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162 posts

Master Geek

Topic # 59900 14-Apr-2010 16:32
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Hi guys, im building a new computer just for gaming. It will also be used to surf the net and play the odd song. NO encoding/professional applications or anything like that.

I had been planning on going the i7 x58 route with crossfire hd 4870's but im having second thoughts.

I have been researching gaming benchmarks of the phenom ii x4 vs the intel i7 and am starting to doubt if spending the extra cash on the i7 rig is worth it for my uses.

I realise the i7 will completly crush the AMD phenom X4 in synthetic benchmarks and professional applications but from what iv seen the phenom is very close in terms of gaming performance.

I wont go to much into the specific components im considering but this is the gist of it.

-the i7 setup will cost me about $446 more then if i go with an AMD AM3 790X board that will run 2 grpahics cards at 8x / 8x.

the i7 setup will cost me about $330 more then if i go with an AMD AM3 790FX board that will run 2 grpahics cards at full 16x /16x bandwidth.

Basically what i really want to know is if im on the right track taking a U turn and considering AMD? as all i will be using the PC for is gaming.

Will running two 4870's  - each at only 8x bandwidth create much of a bottleneck?

My understandning is that 8x shoudlent bottleneck untill you get into uber high end cards (5870, 4870x2 etc) Also when you think about it - if you put a 4870x2 multi GPU card into a full bandwidth 16x slot - that in itself is esentially running two cards at 8x ? correct? as escentially two cards are sharing one 16x slot.

Is the i7 worth $446 more considering my uses?

If i go with AMD, is having 2 pic-e slots running at full 16x worth a price premium of $116?

one last thing - i also have this idea in my head that perhaps if i went with the more expensive AMD 790FX option it will be somewhat more future proof- as it will accept the new 6 core AMD processors that are due to be released soon(so will the cheaper 790X option though) and also have the bandwidth to support future high-end cards.(in the future i could prossibly pair up a 6 core processor with 2 high end cards running at full 16x)

What do you guys think is the better option? I could put the extra $ saved towards a new monitor.
sorry for the big post with heaps of questions! but i need opinions! thanks

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  Reply # 318424 14-Apr-2010 16:39
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In terms of performance the intel i7's leave AMD in dust, But it comes down to wither or not you think that extra bit of performance is worth the $446. IMO yes, But I'm a intel fan boy :D

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  Reply # 318426 14-Apr-2010 16:41
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Intel all the way. It wont be out dated so fast

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  Reply # 318442 14-Apr-2010 17:11
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A single ATI Radeon 5850 1GB has several advantages over 4870 x2 imo
- DX 11 support
- Less heat
- Less noise
- Less power
- No chance of micro stutter (some people really notice this with 2 cards)
- No need to wait for updated crossfire profiles for crossfire to be enabled for (new/old) games

162 posts

Master Geek

Reply # 318701 15-Apr-2010 11:19
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Yea i realise 5850 is a very good card but iv already got two 4870's.  I got them alot cheaper then a single 5850 and have a PSU that is more then up to the task of running two or more of these cards.
Also winter is coming up so ill have a computer and heater all in one!

At the moment i think im gonna go with AMD - the cost of the main parts (mboard, ram, cpu) is alot cheaper then the i7. ($1150 for i7 compared to $820 with the AMD)

All the gaming benchmarks i can find show that the i7 only leads the AMD by a few FPS and is usually unnoticable to the human eye. e.g. 195fps vs 200fps - who could notice the difference?  

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  Reply # 318736 15-Apr-2010 12:23
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Oh right you already have the 4870's makes sense. I'm pretty sure each 4870 running in their own PCI-E slot running at 8x will not be bottle-necked.

An i7 920 is not very good bang for buck unless you are going to overclock heavily. 

If you're not planning on overclocking ~4Ghz with aftermarket cooling (Corsair H20, True, Megahalem etc) then I would be comparing i5 750 vs Phenom II X4 955


Intel i5 750 2.66GHZ 8MB LGA1156 (~$330)
Asus P7P55D-E LX P55 PCI-E DDR3 LGA1156 SATA3+USB3 (~$220)


Amd Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition 3.2GHz Socket AM3 ($280)
Asus M4A79XTD EVO AM3 790X DDR3 PCI-E ($220)

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  Reply # 318752 15-Apr-2010 12:41
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Forgot to add, i5 750 seems to be slightly faster in most reviews compared to the X4 955

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Master Geek

  Reply # 318800 15-Apr-2010 14:05
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my only issue with the i5 is the 1156 socket.
From what iv read there wont be too many more new CPU's for that socket, also the boards seem to only have 8x 8x bandwidth which may not be so good for next gen graphics cards.

whereas with the AM3, I potentially get the 6 core "thuban" and 8 core? "bulldozer" cpu's in the future.

the i5 750 and i7860 both are very impressive, but if i go intel it will be 1136 socket for futureproofness

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  Reply # 318910 15-Apr-2010 16:22
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In practice how often do you upgrade your cpu out of band with your motherboard and ram?

I normally find I wait 2-3 years then either do an upgrade combo (cpu/mobo/ram/video) or give the old system to a relative and get a whole new one.

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Master Geek

  Reply # 319748 17-Apr-2010 19:47
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For gaming all those CPUs will give almost identical performance. Your bottleneck will be the graphics card unless you're thinking of getting a celeron as your CPU.

I quite like the i5 750 but AMD is usually better value for what you get. No graphics card at the moment needs more than 8x from what I've read but if you want to future proof 16x is of course better. Maybe give us a budget and what components you're looking to get. Even Any i3 is easily sufficient for gaming if you wanna dedicate your rig entirely to that.

Desktop: i7 920, GTX 275, asus P6T, antec 1200, 6gb ram, 1tb spinpoint f1, 1tb spinpoint f3, Logitech Z2300, Zero DAC, Shure SRH440
Laptop: Toshiba satellite, T5300, Go 7300
Home Theatre: 32" loewe CRT, Harmon kardon amp, dvd player, image 418 speakers, rega planar 25 turntable :)

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  Reply # 320180 19-Apr-2010 11:52
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I have an i7 920 in my rig and i have overclocked that to 3.0GHz and it is stable (tested with prime95).

Not sure if your open to overclocking or not but the i7s definintly have a lot of headroom to play with.

Your crossfire 4870s will be all good too, i only have 1 and it performs quite well.

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Master Geek

  Reply # 320690 20-Apr-2010 14:06
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I do plan on doing a little bit of overclcoking, however i have never done it before...Looks easy enough with a good Mboard though.
I dont have a budget for my build - just buying pieces as i go, so the more expensive it is, the longer it will take.
Iv been researching some more and have learnt that the Phenonm II X6 hexacore processors are due out on the 26th of this month, and will fit am2+ and am3 motherboards with a BIOS update.
Price will be similar to current i7 920 and i7 860.

So i will wait for that to be released and see how it stacks up against the i7's. It may even cause the
X4's price to drop further making it the processor to go with for my gaming needs and furture upgradeability to the X6.

This will be a dedicated gaming rig(only reason im not going straight with the i7 !), only other use will be to surf the web, make the odd CD etc.

Currently pondering the MSI- 790FX GD70 mboard for its huge pcie bandwidth (two cards at 16x or 4 cards all at 8x) - this will accept the new 6 core phenom and also i feel offer further futureproofness because of its many pcie lanes.

If i do go intel, it will be an i7 930.

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  Reply # 320702 20-Apr-2010 14:29
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My flatmate recently built a new gaming rig, i can dig out what we decided on if you'd like?


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  Reply # 320713 20-Apr-2010 14:51
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Heres a very recent CPU round up..

XPD / Gavin / DemiseNZ


For Free Games, Geekiness and Reviews, visit :


Home Of The Overrated Raccoons


Battlenet : XPD#11535    Origin/Steam/Epic/Uplay : xpdnz

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Master Geek
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  Reply # 320721 20-Apr-2010 15:05
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If you choose to go AMD you could also consider the MSI 790GD-FX MoBo.  It has 4x PCI express slots and if you run two cards you can run 2x16 lanes. 

I have the board and I love it.

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 323341 27-Apr-2010 02:14
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if you want to blow a big wad of cash just you can be right at the cutting edge of performance then go for Intel

if you care about cost/performance ratio then go for AMD

personally for my latest gaming PC I had no choice but to go for AMD (as I wanted to keep the cost of the box will under 1k), however at your price range it becomes more "reasonable" to consider Intel. I still wouldn't recommend Intel however IMHO.

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