS Benchmarks: Athlon II X3 440 In CrossFire Vs. Core i7-920 With A Single Card

Gamers: Do You Need More Than An Athlon II X3?
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For interest's sake, we decided to graph the Athlon II X3 440's results using Radeon HD 5870 cards in CrossFire and compare them to the Core i7-920 results using a single Radeon HD 5850. What we see is surprising:

Anyone who says that the graphics subsystem is all that matters should have a look at these results. Yes, the Core i7-920 costs $200 more than the Athlon II X3 440, but the dual Radeon HD 5870s paired with the Athlon system cost a whooping $500 more than the single Radeon HD 5850 in the Core i7-920 system. Despite this, the Core i7-920 system beats the Athlon II X3 440 configuration in almost every game up to 1920x1080 by a small margin. In the only game that the Athlon II X3 440 wins at 1920x1080, the Core i7-920 still manages to achieve an average FPS value over 60.

At 2560x1600, however, the graphics subsystem dominates the processor. At this resolution, the Athlon II X3 440 system has a clean win. To whom does this apply? The limited few with 30" displays.

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Top Comments
  • 26 Hide
    retrac1324 , May 27, 2010 7:28 AM
    I like how Opera web browser was mistyped: Oprah
  • 25 Hide
    Jarmo , May 27, 2010 7:17 AM
    tacoslaveshould have overclocked the 440 because thats what most will be doing when they use this processor for gaming


    I'd guess at least 90% of users never overclock anything.
    To be fair though, probably 90% of Tom's readers do.
  • 21 Hide
    welshmousepk , May 27, 2010 6:16 AM
    good read, though unsurprising. certainly justifies these lower end processors in gaming rigs.

    the whole thing seems to slightly contradict the 'balanced PC' articles though. why put such a cheap CPU in a system with such a powerful GPU? is the budget really going to be THAT tight?
Other Comments
  • 21 Hide
    welshmousepk , May 27, 2010 6:16 AM
    good read, though unsurprising. certainly justifies these lower end processors in gaming rigs.

    the whole thing seems to slightly contradict the 'balanced PC' articles though. why put such a cheap CPU in a system with such a powerful GPU? is the budget really going to be THAT tight?
  • 17 Hide
    sohei , May 27, 2010 6:20 AM
    good point in this article....if you have money ....you have 1 solution for every application you run on your pc....(high end cpu) folks with money dont have to think...is simple ...but if you have less money to spend ...an AMD cpu is your (my) choice
  • -3 Hide
    Verkil , May 27, 2010 6:48 AM
    Still no GTA4? I'm still having thoughts getting an Athlon II X3 because I'll be playing GTA4 and all your Athlon II X3 gaming benchmark does not include GTA4.
  • 4 Hide
    slinkoguy , May 27, 2010 6:50 AM
    Looks like you guys got a Deneb core. Unlock that thing and let us see those results! :D 
  • 3 Hide
    haplo602 , May 27, 2010 6:52 AM
    hmm ... I see an interesting pattern here. the latest Intel architecture is 3x as expensive yet an AMD cpu on a generation older architecture can still keep up reasonable.

    except very high end gaming, I realy do not see a reason to go after the i7.

    what I am missing from the article is the X3 vs Intel cpus in the same price range. maybe a followup would do some good :-)
  • 8 Hide
    tacoslave , May 27, 2010 7:06 AM
    should have overclocked the 440 because thats what most will be doing when they use this processor for gaming
  • 25 Hide
    Jarmo , May 27, 2010 7:17 AM
    tacoslaveshould have overclocked the 440 because thats what most will be doing when they use this processor for gaming


    I'd guess at least 90% of users never overclock anything.
    To be fair though, probably 90% of Tom's readers do.
  • -4 Hide
    Stardude82 , May 27, 2010 7:26 AM
    Do it again with a 5750 or a GTS 250..or lower with a 5650 and a GT 240. You know something modern, but not in excess of the cost of the motherboard and CPU. This is my same problem with the G6950/720 article.. I don't think I've ever seen a good article showing differences with difference CPU's in the middle end. With more of a GPU is bottle neck, the CPU should matter even less.
  • 26 Hide
    retrac1324 , May 27, 2010 7:28 AM
    I like how Opera web browser was mistyped: Oprah
  • 6 Hide
    HalfHuman , May 27, 2010 7:34 AM
    nice comparison. seems that the triple core is quite strong enough for gaming. i believe that xfire is crazy technology though and only an almost negligible number of gamers use it. i also do not see the point of using such a strong(expensive) video card with a budget cpu. a money conscious gamer would get a 57xx or something in that zone.

    my thought is that for single card users (not necessarily 58xx type not because it's not good but is for sure not budget friendly) and normal monitors (1680x1050) a triple or even dual core amd is enough.
  • -5 Hide
    gti88 , May 27, 2010 7:35 AM
    Is there many people still playing WiC?
    I tried to play online, and it's pretty boring and repetitive. Uninstalled.
  • 3 Hide
    arkadi , May 27, 2010 7:36 AM
    This is a good article.
    When i build gaming rigs for a kids, i don't want to get the HI end system with somewhat hi price tag for a kids computer. The AMD CPU is a solid choice, with cheaper GPU like the 5770 it will be a good and cheap gaming machine. And if FPS will get bit low, I can lower the game effects to a reasonable point and still have grate experience from a game.
  • -5 Hide
    opmopadop , May 27, 2010 7:41 AM
    A request Tom, can you start using 1920 x 1080 as the main resolution for your benchmarks, and only going higher / lower when the article requires it. Multiple resolutions have always added complexity to the graphs / reviews and I think its time to change.
  • 7 Hide
    cashews , May 27, 2010 8:13 AM
    It would be great to see Battlefield Bad Company 2 tested in these reviews as well.
  • 2 Hide
    dco , May 27, 2010 8:14 AM
    why not pair the x3 athlon with a x4 phenom II, surely would have had the same effect.
  • 1 Hide
    Simple11 , May 27, 2010 8:16 AM
    Yeah I thought people get the triple core to unlock the fourth core. Or is that is some models?
  • 9 Hide
    sonofliberty08 , May 27, 2010 8:31 AM
    if u need powerful cpu more than the Athlon II X3 , go for Phenom II X4 then , still save u alot of good money in the pocket than go for an i7 .
  • 9 Hide
    wasbeer_13 , May 27, 2010 8:34 AM
    Well, I've got the Athlon iix3 in my 'gaming' rig at home and it is paired with a Nvidia 260GTX.

    All I can say that it was a good investment as I can max out everything I play, considering I only have a 19" screen that supports upto 1280*1024.

    It's what I call balance. Not everyone can afford an i7 with SLI or Xfire and 30" screens.
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