So... AMD Processors

#1 Edited by believer258 (11043 posts) -

EDIT: This topic is still wide-open for discussion but I wound up going with an i5 3470 because Intel's better and it costs less to fix my car than I thought it would. Also I don't want to OC so I didn't bump it up to a 3570K. I have also completely replaced the below list with what I wound up with if you're interested./EDIT

I'm looking at building a PC soon. I've got the money now, and I've been looking at parts; the only wrench that can be thrown in this is if care tires and axles cost too much.

Anyway, I'm looking to build a machine on the low end of "mid-range" for now, but I want to make sure the processor and motherboard can last me for a while. I already know that AMD's do not hold up to Intel's, but my main question here is "is the performance difference between the two really worth the price difference"? This price difference is pretty big. If I had my way with things, an i5 3570K would be the place to go, but before I hop onto that processor I want to know if anyone has had any really bad experiences with AMD recently, or if the price leap from, say, this to the aforementioned i5 3570K is really worth it?

i5 3470

HD 7770

AsRock Z77 Motherboard

1TB 7200RPM HDD

Corsair 650W PSU

Rosewill case

8GB RAM

ASUS (cheapass) DVD drive

(On the topic of the graphics card, I am fine with medium settings for now but I plan on leaping up to an HD 7950 next year)

#2 Posted by mordukai (7092 posts) -

Maybe if you're planning to upgrade to the 7950 next then maybe you should change your PSU to an 750W.

#3 Edited by Kidavenger (3380 posts) -

This is the processor you want for an AMD gaming rig, everything I've read for this generation of games is once you hit 3.9ghz processor speed you aren't gaining much cpu wise; so you'll be good for atleast another year or two until development is targeted at next gen console specs and once we hit that it'll probably be time for a CPU upgrade anyway either way you go.

You could probably go 4170 cpu with a 7870 gpu and be perfectly fine for 2 years and not need to upgrade your gpu next year at all; and 7870s come with Sleeping Dogs packed in now.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150605

#4 Edited by IrrelevantJohn (928 posts) -

From looking at your choices between your 2 CPUs, I can tell you that Ivy Bridge i5 you chose is the best of it's class today. i7 would be overkill unless you are doing intensive stuff like HD editing. It's worth the $70 difference and it will last you a long time.

Also have you considered an SSD?

I'm running an AMD system and it's fine for what I do but I do sometimes wish I had the i5 or i7 for live streaming though... sigh.

#5 Edited by GiroMindTricks (63 posts) -

I recently built a new PC with the AMD FX-8120 and I couldn't be happier. Overclocked it to 3.8Ghz easily and it could probably go higher. If you're looking for a great CPU on a budget you couldn't do much better in my opinion.

#6 Posted by spazmaster666 (1965 posts) -

If you're planning on upgrading the GPU later on then I would go with the Ivy Bridge proc (faster, more efficient, etc). The only reason to go with the FX-8120 would be if you wanted to spend more on the GPU now.

#7 Posted by SamDrugbringer (1099 posts) -

Avoid AMD. Honestly. I wanted to give them a chance as much as the next guy but they've been being blown away by Intel the last few generations. Pick up an Intel before they skyrocket in price when everyone realizes they have no real compition.

The 3570K is a great card at that price. You could PROBOLY go down a bit to something else in the i5 line like the 3470 is you don't want to mess with Overclocking.

#8 Posted by believer258 (11043 posts) -

@IrrelevantJohn said:

From looking at your choices between your 2 CPUs, I can tell you that Ivy Bridge i5 you chose is the best of it's class today. i7 would be overkill unless you are doing intensive stuff like HD editing. It's worth the $70 difference and it will last you a long time.

Also have you considered an SSD?

I'm running an AMD system and it's fine for what I do but I do sometimes wish I had the i5 or i7 for live streaming though... sigh.

Nah, I know it offers much better load times but that alone doesn't make it worth it to me. I'll wait a few extra seconds and save a fair bit of money.

#9 Posted by MB (11298 posts) -

@believer258: You should still consider getting a small SSD for just your OS and a couple of games, then you can use a traditional platter hard drive for everything else since they're so inexpensive. The difference is worth the cost, SSD's are the single biggest bang for your buck you can get right now. Even a small one is so worth it.

Moderator
#10 Posted by SamDrugbringer (1099 posts) -

SSDs are great, but I'm using a slow ass hard drive (5400 RPM) and I haven't felt the need to switch either. At this point I might wait for my next build for an SSD.

I'm sure once I try it I'll never go back.

#11 Posted by believer258 (11043 posts) -

@MB said:

@believer258: You should still consider getting a small SSD for just your OS and a couple of games, then you can use a traditional platter hard drive for everything else since they're so inexpensive. The difference is worth the cost, SSD's are the single biggest bang for your buck you can get right now. Even a small one is so worth it.

They probably are worth the cost but I'm trying to cut down on costs and SSD's aren't anywhere near the top of my priority list. I'll definitely have one someday, probably when they become the standard and something new that takes half the time to load and maybe one watt to run.

And they aren't cheap in the least. Fifty bucks for 32GB? What do SSD's do that are worth that, apart from load times?

#12 Posted by MB (11298 posts) -

@believer258: General OS speed and snappiness mainly, along with startup and load times for your most used programs. On top of that, SSD's are more reliable than drives that have moving parts, their seek time is next to nothing, and fragmentation of files is a thing of the past...SSD's never need to be defragmented.

To top it all off, Windows 7 boots in about half the time or less off of an SSD versus a HDD.

Moderator
#13 Edited by Jrinswand (1692 posts) -

I put an i5-3570k in the rig I built earlier this month and I'm absolutely loving it. As an upgrade from an old AMD dual-core, this new Ivy Bridge chipset is amazing.

Edit: OP, apart from the video card (I'm running an HD 7850), my rig is pretty much identical to yours and I've got to tell you, this thing cooks.

#14 Edited by believer258 (11043 posts) -

@Kidavenger said:

This is the processor you want for an AMD gaming rig, everything I've read for this generation of games is once you hit 3.9ghz processor speed you aren't gaining much cpu wise; so you'll be good for atleast another year or two until development is targeted at next gen console specs and once we hit that it'll probably be time for a CPU upgrade anyway either way you go.

You could probably go 4170 cpu with a 7870 gpu and be perfectly fine for 2 years and not need to upgrade your gpu next year at all; and 7870s come with Sleeping Dogs packed in now.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150605

I'm no expert but clock speeds seemingly aren't the only thing that matters on a CPU; this has a slower clock speed than what you linked me but it's a better processor.

@SamDrugbringer said:

Avoid AMD. Honestly. I wanted to give them a chance as much as the next guy but they've been being blown away by Intel the last few generations. Pick up an Intel before they skyrocket in price when everyone realizes they have no real compition.

The 3570K is a great card at that price. You could PROBOLY go down a bit to something else in the i5 line like the 3470 is you don't want to mess with Overclocking.

But why exactly? All right, I know Intel outperforms AMD all the time these days, but if an AMD CPU can perform well enough then what does it matter? Why would you get a Bugatti when you could get a Camaro or something and never even utilize the full power of that?

I'm not especially looking to see my processor blow away everyone's, I'm simply looking for one that will last me a good while and play games at least on medium, 1280x720, and continue to do so for a few years, and AMD's seem to have that capacity. What makes Intel worth the extra money?

#15 Posted by believer258 (11043 posts) -

@MB said:

@believer258: General OS speed and snappiness mainly, along with startup and load times for your most used programs. On top of that, SSD's are more reliable than drives that have moving parts, their seek time is next to nothing, and fragmentation of files is a thing of the past...SSD's never need to be defragmented.

To top it all off, Windows 7 boots in about half the time or less off of an SSD versus a HDD.

Eh, I already knew that much but it still doesn't sell me on them. That's money I can put toward a different and more important component.

#16 Edited by MB (11298 posts) -

@believer258: You could always look into a Phenom II X4 965 BE...they still rank towards the top of the charts for gaming CPU's and can be found for around $100 at this point. I built a system for a friend with a 965 and a GTX 660ti and it handles everything we throw at it with ease. Of course this was purchased before the FX-4170 was released which is around the same price and outperforms the 965.

I don't think anything Intel offers can compare to the bang for the buck you get with the FX-4170 at this point in time.

Here's the most recent Gaming CPU Hierarchy Chart from tomshardware.com:

Moderator
#17 Posted by believer258 (11043 posts) -

@MB said:

@believer258: You could always look into a Phenom II X4 965 BE...they still rank towards the top of the charts for gaming CPU's and can be found for around $100 at this point. I built a system for a friend with a 965 and a GTX 660ti and it handles everything we throw at it with ease. Of course this was purchased before the FX-4170 was released which is around the same price and outperforms the 965.

I don't think anything Intel offers can compare to the bang for the buck you get with the FX-4170 at this point in time.

Here's the most recent Gaming CPU Hierarchy Chart from tomshardware.com:

This is pretty much what I wanted. Thank you very much!

#18 Posted by banishedsoul1 (294 posts) -

amd is still good dont let then intel guys put you down

#19 Posted by EXTomar (4125 posts) -

This is totally a single perspective but I've always had trouble with AMD machines. I've built 7 machines and the 2 that were AMD where plagued with quirks and problems. That isn't to say that buying a Phenom II wouldn't be worth it but I've had too many problems for the savings to make sense to me. I can only recommend is don't skimp on the mobo and go for the one with lots of reviews.

#20 Posted by SamDrugbringer (1099 posts) -

The Phenom II X4 is getting long in the tooth. I have one for my rig but I built it a year ago and even then It was borderline.

As for why not to buy AMD? They're just not as good at chipmaking. They're more squirely, tend to be more sensitive to heat, and just aren't using the latest technology that Intel is constantly inventing. Bulldozer was a neat idea and I was there at launch checking it out, but it's a pretty failed design that couldn't compete with the intel chips which led to them being severely price cut.

So yeah, AMD CPUs are a lot of bang for your buck, don't get me wrong, but the intels will last longer, and if you're spending a good penny on a computer it's worth it.

Though... as I read your first post again, I'm not sure you're building with that much of an eye toward the future. Tell me, do you intend to upgrade THIS system as time goes on, or just buy a new one in a few years? Ideally.

#21 Edited by believer258 (11043 posts) -

@SamDrugbringer said:

The Phenom II X4 is getting long in the tooth. I have one for my rig but I built it a year ago and even then It was borderline.

As for why not to buy AMD? They're just not as good at chipmaking. They're more squirely, tend to be more sensitive to heat, and just aren't using the latest technology that Intel is constantly inventing. Bulldozer was a neat idea and I was there at launch checking it out, but it's a pretty failed design that couldn't compete with the intel chips which led to them being severely price cut.

So yeah, AMD CPUs are a lot of bang for your buck, don't get me wrong, but the intels will last longer, and if you're spending a good penny on a computer it's worth it.

Though... as I read your first post again, I'm not sure you're building with that much of an eye toward the future. Tell me, do you intend to upgrade THIS system as time goes on, or just buy a new one in a few years? Ideally.

Ideally? I plan to upgrade this one, yes. But remember, that's not a final build, that's just one I put together. I'm trying to keep it sub-$700 but keep it easy to upgrade later.

EDIT: And even borderline $700 is a little too much. Preferably under $650. I said earlier that I'm fine with playing on medium settings at 1280X720 for now. I do not at all need to bump everything up to Ultra with 8X MSAA at 2560 X 1650, but I do plan on putting a better graphics card in there at least.

#22 Posted by SamDrugbringer (1099 posts) -

I went into my last build with the same thoughts, so I'm going to tell you the three things I regretted/learned.

1. Go intel, not AMD. One of my biggest regrets. The i5 line is just amazing for everything. It's true that processor is least important in gaming right now, but there are some cases where that's not true (Emulation, for example, has Inel processors pulling roughly 2x the framerates of AMD equivalents.)

2. Try to get a 2 pci-e Mobo. I know when you're building it can look silly because one graphics card is plenty powerful enough, but just having the option to put a second one in to boost performance is a great thing when upgrading, even if you never take advantage of it. More on Mobo at the bottom though.

3. You MAY end up spending more then you want. After I built my PC I spent a good 60ish bucks on stuff like aftermarket cooling and extra fans because I wasen't satisfied with it's heating. Hopefuly you'll be more lucky then me, but just a heads up.

That all said, Your motherboard and processor aren't really matched. For gaming you SHOULD really stick to the Z77 chipset. Yes, the B77 will WORK, but it will never overclock well. For an intel socket on a budget I would go for something like this http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157293 You get the Z77 chipset, the possibility to crossfire, and a much more stable VRM system and other bells and whistles (VRM configs are one of the most overlooked things in mobos, but they're some of the most important. 4+1+1 (Ie, 6) is way less stable then an 8+4.) Getting something like this is especially important if you get a K line chip. If an intel chip has a K in it, it means it can be overclocked. if you don't want to mess with overclocking, get a chip without the k in it to save a good 20-30 bucks.

#23 Posted by Zekhariah (694 posts) -

AMD is a no for gaming at the moment.

http://techreport.com/articles.x/23246

The newest AMD parts (FX ones) induce more frame latency (your overall FPS may be fine, but one of those frames ends up stretched out long so it effectively looks jumpy / bad) than even the Phenom II series. And intel kills AMD on this metric, and in gaming benchmarks in general (much better for things that are not as highly threaded). If you are going super cheap a old Phenom II could be okay.... but a bog standard i5 is pretty much where its at right now (the extra on an i7 is not going to get you much for gaming).

Grab a older sandybridge one if you are on a budget (Ivybridge most dramatically improved built in GPU... which you probably do not want to use).

#24 Posted by JJWeatherman (14485 posts) -

I almost bought an AMD CPU myself a while back to save some money. I was then pointed to an i3 2120 that provides better per-core efficiency than any AMD processor for the same price ($120-ish). Works wonderfully for all of my gaming needs. You simply don't need the baddest-ass of processors for gaming purposes.

#25 Posted by Bourbon_Warrior (4523 posts) -

AMD\ATI all the way more power than if you spent the same price on Nvidia\Intel.

#26 Posted by Grilledcheez (3919 posts) -

My AMD 965 black edition plays games great and it's like 100 bucks

#27 Posted by VACkillers (1021 posts) -

that CPU Hierarchy Chart seems way off.... So your telling us that tomshardware is suggesting that a core i3 (which i may say is only a dual core) out strips an 8-core AMD chip? REALLY??? i VERY much highly doubt that would would out-strip my X3 710 tripple core never lone a quad / 6-core or an 8 core cpu.. no fucking way.... and acording to that chart it does!!! i wouldn't believe that for a second, not without seeing how it does in a real world performance test with my own eyes... Its good to take reference on and seeing the cpus laid out like that, but do NOT take it for a grain of salt like its definitely how things are, toms hardware very RARELY uses anything lower then top of the line equipment when they run benchmarking tests which does not give a fair and true performance of what most people will get out of those cpus anyway!!!... Yes an i3 might do some great performance when doing a cinebench test on a 600$ asus rampage V motherboard... but i would never go by that to buy your cpus.... AMD is MORE then capable of running any game out there today no sweat !!! my tripple core 3 yr old cpu is running almost every game recently on max bar VERY few exceptions because of the rest of my build is over 3 yrs old as well.... The FX-8120 might not be a true 8-core cpu, but its as good as most things out there right now for half the price of intels cpus, intel cpus are SUPERB!! and for the most part, an AMD fx chip will ONLY bottleneck your cpu if you have DUAL GPUs in your machine... a single GPU you will hardly see any real performance drop from an Intel chip, by only a few FPS... Most games do NOT utilize more then 4 cores ANYWAY right now, and when the next gen games come out and start to use ALL of your cpus, the fx-8120/8150 will start to shine very rapidly as their PHYISCAL cpus will start to account for a lot more then the hyper-threading 4-core cpus that shows as 8 in windows....

At the end of the day, its more about how much you are willing to actually spend on your machine... Regardless of what i said about performances between the 2 amd and intel, you MUST take into acount the new PCI-Express 3.0 slots on motherboards, I have YET to see AMD flush out a motherboard that has any pci-express 3.0 slots.. where there are LOTS of intel motherboards that do, with the newer graphics cards being 3.0 slots, yes they are backwards compatabile, but you will be bottlenecking the new GPUs slotting them into a 2.0 slot instead of a 3.0, wont be running at their full speed... so for that fact alone, you might want to just stick with the i5 anyway...

#28 Posted by JJWeatherman (14485 posts) -

@VACkillers: It's all about per-core efficiency. So yes, two efficiently designed Intel cores can outperform eight inefficient AMD ones, and especially when games aren't at all optimized for eight cores.

It's not so much about spending as much money as possible as it is knowing the technicalities of things and planning accordingly.

#29 Posted by Swoxx (2980 posts) -

@mordukai said:

Maybe if you're planning to upgrade to the 7950 next then maybe you should change your PSU to an 750W.

Now I'm no ATI guy, but I highly doubt you'd need that much juice. I'm running an i5 2500k clocked at 4.4ghz, 3 harddrives, 8gb ram, a GTX 670 DirectCU Top and a chassi with 7 chassi fans with a 620w psu without even getting close to peak capacity.

#30 Edited by EXTomar (4125 posts) -

I hate to point this out but recent AMD products have had serious issues compared to Intel equivalents. In an alternate universe where Intel pulled this sideways development instead, we'd all be laughing that it was Prescott 2.0. Its almost the same situation where AMD fabricated a cheap alternative and it turned out to be iffy compared to the competition.

#31 Posted by IrrelevantJohn (928 posts) -

I have the AMD Phenom II x4 955 and I can run everything on the highest settings. Granted it is aging but for a $700 PC you can't really go wrong with a 965 but just make sure you get the AM3+ motherboards so you can upgrade in the future to the FX-8150 and Windows 8.

#32 Posted by believer258 (11043 posts) -

@Swoxx said:

@mordukai said:

Maybe if you're planning to upgrade to the 7950 next then maybe you should change your PSU to an 750W.

Now I'm no ATI guy, but I highly doubt you'd need that much juice. I'm running an i5 2500k clocked at 4.4ghz, 3 harddrives, 8gb ram, a GTX 670 DirectCU Top and a chassi with 7 chassi fans with a 620w psu without even getting close to peak capacity.

Yeah, I thought the same thing myself and wound up getting a 650W PSU. On that note, I also wound up going for the i5 3470, which is an Ivy Bridge processor but isn't overclockable. I didn't have much intention of overclocking so I saved thirty bucks.

@VACkillers said:

that CPU Hierarchy Chart seems way off.... So your telling us that tomshardware is suggesting that a core i3 (which i may say is only a dual core) out strips an 8-core AMD chip? REALLY??? i VERY much highly doubt that would would out-strip my X3 710 tripple core never lone a quad / 6-core or an 8 core cpu.. no fucking way.... and acording to that chart it does!!! i wouldn't believe that for a second, not without seeing how it does in a real world performance test with my own eyes... Its good to take reference on and seeing the cpus laid out like that, but do NOT take it for a grain of salt like its definitely how things are, toms hardware very RARELY uses anything lower then top of the line equipment when they run benchmarking tests which does not give a fair and true performance of what most people will get out of those cpus anyway!!!... Yes an i3 might do some great performance when doing a cinebench test on a 600$ asus rampage V motherboard... but i would never go by that to buy your cpus.... AMD is MORE then capable of running any game out there today no sweat !!! my tripple core 3 yr old cpu is running almost every game recently on max bar VERY few exceptions because of the rest of my build is over 3 yrs old as well.... The FX-8120 might not be a true 8-core cpu, but its as good as most things out there right now for half the price of intels cpus, intel cpus are SUPERB!! and for the most part, an AMD fx chip will ONLY bottleneck your cpu if you have DUAL GPUs in your machine... a single GPU you will hardly see any real performance drop from an Intel chip, by only a few FPS... Most games do NOT utilize more then 4 cores ANYWAY right now, and when the next gen games come out and start to use ALL of your cpus, the fx-8120/8150 will start to shine very rapidly as their PHYISCAL cpus will start to account for a lot more then the hyper-threading 4-core cpus that shows as 8 in windows....

At the end of the day, its more about how much you are willing to actually spend on your machine... Regardless of what i said about performances between the 2 amd and intel, you MUST take into acount the new PCI-Express 3.0 slots on motherboards, I have YET to see AMD flush out a motherboard that has any pci-express 3.0 slots.. where there are LOTS of intel motherboards that do, with the newer graphics cards being 3.0 slots, yes they are backwards compatabile, but you will be bottlenecking the new GPUs slotting them into a 2.0 slot instead of a 3.0, wont be running at their full speed... so for that fact alone, you might want to just stick with the i5 anyway...

From what I understood out of all the info I gathered, AMD seems to want to brute-force their way into being better and cheaper than Intel by delivering more, but lesser, cores. It seems comparable to the difference between having 8 lazy workers in a construction yard and four really, really efficient ones. This didn't make me shy completely away from AMD processors but I wound up getting the Intel anyway, simply because that option was so often suggested.

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