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Deciding between Intel and AMD for a potential build


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#1 ixcuincle

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Posted 02 November 2011 - 06:52 AM

My current PC is a crappy Compaq which has been around since 2006. Battlefield 3 recently came out, so I figured it might be time to get a new PC that can run Battlefield 3.

I've been looking through several combo packages on Newegg, and there are packages for both the Intel 2500k i5 / i7 processors and AMD processors. I can't really decide which one to use. The Sandy Bridge i5 2500k processors are about 250? dollars. I'm a guy that tends to shift towards the cheap bargain (yes, even in technology), and I noticed that the AMD Phenom processors were also multicore, and they were cheaper than the Intel i5 2500k set.

So, I guess, I'm asking if that steep price for the 2500k is worth it. I've heard a ton of fanfare and hype about the processor, but I was wondering if there were any cheaper alternatives that would run Battlefield 3 at its max settings.

Edited by hamluis, 04 November 2011 - 02:44 PM.
Moved from Buying New Computer to Upgrading/Building .


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#2 killerx525

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Posted 03 November 2011 - 12:17 AM

Gaming is GPU bound, so you don't need a super doper fast CPU but you mainly want spend your money mostly on the graphics card. I would get AMD it is much cheaper and it bang for bucks.

>Michael 
System1: CPU- Intel Core i7-5820K @ 4.4GHz, CPU Cooler- Noctua NH-D14, RAM- G.Skill Ripjaws 16GB Kit(4Gx4) DDR3 2133MHz, SSD/HDD- Samsung 850 EVO 250GB/Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB/Seagate Barracuada 3TB, GPU- 2x EVGA GTX980 Superclocked @1360/MHz1900MHz, Motherboard- Asus X99 Deluxe, Case- Custom Mac G5, PSU- EVGA P2-1000W, Soundcard- Realtek High Definition Audio, OS- Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit
Games: APB: Reloaded, Hours played: 3100+  System2: Late 2011 Macbook Pro 15inch   OFw63FY.png


#3 DJBPace07

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 04:51 PM

I echo Killer's statement, most games are GPU bound. Sinking more of your resources there will give a better bang for your buck. CPU's are tricky these days, the i5 2500K will outperform most Phenom II's in raw CPU-bound benchmarks, but with gaming at normal resolutions, the difference is minor. Things get even more hazy if you are considering AMD's Bulldozer "FX" CPU's. Frankly, I would get a Phenom II X6, or even an FX-8120P or FX-8150P, and then pair that with a Radeon 6950 or 6970. A Radeon 6970 should handle the game with settings on ultra at roughly 60 fps.

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#4 ixcuincle

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 05:48 PM

Alright. I'll look into that. Thanks all.

#5 killerx525

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 06:20 PM

If your buying a 6950, you can unlock it to a 6970 which will give the performance of a actual 6970 card.

>Michael 
System1: CPU- Intel Core i7-5820K @ 4.4GHz, CPU Cooler- Noctua NH-D14, RAM- G.Skill Ripjaws 16GB Kit(4Gx4) DDR3 2133MHz, SSD/HDD- Samsung 850 EVO 250GB/Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB/Seagate Barracuada 3TB, GPU- 2x EVGA GTX980 Superclocked @1360/MHz1900MHz, Motherboard- Asus X99 Deluxe, Case- Custom Mac G5, PSU- EVGA P2-1000W, Soundcard- Realtek High Definition Audio, OS- Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit
Games: APB: Reloaded, Hours played: 3100+  System2: Late 2011 Macbook Pro 15inch   OFw63FY.png


#6 DJBPace07

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 05:41 PM

Through the process of binning, the 6950 and 6950 are actually the same hardware. However, 6950 models were not good enough, quality wise, to handle stress a 6970 card has to, thus they were clocked slower with few shaders. Flashing a 6950 may result in a loss of stability as the card was locked for a reason, and the flashing of the card's BIOS will almost certainly void the warranty.

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#7 killerx525

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 09:01 PM

If you don't want to void the warranty or stuff up the unlocking procedure, you could overclock the graphics card itself but you must be careful when doing it but these are the risks if you want more performance and also save money along the way.

>Michael 
System1: CPU- Intel Core i7-5820K @ 4.4GHz, CPU Cooler- Noctua NH-D14, RAM- G.Skill Ripjaws 16GB Kit(4Gx4) DDR3 2133MHz, SSD/HDD- Samsung 850 EVO 250GB/Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB/Seagate Barracuada 3TB, GPU- 2x EVGA GTX980 Superclocked @1360/MHz1900MHz, Motherboard- Asus X99 Deluxe, Case- Custom Mac G5, PSU- EVGA P2-1000W, Soundcard- Realtek High Definition Audio, OS- Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit
Games: APB: Reloaded, Hours played: 3100+  System2: Late 2011 Macbook Pro 15inch   OFw63FY.png


#8 ixcuincle

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Posted 07 November 2011 - 03:51 PM

I echo Killer's statement, most games are GPU bound. Sinking more of your resources there will give a better bang for your buck. CPU's are tricky these days, the i5 2500K will outperform most Phenom II's in raw CPU-bound benchmarks, but with gaming at normal resolutions, the difference is minor. Things get even more hazy if you are considering AMD's Bulldozer "FX" CPU's. Frankly, I would get a Phenom II X6, or even an FX-8120P or FX-8150P, and then pair that with a Radeon 6950 or 6970. A Radeon 6970 should handle the game with settings on ultra at roughly 60 fps.


Is this the 8120 you're talking about? May look into this.

Also considering OC'ing, but I admittedly have little experience with overclocking computer parts so I'll have to do some research into it.

#9 locally pwned

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Posted 07 November 2011 - 04:50 PM

Gaming is GPU bound, so you don't need a super doper fast CPU but you mainly want spend your money mostly on the graphics card. I would get AMD it is much cheaper and it bang for bucks.


With the possible exception of RTS games. They tend to be heafty in the CPU department.
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#10 DJBPace07

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Posted 07 November 2011 - 04:58 PM

Indeed, RTS, or even turn-based strategy games, can put a strain on CPU's. It usually comes down to the games themselves, most of which are indeed GPU bound.

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#11 philo-sofa

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 05:02 AM

Based off the Beta, even very GPU powerful systems like SLI/Crossfire setups aren't CPU limited with a 'modern 3.2GHz quad'. Basically any modern i5 or Phenom X4 or X6 will handle the load pretty well - you do want a quad-core, and a reasonably fast one at that but absolutely agree it's not worth prioritising over a good graphics card, I wouldn't buy any FX series (Bulldozer) CPU's as they're fairly average, and give worse performance in modern games than their predecessors (Phenom II). As you seem to be budget restricted a Phenom II X4 955 or X4 960T would be the ideal buy, coupled with a 970 series motherboard (as long as you don't plan on Crossfire later on down the track), and an HD 6950 as everyone else is recommending.

Note that not all HD 6950's can unlock - some have BIOS' that can't be flashed and some allegedly have their extra cores laser-etched out. From experience if the price difference isn't too great it's worth hunting down a reference 2GB card with a dual-BIOS switch (this allows you to use a backup BIOS if you bork your flashing of the primary one). I personally found I had temp and artefact issues when using a 6970 BIOS, but you can easily flash with an 'unlocked' 6950 BIOS then use a program like Afterburner or TRIXX to overclock your card - I've currently got my HD 6950 @ 910/5600 MHz stable with all 1536 shaders unlocked (as opposed to 800 MHz/5000MHz with 1408 shaders on a stock HD 6950), which gives a > 20% performance boost, is faster than a stock HD 6970 and is pretty typical of unlocked cards).

Anyway if you do decide to go down that path, you can identify a 'reference 6950' fairly easily, they should be a 2GB model and look like this (just with the manufacturer's sticker on it):

Posted Image

So yeah to sum up, an X4 955/X4 960T and 2GB (reference if possible) HD 6950 system would own. 4GB of system memory is fine for BF3, but TBH it's so cheap I'd just grab 8GB of DDR3-1600 CL8 memory for future-proof'ness. Built a friend a system like this last month for BF3 and it runs it fantastically.

Edited by philo-sofa, 10 November 2011 - 06:09 AM.

i7 860 @ 4.0Ghz | Prolimatech Megashadow & 120mm Gelid | MSI P55-GD65 | 8 GB G.Skill DDR3 1600 CL8 | Sapphire AMD HD 6970 (flashed from HD 6950) @ 910/5600 MHz | 2x 160GB Intel 320 Series (RAID 0), 1.5TB + 2TB Seagate | Corsair AX-750 | Silverstone TJ10B-WESA | Samsung 2443BW | Logitech G19 | Logitech G500




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