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Tomshardware 'best gaming CPUs for the money' charts.

Discussion in 'CPUs' started by Uriel, 8 Apr 2010.

  1. Uriel


    Joined: 15 Jan 2006

    Posts: 7,652

    I've always thought "what's the best 'bang for buck' gaming CPU?" should be thought of as a question answered on a sliding scale. It depends on how much you want to spend. It also depends on when you ask the question.

    An i5 750 is not the best bet if you want to spend £60 for example (although by 2012 it might be...).

    I would suggest that people should be making recommendations depending on how much people want to spend.

    Perhaps the best currently published format for these recommendations is the monthly advice fromTomshardware. Here's the latest: http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/best-gaming-cpu,review-31857-7.html

    What do you think of the advice? Is an i7 really 'past the point of reason' for gaming? Should you consider an Phenom II 965 for a new build when for only a little more you can build an i5 750 rig?

    They seem to be rating the dual core i5s about on par with triple core Athlon IIs. I think I agree with that. From benchmarks I've seen the tri-core AIIs are generally slower but when games are fully multi-threaded (as is becoming the case more frequently) performance between the two can be rather similar.

    I must confess, I do look at both their CPU and GPU monthly guides when considering upgrades - mainly for the final table. They advise that if you aren't going to move up at least 3 'tiers' in the chart by upgrading it's not worth the money / hassle. I tend to agree with that (performance arguments aside).
    Last edited: 8 Apr 2010
  2. regulus


    Joined: 18 Aug 2006

    Posts: 9,879

    Location: Wellington, NZ

    From my research the past month I'll be going with a 955 BE myself. About £15 cheaper than the 965 and will handle any game comfortably. I'm NOT saying it's better than the Intel offerings because it's not quite, but for the price it does everything I want from it.
  3. Cooper


    Joined: 16 Jun 2004

    Posts: 2,882

    Damn....my unlocked 550 has to be the best £75 i EVER spent on a CPU....
  4. Tweaker

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 24 Sep 2008

    Posts: 1,751

    When i buy and upgrade, i usually do it only when the results are significantly better. I went from P4 to Core2Duo to Core i7. 6 years and 3 CPU changes, i only gamed on my P4, only gamed on my Core2Duo, but do lots of video encoding on my i7. I cant say that i noticed a massive difference on certain games, Couterstrike went from 110FPS average to 220FPS average, though loading times for everything increased and newer games are sweet on it.

    Is an i7 past the point of reason, unquestionably. A friend of mine has an i3 530 and it is a great CPU for £90, does a lot of what mine does for games and has a cheaper chipset/RAM.

    The only CPU i would recommend to games is the core i3 and core i5. The combinations of chipsets and CPUs to choose from and the fact they are all compatible with the H55/P55 chipsets makes choosing a setup on a budget easier than ever.
  5. eddyc

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 13 Nov 2009

    Posts: 1,105

    Given that in gaming benchmarks the quad i7s seem to score about the same as phenom II x4s (sometimes better sometimes worse) I would agree that they are past the point of reason. But this is only for gaming which is largely driven by gfx card anyway.

    If you are encoding then the i7 will destroy any of the AMD offerings.
  6. Cycrow


    Joined: 11 Nov 2003

    Posts: 2,961

    Location: London

    it also depends on the game.

    some games require more cpu than others, and if u happen to play a cpu heavy game, then a decent cpu upgrade would be worth it.

    however, in most games, u will most likly not see much of a difference.
  7. PhillyDee


    Joined: 12 Feb 2007

    Posts: 14,169

    Location: South Shields

    Depends on the game and what you are upgrading from!
    Take Supreme Commander frinstance, it kills a dual core when gaming with full multiplayer maps, but on a quad with high ghz its awesome.
  8. C64


    Joined: 16 Mar 2007

    Posts: 12,785

    Location: London

    I think things are at a strange point now where all the hardware is way ahead of the games.

    Corei3/5/7 simply isn't even a requirement yet at least not in my mind.

    When a 775 dual core or quad is holding me back then I'll upgrade, and I think that's a longer way away than a lot of people seem to think.
  9. Nymins


    Joined: 7 Mar 2007

    Posts: 9,915

    Location: Belfast

    Seeing how cheap the Athlon II X3, im seriously tempted to whip up a super budget gaming PC. Sold mine for a laptop, but it would be nice to have a budget gaming PC to run on my 19" 1280x1024 monitor!

    Like the way AMD stay with or are backward compatible in their motherboards too.
  10. Hotwired


    Joined: 17 Aug 2009

    Posts: 8,510

    i5 750 looks like its going to be the best value top end single card gaming chip for a relatively long while.

    Unlikely I'd have been disappointed with high end 775 since I was leaving a P4 but I'm glad I waited the extra month for the i5 and didn't bother going the extra quid for the i7. As far as my rig and usage is concerned it would have been a total waste to.
  11. hedgey

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 30 Jan 2003

    Posts: 1,483

    simple. i3. its as fast as any other cpu oc'd with gpu-limited games (and most games are gpu limited)
  12. amateur viking


    Joined: 10 Mar 2010

    Posts: 54

    Location: Keele, Staffs

    I have been doing a bit of research into this over the past couple of weeks for a budget gaming build, and I'm pretty much convinced that cpu choice in gaming is almost a completely moot decision. Performance levels (only in games ofc!) just don't vary that significantly between cpus (especially at higher resolutions).

    Basically pick a socket and a pricepoint and there will probably be something servicable there. If there's a budget constraint, spending on the gpu will give a bigger performance increase per pound (eg i3/athlon ii x4 630 + 5850 is only about £30 more than an i5 750 + 5770 assuming the same spend on a mobo etc)

    I evenutally (after much deliberation) decided on a Phenom x2 555 BE. Was considering the i3 for the longest time but I really like the am3 platform (I have concerns over the future-proofness and architecture of H55/P55)
  13. eddyc

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 13 Nov 2009

    Posts: 1,105

    Might as well go for an unlock if possible. But as you say quad not really necessary yet.
  14. amateur viking


    Joined: 10 Mar 2010

    Posts: 54

    Location: Keele, Staffs

    Alas it's having none of it, haven't quite exhausted all options but it looks like it's a genuinely duff quad: sad times.

    On a brighter note the new build is superfast compared to the E7350/9400M laptop I've been stuck using for games this past year (slightly less portable though!)