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Author Topic: CPUs - From AMD to Intel i-7s, is there a big gaming performance gap?  (Read 818 times)
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Ridah
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« on: October 09, 2011, 06:15:10 PM »

Currently I'm running an AMD Phenom II X4 940 @ 3.4ghz CPU. I've been debating on upgrading to Intel stuff before Battlefield 3 comes out. The thing is, and I know there are charts out there, but I'm not sure if there will be a significant performance gain.

I'm using a Radeon 6950, and pretty much all games run pretty well on high settings. When I do see performance drops in games, it seems to be a global issue and has more to do with the game itself or with DX11. For example, Rage and Dragon Age 2 initially. Would I see a big difference switching out my cpu/mobo/ram for an Intel setup?
« Last Edit: October 09, 2011, 06:24:24 PM by Ridah » Logged

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TheAtomicKid
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« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2011, 01:51:23 AM »

http://www.anandtech.com

Home:About:Forums:News:BENCH

It will default on the left side to cpu benchmarks, and sysmark will be selected by default. Flip it to 'games'.

Select game of choice, and leave righthand side at defaults. Click on 'view benchmark results'.

Etc etc etc.

The real answer is 'it's going to vary by game'

edit: I am also very fond of the comparitive charts available at http://www.techpowerup.com in their reviews.

In my opinion, there's a performance 'sweet spot' at the moment, for both cpu's and gpu's. You can spend money to get past it, but unless you're a cyberathlete competing for actual money, I wouldn't personally say it's worth it. Far better to spend that extra cash on a good SSD to use as a system drive, rather than spending 500+ on a cpu or gpu for meager gains.

A pair of 6870's or better from AMD, running in crossfire, or a pair of gtx560's from the nvidia side, with at least a gigabyte of ram on each card (less is no good, and more is generally unnecessary except in certain extreme situations) will kick ass on pretty much any game available today, at any resolution short of 2560x1600 (or more, with multiple monitors, etc). If you have a single monitor at 1920x1200, or less, you do NOT need any more gpu than this, for 'casual' gaming. Aka anything non-competitive. It will be fast, it will be smooth, and frankly, you have to spend a fortune to get meager returns on your investment, past this point.


Atomic
« Last Edit: October 10, 2011, 01:59:51 AM by TheAtomicKid » Logged
Ridah
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« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2011, 05:41:31 AM »

So, using an SSD solely for the OS installation and an HDD for everything else would help?
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Sean Lama
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TheAtomicKid
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« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2011, 07:27:42 AM »

For general performance, yes. Makes your desktop quite 'snappy'.

If you want your games to load fast, etc... anyone remember 'loading, please wait...' ? You actually want your game installation on the ssd. (which can, of course, be one and the same)

My current setup is a system/games 'ssd' (it's actually a raid-0, but that's irrelevant), and a secondary drive for data. (mostly anime). No need to store all that on the SSD.. not cost effective.

If you have to choose? Go with the system drive. As long as you keep the games defragged, you'll do fine.

All SSD's not created equal, for the record. But there are several worthy contenders at this point.

Atomic

PS: Make sure you have enough memory. Nothing slows down a system more than not having enough ram. (forcing the OS to continually swap out)... combine that with a slow hard drive, or a very fragmented hard drive, or both, and you have the typical computer after it has been in a home for a while. 4 gigs is generally 'enough', 6 gigs is about as much as most people would normally see usage of, and 8 gigs is more than most people need, on average. Specific usage will vary.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2011, 07:32:10 AM by TheAtomicKid » Logged
TiLT
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« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2011, 09:18:50 AM »

Quote from: TheAtomicKid on October 10, 2011, 07:27:42 AM

PS: Make sure you have enough memory. Nothing slows down a system more than not having enough ram. (forcing the OS to continually swap out)... combine that with a slow hard drive, or a very fragmented hard drive, or both, and you have the typical computer after it has been in a home for a while. 4 gigs is generally 'enough', 6 gigs is about as much as most people would normally see usage of, and 8 gigs is more than most people need, on average. Specific usage will vary.

I feel obscene with my 12 GB at home and 16 GB at work. slywink
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Ridah
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« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2011, 09:47:06 PM »

Sounds like I can just hang with my CPU for a while longer.

What I'm going to do then, is add some memory (adding 2GB more for 6 total) and I might throw a second 6950 in for crossfire.

Questions regarding this:

Does the memory all have to be the same brand? Right now I have for 4GB of OCZ and I can't find the same memory, can I just add Crucial memory instead? It's the same type, DD2 1066.

Similar question about the video card. Does it have to be the exact same model for crossfire to work?
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« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2011, 11:03:59 PM »

You can use any brand, just make sure the timing and clock speeds are the same as your original RAM.

Although the speeds don't matter quite as much, RAM rated for higher clock speeds can still be used at a lower speed, assuming the core technology is the same (DDR1, DDR2, etc..), it's still more expensive so it's a waste of money if you don't use that extra speed.

As for timings, I haven't actually had to deal with memory timings in any of my rigs. It's rated as CAS latency, I think, a series of 4 numbers. For the most part, if you didn't care what timings went into your system at the start, it shouldn't matter if you buy generic memory now.

So just buy the right type of memory, don't worry about the brand, and always look for sales and rebates, memory always goes on sale.
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Jumangi
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« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2011, 03:34:04 PM »

GPU performance is going to affect performance the most still. My Q6600 from 3+ years ago still doesn't get taxed by any game. PC Perspective showed that even a mediocre Athlon X4 is fine for the upcoming BF3 and the GPU will be the deciding factor on performance. Unless you do allot of video encoding I wouldn't worry about it.
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« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2011, 06:48:48 PM »

But there are games like Rage, which do make use of the CPU, and the tech in that is starting to make its way across all middleware engines. So don't skimp on the CPU, and get at least a quad core CPU.
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Ridah
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« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2011, 08:36:02 PM »

As As for my question about crossfire mode: Do they have to be exactly the same cards?
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Sean Lama
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« Reply #10 on: October 13, 2011, 11:53:40 PM »

Quote from: Ridah on October 12, 2011, 08:36:02 PM

As As for my question about crossfire mode: Do they have to be exactly the same cards?

According to the wiki, you only need cards of the same generation.  Your 6950 card requires another card of the 69xx series.
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TheAtomicKid
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« Reply #11 on: October 14, 2011, 03:03:11 AM »

what happens, or what used to happen, is the stronger card downshifts to match the weaker card. So a 6970 and a 6950 would perform like a pair of 6950's if you teamed them up.

Atomic
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Ridah
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« Reply #12 on: October 14, 2011, 05:39:23 AM »

Ok good to know, I'm gonna plop another 6950 in there then  Tongue

*after edit

In addition to the 2GB extra RAM I put in too.

Almost forgot, I'll probably need a beefier PSU if I'm gonna be doing two video cards. PSUs are my least favorite hardware component.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2011, 01:26:38 AM by Ridah » Logged

Sean Lama
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« Reply #13 on: October 15, 2011, 06:23:47 AM »

What do you have now?

Atomic
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Ridah
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« Reply #14 on: October 16, 2011, 02:50:40 AM »

I believe it's a 550W PSU, but it doesn't have two PCI-E connectors.
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Sean Lama
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« Reply #15 on: October 16, 2011, 06:22:30 AM »

Get a good quality unit somewhere around 7-800 watts, with at least the number of connectors you'll need for all planned card upgrades. (for instance, a normal pair of 6950's will have two 6 pin pci-e connectors, each, so you'd need four total. And pay attention, because some cards actually want a 6 pin,  and a 6+2 pin or an 8 pin (which are interchangeable, both fit an 8 pin pci-e connector... the 6+2 config also allows fitting to a 6pin, the extra 2 pins sit idle)

For the record, the difference in the connectors. 6 pin connectors carry a rated max of 75 watts of power, and 8 pin carry 150 watts rated max. Your pci-e slot is capable of supplying 75 watts as well, if it's up to spec.

So a card with two 6 pin connectors can draw a theoretical max of 225 watts. I say theoretical because it can draw or demand more, it would just put the connectors over their spec, which may or may not be ok, depending on your gear. Please note that 6xxx series cards have power draw limiting circuitry on them to help prevent pulling more juice than the card can handle. It's also adjustable via software.

For instance, I use an antec signature 850 psu, which would be perfectly suited to what you're planning on. 850 watts is more than a dual gpu system will normally draw, even with a little overclocking, and it comes with 4 pci-e connectors. Dual 6's, and dual 6+2's.

For what you're looking at in here, you really don't need any more than that.

www.jonnyguru.com

Atomic
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