$500 budget upgrade - i5 750, i7 860, or Phenom II x4

stonedzen

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First of all, here are my current specs:

Pentium D 930 Presler 3.0ghz LGA775
Abit AW8 Atx Motherboard
G.Skill 2x1gb DDR2-800 RAM
HIS Radeon 3870x2 1gb DDR3
CoolerMaster RS-500 PSU


So my system is obviously very dated, at least the mobo, ram and cpu are. I've had all this hardware (except the video card) for over 4 years. I want an upgrade that will last me at least two to three years, but I cant spend much more than $500. Here is the upgrade I am considering:

Intel Core i7-860 Lynnfield 2.8ghz Quad LGA1156
ASRock H55M Pro Micro Atx
G.Skill 2x2gb Ripjaws DDR3-1333 RAM

What I am wondering is if it would be worth it to get an i5-750 instead of the i7 and buy a second Radeon 3870 with the extra money (making 3x3870 gpu crossfire, shows up to 20% increase over 3870x2 alone in benchmarks). Also, I dont really know much about AMD. How would $500 stand up in a similar upgrade with AMD...a Phenom II x4 955 BE for example?

I almost exclusively use my computer for gaming and internet use. I play Modern Warfare 2 and Napoleon Total War mostly right now. Thanks in advance for the advice!
 

xurwin

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dump the i7.if your just gaming. go for a i5-750 it performs more on gaming. and its cheaper.so now. for the mobo. i wouldnt get that if i were you. maybe a P7X58D-E pro. check on new egg for price. good ram.
 

dndhatcher

Splendid
I5 750 is the right CPU for gaming. I would go with an ASUS or Giagbyte motherboard. ASRock is a low budget ex-ASUS subdivision so check professional reviews before buying one.

I would not waste any money on a 3870. Just save up and get a new GPU later.
 

stonedzen

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Sounds like AMD is not the best option, unless anyone else has input on that. The i5-750 sounds like the way to go. Maybe I'll spend the extra money I save on a decent aftermarket fan and overclock it.





I believe the motherboard suggested is LGA1366 only, while the i5 is 1156 only. All the x58 series are 1366. The ASRock has decent ratings in benchmarks and is the "most recommended H55" by Tomshardware. Besides the brand name is there any reason this board is bad? Maybe cuz its a Micro ATX? Dont know much about motherboards honestly.

Here are some other motherboards I'm looking at, any thoughts?

GIGABYTE GA-P55 LGA 1156 ATX - $120 (this one has very high reviews, but is incapable of crossfire)
GIGABYTE GA-H55 LGA 1156 ATX - $125 (good reviews, but only one PCI express 2.0 x16)
ASUS P7P55D LGA 1156 ATX - $140 (good reviews, crossfire capable)
GIGABYTE GA-P55A-UD3 LGA 1156 ATX - $140 (good reviews, only one PCI express 2.0 x16, but has 2 6gb/sec SATA)

Thanks!

 

stonedzen

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Pretty sure I'm going with the i5-750 and GIGABYTE GA-P55-USB3 LGA 1156 ATX. The extra money I have is going towards a CORSAIR Cooling Hydro Series CWCH50-1 for overclocking the i5. I dont plan to overclock past 3.5ghz, that is plenty for me.
 

stonedzen

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I have that Asus P7P55D-E pro listed above for $140, how do you think it compares to the GIGABYTE GA-P55-USB3 LGA 1156 ATX? I heard the only difference is whether I want to crossfire or not...and I probably wont.



Normally cheaper would be better, but I'm getting a $500 12 month no interest credit from newegg, and I have to spend more than $500 to get 12 months. Therefore, when I decided to go with the i5 instead of i7, I had to get something to bump me back over $500, hence the corsair system. I've read alot about it being used to overclock, it has pretty good reviews next to high performance air systems. Cant stand up to a real water cooling system of course, but should be more than adequate to squeeze as much of a performance boost out of the $500 that I can.
 

xurwin

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ok!. the asus P7P55D-E pro has x8/x8. and has usb 3 and sata3
while the gigabyte is budget p55. but well. it just has usb3. its average. depends on you if you want a GREAT gaming mobo. i would go with asus. if budget gigbye
 

stonedzen

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This is a tough one. If I drop the corsair cooler I could afford the Asus. However, I cant afford to buy two new vid cards to crossfire nor can I afford a harddrive capable of 6gb sata. So many of the perks of the Asus would be useless to me, at least for a year or two. Besides these perks, the gigabyte should perfrom just as well as the asus correct?


http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128425
According to the specs, the gigabyte is crossfire capable...but reviews say that it is not. Weird
 

xurwin

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sorry for double posting
uhuh your. corrcect it SHOULD perform like that. and you can save more money.
and just stick to 1 vid card. like ati 5850? or if not. a 5770 would suffice
 

stonedzen

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shortstuff_mt

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I suppose you COULD run Crossfire on the board, but it would be a VERY bad idea. The 4x speed would severely impact performance. If you read the board description you'll also notice that if you use the PCI-E 1x slot that the 4x slot drops to 1x speed. That board has very limited PCI-E bandwidth and should absolutely not be used for Crossfire.
 

xurwin

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8x/4x its what we say. .hmm. C R A P. its horroble. 8x/8x would be the proper crossfire. to get a performance boost. or x16/x16 which is for the x58 chipset.

and i mean that one. yes
 

antisyzygy

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Im not sure why people are saying AMD is not the way to go. For that budget and your PC usage it IS the way to go. 500 dollars goes much further with AMD. Just read Tomshardware best CPU for the money articles.


Memory :

G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-4GBNQ

$109.99

NewEgg combo :

SAPPHIRE 100283-3L Radeon HD 5770 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card

AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor Model HDZ955FBGMBOX

ASUS M4A79XTD EVO AM3 AMD 790X ATX AMD Motherboard

$403.97


Subtotal: $513.96


Thus for 513.96 you get an entire core setup with a newer video card. You can easily play all your games with this setup. If gaming is basically what you do then why waste your money on an Intel setup? If it suits you, later you can upgrade the video card or go crossfire on that motherboard. I have a crossfired 5770 setup with those components and it plays any game Ive thrown at it on High to Very high settings.
 

stonedzen

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This is a good point, but I have never used amd and have no reference to weigh these options on. Anyone else have input on antisyzygy's suggested purchase vs the purchase I had planned?

Also, I believe the answer is no, but could I crossfire a 5770 with my 3870x2?
 

antisyzygy

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Basically, AMD is using somewhat outdated architecture and manufacturing process (45nm vs 32nm) compared to Intel. They are competing by lowering prices and doing other work arounds such as releasing their 6 core processors to compete with i7's, having tri-core processors to compete with Intel dual core ones, ect. ect. Please don't misinterpret what I am saying. AMD still releases a damn good product, and their processors match Intel performance in many ways. They usually fall behind in things such as video encoding, rendering, and other similar media type applications. As for gaming performance, the difference is not quite as much. Generally speaking, Intel is 10 percent better than AMD at multimedia applications, and closer to 3-5 percent better at gaming. This is a general factor across the board and depends more on how much of the CPU the game you play uses. Most games rely more heavily on a GPU so its usually better to get a better GPU than a CPU if your goal is to game on a budget.

If you factor in the price to performance ratio, AMD is better more often than not. There are obviously exceptions to this rule, as some i5 combos fall very close to the same price and have better performance. I simply do not see the need to pay a premium for Intel products when an AMD product more than suits my needs. If I were heavily into 3d graphic production (that is 3Ds max or something) and I need every minute reduction in rendering time I can get, I may reconsider this stance. If you want to go Intel 32 nm architecture, you would be paying more than you want to anyway.

As far as crossfiring the 3870x2, I dont believe so. There is a hybrid crossfire mode but I think thats mainly geared for people looking to upgrade their integrated graphics chips cheaply.
 

dndhatcher

Splendid
IMO, dont get a 5770. Its not enough of an increase over your 3870x2. Get the i5 now (I would go with hyper 212 or a xigmatec 1283 series <dark knight, balder, red scorpion> or sunbeam core contact freezer instead of the more expensive hydro) and a 5850 later when you can afford it.

If you want to save money and get a budget gamer, get a gigabyte GA-770TA-UD3 motherboard and an Athlon II x3 (which is what I use because its the best price/performance for gaming I could find) and use the 3870x2 until you can afford a 5850.
 

antisyzygy

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Adding a 5770 later will increase power usage but it will put you at a 5870 performance level for 160 dollars more as an upgrade. Only problem is you may need a new Power supply if you dont have a good one already.

I may be able to throw together a build with a 5850 and AMD processor for around 600 but well see.
 

antisyzygy

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ASUS M4A79XTD EVO AM3 AMD 790X ATX AMD Motherboard

$103.99


G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-4GBNQ

$109.99


SAPPHIRE 100282-3SR Radeon HD 5850 (Cypress Pro) 1GB 256-bit DDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video ...

AMD Athlon II X4 635 Propus 2.9GHz Socket AM3 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Model ADX635WFGIBOX

$390.98
Subtotal: $604.96

Still has a quad core processor, but also has a 5850. This quad core processor performs slightly worse than the Phenom II x4s at similar clocks in gaming. In multimedia its probably quite a bit worse but I haven't read any recent articles about it. The Athlon II X4's lack a Level 3 cache basically but are similar to the Phenom II X4's otherwise. With this setup you would probably want to overclock the CPU.

For the current trend in gaming, the biggest boost for performance is a higher clocked CPU, and having at least 3 cores.
 

dndhatcher

Splendid
Buy you are talking about a totally unnecessary $160 right now for a 5770 when his 3870x2 is already as fast as a 5750. Its not worth $160 right now.

Buying a more expensive motherboard and PSU now and upgrading to twin 5770s later would make sense if the performance difference between a 5850 and twin 5770s is worth it. Thats a judgement call I cant make for him.

For budget gaming performance and a single graphics card:
GA-770TA-UD3 motherboard with USB3 and SATA3 ($95)
Athlon II x3 ($67-75)
hyper 212 ($30)
4GB RAM. ($110)
Seagate 7200.12 or Samsung F3 500 GB HDD ($55).
The antec 300 illusion and a good antec PSU are often available for ~$125 as a combo.

 

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