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Budget gaming build

By fimbles · 10 replies
Oct 22, 2016
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  1. Its about time I upgraded my sons PC from the old phenom 9850..

    My budget is strictly no more than £400 and I would prefer to shop at scan.co.uk as its local to me so parts arrive quickly. I have a Gtx 970 and an evga 550 watt psu I upgraded earlier, So I only require cpu, ram, motherboard and a SSD to replace the old mechanical. The SSD must be around 500 Gb please as my son has lots of games. A cooler would be nice too :)

    It will be used for gaming at 1080p. And some heavy you tube watching. It will not be overclocked.

    Here are some parts I picked out.
    Total £390.43

    The budget is strict and must include delivery, Any suggestions or comments would be appreciated.

    Cheers :)
  2. EndlessWaves

    EndlessWaves TS Booster Posts: 191   +45

    fimbles likes this.
  3. fimbles

    fimbles TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 1,171   +203

    Thanks for the suggestion. I had no idea the little intels performed so well.

    A i3 6320 build is within budget aswell, Paired with 8 GB of ddr4 2133. I only require 1 PCIE slot, I have no plans to do SLI again in the future, Though its pretty hard to find a single slot ATX motherboard on scan.


    Total: £397.44

    Again I dont need crossfire since I am running a single nvidia Gpu, But its pretty hard to find a single slot ATX board. I would prefer this size as matx will look tiny in the antec case :)

    I also lost the cooler, Probably not required with the tiny power consumption of the cpu, Ill upgrade to a nicer one later.

    Any obvious mistakes you can spot or suggestions would be appreciated, I have always been a AMD person :)
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2016
  4. HardReset

    HardReset TS Maniac Posts: 445   +137

    I prefer FX-8350 over any i3. Reasons:

    - Going from quad core to dual core = going backwards
    - Benchmarks are made with no background tasks. In practice when there are background tasks (inlcuding Windows ones) FX-8350 offers much smoother experience when gaming
    - i3 is easily maxed out with current software where FX-8350 have much more power in reserve for future
    - For anything more serious use (for example virtual machines are very useful) FX-8350 is much better

    Another option: In couple of weeks AM4 socket and Athlon X4 950 should be available. AM4 offers superior upgrade path to 8 thread/16 core Zen. From i3 there is no good upgrade path (upgrading to quad core CPU is much more expensive choice than buying quad core part instantly).
    fimbles likes this.
  5. fimbles

    fimbles TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 1,171   +203

    Sadly you do get more performance in most games even with a dual core. I hate to admit it as an AMD fan but its true. I presume the same background tasks were running for both amd and intel benchmarks that I researched.

    I own a Fx 8150 and find very very few games take advantage of the extra cores anyway, Battlefield 4 and the witcher being exceptions. This has been the case for several years now. I will not use the PC for productivity tasks, Just gaming and you tube.

    Zen will come to late for xmas I think it launches in february 2017.

    The upgrade path for socket 1151 has a lot more choice than socket am3+, With the only real (side)upgrade from a 8150 being a 9590 and I dont like the sound of the electric bill for that bad boy. :)

    Thank you for your ideas though :)
  6. HardReset

    HardReset TS Maniac Posts: 445   +137

    Same background tasks yes. That means: none. Not even network connection is present when benchmarking. Perhaps on some games but general benchmark practice is no background tasks and no network connection. Also failed attempts are re-run.

    There are already many games that run much better with quad core than dual core + HT. DirectX 12/Vulkan will make games use more cores than DirectX 11.

    AM4 will come sooner than Zen (Athlon X4 950) and Zen is compatible with AM4.

    LGA1151 (when buying i3 first) has practically no upgrade path as I already said. Like this:

    - Buy quad core instantly: total cost is quad core price.
    - Buy i3 now and quad core later: for that upgrade to have any sense, price of i3 you are buying now and price of quad core CPU you are going to upgrade in distant future combined should not exceed what quad core cost today. Good luck with that. In numbers: Quad core cost now £339, i3 cost today £154. So when you upgrade to quad core it should not cost more than £185. Better to put it to £150 as buying quad core instantly gives better machine for long time. Good luck with that.
    fimbles likes this.
  7. EndlessWaves

    EndlessWaves TS Booster Posts: 191   +45

    There's nothing special about core count, it's just one of many factors that determine performance. Refusing to buy a dual core CPU is like refusing to buy a CPU that runs at less than 4Ghz.

    Most tasks don't use any significant resources when they're in the background, certainly all of the default windows ones do not. Do you have anything more concrete on that?

    The FX-8350 is celebrating it's fourth birthday today and as you say yourself it's just a few months from being replaced. If game developers were going to optimise for it then they would have done so by now. Expecting any more performance from it at this point is highly speculative (I.e. unlikely).

    Anything more serious? If you peruse the Anandtech review above you'll find that it also falls behind the 6100 in many non-gaming uses as well. There are a few applications well suited to it's design, but gaming certainly isn't the only area it falls behind.

    If you knew the computer was going to be used for one of the things then it would make sense.

    Generally the 6100 has all the incidental benefits too. It's substantially lower power, supports all the new technologies by default, has built in video encoding (quicksync) for streaming games so it's the choice to go for even if the two are similar on performance.

    The trouble with calling an unreleased chip superior is that you're guessing. If it is superior then it's likely to be more expensive, not cheaper and will drop the price of the quad core Intel chips.

    I wouldn't bother with the 6320, the performance difference is minimal. Stick with the 6100 or pay £20-30 extra for the 6400/6500 which are sufficiently faster in some games (30% instead of 6-8%)

    Ah, you didn't say it was going in a windowed case and appearances were important. Personally I'd find unfilled PCI (not PCI-Express) slots weren't something I'd want to show off and if I was going to buy a show board it would have slots I might plausibly fill one day (I.e. PCI-E).

    Intel's stock cooler isn't particularly quiet at load, but as you say you can easily swap it out after you've tried it for a week or two.

    I'd probably buy faster memory myself. DDR4-2666 or DDR4-3000 is just a pound or two more. Unfortunately you do need a Z170 board to take advantage of it (at least until the Kaby lake chipsets release after Christmas) but even if you end up not going for one it's more useful for any future upgrades.
    fimbles likes this.
  8. HardReset

    HardReset TS Maniac Posts: 445   +137

    More concrete? No problem. Svchost.exe and Trustedinstaller.exe can can easily put one core to 100% load. Also WmiPrvSE.exe can cause nasty load. Good luck with dual core, even with triple core (=three real cores) those are pain in the *ss even when doing just normal web surfing with very few tabs.

    FX-8350 will benefit from software that uses many cores even without CPU specific optimization. We can however speculate when (or if) games start to use more cores.

    Those non-gaming tasks is falls behind are low thread usage cases. But, FX-8350 is almost immune to background tasks when running low thread benchmark, i3 is not. As even two processes that put one core to 100% load will effectively choke out i3.

    I didn't see it fall behind badly on gaming. After all, it's no matter if CPU gives 80 or 90 FPS, unless having 144 Hz monitor. And then both are too slow anyway.

    New technologies = ? AVX?

    Streaming encoding are better done with GPU.

    Trouble? There won't be 8 core CPU for LGA1151, ever. It's already confirmed there will be 8 core CPU for AM4.

    4 core Zen is also confirmed. It probably won't drop Intel current CPU's prices much though. There's no reason for AMD to go price war so Zen will be priced bit lower than equally fast Intel costs. As many will buy Intel anyway, no matter if AMD is better on everything AND cheaper.

    This I agree.
    fimbles likes this.
  9. fimbles

    fimbles TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 1,171   +203

    Thanks for your input guys. I see both points of view and have to agree its a very close call. I think I will be going with the AMD build.

    Final build (possibly!)

    Total: £398.94

    I went with the black edition with the wraith cooler to afford a little overclocking headroom, The motherboard is also SLI compatible, Though I probably wont use it, It makes more sense than a crossfire board I can never use.

    Very impressed with the little i3 benchmark results though, And probably wrongly still a little worried about having just 2 cores.
    I monitor my CPU while gaming with msi afterburner and find that 6 cores are in use for most games, And games like Rise of the tomb raider and fallout 4 use 8, Though not at full load they all hover around 50% usage.

    Memory speed also seems to be an important performance factor for the i3, And the added cost of a Z mobo to run that fast ram is also an issue.

    Better the devil you know I guess. Thanks for the help! :)
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2016
  10. EndlessWaves

    EndlessWaves TS Booster Posts: 191   +45

    I meant actual tests to show this is a problem in reality, not a theoretical one. Come on, how often are you likely to have the Windows Module Installer doing something while playing a game?

    Because most of the tests I've seen on the difference between running background programs and not haven't made one little bit of difference:

    It's just a performance characteristic. They're two different designs that each have their strengths and weaknesses. There are situations where the FX-8000 is notably ahead of the i3-6000, but equally there are situations where it suffers from stuttering compared to the Skylake dual core, for example:

    That CPU design doesn't have traditional cores but 'modules' that are sort of a blend of one and two cores with one copy of some components and two copies of others. The FX-8000 chips have four modules and it's entirely possible that they're being limited in games by the things it has four copies of like the floating point units (FPUs) and not those it has eight copies of and will get no benefit at all even if games are splitting up their work better five years down the line.

    As I say, at this point it's highly speculative whether it'll gain any performance in future. AMD have produced Opteron-branded eight module chips like the 6380 so benchmarking one of those would be give an idea on what's limiting an FX-8000 but as far as I know nobody's done so recently.

    Given hardware of comparable age maybe, but Skylake Quicksync supports hardware encoding to the latest low bandwidth/high quality HEVC format, the GTX 970 doesn't.

    Like the 6320 it doesn't make a lot of sense to spend that much when an i5 isn't much more. Given they're unlocked I'd be looking at the bottom of the range if you want to go that way. The average overclock will be slightly less as they'll be from worse bins but it's usually within a couple of hundred megahertz. I'm not sure if AMD are still bundling the old cooler with them instead of the new 95W/125W thermal solution. The intel one may be slightly noisy, but the AMD one was very noisy.
  11. HardReset

    HardReset TS Maniac Posts: 445   +137

    TrustedInstaller don't really ask when it starts doing something. It usually stresses disk also, with SSD it annoys much less.

    Basically they installed bunch of software that don't really stress CPU. Not surprising that software that is just sitting on memory and not doing anything have no effect on performance.

    But as we can read from first link:

    It's not that simple. Personally when I start my desktop, I immediately kill two processes. Something went wrong when installing keyboard drivers and two keyboard driver processes overall maximize one core (about 13% CPU load). Too much for me, even with 8 cores.

    Not surprising that 2013 game runs better on CPU that is good on single thread tasks. It just tells how bad software we are using.

    About 90% of all code is integer. That was the main reason for using only "half" FPU per core. i3 CPU's have two floating point units. FX-8xxx CPU's have four. Considering how well i3 performs with just two FPU's, four FPU's should last quite a bit. So it's quite easy to say FX-series bottleneck won't be FPU for long time.

    FX-8000 main problems slow L2 cache and inability to adjust core voltage and L2 voltage independently. Latter one heavily limits clock speed. And as usual, new architecture has some other problems too but AMD never bothered to "fix" Bulldozer. Some sources say AMD could have "repaired" Bulldozer design available somewhere around 2017, it was meant to be backup plan if Zen fails. Because AMD seems to be fully focused on Zen and Zen's "strong core, low clock speed" -architecture is much more suitable for 14nm LPP process, we probably never see "fixed" Bulldozer design. Sad.

    Quick look did not reveal much performance gain from that.

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