May 10, 2012
I need a new computer. I am on a budget so not looking to spend more then $130 or so on my cpu. Looking at the i3-2120, the price is right. but there are a lot of AMD's in this price range, Is one of them a better choice?. this will be a gaming rig (D3 specifically).
It depends what you are using your computer for , and the other components you select .

AMD's FX 4100 and the i3 2100 perform very similarly in games when paired with sensible graphics card choices . The i3 has an advantage in some older games that cant multi-thread well .

The FX is generally going to be a more responsive comp multitasking because of the extra cores

The FX generally performs better in applications and can be overclocked about 30% to increase performance even further. The intel is locked and cannot be overclocked

The intel will use about 40 watts less
$130 for a dual core is madness regardless of what label it has on it, consider that the FX 8120 will cost you around $160 odd it makes absolutely no sense buying a dual core.

The upgradability of a i3 is limited to the remainder of Socket 1155's life cycle, if you are buying a $130 chip with the view of spending an aditional $220 later means you lose money, on top of that it makes no sense throwing a i3 onto any platform better than a H61, which will mean you need a new motherboard when you want to upgrade again.

From a AMD stand point, as mentioned with the impending price drops on the higher end FX chips to the $160 mark for $30 extra you get a chip that is far more than copious for any task and will do everything intel i5's and i7's will do but slightly slower but at a very good price point.

Are you going to buy a Graphics card with that or do you have one already?
I just used the FX 8120 as reference, there is no obligation to get it, but at that price its very much a steal, Microcenter often run FX + Mobo combo's for insanely good prices which are in the $280-350 bracket depending on the board.

Obviously finding the best deal for you does have benefits, where you can save you can push the $150 for a GPU up to $180 and your selection gets better.

Gigabyte GA-970FXA UD3($100) or UD3R ($139) nice budget orientated boards with a lot of goodies thrown in. For $180 you can practically pick up a high end Asrock Fatality 990fx board which fits well for a $500-600 budget gamer build.

At sub $150 dollars, you may be able to find a HD6870 but definately a HD 6850, if you add a second down the line you will get good crossfire performance out of the 6850's.
For gaming, the Core i3-2120 would be the better choice. The following chart lists how in general CPUs performs in Diablo 3. The Core i3 Sandy Bridge CPU performs better or just as well as the FX-4000, 6000 and 8000 CPU.



Below is a link to Anandtech which compares the Core i3-2100 to the FX-8150; there are no i3-2120 and FX-4100 benchmarks . If all you are interested in are the game benchmarks then just scroll all the way down. There are only 4 common games that were tested, the Core i3-2100 was slightly slower than the FX-8150 in StarCraft 2. Based on the info a Core i3-2120 should beat the FX-4100 in all those games.

In terms of future upgrades, buying the Core i3-2120 (socket 1155) will arguably give you better upgrade option than buying the FX-4100 (socket AM3+). It is no secret that socket 1155 will be retired next year when Intel release Haswell (socket 1150), but new socket 1155 CPUs should be available at online retailers into 2014 and prices should be more or less stable until the remaining inventory starts dropping, then the prices will start to rise a bit. There should also be some used socket 1155 available from ebay as people upgrade their PC to Haswell CPUs.

AMD's AM3+ will continue to live for just a bit longer. Piledriver is AMD's next socket AM3+ CPU and is rumored to be release in Q3 or Q4 this year. If AMD can hit it's target of 10% performance improvement, then Piledriver will more or less be equal to a 1st generation Core i3/i5/i7 CPU. Sandy Bidge Core i3/i5/i7 are 12% faster than the 1st generation CPUs. Ivy Bridge is Intel's 3rd generation Core i3/i5/i7 CPU and are abouy 3% - 4% faster than the 2nd gen CPUs. Therefore, the Piledriver family will be slower than the Sandy Bridge family. Steamroller will be the follow up to Piledriver for socket AM3+, but it is not expected to be released until 2014 (unless it is delayed). AMD is gunning for 5% - 15% performance improvement over Piledriver. Therefore, if AMD can hit the 15% improvement, then Steamroller will be just as powerful as the Intel Ivy Bridge CPUs.

Therefore, assuming the OP is going to upgrade the CPU in 2014 he can get an Ivy Bridge CPU if he goes for a core i3-2120 now. If the OP were to buy a FX-4100 now, then in 2014 (assuming no design or production delays) he might be able to buy an AMD CPU that is equal to an Intel Ivy Bridge CPU.


Feb 10, 2012
Phenom II X4 ..... i3..... FX

In that order, look at jaguars chart above if your gaming the Phenom outperforms the FX, it also outperforms it in many other tasks and it costs less. You could still have an AM3+ board so future PD upgrade still possible.

Sadly the chart contains no useful information at all .

No clock speeds are mentioned in the posts so you cant compare cpu models and respective pricing . Even worse is the use of an expensive [ probably more than the OP's entire budget] high end graphics card that simply wont reflect real world experience of someone using a $150 card .

Even the "information" about life cycles in his post is almost certainly wrong . Intels socket 1155 will be dead in 11 months according to their upgrade schedule . AMD's sockets have tended to last many years .
So all in all his post reads like the intel fanboy manifesto .

As for the OP , which of those processors is best still depends on his usage . Encoding then definitely the FX 8 core which can match any of intels socket 1155 cpu's , for budget gaming and general use then the FX 4100 , and if power consumption is the aim then the intel


Feb 10, 2012
He says its a gaming rig so I still say on his budget Phenom II is the logical choice. I agree with recons list up there but for the OP the i5 is out of budget. FX 4100 is rubbish I had one and got rid of it, it was bought to replace my Phenom II my Phenom II has outlived it.
The future proof arguement again, there is no such thing as future proof but rather upgradability, both AMD concurrent chips and Intel concurrent chips have a upgrade path, but it buying something small now to replace it then often results in a loss, to buy a $130 chip now and replace it with a $220 dollar chip in a years time will see you make a overall loss. Simple philosophy, buy for now. If you are dead set on intel then rather save the extra month and get a i5 or i7 to cater for you needs.

As for the D3 benchmark, it is a solitary game and the FX 8000 is maybe a 1% slower, but in practically everything else it will beat the i3 hands down and cost $20-30 more.

As for the Phenom II arguement, while I do agree, it goes back to the point, if you are going to buy a phenom II now to replace it in 5 months time with a Piledriver, you will lose a lot of money in upgrading. The FX is copious enough for any non-enthusiast that wants a little of everything.

And the finale, whether you get a SB/IB or FX/PII all these chips will still offer you tangible performance for a few years yet, if you are looking for longivity.


Feb 10, 2012
As for the Phenom II arguement, while I do agree, it goes back to the point, if you are going to buy a phenom II now to replace it in 5 months time with a Piledriver, you will lose a lot of money in upgrading.

AM3+ potentially lasts till 2014 not just 5 months

The FX is copious enough for any non-enthusiast that wants a little of everything.

Sorry but thats just wrong. Budget end Phenom II will outperform. Pricier end i5 costs little more and vastly outperforms. Saving $40 by buying a Phenom not an FX 8120 would allow him to spend $40 more on a better GPU enough to get one in a price/performance bracket higher. FX4xxx/6xxx is ouperformed by the Phenom II so are just not a logical choice.


May 17, 2010

I agree the Phenom II are excellent CPUs but at the end of the day everyone is arguing on 1 or 2 FPS difference, give your self a rest go for AMD mate and spend the rest of the money on GPU or maybe SSD. CPU dont really matter. any CPU out at the moment (at least 2 core) can do gaming and pretty well. so just dont worry and get a PHenom II 965 with AM3+ board and pick your self at least 4GB RAM and with a 6870, you should be maxing games most even in 1080p


@op go for an amd phenom ii x4 965be in that price range its an good overclocking cpu it performs well in gaming then amd phenom ii x6 if u will go for i3 2100 or 2120 they cant overclock but they are good for the price black edition amd chips multiplier is unlocked so it makes more easy overclcoking once you overclock the amd phenom ii x4 965be to higher then u will get really a good gaming performance.:)
There have been Thuban (1100T) vs FX 8120 reviews and by and large the split is in favour of a FX 8120, bear in mind that the review was done at the time when the FX 8120 was vastly overpriced which would have been a negitive factor. On per core crunch the Thuban is stronger or at least it may be on architectural basis's and it corrolates into a 1-5 FPS difference which is rather minimal, there are instances where the FX will superceed the Thuban in gaming environments. In general usage, power efficiency, multithreading/tasking and Memory performance the FX is significantly faster and more responsive than a Thuban.

If you factor in the grossly reduced fee on the FX 8120, which is where it should have been from the start, that offers great value, compared to a 4-5 year old Deneb based chip. While I will not say that it is a bad choice to settle with a Phenom II, its illogical on the premise that upgrading by the time Piledriver arrives means you will lose money, it is a older architecture that may phase out quicker than contemporary chips, if you are set on building a Phenom II then a 890 or possibly a 970 is the only feasible option considering it is a budget build, and the issues of limited stock.


Feb 10, 2012
Newegg prices right now

FX8120 - $175
Phenom II 965BE - $120
Phenom II 960T - $125

Thats $55 or $50 LESS for at least equal performance

FX4170 - $140

Thats MORE than the Phenom II for LESS performance.

No logical reason at all to buy the FX. As for it going out of date faster than FX thats conjecture and factless conjecture at that by the time that Phenom II is obsolete FX will be on its last legs too and anyway either will likely have been replaced by user.

Anyone gaming and looking at 8120 should either drop to PII and get a better GPU or climb $30 and get an i5.

Oh and FX is not more responsive or significantly faster than Thuban I got rid of my FX and kept my Thuban as the Thuban was faster and more responsive.

Clock for clock the Phenom II is faster than the FX that means to get the FX to perform LEVEL with the PII you have to OC it to significantly higher speeds that wipes out any power usage arguement.

The OP stated a $130 budget why stretch that over by $45 when he can actually get the same performance for $10 UNDER budget?


Aug 14, 2010
Stop trying to sell this man expensive CPUs he doesn't need.
If he's only going to spend $150 on a graphics card, he's never going to notice any difference between any $130 CPU.

2 options:
a) Save some money and buy a really cheap CPU (Tomshardware suggests a Pentium G630). Spend it on hookers and booze... or a better graphics card

b) buy a Intel or AMD for around $130 (I'd personally buy AMD), but spend more on your graphics card. Maybe as high as a 7850.

That's a few FPS in some games, but in many of the other benchmarks the FX8150 is almost twice as fast.
Doesn't even say what graphics card was used for the Phenom II benchmarks there.