Best Gaming CPUs For The Money: January 2012 (Archive)

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benedict78

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The last graph is a complete sham. Why does price start at 50$ and not at 0? This makes the Pentium look much more competitive than it actually is. The 4590 looks like it's 10 times more expensive if we're only looking at the graph.
Also, if you're talking about price and performance we need a performance/price graph. What you're giving is only misleading people.
 

Math Geek

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what is misleading about it? if you read the graph the way it is intended, it makes perfect sense. the pentium at $70 gives ~70% of the i7 performance for 20% of the cost and the locked i5 gives 97% of the i7's performance for about 59% of the cost of the i7. why is this misleading you? the bars are the performance in certain games compared to the i7 (100% baseline for the graph) and the orange line is the price it takes to get such performance.

not sure how you wish to see the data presented but this makes perfect sense (to me anyway)
 
Nice to see the xeon get an honorable mention since many prefer to go that route. Although the price difference between the top end i5 k series and xeon is $30, not $20. If looking to make an even comparison between a locked i5 since the xeon is also locked, that would be the i5 4670 which can be had for $50-60 less than the xeon.

Some games show increased performance with ht enabled while others (i7 bench's since xeon gaming bench's are rare) show ht can diminish performance. Just like in some video encoding the ht can help improve performance while using quicksync with handbrake will benefit greatly from the i5/i7's igpu lacking in the 1231v3. So long as it's a good match for people and their particular use it's a fine cpu but so long as the tradeoffs are made known to people ahead of time so they can choose wisely.

Similarly many make the mistake of highlighting the xeon's ecc memory support but then often pair it with a common 1150 mainstream motherboard which lacks ecc support rather than pairing it with a proper ecc capable motherboard and ecc ram (which come at a price premium with little benefit to the average user).

Surprisingly most talk of the xeon fails to mention the stock cooler (while likely not great) is somewhat improved over the stock cooler with the i5/i7 featuring a better fan and copper based heatsink.
 

Cryio

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I would've put the FX 8300 as the better choice. It's even cheaper than the 8320 and it's basically the same CPU, only with a lower TDP and basically same capabilities for OC.

For gamers and especially now with the advent of DirectX12, the FX 8300 seems to be the best bang for your buck on the market.
 

alextheblue

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I would've put the FX 8300 as the better choice. It's even cheaper than the 8320 and it's basically the same CPU, only with a lower TDP and basically same capabilities for OC.

For gamers and especially now with the advent of DirectX12, the FX 8300 seems to be the best bang for your buck on the market.
Isn't that OEM only? With relatively poor availability outside of prebuilt machines? If you're deadset on overclocking an FX-83xx from the start it might be worth looking into, but I wouldn't recommend it to the masses. For most people I'd recommend they spend the extra ~$10 and get the 8320 retail box with a heatsink.
 

palladin9479

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I still can't ever recommend the Pentium G line, it's great in controlled benchmarks but in actual practice it stutters and because it's limited to two threads you will get constant task switching. We really need three or more addressable threads in order to prevent that from happening, preferably four. So for Intel the i3 is the lowest I'd go with AMD having the FX-63xx and the 860K. It's all about having enough headway to run your programs while the OS still does background task switching and system management.
 

alextheblue

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I'd also like to know if you plan on keeping this relevant by evaluating and updating your games on some sort of regular cadence (yearly at least). This is a pretty limited slice of the game market, I don't expect you to be able to bench everything but at least a handful of modern games would be nice.
 

Calculatron

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Why aren't the AMD latest CPU's on here?
EG: A10 7700K
The article is for gaming CPUs, so it is geared towards enthusiasts who will be using discrete graphics cards. As such, the Athlon 860K represents the biggest bang for the buck, since its price isn't inflated by an iGPU that these gamers will not use.

Perhaps, once technology changes, and the market with it, we'll see more AMD APUs on the list.
 

TNT27

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Xeon 1231 slighlty more than i5 4690k, but the Xeon you can pair with h97, and the ipc of each is very similar, even when the i5 is oc.

The i5 to get to oc will cost a lot more and the performance returns wont be very much.

I feel a Xeon 1231 based build is a lot better than unlocked i5 for gaming or anything else, due to price, and performance. You get an i7 in performance for cheaper?

I personally see only 5 choices in cpu on intel side

g3258
i5 4440/4460
Xeon 1231
i7 4790k
i7 5820k
 

shrapnel_indie

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This list barely ever changes. Yeah, we get some minor changes here and there, such as the addition of the Xeon this month and the Socket LGA2011 v3 i7 last month, but not much else. Will be interesting to see if Broadwell will even make the list when it finally has the desktop CPUs released in the near future. I guess the lack of any real changes is tied to the lack of any real changes on the CPU front until the introduction of new CPUs.

[strike]Just a heads up. Right now, anyone wanting the i7-4790K can get it cheaper than the i5-4690K (at the price listed on Amazon.). I kid you not. NCIX has it on sale (with a provided code) until the 9th of May. Wish I could jump on it... So at least ...TEMPORARILY... It would be silly to grab an i5.... then again I haven't looked to see if the i5 has any majorly marked down sale prices.[/strike]
EDIT: They came to their senses on that deal OR they sold out... Either way current pricing no longer shows that deep of a discount. :(
 

cats_Paw

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Everytime I get here (like for the past 2 years), any Intel that is overclockable costs over 200 dollars.
From the I5-2500K (no longer selling, even dropped price even after the newer CPUs came out).
Its kinda funny how Intel has been replacing the I5 sweetspot with something slightly better (some might argue equal, if OC is considered), and the price has remained stable.
I guess thats what happens when you dont have competition from AMD.
 
If comparing apples to apples, locked core i5 to the 1231v3 since it too is locked the price difference is more like $50, not a 'few'. Z97 motherboards can be had for the same price as h97 (aka low as $70-80) so no major cost savings there. If the pc is used for more than purely gaming (which many are) higher clock speeds can help in a number of tasks. True, the 4690k requires a better than stock cooler to oc, that's true of any overclocking. Then again if you plan to encode video using handbrake, the i5 will smoke the xeon just for the fact it has the igpu the xeon lacks. Just depends on the user's needs. As of now the xeon costs substantially more than a locked core i5 which can also run on h97. Users may find a broader range of choices if they wish to sli going with z97 since most if not all h97 chipsets don't support sli (some may support crossfire). In some cases the xeon can be a good poor man's "i7 (sort of)" but so long as the user is fully aware of the pitfalls. The more information people have up front the more of an informed decision they can make.

Since ht isn't a performance guarantee (even in games that support it), a cheaper h97 may prevent someone from going sli which a fair number of gamers do along with locked speeds and lacking an igpu that may give performance bumps in other areas, the xeon 1231 is nothing more than an option - not an automatic best choice.
 

rav_

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AMD A6-7400 OUTPERFORMS ALL Intel IGP using 3dMark API Overhead Benchmark with DX12.

ALL AMD APU's OUTPERFORM ALL Intel IGP with DX12.

Dx12: is it the best friend that AMD has?
About a month ago Anandtech ran some extensive 3dMarkv1.5 API Overhead benchmarks. They tested both dGPU and integrated APU's and IGP.
http://bit.ly/1GCjLzU
Here is an interesting fact.
Using DX11 as a baseline to compare the performance delta the following was undertood.
Intel i7 4960 and GTX980 can produce 2.2MILLION draw calls running DX11.
i7-4960 has 6 cores and 12 threads.
Intel i7-4960 = $1200
nVidia GTX-980 = $540
Total = $1740
Of course DX11 is the API that all benchmarks have been running up until now.
However when you run 3dMark API Overhead test using DX12 something interesting happens.
AMD's A6-7400 APU can produce 4.4 million draw calls.
AMD A6-7400 costs $90-150 depending upon outlet.
A6-7400k has 2 cores. Hmmmmm..... 2 cores vs 6 cores? $100 vs $1200?
Of course when you run the same benchmark on A6 using DX11 API the Draw Call Overhead drops to 513,000. When compared to the Intel/nVidia system costing $1700 the justifcation becomes clear. You spend the money for 2.2 million draw calls or a 4x performance increase over a $100 cpu!!!
Seriously? $1700 just for a 400% peformance increase over a $100 APU?
Mantle and DX12 has changed the game.
Last year the media was comparatively benching very expensive dGPU silicon just gain a few percentage points for a score that NOW can be achieved with a $100 AMD APU. Not ONLY achieved but can gain a 100% increase in performance over the more expensive system.
Still think DX12 will have no impact?
Intel and nVidia has been ripping off the consumer using DX11 when a much better API; Mantle and now DX12 makes low priced and low performing $100 APU's OUTPERFORM the "BEST ON THE MARKET".
Now that XBOX will be adopting DX12 the gain in performance will be far better than ANY combination of Intel CPU and nVidia GPU you can put together and currently running DX11.
In otherwords.....
...if you are happy and satisfied with the performance of your current DX11 $2000 gaming system then you should be ecstatic to achieve 2x the performance with a $400 DX12 AMD gaming system.
 

rav_

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Tom's Hardware is lying to the consumer.

When I am deciding what to buy I DEMAND facts from writers.

When I thinking about spending $1000 for a dGPU card then I want to know EXACTLY what CPU or APU I need to drive it.

Tom's Hardware is trying to convince consumers to buy products based on an OBSOLETE graphics API: DirectX 11.

3dMark API Overhead Benchtesting has exposed the simple and ugly truth.

If you are using DX11 to play games on your $2000 Intel gaming rig with an i7-4960 + nVidia GTX 980 you will achieve a maximum performance of 2.2MILLION draw calls before your system drops below 30fps.

Switch to DX12 and you can achieve 4.4MILLION draw calls with an AMD A6-7400 APU.

I LAUGH OUT LOUD at all the idiots who pay attention to Tom's Hardware and WASTE their money.

The DX11 nVidia/Intel supersystem THIS YEAR gets CRUSHED with a $100 AMD A6 using Mantle or DX12!!!!!

HaHaHaHaHaHa.........................



 

TNT27

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You forget one thing, dx12 can also be used on that same intel hardware...
And those apu are very poor performers for gaming graphically, and cpu. Its not like all of the sudden games run instantly better using dx12. It just allows more headroom for graphics improvments and easier optimization down the road.
 

shrapnel_indie

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Please compare apples to apples (DX11) and oranges to oranges (DX12). It isn't fair to compare DX11 to DX12 to promote one piece of hardware over another when they can use the exact same APIs. Yes the numbers are much better on AMD with DX12 than DX11, and NVIDIA's DX11 numbers are less than AMD's DX12, but what about NVIDIA's DX12 numbers? I would guess they also see a substantial improvement as well. If not, show me the sources that say I'm wrong on a DX12 only comparison. (You've already shown the DX11 only comparison and it favors NVIDIA.)
 
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