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[Toms] AMD FX Vs. Intel Core i3: Exploring Game Performance With Cheap GPUs

post #1 of 74
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Quote:
Following our sub-$200 gaming CPU comparison, we put Intel's Core i3-2100 and AMD's FX-4100 under the microscope. This time, we test a number of different graphics cards from AMD to see how GPUs affect perceived processor bottlenecks.

The good news is that AMD fans can still enjoy games on a capable machine without spending a ton of cash. With that established, though, getting in the door with an LGA 1155-based platform costs about the same and yields a more consistently-good experience. We've seen enthusiasts throw blame all over the place: review sites aren't picking the right benchmarks, developers aren't spending enough time optimizing for AMD's architecture, and Intel is squelching innovation. But it comes down to this: when a new game you’ve been waiting for gets installed on your machine, finger-pointing won't help you enjoy it any more if it behaves like Metro 2033, demonstrating between 27% and 33% higher minimum frame rates on the Core i3-2100. Even a $200 FX-8120 won’t solve your problem; our tests show that chip acts just like the FX-4100 in gaming environments.

Today, Intel's LGA 1155 platform remains the best bet for a gaming rig. And not only for its budget-oriented performance, which is great, but also for its potential. Start with a cheap Core i3 and an inexpensive discrete GPU. Then, upgrade later to an Ivy Bridge-based chip and a faster graphics card without imposing any sort of bottleneck. SLI and CrossFire are both viable with a fast-enough CPU (even splitting PCI Express connectivity between two x8 slots), and the $180 Core i5-2400 is a gaming beast that AMD's overclocked processors cannot touch.

AMD simply cannot counter those advantages right now. We must look to the Piledriver architecture and hope that our current assessment can be reevaluated later this year.

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post #2 of 74
Can't overclock the i3. Overclock the FX and you'll be getting equal or better performance (albeit with high power consumption).
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post #3 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Usario View Post

Can't overclock the i3. Overclock the FX and you'll be getting equal or better performance (albeit with high power consumption).

Good point, also with power consumption goes the heat generated too.

However, for more of these budget builds, you could expect the target audience is more of an end user / non-overclocker type.
post #4 of 74
Difference wasn't significant in most cases.
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post #5 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by OCScrub View Post

Difference wasn't significant in most cases.

I was thinking that, felt like they were trying to resurrect the dead horse beating in my opinion.
post #6 of 74
I am honestly suprised the 4100 did that well compared to the i3. Especially considering some people use to say the i3 was better than the x4 for gaming but then people also say Phenom ii out performs BD. Guess that means one of those two are wrong?
    
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post #7 of 74
So basically, there's literally no visible difference once so ever in most games, got it

Actually quite shocked how well the FX performed, never viewed them as great gaming chips
    
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post #8 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by UbNub View Post

I am honestly suprised the 4100 did that well compared to the i3. Especially considering some people use to say the i3 was better than the x4 for gaming but then people also say Phenom ii out performs BD. Guess that means one of those two are wrong?

Typically, Phenom II x4's were comparable to first-gen i3's when gaming. The Phenom's overclocked a little worse, so in dual core bound games, the i3's were better, but in quad+, the Phenom's were better. At least, that's what I've seen when comparing my rig at 3.8 Ghz vs. the one I set up for a friend running an i3 at 3.8 Ghz...
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post #9 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Usario View Post

Can't overclock the i3. Overclock the FX and you'll be getting equal or better performance (albeit with high power consumption).

Not really, every benchmark is completely GPU-bottlenecked. Even the Starcraft one is partially bottlenecked, though it slightly exposes the weakness of the FX.

Since, every bench is GPU-bottlnecked, OCing the CPU won't do much.
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post #10 of 74
Intel Core i5-2400 is $150 at MicroCenter, but an i5-2500k is only like $30 more, so if you are an Enthusiast, yeah, go with the i5-2500k, all day!

No need to get an i7, unless you are in need of massive processor power.
(Usually not the case, considering the i5-2500k overclocked is a beast!)

To me the i5 is still the best choice, overall, unless of course you need the massive 4 core / 8 thread i7, or the grossly overpriced 6 core i7s...

At $150, the i5-2400 is the best entry Gaming System CPU, to me... i5-2400 > ALL i3 CPUs & AMD CPUs (not considering graphics)
(That is, if you aren't an Enthusiast and plan on overclocking)

Throw in a good graphics card and you are good to go for many many years to come...

NOW is the time to build your Gaming System, Windows 8 IS NOT what you want, Windows 7 is!

Nough Said?
Edited by _GTech - 2/24/12 at 3:45pm
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