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Old 08-13-2010, 10:29 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default AMD or Intel...

This month, I'm biting the bullet and upgrading my desktop computer (specs in sig). However, I'm still not sure whether to go with a Phenom 2 955 Black Edition or try and get a i7 930.

I'll probably mostly use it for CAD software, gaming (maybe a little Crysis), and transcoding media. Anyone have experience with these on either chip (especially the transcoding)?

In my eyes:
Pro for Phenom:
-Cheaper. Way cheaper. Like, $250 easily. I can get the processor and motherboard for less than the i7 processor itself. Also means I can get 4gb of memory instead of 6gb, which saves money too. And I like saving money.

Pros for i7:
-Whole lot faster. OS sees eight cores, and overclocks easily too. As much as I like fast, I'm not sure if this is worth the extra cash.
-Supports SLI+Crossfire, while AMD boards mostly just support Crossfire. I like my nVidia cards and have heard they're better at stuff like CAD (Solidworks) than ATi at the moment. Granted, I don't plan on getting multiple graphics cards at this point, but I have no idea if that will change in the future.
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Old 08-13-2010, 03:16 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: AMD or Intel...

According to PassMark Intel vs AMD CPU Benchmarks - High End
The Phenom II 955 scores a 3936 while the i7 930 scores a 5820, also for less than $6 more than the i7 930 you can get the AMD Phenom II x6 1090T six-core processor that scores a 6064.

Right now, ATi has the most powerful card (HD 5970 > GTX 480). However, that card is $200 more than the GTX 480, and the GTX 480 performs a tiny bit better than the HD 5870 from ATi which is $100 less. (the HD 5870 is $400 btw) Those are the really high end cards, btw. If you'll be playing Crysis a little bit, then the 5770 will get you about 34.1 FPS at 1900x1200 resolution, but no AA or AF. The 5770 is $160. here

Oh, back to Intel vs AMD...
Well, of the two processors you mentioned, the 930 IS a bit more powerful, but more expensive...
If most of the things you are doing are CPU intensive, and you want it to go faster, go Intel.
If you are willing to let it do the CPU intensive things a bit slower, go for the AMD processor you mentioned.
(I mean, like, if you are rendering something, the i7 930 would do it more quickly than the Phenom II 955)
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Old 08-13-2010, 03:51 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: AMD or Intel...

Trek... look into a i5 750(scores 4200)... Theyre priced about the same as a x4, and can upgrade to i7 when you need to eventually upgrade. Also run dual channel so 6Gigs isn't needed.
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Old 08-13-2010, 04:03 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: AMD or Intel...

The i5 750 and the Phenom II 965 have about the same performance.
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Old 08-13-2010, 05:02 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: AMD or Intel...

if you can fit an i7 into your budget i would deffinatly go with an i7.

or even an i5 like Trotter said. the only difference between an i5 and an i7 is that an i5 doesnt have hypthreading, and most people dissable hyperthreading on their i7 to get higher overclocks.
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Old 08-13-2010, 05:17 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: AMD or Intel...

How much money do you want to spend? That's what it's going to come down to.
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Old 08-13-2010, 06:07 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: AMD or Intel...

I'm still trying to save some money on the build. The i5 is tempting, I'll definitely look into it more.

I read elsewhere that there's a new AMD chip coming out in 2011 that'll still support the AM3 socket. Since I'm interested in trying to somewhat future-proof the computer, think it might be worthwhile to go with that?
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Old 08-13-2010, 06:52 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: AMD or Intel...

The i5 750 is a great little chip, but your only upgrade is the i7 860 which is only a marginal upgrade at best.

While it costs a little more to start with, a i7 920/930 is a great chip and it offers a larger pci-e bus (multiple video cards perform better making them a good upgrade path), more memory slots means you can upgrade up to 12GB or even 24GB. And there are already a number of faster cpu's available for the LGA1366 socket. By the time you need more power than a 920/930 the 6 core 980X will be much cheaper than the $1000 they want for it now.

AMD makes some nice CPU's and they do offer a good upgrade path, but will that new chip outperform the 980X? AMD can't keep using the same socket design and actually keep making improvements
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Old 08-13-2010, 06:52 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: AMD or Intel...

I'd personally go with the phenom x6 1055 95w
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Old 08-13-2010, 07:16 PM   #10 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: AMD or Intel...

If you even begin to consider i7, disregard the 8 series and look at the 920 minimum. You'll need an LGA1366 motherboard but in the end it will be worth it. The LGA1366 platform has future upgrades to the i7 980X (I say future because the 980X is $1000 right now, in the future it may be a viable option even on a budget). Don't waste your money on a 940/950/960 as they're just higher clocked versions of the 920/930 (I combine these as they're only $10 difference and the 930 is possibly phasing out the 920). These are also great overclocking chips.

Look to spend around $500 on CPU+motherboard alone, a good 1366 motherboard is ~$200 and a 920/930 is ~$300 (a bit less but the motherboard can go over 200, in the end it is around 500). Since your current build is DDR2 you'll need new RAM as well (triple channel, ~$150) putting the total upgrade cost at $650. That is with the i7 stock heatsink which will get you around 3.2GHz in overclock but at fairly high temperatures. A better cooling system can cost upwards of $50-100 so put the maximum total upgrade cost at $750, at that price you can get all the equipment you need to run a ~4.1GHz overclock if not higher.

You could probably do much cheaper going with a Phenom, and if it comes down to the Phenom II vs. the i5 I'd go with the Phenom especially since you already like AMD. With the AM3 socket having future upgrades planned and the ability to swap for an X6, I'd say the AM3 platform would be your best choice here.

As for ATi vs. nVidia, what you've heard may very well be from older generation cards. ATi and nVidia are pretty close these days but ATi has the only multi-GPU card (the 5970) which is around $600-700. However, you know that the 5870 supports 3 monitors (you've seen my setup ) and I don't think a 5870 would have any problems with workstation setups, the extra monitor support would be a bonus for doing a lot of engineering or design work as you could have more windows up.
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