Bulldozer, Sandy Bridge or Phenom ii for my new build?


May 7, 2011
First things first: NO FANBOYISM!!!!!!! I would like to keep this discussion civil. Tell me why the processor you are supporting is good, not why the other one sucks. For example: DO SAY: Processor X scores higher in cinebench then processor Y so you should buy processor X. DO NOT SAY processor Y's cinebench score is terrible dont buy that processor, buy processor X instead.
Also, please use evidence to support your claims

I am going to be building a new machine after Christmas this year with the money I will be getting in addition to the money i currently have saved, and wanted to start planing the build now. My current situation is a little complicated, so let me explain:

My dad and I are currently sharing a PC. Last year I got a 5770 and a new 650W power supply for the PC we are sharing so I could actually game on it. I am going to transfer over these two pieces to my new build, and possibly upgrade the graphics card later when the next gen cards have been out of a while and launch kinks have been worked out. My current machine is some gateway machine my dad bought about 4 years ago (Back then I knew nothing about computers so I couldnt build it myself). It has a phenom i x3 at 2.1ghz and we upgraded it to 8gb 800mhz DDR2 when I got the new power supply and gfx card. The reason I am building a new machine is so I can have my own PC, actually be able to overclock, and have the PC so that I can take it to college next year. Right now I am a high school senior. When I go to college I will be majoring in software engineering, computer science or game design and development. I would like to be able to use this PC in college as my main system. This is important because at the college I am considering going to their computer labs shut down at 11pm, so if I have a project due I would like to be able to complete it on this PC in timely fashion. The reason I am giving this background is that it affects what I want my new PC to be able to do.

Goals for new system:
1) Be able to overclock
2) Good multitasking capability (IE render something while gaming, watching a video or browsing the web and be relatively lag free)
3) Good gaming performance
4) Be able to quickly render things from video editing or Maya 3D

Low power consumption is nice, however it is not a major issue for me.

Right now I am going to list what I see as the pros and cons of each system. Please feel free to make add things to my lists or to corrections to my current understandings, but again please do it in a positive way.


8 integer cores
great multitasking
good for multithreaded rendering at editing
42 integrated PCIe lanes
Decent overclocking capability
Good quality motherboard with lots of features for a low price

Power consumption when overclocked
single threaded performence'
poor cache latency
IPC lower then phenom ii

Sandy bridge (2500k or 2600k, help me decide)
High IPC
Great cache latency
low power consumption
Can overclock very well on only slight voltage jumps
preforms very well in games and in rendering (for 2600k)

Limited to multiplier only overclocking
only 16 PCIe lanes*
I have heard that if you try to say game and render something at the same time that performance drops considerably (please confirm or rebuke this)
Motherboards $50-$70 more for the same feature set you would get on a comparable AMD motherboard

Phenom ii

Inexpensive (1055t is $120 at my local microcenter)
higher IPC then bulldozer
good price to performance ratio
42 PCI lanes integrated
great overclocking

high power consumption (not as much as bulldozer but more then SB)
loses to SB in single thread and multithread (2600k for multithread)
loses to bulldozer for multithread

*A note on the SB PCIe lanes. Some of you may wondering why I consider the 16 pci lanes to be a major con. I know the a 8x/8x crossfire/sli will perform great on a SB, but the reason I am concerned it that many peripherals run off the PCIe lanes as well. So say I was running a 2 card setup, that would mean I might lose the USB 3 front ports, extra sata ports or the ability to place more PCIe items in the remaining x1 or x4 slots because there would be no more bandwidth available for those devices to use. I know you can get a board with a NF200 chip, but the only two boards I have found that have the chip are the Asus WS board priced at $260 and the Asus ROG boards which are $300+, and I really cant afford to pay that much extra to use the features I listed above in a two card config. If anyone has more info that they could add to either confirm or deny this I would appreciate it.

My budget is somewhere in the $700-$900 range, however, I still need to get a monitor, as well as all the other hardware components. Any suggestions for other parts that I should get are welcome. Also, in regards to graphics, should I go for the new HD 7000 or Nvidia 600 right off the bat, or would grabbing a second 5770 provide enough graphics power to last for awhile. I plan to run one monitor at 1920 x 1080. Games I play are Battlefield 3, Star Wars the Old Republic, Starcraft 2. On my current system with the old phenom i and the 5770 I can play all 3 decently, except at times of increased activity such as alot of explosions or military conflict. In regards to storage, I am still debating between one large HDD or a medium HDD and a SSD.



Aug 30, 2010
the i5 2500k and the i7 2600k are equal in performance while using only using afew cores, the i5 pulls ahead slightly because of the higher L3 cache per core, but the i7 pulls ahead in multi threaded applications

both Sandybridge cpus overclock extremely well on air cooling, as a matter of fact the stock cooler shipped with the Sandybridge processors are very efficient

*take note that for the i5 and i7 to have the best performance you need to purchase the unlocked (K edition) of each i.e. 2500K/2600K. And you will need a P67 or Z68 chipset in order to take advantage of overclocking capabilities. Z68 combines gpu overclocking and cpu overclocking on the same chipset whereas the P67 only offers cpu

That being said those are aimed at the high performance tier

The new FX line from AMD (Bulldozer) sports a nice 8 solid cores with the same 8 mb L3 cache as the Sandybridge cpu's and has an equally nice overclock, many people are achieving close to 5 ghz not sure if thats on air though.

People have been hating on the FX line because of disappointing figures in benchmarking compared to the Thuban line and Intel Processors, but Microsoft just announced a hotfix for the FX line which in its early stages has shown up to a 15% increase performance numbers, Maybe these will get better who knows

Phenom II has some decent processors if price is more of a barrier, the AM3 965 (and up) Black Edition Deneb line is extremely good for quad thread gaming at a considerably lower premium

All in all best performance for everyday gaming is the i5 2500K, i7 is $100 more for hyperthreading basically

Yeah that's true. Microsoft already stated that Windows 7 (and older os's) does not recognize Bulldozers architecture and doesn't know where to place threads, therefore it places them randomly and out of order, hence the terrible benchmarks.

I heard it was more like 20% performance increase with Win8. Also Win8 will park cores on BD, Win7 can't, which brings the 8core BD to within 9w of Sandy Bridges 4 core when idle. Pretty impressive.


I also expect the BD's to drop in price very soon because they are still going for over msrp.

Ivy Bridge is coming in March, but the performance numbers aren't looking very impressive, maybe 10-15% faster than Sandy Bridge, maybe, however the graphics core will be much improved and they will only be 77w for the highest end model.


You may be concerned with the 16 Pci-e lanes on the Sandy Bridge and it was true when first released and paired with the P67 ,H67 ,H61 and others so that you had one x16 slot and one x4 and a couple x1 and everyone was complaining about that. Then Intel came out with the Z68 chipset and now the motherboards have several x16 or several x8 along with all the other slots and we were back to having mutiple video cards and everything else working at the same time and there was no need for the NF200 chip unless the MB builder decided to put one to make the board have more divesity and features (also more expensive) so you can now get a Z68 chipset board and have multiple slots at x16 and x8 without it being expensive. An example of a Z68 board with multiple x16 or x8 slots is;

ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

This one is surely not going to break the bank and it has a lot of features and multiple slots and can be used with Sandy Bridge or Ivy Bridge.

Every benchmark I have seen that involves the cpu's that you listed has the Sandy Bridge coming out on top and when the BullDozer was first released the benchmark that was done here at Tomshardware had the Sandy Bridge coming out on top with both the 2500k and 2600k.


There were some area's where the fx-8150 came out on top but not many and in this next benchmark a Gulftown 990x was even added along with the Sandy Bridge-E , and even the Gulftown was shown beating both AMD cpu's.


I do think that these benchmarks show that the Sandy Bridge is the way to go and now with AMD throwing in the towel on trying to continue to compete with Intel head to head for the cpu crown , Intel may be the only high perfomance option going forward.


Of course Sandy Bridge costs more. You always get what you pay for, always. AMD will always offer the best price performance ratio, that's how it's been since I started building computers which was 1997, it's not going to change this year.

The reason Intel comes out on top in all the benchmarks is because Windows can't make the best use of BD's architecture, plain and simple.

AMD is throwing in the towel? Intel still can't even come close to AMD graphically, even with 50x the engineers and resources to play with.

That's some great fanboy speculation.

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