CPU Dilemma - Making the switch?

#1 Posted by Conzed92 (166 posts) -

So, I have had my current CPU (AMD Phenom x4 965 Black Edition) for about a year and a half, and slowly it is beginning to dawn on me that, well, it has served its purpose quite well, but cannot fare much farther. So I have decided to replace it, have quite a nice stash of money to burn and loads of space in my cabinet that is just waiting to be filled out. I, as some would expect, have my eyes on the Intel I7, all the set-ups that I have seen look awesome, and should beef my rig up, quite a bit (It has to, it's double the expense from my current CPU). But perhaps there are people on this forum, I actually know there is, that are considerably more knowledgeable in this field than I am, and therefore if anybody has some clever words to see me through this, I would gladly listen to you. Also, depending on the CPU I pick up, I will have to change my motherboard, but that is no concern either.

I am looking much forward to your help. Thank you in advance.

#2 Posted by Andorski (5366 posts) -

First thing's first: What is your budget for the CPU and motherboard?

#3 Posted by Conzed92 (166 posts) -

As stated in my original post, I have quite a nice stash of money. It's around 450-500 dollars.

#4 Posted by mikey87144 (1806 posts) -

According to multiple sites, for games, there isn't really a difference between an i5 and an i7 in terms of performance for games. Since you have to get a new MOBO anyway maybe just go with the 4670k and spend the extra cash on a nice mobo. A lot of the really nice ones will even boost the cpu with you having to do anything. You also might have to get a new cooler if your last one was built specifically for AMD mobos. If you just want an i7 you could just get the 4770k and call it a day but unless you're doing video editing you're not going to get any real performance benefits.

Also maybe just use than money on a really nice GPU? Nvidia just dropped the prices on some of their GPUs and AMD just released, or re-branded and over-clocked, some new ones.

#5 Posted by Andorski (5366 posts) -

So for the CPU, it is currently unclear how much processing power next generation games will need. For example, the Watch Dogs system requirements recommend either an Intel i7-3770 or a FX-8350. What's confusing is that an i7 is a quad-core CPU while the FX-8350 is an 8-core CPU. My assumption is that Watch Dogs (and future next gen games) can utilize all 8 threads of an i7 and that it's multi-threading capability is equivalent to AMD's 8-core CPU in terms of gaming performance. If so, then getting an i7 over an i5 makes sense. If I'm assuming incorrectly, then you might want to hold off on choosing between an i7 or an i5 and see what games truly require to run.

As for motherboards, I always recommend Gigabyte or Asus. I usually go with Asus' ROG line of gaming motherboards, but with the cost of an i7-4770k ($310 USD) the cheapest ROG motherboard is just out of reach (the Maximus VI Hero goes for $195). Depending on if you want mATX or ATX motherboards, you can find both Gigabyte and Asus motherboards under $150 that are reviewed well.

#6 Posted by Colourful_Hippie (4495 posts) -

@andorski said:

So for the CPU, it is currently unclear how much processing power next generation games will need. For example, the Watch Dogs system requirements recommend either an Intel i7-3770 or a FX-8350. What's confusing is that an i7 is a quad-core CPU while the FX-8350 is an 8-core CPU. My assumption is that Watch Dogs (and future next gen games) can utilize all 8 threads of an i7 and that it's multi-threading capability is equivalent to AMD's 8-core CPU in terms of gaming performance. If so, then getting an i7 over an i5 makes sense. If I'm assuming incorrectly, then you might want to hold off on choosing between an i7 or an i5 and see what games truly require to run.

Yeah, I'm disappointed that the game was delayed because I really wanted to know if the system reqs were implying an actual 8 core Intel CPU or if the hyperthreads would be enough but if they're asking for a FX-8350 then it's more than likely that the hyperthreads assumption is correct.

I would suggest for OP to go with an i7 4770k. Games currently don't demand much out of anything more than an i5 but if Watch Dogs is any indication, more next-gen games, specifically more open-world games, will be demanding on the CPU side.

Use whatever money you have left to burn on a nice video card like a 770 or 780 although I wouldn't suggest going all out on the current video cards because the next gen cards coming in early 2014 or so should end up being a nice bump in performance.

#7 Posted by mikey87144 (1806 posts) -

@andorski: I have a sneaking suspicion that Watch Dogs was badly optimized.

#8 Posted by Colourful_Hippie (4495 posts) -

@andorski: I have a sneaking suspicion that Watch Dogs was badly optimized.

That probably factored into the delay. Hopefully their work on optimizing it for next gen consoles will translate intp more flexible spec reqs on PC.

#9 Edited by Conzed92 (166 posts) -

Wow. Really great answers. Thank you so much guys. Now that I check, I will have to get a new motherboard. Because it has an AMD socket, the AM3 I believe. So a new MOBO is now a requirement. I am primarily going to be playing BF4. Maybe this helps anyone who will be making recommendations.

#10 Posted by Andorski (5366 posts) -

An i5 is enough to play BF4 and any other game that comes out within the next year or so. Since so many games are cross-generation and with a large PC userbase having i5 CPUs the push to require (not just recommend) i7 CPUs won't happen for a while, if at all. The usefulness of i7 CPUs for games will be dependent on whether developers can more effectively use multithreading (e.g. take advantage of Intel's hyperthreading) or if they just start requiring more than 4 cores.

Also, for BF4 your GPU will probably be your bottleneck. What GPU do you have right now?

#11 Posted by Conzed92 (166 posts) -

I have a GTX 560 Ti. It's one GB. It has to be changed at some point, put it is not my primary concern. The reason why I focus on the CPU and the MOBO is also because that they were exposed to high heat for some time, I did not catch until a month after my cooler had become dysfunctional. I am afraid they have taken damage, my computer can slow down in strange ways sometimes. Plus my MOBO is getting really old, and cannot keep up with new hardware.

#12 Posted by Andorski (5366 posts) -

You're GPU will definitely be the bottleneck if you get either an i5 or an i7. My recommendation would be to get an i7 (just in case next gen game can actually make use of it) and mobo and then wait for the GTX 800 series to upgrade the GPU. Worst case scenario is that you spent $100 too much on your CPU. Just know that even after upgrading your CPU your game performance won't increase by a lot until you upgrade your graphics card as well.

#13 Posted by RonGalaxy (3267 posts) -

CPU's have very little baring on most modern games. Unless you're playing crazy AI heavy games like total war or civ, you should look into upgrading your video card first

#14 Posted by Conzed92 (166 posts) -

@andorski said:

You're GPU will definitely be the bottleneck if you get either an i5 or an i7. My recommendation would be to get an i7 (just in case next gen game can actually make use of it) and mobo and then wait for the GTX 800 series to upgrade the GPU. Worst case scenario is that you spent $100 too much on your CPU. Just know that even after upgrading your CPU your game performance won't increase by a lot until you upgrade your graphics card as well.

Thank you. Again, I have, by being less attentive, harmed by CPU and motherboard. The current GPU was not exposed this damaging environment, and I am fine with playing on the low settings for a while. As I would be acquiring an i7, I need a MOBO with a specific socket right?

#15 Edited by Andorski (5366 posts) -

@conzed92 said:

@andorski said:

You're GPU will definitely be the bottleneck if you get either an i5 or an i7. My recommendation would be to get an i7 (just in case next gen game can actually make use of it) and mobo and then wait for the GTX 800 series to upgrade the GPU. Worst case scenario is that you spent $100 too much on your CPU. Just know that even after upgrading your CPU your game performance won't increase by a lot until you upgrade your graphics card as well.

Thank you. Again, I have, by being less attentive, harmed by CPU and motherboard. The current GPU was not exposed this damaging environment, and I am fine with playing on the low settings for a while. As I would be acquiring an i7, I need a MOBO with a specific socket right?

LGA 1150 socket, Z87 motherboard. Do you want a mATX or ATX motherboard?

#16 Edited by Conzed92 (166 posts) -

Is there a large difference?

#17 Posted by mikey87144 (1806 posts) -
@conzed92 said:

Is there a large difference?

Mostly for how big your case is. If you have a huge tower a regular ATX board is the way to go. If it's smaller then mATX board is better suited for that.

#18 Edited by Conzed92 (166 posts) -

Oh. Mine is medium-sized. One person can carry it, albeit with a little effort and there certainly is a limit to how much I can stuff into it. Decent sized. If only I could remember the name of the case.

I just checked: It's a Fractal Design Core 3000

#19 Edited by Andorski (5366 posts) -

@conzed92 said:

Oh. Mine is medium-sized. One person can carry it, albeit with a little effort and there certainly is a limit to how much I can stuff into it. Decent sized. If only I could remember the name of the case.

I just checked: It's a Fractal Design Core 3000

The Fractal Design Core 3000 can fit both an ATX or mATX motherboard. The only real difference is that ATX motherboards have 4 PCIe slots (that is where you plug in your GPU) while mATX only has 2. I recommend either the Gigabyte GA-Z87X-D3H or the Asus Z87-A. I'm more familiar with Asus motherboards, and I tend to stick with that brand because Asus does a good job of offering guides and tutorials on how to use most of the features that they offer on their products. Also, all Asus Z87 boards have made overclocking insanely easy so long as you have a CPU cooler that can handle how hot Haswell chips get. Both boards though are really good and can handle whatever gaming you plan to use it for.

#20 Edited by VACkillers (1075 posts) -

Personally..... I would get an AMD 8350 for now, half the price your going to pay for an Intel CPU and mobo, and the difference in an "actual gaming environment" is about 1-3FPS difference.... the graphics card is where the big difference comes into play, and in properly optimized threaded applications, the AMD 8350 has always come out on top as actual physical cores will be come slightly more of an advantage as the next gen hits.. Watch the video I'll link, yes intel out strips AMD in things like CPU calculations, video rendering and music encoding, which translates into real time encoding a matter of minutes in comparison (not much of a difference), but in REAL GAMING ENVIRONMENTS there is next to nothing... start watching the video 8minutes into it to get the game benchmarks:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ewrPDqFuT3Y

now when the money you save, you can either put towards a really fucking nice graphics card, or save up for Intel's new line of CPUs late next year which will be PROPER 8-core cpus and 16 threads if you are still wanting an intel cpu as nothing is going to match that cpu. This way, its not such an expensive upgrade later on, like 300 bucks as appose to 500$ and that AMD 8-core 8350 is WAAAAY under-rated, its an amazing CPU for the price of what it costs, seriously... it will handle absolutely anything you throw at it right now, and anything in the next couple years too, easily....

#21 Posted by chiablo (999 posts) -

My recommendation: Core i5 4670K

For gaming, it's identical to the i7 4770k, but $80 cheaper. The only thing you lose out on is HyperThreading, which is pretty meaningless for unless if you're running intense CPU-based applications (CAD, video rendering, etc.) or until games start to utilize multi-threading more efficiently. Maybe with later next gen titles, we'll see the difference start to matter, but it won't be any time soon.

Pair it with a really good motherboard and this system will last a very long time.

#22 Posted by IrrelevantJohn (1092 posts) -

@conzed92: I am in the same boat as you are now but I have an Phenom II 955 instead. I recently bought the AMD R9 270x card and boy it's great but NFS:MW did not play nice and yeah the CPU has done its job up till now.

Every year I check on every CPU forums/reviews, it always seems to be wise to pick Intel on CPU if you have the money but I'm probably gonna go AMD again for the price.

#23 Edited by VACkillers (1075 posts) -

Those motherboards are good, but geez, at those prices you might as well just spend more on the CPU and get an easily good mobo for cheaper then that

#24 Posted by chiablo (999 posts) -

Those motherboards are good, but geez, at those prices you might as well just spend more on the CPU and get an easily good mobo for cheaper then that

You get what you pay for. Doing an RMA on a cheap motherboard sucks and if you are at all interested in overclocking, you almost have to get a high-grade motherboard to get the advanced BIOS features.

#25 Posted by VACkillers (1075 posts) -

not really, you dont need to buy the most expensive motherboards on the market in order to overclock, only IF you going for some SERIOUS overclocking amount then you need those ultra high end motherboards, and of course with those really expensive boards your motherboard will last longer while overclocked. If you overclock your cpu and you have to RMA your mobo then thats your fault for pushing it too much and it does void the warrenty if you do that, RMA is RMA, no matter how expensive the board is but you can overclock any cpu on pretty much any board, its other features that bump the price up not only overclocking ability like high grade components on the board, motherboard layout, number of pci express slots ect.. Don't actually need to overclock your cpu either, most stock cpus are perfectly fine, and will last longer so you dont need to spend so much money on a better mobo, it purely depends on what you plan on doing with it.

#26 Edited by Conzed92 (166 posts) -

So guys, since you gave me so much awesome advice, thank you so much, I feel like I should update on the current situation:

I ordered an ASUS Gryphon Z87, micro-ATX. After rechecking my cabinet I figured that it was not actually the one I stated, it is a smaller version. It is fine, I have never had the intention of running two GPU's or something similar. Here is the beauty:

http://www.amazon.com/ASUS-GRYPHON-Z87-DDR3-Motherboard/dp/B00CRJS6OY

And I am going to pick up the 4770k in a few days. Why? I just got a little money from the Man, and what better way to use it than to "stimulate" the economy a little? I will see if I can score a new GPU within a period of 4-6 months, and then I should be totally set for a nice long period of time. Here is the CPU:

http://www.amazon.com/Intel-i7-4770K-Quad-Core-Processor-BX80646I74770K/dp/B00CO8TBQ0/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1383955175&sr=1-1&keywords=i7+4770k

It is going to be a tight little machine after these upgrades, and since I am not going to be picking up any new consoles, I can justify the economic aspect.

#27 Edited by VACkillers (1075 posts) -

nice... good luck and post here again when you get ya parts and try it out

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