AMD or Intel -- Decided on Intel

boxmonkey

Distinguished
Dec 4, 2006
8
0
18,510
0
I've been undecided about this for a while, and now I have to make my decision tomorrow (last day of employee computer purchase program at work).

I want a system that performs well, but performance isn't everything. I want low power usage, and good upgrade prospects. I tend to keep the same PC for about 5 years, so it would be really nice if I could upgrade my CPU in a year or two without having to buy a new motherboard. 775 has been around for a long time, and Intel seems to keep pulling a trick where they keep making new chips that use the same socket but aren't backwards compatible with older motherboards, makes me a bit nervous about an upgrade future with Intel.

OTOH, AM2 is relatively new, and AMD has said that AM2+ and AM3 processors will be backwards compatible with AM2 motherboards. BUT with AMD floundering to regain the performance lead, what are the chances they will make drastic changes sooner and scrap the backwards compatibility plan? Or what if they continue on their path but only lag further and further behind Intel?

It kind of seems like Intel is the better choice, though my understanding is that AM2 EE chips are more energy efficient than C2Ds, and to make my decision harder the boards that have the features I want are the Asus P2B-E and the M2N-SLI Deluxe -- and the M2N seems like a much better design, especially since I will be using PATA and SATA and it looks like the PATA cable will block the SATA slots on the P2B.
 

gOJDO

Distinguished
Mar 16, 2006
2,309
0
19,780
0
Get a Core2. It is
- cheaper
- more energy efficient
- cooler
- more overclockable
than same performing K8(be it EE or not).

About upgradability, get a mainboards with VRM 1.1. Those are compatible with Core2 Quad CPUs.
 

ajfink

Distinguished
Dec 3, 2006
1,150
0
19,280
0
I'd say build a system based around the E6600 and the Asus P5. That's probably the most common start for configuring custom computers in the last two or three months.

If you really want to go AMD, do it. Like you said, their new processors will be perfectly compatible with AM2 (don't be worried about a big performance hit from a lack of HT3.0, no current AMD processor even touches the upper limit of its HT bandwidth). But you will, of course, have to upgrade to get better performance than a current K8.
 

boxmonkey

Distinguished
Dec 4, 2006
8
0
18,510
0
Is the performance difference between an E6300 or E6400 and an X2 3800+ or x2 4200+ perceptable in everyday use? While the AMD chips are a lot more expensive to get equal performance, I don't really care if it's only going to show up on benchmarks. I'd rather get something cheap with good performance now that I can upgrade to get great performance later, than wpend a lot now.

I have to admit that it does sound like C2D is the smart way to go, though...
 

epsilon84

Distinguished
Oct 24, 2006
1,689
0
19,780
0
Is the performance difference between an E6300 or E6400 and an X2 3800+ or x2 4200+ perceptable in everyday use? While the AMD chips are a lot more expensive to get equal performance, I don't really care if it's only going to show up on benchmarks. I'd rather get something cheap with good performance now that I can upgrade to get great performance later, than wpend a lot now.

I have to admit that it does sound like C2D is the smart way to go, though...
It depends on what you plan to do with your new PC. On average, an E6300 is 10 - 15% faster than an X2 3800+, and likewise an E6400 vs X2 4200+. TBH in a blind test you are unlikely to notice the difference.

One thing that puts C2D ahead of AM2 is it's overclockability. Almost all E6300s/E6400s can overclock past the 3GHz mark, and at such speeds it would leave any overclocked AM2 chip far behind.

Even if you don't intend to overclock now, think of it as a free future 'upgrade' should you require more CPU speed in future.
 

gOJDO

Distinguished
Mar 16, 2006
2,309
0
19,780
0
You will notice the difference in performance when you will do CPU intensive tasks.
The performance difference between E6300(1866MHz) and E6400(2133MHz) is 14.3% (100% * [2133MHz - 1866MHz] / 1866MHz)
The diference between X2 3800+(2000MHz) and X2 4200+(2200MHz) is 10% (100% * [2200MHz - 2000MHz] / 2000MHz)
The E6300 is 15% faster than X2 3800+ in average, while it is 5% faster than the X2 4200+.
The E6400 is 33% faster than X2 3800+ in average, while it is 20% faster than the X2 4200+.

If you are not going to OC, than the best bang for the buck will be a cheap C2D mainboard, E6300, DDR2-667 CL5.
If you want to overclock, than the best perfromance/price offers a mid-range OC mainboard with i965P chipset, E6400, DDR2-800 CL5.
I am looking after OC mainboard with i965P chipset. So far I have to decide between Asus P5B-E or Gigabyte GA965P-DS3. I choosed A-DATA DDR2-800 CL5 because are less expencive where I can buy my hardware.
 

tlreaves

Distinguished
Oct 26, 2006
29
0
18,530
0
While AM2 AM2+ and AM3 are "compatible" if you put an AM3 chip in an AM2 board it will cripple the performance and only run as well as the AM2 version of that chip. Core2Duo is relatively cheap and powerful. You probably won't need to upgrade until the next generation anyway so go Intel for the time being.
 

gOJDO

Distinguished
Mar 16, 2006
2,309
0
19,780
0
AM2, AM2+ and AM3+ are not compatible, but AM2+ and AM3 CPUs are compatible with sAM2 mainboards.
IMO the profrmance of the future K8L architecture chips with dual DDR2-800 will not be crippled.
K8 dual core CPUs are offering the same performance with dual DDR-400 and dual DDR2-800. sAM2 platform has sufficient memory bandwidth to run twice cores smoothly. Also K8L will have shared L3 cache, which will reduce the RAM traffic and RAM latency.
But, we'll have to wait more than half year before we can expect K8L CPUs to appear on the market.
 

tlreaves

Distinguished
Oct 26, 2006
29
0
18,530
0
Hence why the word "compatible" is in quotations. AMD has already stated that running the next-gen chips in the older mobos will not have the same performance as a next-gen chip + next-gen mobo thanks to DDR3. The HT3 capacity of an AM3 chip tops out at over 5Gbps while current AM2 mobos top out at 2.0GBps, not using the full capacity of the memory controller and thus crippling the chips real memory through-put capacity.
 

gOJDO

Distinguished
Mar 16, 2006
2,309
0
19,780
0
The speed of the HT link for 1P configuration is irelevant. It can't improve perfromance theoreticly and practicly.
The memory controller is connected directly to the RAM, not via the HT link, so the speed of the HT link can't affect the RAM perfromance in any way.
 

tlreaves

Distinguished
Oct 26, 2006
29
0
18,530
0
It is not the ram's performance, but the memory bandwidth the chip will be able to process per clock cycle. It is not the CPU's problem but the MOTHERBOARD's problem. AM2 MOTHERBOARDS cannot handle the extra capacity. Multi-core AM3 (beyond dual core) CPUs would be able to utilize the extra headroom, but not if they are installed in a current AM2 motherboard.
 

gOJDO

Distinguished
Mar 16, 2006
2,309
0
19,780
0
@tlreaves
No, you are wrong about the mainboards.
Mainboards are not handling the memory bandwidth. It is the ODMC on the CPU. The mainoard is only connecting the DDR2 data & ECC pins (128 data + 16 ECC pins) to the CPU socket via 144 lanes and supplies the RAM modules with electricity.
The reason for the lower efficiency of the DDR2 ODMC compared to DDR ODMC on the K8 CPUs is the higher latency in clocks and the different data length transfered per bit per clock(2bits for DDR and 4bits for DDR2).
The ODMC(actually there will be two ODMCs on the K8L) on the K8L CPUs will be different and probably more optimised for DDR2 memory than the ODMC on the current K8 CPUs. K8L ODMC should perfrorm better than the ODMC on the K8.
 

tlreaves

Distinguished
Oct 26, 2006
29
0
18,530
0
I'm sorry I confused you with the way I worded it. I shouldn't have said memory bandwidth. It is the Giga-transfers per second. AM3 supports over 5 Giga-transfers per second, the current generation of AM2 boards can only handle 2. It is what you call a bottleneck.
 

chrone

Distinguished
Aug 6, 2006
442
0
18,780
0
IMHO, the only real bottleneck you will feel is your hard disk drive if you're still using the mainstream 7200rpm hdds without any raid on them.
 

tlreaves

Distinguished
Oct 26, 2006
29
0
18,530
0
That is true, but I'm referring more to "future proofing." Quad core and greater CPU's will probably be able to use at least some of that extra 3GB by the time AM3 is released.
 

chrone

Distinguished
Aug 6, 2006
442
0
18,780
0
if performance isn't everything, then the AMD EE will do just fine. buy the lowest AMD EE, a good respectable budget AM2 motherboard with graphic onboard, value ram. good buck for the money..

you will able to upgrade to anykind of upgrade in the next few years consider that the value hardware you will buy are not so expensive, so whether upgrade or buy a new system won't knock your company bank account so bad.

perhaps the amount of money you spend on the high end system right now will equal to the amount of money you upgrade/purchase new system in the future if you keep low-end or mid-end enthusiast. there, you will often have the latest technology.

so good luck!
 

gOJDO

Distinguished
Mar 16, 2006
2,309
0
19,780
0
I'm sorry I confused you with the way I worded it. I shouldn't have said memory bandwidth. It is the Giga-transfers per second. AM3 supports over 5 Giga-transfers per second, the current generation of AM2 boards can only handle 2. It is what you call a bottleneck.
The giga transfers you are talking are about the HT bus. And as I said, it is irrelevant for 1P systems, it is not a bottleneck. It can improve the interCPU communication in MP systems only when using NUMA. By using NUMA the system gets more memory bandwidth, which in certain cases can improve the performance.
 

chrone

Distinguished
Aug 6, 2006
442
0
18,780
0
oh i see. but by the time AM3 is out, he will need a new cpu, mobo, and ram since the current AM2 won;t fully utilize the Gb transfer it has. it's almost a total upgrade i see.. :p
 

chrone

Distinguished
Aug 6, 2006
442
0
18,780
0
forgot to ask. what's the main purpose you will use this computer for?

or you just want a new pc that will last 5 years?

c2d will last for 5 years for general office and internet use since it's just a brand new microarchitecture, in my opinion. amd ee will last for 5 years too for the same usage purpose, but its microarchitecture is already here for 3 years long.
 

boxmonkey

Distinguished
Dec 4, 2006
8
0
18,510
0
It's going to replace my current computer, which still has adequate performance (though it's starting to feel a little sluggish), but is noisy as hell and produces a lot of heat.
Current system is dual AMD MP 1800+, 768MB PC2100 RAM, ATLAS 10K IV Boot drive (major source of noise), Matrox G450. This system is completely incapable of playing games. I'd like to be able to play games even if it's not at the highest/prettiest settings.

I do a bit of everything with my computer. Most of the time it's sitting idle while I'm at work, but I do use it to serve up MP3's to my work PC, and I remote into it to do various things...so I don't want to leave it off, but it spends most of its time idling, which is why idle power consumption is important to me. I do a lot of web surfing, but I'm a pretty serious multitasker (15 tabs open at the moment in firefox, 19 programs running at the moment). Compiling C++, ripping DVDs and encoding MP3 are tasks I do fairly regularly, though my computer is fairly adequate in this regard (I generally start the tasks and then go do something else).

I think I will go with C2D, though I am now rethinking my motherbord choice, may go with something cheaper with integrated video to keep the price down. I'm not sure, but I'd better decide soon!
 

sandmanwn

Distinguished
Dec 1, 2006
915
0
18,990
1
well as usual everyone has jumped the gun and started making suggestions before they even have a clue about what this person needs.

in order to answer your question fairly we need to know two things...

1. whats your budget?
2. what will the PC be used for? (gaming, developing, music, or general use)

without knowing this all i can suggest is that you go with the cheapest dual core cpu you can find. you really wont notice the difference in typical applications and it will serve you far better to invest the money you saved on the processor to be used on superior memory, hard drives, and graphics.

its undeniable that hard drives are the bottleneck of any system. invest in the highest performing, highest capacity drives you can find. make sure you have a raid option here, either on the motherboard or an expansion card of some kind.

the fastest, lowest latency memory module you can find will also allow you to overclock your cpu later on if necessary. adding additional performance later when needed.

new video cards are released so frequently these days. i suggest finding benchmarks for whichever game you play the most and choosing the cheapest card that will get you the closest to 60 fps. 30 fps is all you need to play but 60 fps will ensure that your system wont bog down in high visual settings and will allow you to run AA and other features.
 

sandmanwn

Distinguished
Dec 1, 2006
915
0
18,990
1
heh you beat me too it. im a slow typer. :roll:

dont skimp on the motherboard. make sure you get as many features as possible. a good motherboard can provide for a cheaper upgrade path in the future.

it seems like this will be more for storage than anything else. save your money on processors and devote that money to storage. lots of memory and get a couple of the biggest/fastest hard drives you can get ahold of.

check here for suggestions.

http://www23.tomshardware.com/storage.html?modelx=33&model1=368&model2=140&chart=31
 

Similar threads


ASK THE COMMUNITY