CPU, to upgrade or not...

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CPU, to upgrade or not...

Postposted on Tue Mar 18, 2014 6:33 am

Hi all,

Currently the main pc I've running is this:
Phenom II X3 720 at 3.2GHz (3 cores, unlocking 4th won't work) with the awesome €15 Arctic cooling Freezer 64 Pro cooler
Gigabyte GA-990XA-UD3 AM3+
2x4GB Corsair XMS3 1333
Powercolor HD 6870 1GB (with incredibly bad loud cooler..)
Asus Xonar DG (hooked up on an old Cambridge soundworks 2.1Set)
Windows 8.1 Pro X64 OS

so I am noticing that in most games my cpu is a little weak, Take Thief4 where all 3 cores are running at 100%, or World of tanks (bad single threaded game) in which 99% of one core is used most of the time.
from the RadeonPro OSD I can see that the 6870 isn't running at 100% so my cpu is definitely not fast enough to feed everything.
as for FPS, I'm running on an 1680x1050 monitor single screen setup, and with WoT I get between 35-60FPS with almost everything on highest settings (lowering them doesn't seem to affect the cpu enough to raise my fps)
for thief I'm at around 20-35FPS with relatively high settings.

Besides gaming I have the pc running almost all day as fileserver(Music and Video) using SMB and foobar's UPNP server for my HTPC, Sabnzbd with sickbeard, SSH server (as filesharing/tunnel/proxy)

As far as I can see I have 4 options:
1. upgarde to an FX8320 (cheapest option €135,-)
2. upgrade to an FX8350 (€170,-)
3. Turn to the Dark side and go the Intel path (on which I would need some advise)
4. Don't upgrade for now (maybe AMD will release something nice in a short time....)

what to do, what to do...
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Re: CPU, to upgrade or not...

Postposted on Tue Mar 18, 2014 6:59 am

Bonusbartus wrote:As far as I can see I have 4 options:
1. upgarde to an FX8320 (cheapest option €135,-)
2. upgrade to an FX8350 (€170,-)
3. Turn to the Dark side and go the Intel path (on which I would need some advise)
4. Don't upgrade for now (maybe AMD will release something nice in a short time....)

what to do, what to do...


At any one time you are almost always going to have four options, or more, similar to this. Just decide how much you can spend right now. Intel = better power and perf, but more expensive. AMD = cheap CPU upgrade, with an increase in power.

I don't really count on future releases unless they are REALLY close. There is always something better on the horizon.

edit: Personally, I prefer Intel. You can still get decent prices if you look for sales. Better performance in almost every aspect and lower power. Just too good to pass up unless you have some weird allegiance to AMD for whatever odd reason you justify. As for advice, here is the system guide. http://techreport.com/review/26082/tr-f ... stem-guide
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Re: CPU, to upgrade or not...

Postposted on Tue Mar 18, 2014 8:07 am

Also consider the FX-6300 which you can pickup in the Netherlands for about 100 EUR. It's within a few percent of the FX-83XX in single threaded and gaming performance. Great bang for buck, especially if you choose to overclock.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/6396/the-vishera-review-amd-fx8350-fx8320-fx6300-and-fx4300-tested

Nobody in the press seems to be expecting another AM3+/FX chips to be announced, AMD looks to be all in on APUs, so waiting before upgrading is probably just delaying the inevitable.
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Re: CPU, to upgrade or not...

Postposted on Tue Mar 18, 2014 8:26 am

Bonusbartus,

I am tempted to recommend an FX 8320 in your situation. It would probably get the job done for you for the least cost. It would be a drop in upgrade. It would probably last you for several years, especially if you overclock the thing. You could take the savings and put it into a new video card, if you wanted to, thus getting that noisy 6870 out of your life. If you were needing a new motherboard anyway, I would wholeheartedly recommend an i5, but in your case, an FX 8320 seems to make sense. If you plan on jumping on DDR 4 soon after it launches, then a stop-gap upgrade to the FX 8320 makes even more sense.

On the other hand ( :lol: ) going to the dark side would probably give you a longer lasting machine. It would certainly be faster in most typical scenarios. If you plan to make this upgrade last you for several years then my recommendation switches toward purchasing an i5 - you'd not only get the faster, cooler, less power consuming processor, but you'd get the benefits of the platform upgrade, too, which you'd have to evaluate vis-a-vis your current motherboard. I'd recommend looking at Asrock motherboards if you consider an Intel build. I've used them for a half dozen builds around my office over the last two years and they're all going strong and problem-free. They're usually either cheaper for the same features or more features at the same price compared to other major motherboard brands.

To me, the decision is about whether the upgrade is a long-term or short-term proposition. Long-term: go with in i5 4670. Short-term: go with the FX 8320.
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Re: CPU, to upgrade or not...

Postposted on Tue Mar 18, 2014 8:35 am

DancinJack wrote:At any one time you are almost always going to have four options, or more, similar to this. Just decide how much you can spend right now. Intel = better power and perf, but more expensive. AMD = cheap CPU upgrade, with an increase in power.

I don't really count on future releases unless they are REALLY close. There is always something better on the horizon.

edit: Personally, I prefer Intel. You can still get decent prices if you look for sales. Better performance in almost every aspect and lower power. Just too good to pass up unless you have some weird allegiance to AMD for whatever odd reason you justify. As for advice, here is the system guide. http://techreport.com/review/26082/tr-f ... stem-guide

Well it isn't that I don't want an intel solution, it's that I have a pc with an AM3+ socket which will accept an FX3XX. So thet question really is, how much performance do I gain by swapping my X3 720 for a 8320/8320/6300

puppetworx wrote:Also consider the FX-6300 which you can pickup in the Netherlands for about 100 EUR. It's within a few percent of the FX-83XX in single threaded and gaming performance. Great bang for buck, especially if you choose to overclock.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/6396/the-vishera-review-amd-fx8350-fx8320-fx6300-and-fx4300-tested

Nobody in the press seems to be expecting another AM3+/FX chips to be announced, AMD looks to be all in on APUs, so waiting before upgrading is probably just delaying the inevitable.


Exactly what I was thinking, about the 6300, It isn;t that I can't spend the €50 extra on the 8320, but I agree with you that it might be a nice solution because of the power consumption and the small performance difference in singlethreaded cases.
Still the big question is, how much would I gain from upgrading my 720, and which cpu would be my best choice. the 6300 for 2/3s of the price, and upgrade my whole platform in 1 or 2 years? the 8320/50 (I don't think the 8350 worth it over the 8320)


flip-mode wrote:Bonusbartus,

I am tempted to recommend an FX 8320 in your situation. It would probably get the job done for you for the least cost. It would be a drop in upgrade. It would probably last you for several years, especially if you overclock the thing. You could take the savings and put it into a new video card, if you wanted to, thus getting that noisy 6870 out of your life. If you were needing a new motherboard anyway, I would wholeheartedly recommend an i5, but in your case, an FX 8320 seems to make sense. If you plan on jumping on DDR 4 soon after it launches, then a stop-gap upgrade to the FX 8320 makes even more sense.

On the other hand ( :lol: ) going to the dark side would probably give you a longer lasting machine. It would certainly be faster in most typical scenarios. If you plan to make this upgrade last you for several years then my recommendation switches toward purchasing an i5 - you'd not only get the faster, cooler, less power consuming processor, but you'd get the benefits of the platform upgrade, too, which you'd have to evaluate vis-a-vis your current motherboard. I'd recommend looking at Asrock motherboards if you consider an Intel build. I've used them for a half dozen builds around my office over the last two years and they're all going strong and problem-free. They're usually either cheaper for the same features or more features at the same price compared to other major motherboard brands.

To me, the decision is about whether the upgrade is a long-term or short-term proposition. Long-term: go with in i5 4670. Short-term: go with the FX 8320.


I think I agree fully with what you say, I hadn't decided (or thought) about the upgrade to ddr4, and I think that would definitely be a reason to ma a "stop-gap" upgrade to an 8320 as you call it. I'm just hoping I won't be disappointed by the cpu after upgrading... especially in games like WoT.
I'm not sure about overclocking, my current cpu got OC'ed from2.6 to 3.2 with my cheap-ass acrtic-cooling cooler, but I'm not certain it is rated for the 8320 (iirc it was rated for 125tdp but I'm not sure.. there have been quite a few revisions of it).
The 6870 isn't going to be replaced any time soon I think, but maybe if I can sell it for a good price... ;)

thanks for all your advice anyway
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Re: CPU, to upgrade or not...

Postposted on Tue Mar 18, 2014 8:43 am

Bonusbartus wrote:I think I agree fully with what you say, I hadn't decided (or thought) about the upgrade to ddr4, and I think that would definitely be a reason to ma a "stop-gap" upgrade to an 8320 as you call it. I'm just hoping I won't be disappointed by the cpu after upgrading... especially in games like WoT.
I'm not sure about overclocking, my current cpu got OC'ed from2.6 to 3.2 with my cheap-ass acrtic-cooling cooler, but I'm not certain it is rated for the 8320 (iirc it was rated for 125tdp but I'm not sure.. there have been quite a few revisions of it).
The 6870 isn't going to be replaced any time soon I think, but maybe if I can sell it for a good price... ;)

thanks for all your advice anyway



With all the money in the world, a platform upgrade to Intel's haswell would be the absolute best option, but for many upgrades, there is a budget.

If you're going to an 8320 from an X3, you'll find a world of difference, and will not be disappointed! This is what I would do. And then take the money saved and upgrade the video card to something like an R9-270X or a GTX 760.
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Re: CPU, to upgrade or not...

Postposted on Tue Mar 18, 2014 9:00 am

Hey man, looks like you and I have a few things in common. I used to have a Phenom II X3 720 before my current processor although I was lucky enough to get a unit whose 4th core unlocked just fine and clock all 4 cores at 3.3GHz max without a hitch even after stress testing using the stock cooler. Now I'm also rocking a Gigabyte AMD board. And it looks like you love the Thief series. Me too!

As for upgrading, I had a lot of sleepless nights thinking of whether to get an FX-8350 or a 3570K. The i5 is better for lightly threaded stuff but more and more apps are able to utilize more and more cores which will allow the 8350 to pull ahead as time goes on, plus, no other CPU has had me so intrigued with it more than the Bulldozer architecture, and I just had to get it. Eventually ended up with the 8350 which I don't regret one bit at all. I highly recommend it! Perhaps you're less intrigued by it than I am but in terms of performance my 8350 never holds me back. It's a multitasking monster! I've never overclocked it, by the way. Be sure to grab a good aftermarket cooler should you decide to upgrade your CPU, especially since those stock coolers, especially the FX-8350's, are pretty crappy.
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Re: CPU, to upgrade or not...

Postposted on Tue Mar 18, 2014 9:24 am

Bonusbartus wrote:Still the big question is, how much would I gain from upgrading my 720, and which cpu would be my best choice.

1) There are some games that don't care as much about CPU differences (GPU-controlled), and there are some games that will exaggerate CPU differences (CPU-controlled). Typically, games like Starcraft/Civ 5/etc with lots of units shown on the screen at once, as well as multiplayer (online) gaming fall into the latter category.
2) I had to dig back a ways to get an X3 on a TR chart, but have a look at this graph. That's an example of a CPU-controlled game.
3) On the contrary, there are games like BF3 (extreme example) and the like, where there is less differentiation between CPUs. These games, usually FPS's, are GPU-controlled.

As you can see, Intel i5's are the best gaming CPUs right now. Having an Intel i5 will ensure that you're always extracting max performance from your rig under any gaming circumstances and at a lower power draw than AMD FX. However, cost is also a factor. In that regard, I have to agree with flip-mode. Since you already have a supporting AM3+ mobo, the AMD FX (6300?) route is probably the most cost-effective for you at this point (depending on how power-concious you are) as a 2-3 year stop-gap. Think of an Intel i5 as more of a long-term (3-5 year) investment.

I don't recommend AMD CPUs very often these days, but the FX's are by no means a "bad" CPU. It saves you the cost of a new mobo (~$80-$100) which you could spend on a replacement (quieter) GPU. You'll have a faster CPU, quieter (faster?) GPU = Instant gratification.
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Re: CPU, to upgrade or not...

Postposted on Tue Mar 18, 2014 9:57 am

Bonusbartus wrote:As far as I can see I have 4 options:
1. upgarde to an FX8320 (cheapest option €135,-)
2. upgrade to an FX8350 (€170,-)
3. Turn to the Dark side and go the Intel path (on which I would need some advise)
4. Don't upgrade for now (maybe AMD will release something nice in a short time....)

what to do, what to do...


You can overclock FX-8320 to FX-8350 very easilly so skip FX-8350.

My bet is FX-6300 or FX-8320 depending on price difference.

3. You already have good motherboard, I cannot see why you should change that.

4. AM3+ and LGA1150 upgrade paths are no go. Both AMD and Intel expected DDR4 to be widely available already so I highly doubt there will be anything new and interesting for AM3+ or LGA1150.
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Re: CPU, to upgrade or not...

Postposted on Tue Mar 18, 2014 11:07 am

Bonusbartus wrote:Well it isn't that I don't want an intel solution, it's that I have a pc with an AM3+ socket which will accept an FX3XX. So thet question really is, how much performance do I gain by swapping my X3 720 for a 8320/8320/6300


AMD FX-6300 vs Phenom II X3

TLDR: Gains will be significant in both single-threaded (~+25%) and multi-threaded (~+100%) scenarios.
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Re: CPU, to upgrade or not...

Postposted on Tue Mar 18, 2014 7:26 pm

I believe that an FX-8320 or FX-8350 is your reasonable upgrade path.
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Re: CPU, to upgrade or not...

Postposted on Tue Mar 18, 2014 7:44 pm

JustAnEngineer wrote:I believe that an FX-8320 or FX-8350 is your reasonable upgrade path.


I still think the 6300 is a better option, as nothing the OP does is highly threaded. The lower TDP of the 6300 would put less strain on the motherboard VRMs, not to mention produce less heat and noise. It is also cheaper ($119 vs $199 - although newegg has a deal on the 8350 for $169 after promo code + free shipping right now).

If the OP can get the 8350 while the promo code is active, and he can spare $169, then by all means go for it.
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Re: CPU, to upgrade or not...

Postposted on Tue Mar 18, 2014 10:02 pm

By the way, why don't you check out Anandtech's Bench section? You can pit the CPUs you are considering buying against each other. Granted, the apps used haven't been updated in a while but you'll at least get an idea how much faster your planned CPU would be compared to your X3.

http://www.anandtech.com/Bench/CPU/2

Edit - And here's another one. I don't totally trust it but it looks worthy of consideration. Their website looks real pretty too!

http://cpuboss.com/

If you compare the FX-8350 to any Intel chip it's also interesting to see that the FX supports practically every x86 instruction set extension with the exception of AVX 2.0, which debuted with Haswell. MMX, SSE1 all through SSE4.1 and 4.2, AVX, AES-NI, FMA3 and FMA4, F16C and XOP... the FX has it all. AMD's AVX throughput, however, is half of Intel's, given how Sandy Bridge and onwards can put out a 256-bit ADD and 256-bit MUL in one go, while AMD can only do either a 256-bit ADD or MUL in one pass. AMD makes up for it with FMA, however. The FX's FPU is actually quite formidable.
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Re: CPU, to upgrade or not...

Postposted on Wed Mar 19, 2014 12:55 am

ronch wrote:If you compare the FX-8350 to any Intel chip it's also interesting to see that the FX supports practically every x86 instruction set extension with the exception of AVX 2.0, which debuted with Haswell. MMX, SSE1 all through SSE4.1 and 4.2, AVX, AES-NI, FMA3 and FMA4, F16C and XOP... the FX has it all. AMD's AVX throughput, however, is half of Intel's, given how Sandy Bridge and onwards can put out a 256-bit ADD and 256-bit MUL in one go, while AMD can only do either a 256-bit ADD or MUL in one pass. AMD makes up for it with FMA, however. The FX's FPU is actually quite formidable.


Except it has to share 1 FPU unit between two cores in a module. The resultant FPU power ends up lower than Sandy Bridge.

http://techreport.com/r.x/amd-fx-8350/aida-julia.gif
http://techreport.com/r.x/amd-fx-8350/aida-mandel.gif

If we're talking integer, though, then Piledriver is a beast.
http://techreport.com/r.x/amd-fx-8350/aida-hash.gif

Source.
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Re: CPU, to upgrade or not...

Postposted on Wed Mar 19, 2014 1:08 am

I'd recommend switching to a nvidia card too, considering how inefficient amd's driver is. Something like a 760 or used 570. A 470 will actually outperform a 7970 in cpu limited scenarios, because of the driver. I have a phenom IIx6 on a ddr2 board, and it runs games fine, but I suppose having a few more cores doesn't hurt performance either. I always thought those X3's were a bad deal, while overclockable quad cores like the 960T were more of the the sweet spot.

TR shows AMD moving from 69 fps to 110 by switching to mantle, while nvidia gets 93. That overhead is too large to ignore, not to mention non-gcn cards don't get mantle or priority driver optimization. The video card would be my first upgrade, as newer architecture is more efficient and you could possibly see a 25% improvement just from using nvidia's driver, and then oc the cpu to see if a new chip is really necessary afterwards. Also, another reason to avoid AMD cards is the inflated prices due to coin miners buying up all the cards. You'll pay more and get less if you go the amd route.

That said, I've just looked at a few thief benchmarks, and it performs pretty poorly on any amd cpu, although that cpu benchmark didn't use mantle or a nvidia card. Hell, the i3 beats the 8350, and all the phenoms get framerates in the 30's. Looks like a case of poor optimization (for amd), and I'd wait for driver updates and a game patch. The x6 doesn't show any improvements over the x4 either, only raw clockspeed, so overclocking to 4ghz would probably be the best option for amd users.
Another review:
We actually did not consider making a CPU benchmark for this game simply because we really see no reason, this is not an open world game and the number of AI is very limited. Also since this is a Eidos Montreal and Square Enix game, we didn’t expect it to be CPU dependent, and boy were we wrong. The game is a CPU hog but more in a sense of bad optimization than anything else. Although this a game that was sponsored by AMD, and the GPUs are working very good, CPU performance of AMD’s processors is pretty awful to say the least. This is obviously an oversight by the developers since there is absolutely no reason why an average quad core CPU such as the FX 4300 wouldn’t run this game at a playable framerate. We find it absolutely absurd that Eidos hasn’t optimized this game for AMD’s CPUs in the first place since they are the ones who are sponsoring.We do understand that Eidos had their hands full with Mantle, but not optimizing the game in plain DirectX 11 for FX processors is simply something that is unforgivable. It is truly outrageous to see that the i3 4340 beats the FX 8350 (as well as the other FX processors) by 80-100%…

Sounds like the cpu performance could have been crippled to showcase mantle to me. Physx level shenanigans.
Last edited by l33t-g4m3r on Wed Mar 19, 2014 5:18 am, edited 6 times in total.
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Re: CPU, to upgrade or not...

Postposted on Wed Mar 19, 2014 1:25 am

If you I were you, I'd get the guaranteed 4GHz FX-8350. In the very few decent single threaded games still clinging onto life support, the clock rate is what matters, but for modern, multi-core optimized engines, the 8 cores will kick ass. I bought an FX-8350 when they first came out, along with a Gigabyte 990FXA-UD7 1.1 mobo, and have it overclocked to 4.5GHz completely rock solid stable (and extremely quiet) with a cheap little Antec Kuhler 620 water cooler. If you're going to keep your mobo, go for the best chip you can drop into it for the drop in upgrade. Yes, as mentioned, the FX-6300 is also a compelling option if you really want to save money and don't mind overclocking. And don't listen to those telling you to spend the money to go Intel. Unless you're going to run 2 or more graphics cards, in the vast majority of games, you're not buying yourself any appreciable extra FPS going with a new mobo and an i5 vs. the FX-8350. The expense of replacing the mobo to get an i5 is just not worth the few extra FPS if you've already got an AM3+ mobo.

Save the extra money by just grabbing either an FX-6300, or (recommended option) the FX-8350 and get a 7000-series/R9 graphics cards instead. I wouldn't go any lower than a 7870 or R9 270X when upgrading from your 6870.

Good luck.
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Re: CPU, to upgrade or not...

Postposted on Wed Mar 19, 2014 10:13 am

editing...
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Re: CPU, to upgrade or not...

Postposted on Thu Mar 20, 2014 3:15 am

Well thanks for all the replies,

Currently I have almost made up my mind to go for the 8320 because of its pricepoint.
I'll probably be buying here https://www.4launch.nl/shop/#p-3-subshop-Componenten-hoofdcategorie-Processors-subcategorie-AM3%20--%20FX as its near, and one of the cheapest places with good service around.
so if anyone sees something on this list which to convince me to buy anything else I'll be buying the 8320 next week.
still.. the 6300 and even the 6350 also seem nice (though the 6350 doesn't have the 95Watt TDP advantage the 6300 has)
I'm still wondering about my cpu cooler, the old (extremely silent) Arctic-cooling Freezer64 Pro has always done its job and was rated for 130Watts,
maybe I'll just grab the newer Freezer13Pro rated up to 200Watt

my 6870 will stay for the time being, unless I can sell it for a nice price:)
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Re: CPU, to upgrade or not...

Postposted on Thu Mar 20, 2014 6:15 am

Go for the 95W FX-6300 and spend that €35 on something else. Your motivation is games so you would gain very little or nothing there with a 8320, especially if you are planning to keep the Radeon 6870 for a while. Those 6 threads at 3.5Ghz+ will be fine for the next couple of years even with the updated and new game engines coming along because they will be mainly designed around or for the 6 threads at 1.6Ghz available on PS4 and XBone.
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