I5-3570k or Phenom II 980?

CaptainTom

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I plan to build a PC with an IB i5-3570k and a GTX 560 Ti.

I am wondering if my CPU is at all overkill. I mean the one I have listed will easily OC to 4.0+ GHz with no issues but then again I could get a Phenom II x4 980 for around $100 cheaper. Would that money be better spent on a 7850, or should I just pay the extra $30 for the 7850 and keep the IB i5-k?
 
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Building philosophy 101: Avoid bottlenecks, but if you have to have one, go with something that can easily or cheaply be upgraded later.

The 560 ti can handle every single game out today at almost maximum settings at 1080p. It will be just fine for the next few years. The 7850 is a bit faster (8-11%) and does have more video memory, but you do miss out on physx. Both of...
You haven't mentioned what you plan on using the computer for.

In general consensus the Intel Core i5 series is the best overall processor. Good with gaming, good with productivity. Essentially, Phenom 980 is not recommended anymore - it holds back applications and frames.

Some will surely recommend the Core i5-2500K instead, as it's last year's hardware but runs cooler and overclocks better. That's up to you; you can't go wrong with either.
 

misinformedman

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Building philosophy 101: Avoid bottlenecks, but if you have to have one, go with something that can easily or cheaply be upgraded later.

The 560 ti can handle every single game out today at almost maximum settings at 1080p. It will be just fine for the next few years. The 7850 is a bit faster (8-11%) and does have more video memory, but you do miss out on physx. Both of those cards, however, will be a bottleneck to that CPU, meaning that in the future (2 or 3 years) when they are starting to feel a bit long in the tooth, you can upgrade to a new graphics card and see a sizable increase in framerate.

If you lowered your cpu down to a phenom II, you would notice almost no difference in framerates of today's games; it wouldn't bottleneck those gpu choices, which can make it a tempting offer. But when, in two or three years, you're looking to upgrade your graphics card, that phenom will be a substantial bottleneck to it's replacement, meaning you wouldn't see nearly as much gain to framerates, and would have to upgrade your whole system.

When the 560 ti starts to feel like it's not powerful enough, the 7850 will too, whichever one you go with. So my recommendation is to go with the higher powered cpu, even if it means a weaker gpu, so that in the future, you can just upgrade your graphics card and not feel any bottlenecking.

Regardless of what gpu you go with, you'll have a supremely kick-awesome gaming computer for the next couple years. Later, you can consider upgrading the gpu and not sweat because your core i5 will still be more than powerful enough to support the new one.

Hope it helps!
 
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CaptainTom

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It helps a ton! Very well thought out! I am growing to love these forums...

Should I go with the 2500k or the 3570k? They seem about equal but I am reading the IB is clock for clock faster than SB, and can be OC a little with a stock fan...

 

misinformedman

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That depends on the prices you can get them at. If they were the same price, the 3570k is the better processor, but they're so close in performance that they face a similar logic I used with the 560ti and the 7850. By the time one of them feels too slow, the other will too.

Be aware that cpu manufacturers are starting to face physical speed walls. Gone are the days of yearly obsolescence in cpu's. That's why, even after a year and a half, cpu speeds have only jumped up by 5-15% if you're generous, and current roadmaps suggest that 5% jump per year is going to be pretty standard for a while.

Both the 2500K and the 3570K are absolutely incredible processors that will stay relevant for a long time coming. Gaming-wise you won't notice a difference between the cpu's for quite some time, as your gpu will still be the main bottleneck, but in non gpu taxing applications the 3570 will come out on top.

If all you care about is framerates, it's definitely not worth more than a 5% bump in price, especially given your choice in graphics cards. If you have to pay 10% or 15% more for the 3570k, go with the 2500k and spend those savings on something else, which will have more immediate impact on your computer.
 

CaptainTom

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Again, great explanation! Also how hard is it to get an i5-2500k to recognize 1600 MHz RAM?
 
First off, the Phenom II X4 is a old processor technology wise, you cannot compare it to a contemporary chip that is out of its league and price point, its like comparing a Fiat to a Ferrari. As for a bottleneck I have never seen a Deneb bottleneck even with a 7970. I have also run a 6990+6970 setup in my Thuban and never hit a bottleneck.


To get the AMD question out of the way, if you are contemplating AMD then you may want to look at Microcenters FX 8120 + 990FX combo's for insanely ridiculous pricing (PS: 8120's are around $160 which is more or less what a 980 costs and overrall the 8120 is better for general usage), which will do everything you need it to do for a good price point.

If you are talking about a 3570K then it means you have the money, in which case it picks my brain as to why you are asking this question, it is obvious then you should just buy a 3570K with a Z77 and avoid the entire AMD/Intel furore that ensues.


As to real world gaming experience, honestly I have used just about every Intel and AMD chip and the performance at times is largely overrated. It is a safe bet to go with Intel, but there is nothing wrong with a AMD setup, contrary to popular belief.

So the long and short, if you have the cash, buy yourself a nice IB setup.
 


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Unfortunately, AMD does indeed bottleneck GPUs.
 


1333 is just what the mobo defaults to if you're using 1600+ RAM with a SB CPU. You can either use the XMP profile in the BIOS or set the speed/timings manually. So to answer your question, no, it won't be at 1600 when first installed, but it's very easy to set it to the correct speed/timings.
 

CaptainTom

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Ok that sounds fine then. However if I get a SB over an IB, should I still get a Z77 MOBO? The Z68 is basically the same price so I am assuming the Z77 offers more options and will accept the SB fine right?
 


For SB, it doesn't really matter, but there's no real reason to NOT get Z77 at this point. The feature difference is minimal though, really. And yeah, Z77 will work with SB straight away.
 


That's true because IB allows for PCIe 3.0, but unless you're using a SLI/Crossfire PCIe 3.0 GPU setup, it doesn't make any difference. There are circumstances that a single PCIe 3.0 card can be bottle necked slightly by PCIe 2.0, but gaming isn't really one of them.
 

CaptainTom

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OK so then that shouldn't concern me at all? And Video Cards 5 years from now will probably be fine?
 


It shouldn't concern you NOW, no, but 5 years from now, I imagine it probably WILL matter, yes. PCIe 3.0 is basically a future proofing thing at this point, but the way I see it, most people will upgrade their entire platform again anyway, before it will matter.
 

misinformedman

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Right. To craft an analogy: Getting PCIe 3.0 in 2012 is like getting an hdtv in 1994, or usb 3.0 ports in 2007. It's preemptive of other technology that hasn't caught up to it yet, but will within a few years. Just like with early hdtv's not having any content to play on them, or early usb 3.0 ports not having devices to plug into them, PCIe 3.0 doesn't have graphics cards that make use of it yet. Down the line there will be cards that utilize it's increased bandwidth, but for now it's really kind of irrelevant, and even when those cards do come out, PCIe 2.0 won't be a major bottleneck to them anyway.

No one can really say what the landscape of cards 3 to 5 years in the future will be, but we know we will eventually need higher bandwidth interfaces to support them; that's why the upgrade has started now. While there are some high end sli and crossfire multi-gpu setups that benefit from 3.0 already, you're looking at nearly $1000 worth of gpu's that gain maybe 2 or 3 frames per second because of it, so really for now I would rest easy if you have to choose a motherboard that has PCIe 2.0.
 

CaptainTom

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Ok this makes complete sense. Thanks a lot! It really sounds like IB is the way to go if I can't find a great deal on a SB...