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Old 07-31-2008, 04:42 AM   #1
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Default New build dilemma.

Recently, it has come to my attention that I want a new computer, seeing as the one I have is decent but not spectacular. I've always wanted a really good computer, but have only ever built what is 'adequate', so to speak. Now, my current machine is by no means poor (dual-core processor, 2GB RAM etc.) but I want something that will last a good while longer and be able to keep up with more games than mine has done. I've decided that, with the prices of quad-core processors not being very high (£150 isn't too much more than what I should have paid for my dual-core anyway - perhaps £30 more?) I may as well go for one of those, but that's where the trouble starts, and I'm sure you've heard it a million times before...

...AMD or Intel?

The models in question are the Phenom X4 9950 'Black Edition' and the Core 2 Quad Q6700. They are both very similarly-priced (from where I'm going to buy things, they're currently seperated by less than £2) and have practically identical clock speeds. Yet, I've read a lot about how the Core 2 Quad is a better piece of kit than the Phenom X4, but also that the Phenom X4 is better than the Core 2 Quad. Now, I'll admit, the reviewers were quite clearly biased from the way they wrote, so I decided that the best way to find out which would be better for me, without building two almost-identical systems and testing (because my wallet won't allow for it) is to ask people who I trust to give an honest opinion. Which, I hope, is still you lot


Now, major pro that I can see of the Intel CPU here is the additional cache memory - 8MB ish compared to the AMD's 4MB ish. However, the Intel only has Level 1 and 2 cache, whilst the AMD has Level 1, 2 and 3 - is there a distinct advantage of having three levels, or would it just be better to have more memory without the third level?

The major pro that I can see with the AMD is their HyperTransport technology, which would, in theory, allow for additional speed in certain areas.

But I can't see whether either would be better than the other, to be honest. Going off personal preference, I'd take the AMD purely because every system I've built has been AMD-based as have all but one of the total that I've owned. And I wasn't too impressed with the Intel machine, but don't feel that it's fair to make an opinion based on the lowly Celeron D. The reason I've always built AMD? They've always been pegged as the best in the field at the time of building. But things seem to be different now...

The other major parts of the system, if it helps, will be a 9600GT graphics card and 4GB of RAM running at 1066MHz.

So, my question to you is, for gaming and a little bit of web design here and there, which of those two CPUs would be the better buy?

Thanks.
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Old 07-31-2008, 05:05 AM   #2
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Default Re: New build dilemma.

if you are going to get good parts like those, dont consider getting the 9600 as it will bottleneck the other hardware.
Its best to either go with the 9800 or even the 2xx series. Even the 8800GT is good, and its a little more than the 9600GT. The 8800GT is fairly cheap, so it wouldnt cost much to SLI, but it would cost more if you dont have/plan on getting an new motherboard that supports SLI.
I would prefer to go with AMD, because it just seems like AMD does better for me compared to my intel machines. But it seems most people prefer Intel, and most people that prefer AMD are the people that are on a budget.
As i heard, Intel CPU are good for OC, but then again, the AMD CPU you are thinking of getting is a black edition, so its about the same.
You are pretty much going to get mixed opinions, i just say go with whatever your heart tells you, you might look back if you go with opinions and not your decision.
So either go with something you are familiar with or go with something new.
my vote is for AMD.
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Old 07-31-2008, 05:13 AM   #3
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Default Re: New build dilemma.

Okay, thanks for your opinion, Teny

The reason that the 9600GT is going in is that, simply enough, I got one in trade for an older card from my workplace earlier this month (we're building new computers for managing our network). So, the graphics card isn't really something I can change at the moment - my budget won't allow for it. I also have the option to do the same with the motherboard - switch my older AM2 motherboard for a Gigabyte MA790FX-DS5, which would save me £100 overall on the build, though if it would be worth going with the Intel build, I could spend that.

I will add, though, that a graphics card upgrade is something that will always be possible in the future.
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Old 07-31-2008, 05:43 AM   #4
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Default Re: New build dilemma.

Quote:
Now, major pro that I can see of the Intel CPU here is the additional cache memory - 8MB ish compared to the AMD's 4MB ish. However, the Intel only has Level 1 and 2 cache, whilst the AMD has Level 1, 2 and 3 - is there a distinct advantage of having three levels, or would it just be better to have more memory without the third level?
AMD CPUs don't require the huge amounts of L2 cache that the Intel's do. This is because AMD's do not have the bottleneck of the FSB. They are directly connected to the memory thanks to the integrated memory controller. Intel CPUs need a larger cache to store incoming and outgoing data because the FSB has very limited bandwidth.


Key question before I recommend either, will you be overclocking?
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Old 07-31-2008, 05:45 AM   #5
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Default Re: New build dilemma.

Overclocking? No.

And that's an interesting insight as to why their cache levels differ so much. Thanks

Sorry to double-post, but if I were to spend some extra cash (maybe next month, when I get paid again) then would the following card be a suitable addition?

http://www.dabs.com/ProductView.aspx...2476&InMerch=1

Only issue is, I'm not sure I could power that. Does it require both the six- and eight-pin PCI-E connectors to be plugged in? And where would I get the eight-pin one from? The PSU only has two six-pin ones...
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Old 07-31-2008, 12:38 PM   #6
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Default Re: New build dilemma.

Watch out- Worship me is gonna give you the 48xx series lecture! JK, but still, for that price, the 4800 series is alot better. Best bang for the buck as of the moment
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Old 07-31-2008, 12:43 PM   #7
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Default Re: New build dilemma.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Denthúl View Post
Sorry to double-post, but if I were to spend some extra cash (maybe next month, when I get paid again) then would the following card be a suitable addition?

http://www.dabs.com/ProductView.aspx...2476&InMerch=1

Only issue is, I'm not sure I could power that. Does it require both the six- and eight-pin PCI-E connectors to be plugged in? And where would I get the eight-pin one from? The PSU only has two six-pin ones...
No no no no no no. Big no no. The HD4870 is a much better buy at those prices. nVidia blew it with the 2xx series, very expensive and power-hungry.
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Old 07-31-2008, 12:56 PM   #8
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Default Re: New build dilemma.

How much better are we talking here? Because I've always been wary of ATi cards, seeing as both of the ones I had previously ended up dying rather quickly. Ever since, I've stuck to the nVidia side of the fence. :/

I'm willing to try something different provided I know that it's not going to be dodgy. The Sapphire cards are supposed to be good, aren't they?
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Old 07-31-2008, 01:05 PM   #9
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Default Re: New build dilemma.

i used to own an sapphire X1950, it was an open box on newegg, and i used it for like half a year, and it still works. I sold my card to my friend to get the 8800GT though.
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Old 07-31-2008, 01:09 PM   #10
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Default Re: New build dilemma.

Quote:
How much better are we talking here? Because I've always been wary of ATi cards, seeing as both of the ones I had previously ended up dying rather quickly. Ever since, I've stuck to the nVidia side of the fence. :/
Well, put it this way. The HD 4870, which is cheaper, consistently outperforms it.

It also features DX10.1 support and is a reasonable 9.5" long, compared to the 10.5" GTX 260. So it will be much more likely to fit in your case.

Anyways, back to the original question. As your not overclocking, I'd say go with the Phenom. Simply because I think the 790FX motherboards are better than anything you can get for the Q6700.
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