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Old 2013-01-14, 02:20 AM   [Ignore Me] #1
NihilisticClown
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New PC help


Hello there.

Over time I've been trying to build a good gaming PC, getting parts here and there, but I want to look ahead and actually plan on what I want to end up with.

What I need is an upgrade to my current CPU, which is an AMD Athlon II x3 425 2.7Ghz. On the GPU end I'm happy with what I have (GTX 660 2gb).

What I've been looking to get so that I can upgrade my CPU which is most probably causing a massive bottleneck, is an 8 core processor (8 so it doesn't go obsolete too soon).

However, since I know my current motherboard is not an AM3+, I'm looking for help with purchasing a good, but cheap and affordable AM3+ mobo.

Another thing I'm not sure of is if I need to upgrade my PSU aswell. I have a 550w PSU, 12v. Oh, and perhaps a change in my computer case. When I got my 660 in the mail I was surprised at how big it was, so my current case may be too small in the long run.

So, anyone out there that can help me out?

Last edited by NihilisticClown; 2013-01-14 at 02:24 AM.
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Old 2013-01-14, 05:46 AM   [Ignore Me] #2
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Re: New PC help


Please fill out these questions in this thread.

In particular: How much are you thinking of spending? How long is the "long run"? Planning on overclocking? What's your current RAM and are you upgrading that too?

If you're buying a new CPU and mobo upgrade specifically for this game, I recommend getting Intel since this game still shows a strong preference to those CPUs. But depending on your budget and other needs, AMD's current offerings may also be of use.
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Old 2013-01-14, 09:05 AM   [Ignore Me] #3
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Re: New PC help


Number of cores isn't the future-proofer. It's far more important to have better cores. (As much as anything can actually be considered a future-proofer. Everything is outdated in a couple years, you really can't do anything about it).

The most critical thing is that you need to give us a budget. Without constraint I've say get an Intel i5 3570 and a Z77 motherboard, that'll cost about $350. 8gb of DDR3 1600 in two 4gb sticks runs another $40ish.
550W should be plenty.
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Old 2013-01-14, 09:10 AM   [Ignore Me] #4
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Re: New PC help


Originally Posted by Ailos View Post
Please fill out these questions in this thread.

In particular: How much are you thinking of spending? How long is the "long run"? Planning on overclocking? What's your current RAM and are you upgrading that too?

If you're buying a new CPU and mobo upgrade specifically for this game, I recommend getting Intel since this game still shows a strong preference to those CPUs. But depending on your budget and other needs, AMD's current offerings may also be of use.
1. Are you building this computer yourself or having one built for you (Like HP, Alienware, or even a small shop)?
Building it myself.

2. What is your budget and does that include shipping/taxes?
I have no set budget because I don't know what price is reasonable for what I need. I'm looking for the lowest price tag possible for what I'm asking for.

3. Where do you live (Please list town, state, and country)?
Montreal, QC, Canada.

4. What do you need this computer to do (like gaming, Photoshop, and so on)?
Gaming.

5. What parts will you need for the computer? List what parts specifically, saying you need everything will not do.
Motherboard, CPU, case. Perhaps a new PSU.

6. Are you reusing any parts for this computer? If so say what parts (make and model).
Geforce GTX 660 2gb. 4 sticks of 2gb ram, 550w PSU.

7. What kind of monitor/resolution do you have or want to get to use for the computer?
1600:900.

8. Do you have already have a OS or do you need one? What OS is that?
I want to use windows 7.

9. What are you looking for the motherboard to have feature wise? Like SLI, Crossfire, Firewire, USB 3.0, Sata 6.0 Gb/s, and so on.
Specifically one with an AM3+ chipset and PCi-e 2.0 x16

10. Any plans to overclock the CPU or GPU?
No.

11. What time kind of time frame are you planning on ordering these parts
Not any time soon.

The "long run" is as long as my computer stays relevant and not horribly outdated. As said above, I have 4 sticks of 2gb DDR3 ram

New parts aren't specifically for Planetside 2. I've been needing a new CPU for a long while now, as it has been holding my FPS back in a number of games. I'm looking for the best lowest price out there for, if Intel is cheaper then I'll go Intel, if not then I'll go AMD.

Last edited by NihilisticClown; 2013-01-14 at 09:12 AM.
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Old 2013-01-14, 09:15 AM   [Ignore Me] #5
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Re: New PC help


Originally Posted by Rbstr View Post
Number of cores isn't the future-proofer. It's far more important to have better cores. (As much as anything can actually be considered a future-proofer. Everything is outdated in a couple years, you really can't do anything about it).

The most critical thing is that you need to give us a budget. Without constraint I've say get an Intel i5 3570 and a Z77 motherboard, that'll cost about $350. 8gb of DDR3 1600 in two 4gb sticks runs another $40ish.
550W should be plenty.
I have no budget to give, solely for the reason that it would be an incredibly low number as I have no knowledge of what these parts can go for.

All I can ask for is the lowest number possible.
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Old 2013-01-14, 01:23 PM   [Ignore Me] #6
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Re: New PC help


Alright, so a couple notes:

You still didn't give us the budget. I'm assuming the 8-core you were referring to is the AMD FX-8350 (125W TDP, 4 GHz). That's currently running at C$190. A decent motherboard pairing for this is something like MSI's 970A-G46, that's another C$70. Also, with that Vishera FX's 125 W output, I highly recommend ditching the stock cooler in favor of a CoolerMaster Hyper Evo 212 or similar. If you decide to throw in extra money and get a new PSU, that'll even allow you to overclock that thing some. With a case, you're looking at a roughly $330 expenditure. So what else can you get with that money?

Well, the bare minimum AMD-based configuration I described above will look something like this: http://pcpartpicker.com/ca/p/xA0V and comes to $340. You can wiggle that around +/-$10 depending on which exact case you prefer.

What would be another comparable configuration for the same price? Well, due to a current combo discount, you can get this i5-3470 based build: http://pcpartpicker.com/ca/p/xA5I for $270, where apparently Newegg is willing to give you an ASUS board for free. Failing that, this http://pcpartpicker.com/ca/p/xA8T build, at $320, is more comparable to the original Vishera-based build.

Now, I'll address how these builds achieve your stated goals: (1) best value for money and (2) longevity.

(1) They're both strong performance for the $320-330 price tag. You'll notice a significant improvement in both of them, and both will likely provide you with a good experience in any modern title. However, the i5 will be slightly better in most titles, and in the case of PS2, much more noticeably so. Since you're building this exclusively for gaming, the extra 4 cores of the FX-8350 won't translate to the same performance benefit they do under more productivity-oriented tasks.

(2)You are unlikely to want to upgrade the CPU of either of those systems for at least the next 12 months. It's difficult to predict what might happen beyond that, but I will say this: back in 2010, I built a Phenom II x4-based system, and did not feel it needed ANY upgrading at all until PS2's beta came about. That's a solid 2 years from a gaming rig, and I consider that pretty good longevity. So the fact that you will pair your new CPU to a 660 is likely to duplicate that experience for you.

But the situation is a little more complicated now. Chiefly among these complications are these factors:
  • The FX-8350 is overclockable, but it already consumes considerably more power than the i5, and that power requirement will only go higher, as will the heat output. The extra heat sink I suggested will allow you some overclocking headroom, but if you're interested in pushing it's performance higher, you'll need both a new, quality PSU and an even better CPU sink (perhaps even closed-loop liquid) to truly make a noticeable difference. That's at least another $150 on top of the stated cost.
  • AMD970 chipset supports SLI and crossfire, but lacks PCIe 3.0x16 (which your 660 is already capable). That means expanding the graphics horsepower of this rig in the future would be better accomplished by SLI'ing a second 660, but given the CPU's high power requirement, a beefier PSU may be warranted. This increases the cost of your next potential upgrade.
  • The i5 is not really overclockable. This means its power output is much more predictable, and crucially lower, so you don't have to worry about getting a new PSU, even if you swap the video card later (see below). This also means that the i5 will run quieter, especially if you also get an aftermarket heatsink for it.
  • The i5-based rig DOES have PCIe 3.0x16 support, but unless you grab the combo that gives you that ASUS mobo for free, you are unlikely to get worthy SLI/Crossfire support. So this means upgrading the graphics on this platform is better achieved by buying the next-gen card that can fully tax the single PCIe 3.0 slot.
  • The i5 really can't be upgraded much if you decide to try to do so in the future. An i7 would fit in its place, but it won't improve performance as much as it increases the price. Haswell (Intel's next-gen architecture due to come out sometime this summer) probably won't use the same CPU socket, so those new chips won't be compatible either. The FX on the other hand may be upgrade-able further still when AMD's next-gen stuff coms out, although socket AM3+ has been around for a while, and I don't really know when AMD plans to put the next big thing on the shelves.

Given all this, you basically have a choice between:
1. A noisy space heater that allows you to make it a more efficient space heater.
2. A slightly less noisy space heater that you really can't modify much in the future but that performs better now.
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Last edited by Ailos; 2013-01-14 at 01:26 PM.
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Old 2013-01-15, 02:55 AM   [Ignore Me] #7
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Re: New PC help


Originally Posted by Ailos View Post
Alright, so a couple notes:

You still didn't give us the budget. I'm assuming the 8-core you were referring to is the AMD FX-8350 (125W TDP, 4 GHz). That's currently running at C$190. A decent motherboard pairing for this is something like MSI's 970A-G46, that's another C$70. Also, with that Vishera FX's 125 W output, I highly recommend ditching the stock cooler in favor of a CoolerMaster Hyper Evo 212 or similar. If you decide to throw in extra money and get a new PSU, that'll even allow you to overclock that thing some. With a case, you're looking at a roughly $330 expenditure. So what else can you get with that money?

Well, the bare minimum AMD-based configuration I described above will look something like this: http://pcpartpicker.com/ca/p/xA0V and comes to $340. You can wiggle that around +/-$10 depending on which exact case you prefer.

What would be another comparable configuration for the same price? Well, due to a current combo discount, you can get this i5-3470 based build: http://pcpartpicker.com/ca/p/xA5I for $270, where apparently Newegg is willing to give you an ASUS board for free. Failing that, this http://pcpartpicker.com/ca/p/xA8T build, at $320, is more comparable to the original Vishera-based build.

Now, I'll address how these builds achieve your stated goals: (1) best value for money and (2) longevity.

(1) They're both strong performance for the $320-330 price tag. You'll notice a significant improvement in both of them, and both will likely provide you with a good experience in any modern title. However, the i5 will be slightly better in most titles, and in the case of PS2, much more noticeably so. Since you're building this exclusively for gaming, the extra 4 cores of the FX-8350 won't translate to the same performance benefit they do under more productivity-oriented tasks.

(2)You are unlikely to want to upgrade the CPU of either of those systems for at least the next 12 months. It's difficult to predict what might happen beyond that, but I will say this: back in 2010, I built a Phenom II x4-based system, and did not feel it needed ANY upgrading at all until PS2's beta came about. That's a solid 2 years from a gaming rig, and I consider that pretty good longevity. So the fact that you will pair your new CPU to a 660 is likely to duplicate that experience for you.

But the situation is a little more complicated now. Chiefly among these complications are these factors:
  • The FX-8350 is overclockable, but it already consumes considerably more power than the i5, and that power requirement will only go higher, as will the heat output. The extra heat sink I suggested will allow you some overclocking headroom, but if you're interested in pushing it's performance higher, you'll need both a new, quality PSU and an even better CPU sink (perhaps even closed-loop liquid) to truly make a noticeable difference. That's at least another $150 on top of the stated cost.
  • AMD970 chipset supports SLI and crossfire, but lacks PCIe 3.0x16 (which your 660 is already capable). That means expanding the graphics horsepower of this rig in the future would be better accomplished by SLI'ing a second 660, but given the CPU's high power requirement, a beefier PSU may be warranted. This increases the cost of your next potential upgrade.
  • The i5 is not really overclockable. This means its power output is much more predictable, and crucially lower, so you don't have to worry about getting a new PSU, even if you swap the video card later (see below). This also means that the i5 will run quieter, especially if you also get an aftermarket heatsink for it.
  • The i5-based rig DOES have PCIe 3.0x16 support, but unless you grab the combo that gives you that ASUS mobo for free, you are unlikely to get worthy SLI/Crossfire support. So this means upgrading the graphics on this platform is better achieved by buying the next-gen card that can fully tax the single PCIe 3.0 slot.
  • The i5 really can't be upgraded much if you decide to try to do so in the future. An i7 would fit in its place, but it won't improve performance as much as it increases the price. Haswell (Intel's next-gen architecture due to come out sometime this summer) probably won't use the same CPU socket, so those new chips won't be compatible either. The FX on the other hand may be upgrade-able further still when AMD's next-gen stuff coms out, although socket AM3+ has been around for a while, and I don't really know when AMD plans to put the next big thing on the shelves.

Given all this, you basically have a choice between:
1. A noisy space heater that allows you to make it a more efficient space heater.
2. A slightly less noisy space heater that you really can't modify much in the future but that performs better now.
Wow, thanks for all this info!

Well, I've never been interested in overclocking anything, nor have I been interested in SLI and Crossfire (I'd rather not pay for two cards). Before getting my 660, I was using a 460 for about 2 or 3 years. I'm not the type to go out and upgrade as soon as the next gen product comes out; as long as my FPS isn't through the ground, I'm happy.

All I really need is a modern, and up to date, CPU that doesn't bottleneck my 660 as badly as my athlon II x3. Thank you, you've given me a lot of help here.
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Old 2013-01-15, 04:13 AM   [Ignore Me] #8
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Re: New PC help


Also, it seems the deal with the i5 3470 isn't actually that cheap. It shows that if you buy the i5-3470 with the asus mobo, the mobo is free, but when I go to newegg to see the combo it says the mobo costs around $400.

Now that I know the prices, relatively, I'd like to say my budget would be no bigger than $320. I'd like to get the i5 3470, now that I know about it. But I'm curious, the i5 3470 is 3.2Ghz, while the FX is 4.0Ghz, yet I'm told the i5 is better. If the FX is faster, and has more cores, how is the i5 better? (I'm not interested in overclocking or SLI/Crossfire)
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Old 2013-01-15, 02:19 PM   [Ignore Me] #9
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Re: New PC help


Clock speeds between different types of core are not comparable. Individually, the i5's cores do more instructions per cycle than the AMD's cores (which is really more of a 4x2dual core thing than truly 8 cores) and the i5 has better memory bandwidth.
It's also built on a more advanced manufacturing process. That's why it takes less power and puts out quite a good bit less heat.

So each i5 core is more powerful. But, perhaps in terms of raw computing power, the 8x of AMD may actually be better than 4x of Intel. Yet we may still like the Intel CPU for gaming? That's because some workloads favor certain architectures:
In really highly threaded applications where each thread is a lighter workload the 8-core is likely work better. But in games having the more powerful cores help because you can't make everything parallel (most of the highly parallel stuff is done by the GPU anyway, GPUs are way better at parallel computing than CPUs too.) and getting tougher stuff done faster is important.
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Old 2013-01-15, 11:54 PM   [Ignore Me] #10
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Re: New PC help


Originally Posted by NihilisticClown View Post
Also, it seems the deal with the i5 3470 isn't actually that cheap. It shows that if you buy the i5-3470 with the asus mobo, the mobo is free, but when I go to newegg to see the combo it says the mobo costs around $400.

Now that I know the prices, relatively, I'd like to say my budget would be no bigger than $320. I'd like to get the i5 3470, now that I know about it. But I'm curious, the i5 3470 is 3.2Ghz, while the FX is 4.0Ghz, yet I'm told the i5 is better. If the FX is faster, and has more cores, how is the i5 better? (I'm not interested in overclocking or SLI/Crossfire)
Originally Posted by Rbstr View Post
Clock speeds between different types of core are not comparable. Individually, the i5's cores do more instructions per cycle than the AMD's cores (which is really more of a 4x2dual core thing than truly 8 cores) and the i5 has better memory bandwidth.
It's also built on a more advanced manufacturing process. That's why it takes less power and puts out quite a good bit less heat.

So each i5 core is more powerful. But, perhaps in terms of raw computing power, the 8x of AMD may actually be better than 4x of Intel. Yet we may still like the Intel CPU for gaming? That's because some workloads favor certain architectures:
In really highly threaded applications where each thread is a lighter workload the 8-core is likely work better. But in games having the more powerful cores help because you can't make everything parallel (most of the highly parallel stuff is done by the GPU anyway, GPUs are way better at parallel computing than CPUs too.) and getting tougher stuff done faster is important.
Yup, like Rbstr said, the Ivy Bridge architecture is just flat out more efficient and is capable of doing more with less. Since you're not really interested in upgrading this, the i5 comes out as a better deal for you because very few (albeit a growing number, but still small) of consumer applications need a lot of processing power and most games also prefer efficiency of cores over sheer resource count. Swapping over to an i5 will allow you to make the most of your RAM (the i5's controller is higher bandwidth), and it will also open the taps up on your 660 because of the available PCIe 3.0 interface (which isn't available on AMD). So in terms bang for your buck, the i5 is it.
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