Intel i3-2120 vs. AMD FX-6100

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Intel i3-2120 vs. AMD FX-6100

Postposted on Tue Aug 28, 2012 12:45 pm

Hi gerbils. My cousin asked me to buy and build a system for him to be used for gaming. For his budget, I'm thinking about getting either the i3-2120 or the FX-6100. Now I know the FX-6100 isn't the most well-received CPU ever, particularly due to its weak single-threaded performance, but the thing is, the 6100 usually gets compared to the i5 series, which is not the case here. This is a choice between an i3 (2 strong cores) vs the FX-6100 (6 weak cores). Both chips run at 3.3GHz stock. If we are to assume that each SB core is 2x faster than each BD core at the same clock, it means we need 4 BD cores to match 2 SB cores. But the thing is, you don't have just 4, but SIX BD cores, which kinda suggests that the FX-6100 is ~50% faster than the i3 at least in terms of aggregate performance. I know a lot of you will swear by the i3 given how most games don't even begin to stress 6 cores, but the FX-6100 is just a bit more expensive than the i3-2120 and the allure of getting a 6-core is strong especially when one ventures outside of gaming. There are practically no FX-6100 reviews out there that pit it against the SB i3 chips, and I only got one from FutureMark. Not the best metric, I know.

http://community.futuremark.com/hardwar ... 100/review

Anyway, here are the parts I am choosing from:

Intel Specs: Intel i3-2120, Intel DH67BL board, 2 x 4GB DDR3-1333

AMD Specs: AMD FX-6100, Gigabyte GA-970A-DS3, 2 x 4GB DDR3-1600

Noteworthy Common parts: AMD HD7770 1GB DDR5

Thanks in advance!
Last edited by ronch on Tue Aug 28, 2012 1:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Intel i3-2120 vs. AMD FX-6100

Postposted on Tue Aug 28, 2012 1:07 pm

The i3-2120 will wipe the floor with that FX-6100. If you are using a discrete graphics card, you want the Intel.
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Re: Intel i3-2120 vs. AMD FX-6100

Postposted on Tue Aug 28, 2012 1:13 pm

If you want to say the FX has '6 cores' because of the BD architecture you might as well say the i3 has '4 cores' because of Hyperthreading. The core count, especially with the way AMD counts BD cores, aren't comparable. There's a reason people say Intels are better for gaming, it's because they are :) Check out the gaming benchmarks at the bottom here, this is an i3-2100 (slower than 2120) versus an FX-8150. http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/289?vs=434
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Re: Intel i3-2120 vs. AMD FX-6100

Postposted on Tue Aug 28, 2012 2:04 pm

If overclocking will be involved the FX-6100 would be a good choice. Otherwise the i3 would be better.
:edit:
If you'll be overclocking the FX you'd want to move up to at least the GA-970A-D3 though
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Re: Intel i3-2120 vs. AMD FX-6100

Postposted on Tue Aug 28, 2012 2:32 pm

Yeah, it's already been said, if you're calling an i3 a dual-core, you need to call the FX-6100 a triple-core.

Games still need high IPC first and foremost, Bulldozer has utterly disgraceful IPC - around half of what Sandy Bridge has!

This means that for the 95% of games that use two or fewer threads, the FX-6100 would probably need to be running at over 6GHz to even stand a chance in this matchup.

And before you think that overclocking might be a valid option, have a look at how it OM NOM NOM NOMs power compared to an i3
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Re: Intel i3-2120 vs. AMD FX-6100

Postposted on Tue Aug 28, 2012 2:50 pm

ronch wrote:Hi gerbils. My cousin asked me to buy and build a system for him to be used for gaming. For his budget, I'm thinking about getting either the i3-2120 or the FX-6100. Now I know the FX-6100 isn't the most well-received CPU ever, particularly due to its weak single-threaded performance, but the thing is, the 6100 usually gets compared to the i5 series, which is not the case here. This is a choice between an i3 (2 strong cores) vs the FX-6100 (6 weak cores).


For gaming the 6100 (or, rather, the 6200) will be OK. Certainly sufficient, but not stellar. The i3 is much better. However, for office tasks or any threaded kind of work it would be reasonable to consider the 6100. I would even recommend the phenom II 965, which I bought really cheap, as it gives 4 cores but much more balanced performance.
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Re: Intel i3-2120 vs. AMD FX-6100

Postposted on Tue Aug 28, 2012 2:54 pm

ronch wrote:...to be used for gaming...


= buy an Intel chip.
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Re: Intel i3-2120 vs. AMD FX-6100

Postposted on Tue Aug 28, 2012 4:07 pm

Don't get an Intel motherboard. ASUS, AsRock, or MSI
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Re: Intel i3-2120 vs. AMD FX-6100

Postposted on Wed Aug 29, 2012 1:14 am

Thanks for the replies, people. About the 2 cores vs. 6 cores argument, I'm comparing an SB core with HT (as is the case with the 2120) to a BD integer cluster (or core, if you will). Taken that way, I do believe that each SB core is about 2x faster than a BD integer cluster. That would make the FX-6100 roughly 50% faster (on aggregate) than the 2120. Also, as someone mentioned the 2 cores in 2120 will probably come back to bite it moving forward, so I'm thinking 6 cores offers some future-proofing, but then again, dropping an i5 or i7 later on is also a consideration although I don't think we'll be doing that because he usually uses his PC for years. If we upgrade the i3 to an i5 years later we'll probably have to buy the i5 at a used-parts store.

The FX-6100 only costs something like $10-$15 bucks more, which makes it a valid alternative to the i3.
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Re: Intel i3-2120 vs. AMD FX-6100

Postposted on Wed Aug 29, 2012 2:13 am

I love when people ask for advice, are provided hard evidence, but already have their mind made up so ignore said evidence. Here is a better comparison, i3-2120 vs FX-6100: http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cpu/di ... html#sect0

Bulldozer is just a bad architecture for gaming, full stop.
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Re: Intel i3-2120 vs. AMD FX-6100

Postposted on Wed Aug 29, 2012 2:49 am

Yeah, seriously ronch, what's the point in asking advice if you're going to go against the grain anyway? ANY current i3+ Intel CPU is better for gaming than ANY current AMD chip - TechReport showed that just recently with their "inside the second" article. Heck, two-generation-old Intel CPUs are better than any current AMD chip for gaming. You will be doing your cousin no favours by going with an AMD chip if his intention is to game on it - aggregate performance means very little compared to per-core IPC.

But hey, if you want to go for the "more is faster" line of thought ...
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Re: Intel i3-2120 vs. AMD FX-6100

Postposted on Wed Aug 29, 2012 3:55 am

ManManOriginal and Mentawl : Ok, you got me guys. I was just really curious about the value of the FX-6100. Without benchmarks pitting the two specifically together, the FX seems interesting. I saw the benchmarks already and I think the Core i3 is easily the better bet. There was one bench there that showed the FX performing about 50% better than i3, but, what the heck.

Thanks, people. i3 it is.
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Re: Intel i3-2120 vs. AMD FX-6100

Postposted on Wed Aug 29, 2012 4:02 am

There are specific applications where the FX-6100 is better. If you'd asked about running WinRAR maybe video encoding a lot then one could make an argument for the FX-6100, but not for gaming. The Core i3 will still be 'ok' at least for those other applications anyway and much better for games.
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Re: Intel i3-2120 vs. AMD FX-6100

Postposted on Wed Aug 29, 2012 4:30 am

Yup, as much as I hate to say it, if gaming is your primary use case go Intel. Unless/until AMD gets their act together on IPC, or mainstream games get significantly better at exploiting lots of threads, the choice is clear.

And this is coming from someone who has used AMD exclusively for my desktop builds for over a decade...
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Re: Intel i3-2120 vs. AMD FX-6100

Postposted on Wed Aug 29, 2012 6:19 am

Your reasoning made sense but you made a mistake that threw you off, I think:
ronch wrote:I do believe that each SB core is about 2x faster than a BD integer cluster.

So you accept that one SB core with HT has around double the gaming performance of a single 'dual-core' BD module. Sound reasoning backed up by benchmarks, so have a cookie!
ronch wrote:That would make the FX-6100 roughly 50% faster (on aggregate) than the 2120

Math error, probably caused by confusion between a 'BD-core' and a 'BD-module' ;)
With double the IPC, a single SB core equals roughly two BD modules, but you are comparing 2x SB core with 3x BD modules, not 6x. Rather than having a 50% advantage (on aggregate) it has a 25% disadvantage, which is why the i3 wipes the floor with it in gaming. To add salt to the wounds, games aren't threaded well, so you almost never see the aggregate performance of all three modules in a Bulldozer chip.
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Re: Intel i3-2120 vs. AMD FX-6100

Postposted on Wed Aug 29, 2012 7:10 am

Chrispy_ : Er, no. First off, yes, there are two BD cores (a.k.a. BD integer clusters) in a BD module. Hence, one module has two cores. I do acknowledge that a BD core is a real core because it's independent of everything else that goes on elsewhere, more or less. Hence, the FX-6100 does have 6 cores. The i3-2120 has 2 cores, each of which supports HT.

Each SB core with HT is roughly 2x faster than a BD core, hence, it would take a BD module to match the performance of an SB core in terms of aggregate performance. Doing the math, it means 3 BD modules outperform 2 SB cores by 50%, in aggregate terms, of course.
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Re: Intel i3-2120 vs. AMD FX-6100

Postposted on Wed Aug 29, 2012 9:22 am

ronch wrote:there are two BD cores (a.k.a. BD integer clusters) in a BD module. Hence, one module has two cores. I do acknowledge that a BD core is a real core because it's independent of everything else that goes on elsewhere

mmmmm, I wouldn't call that true entirely. I think you should re-read an article on Bulldozer architecture. I would say that a "Bulldozer core" (1/2 of a module) sits somewhere between an Intel "thread" (i3-2120 has 4 threads) and a true "core" (Phenom x4 or i5-3450 have 4 cores) mostly because of the shared instruction fetch, decode, and FPU.

Regardless, you've been shown hard facts that an i3 is better than any FX at gaming (good link MadMan). Now, here comes the obligatory "Do you live near a Microcenter?" If so, you can pick up a quad core i5-3450 for $150 and get $50 off a motherboard. That would essentially get you a quad core i5 for $25 less than an i3-2120 on newegg.
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Re: Intel i3-2120 vs. AMD FX-6100

Postposted on Wed Aug 29, 2012 12:01 pm

Yeah, well, unfortunately, there's a big pond between me and Microcenter.
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Re: Intel i3-2120 vs. AMD FX-6100

Postposted on Wed Aug 29, 2012 12:26 pm

Chrispy_ wrote:And before you think that overclocking might be a valid option, have a look at how it OM NOM NOM NOMs power compared to an i3

Why does everyone always assume that power consumption is an issue? Typically if you're overclocking that's already been thrown out the window.
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Re: Intel i3-2120 vs. AMD FX-6100

Postposted on Wed Aug 29, 2012 12:44 pm

TDIdriver wrote:Why does everyone always assume that power consumption is an issue? Typically if you're overclocking that's already been thrown out the window.


It can have an effect on selecting a power supply, which may make the difference between buying a cheaper CPU and more expensive PSU or a cheaper PSU and faster CPU. I know which route I'd go.
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Re: Intel i3-2120 vs. AMD FX-6100

Postposted on Wed Aug 29, 2012 12:48 pm

TDIdriver wrote:
Chrispy_ wrote:And before you think that overclocking might be a valid option, have a look at how it OM NOM NOM NOMs power compared to an i3

Why does everyone always assume that power consumption is an issue? Typically if you're overclocking that's already been thrown out the window.

If the power consumption is already high at stock speeds, it makes overclocking even more difficult because you've got to get rid of more heat.
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Re: Intel i3-2120 vs. AMD FX-6100

Postposted on Wed Aug 29, 2012 12:57 pm

ronch wrote:Chrispy_ : Er, no. First off, yes, there are two BD cores (a.k.a. BD integer clusters) in a BD module. Hence, one module has two cores. I do acknowledge that a BD core is a real core because it's independent of everything else that goes on elsewhere, more or less. Hence, the FX-6100 does have 6 cores. The i3-2120 has 2 cores, each of which supports HT.

Each SB core with HT is roughly 2x faster than a BD core, hence, it would take a BD module to match the performance of an SB core in terms of aggregate performance. Doing the math, it means 3 BD modules outperform 2 SB cores by 50%, in aggregate terms, of course.


Bulldozer architecture aside, by all means go buy that FX 6100 and use it for gaming. If and when it doesn't quite have enough ooomph for you , you can go back to this thread and see where everyone recommended the I3.
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Re: Intel i3-2120 vs. AMD FX-6100

Postposted on Wed Aug 29, 2012 1:00 pm

puppetworx wrote:
TDIdriver wrote:Why does everyone always assume that power consumption is an issue? Typically if you're overclocking that's already been thrown out the window.


It can have an effect on selecting a power supply, which may make the difference between buying a cheaper CPU and more expensive PSU or a cheaper PSU and faster CPU. I know which route I'd go.

That hypothetical isn't exactly the case here. A decent 500W PSU would be more than enough for an HD7770 and overclocked FX-6100

and j b i - that's what coolers are for. plus, the i3 can't be overclocked more than 100-200MHz.

:edit:
here's a thread with a comparison between the two
http://www.overclock.net/t/1241743/adve ... erclocking
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Re: Intel i3-2120 vs. AMD FX-6100

Postposted on Wed Aug 29, 2012 1:20 pm

TDIdriver wrote:here's a thread with a comparison between the two

ugh, we're talking gaming here, not benchmarking that can eat as many threads as you throw at it. Yes, there are situations where the FX-6100's extra "cores" give it an advantage over an i3, but those situations are not related to the purpose of this thread.

ronch wrote:Yeah, well, unfortunately, there's a big pond between me and Microcenter.

Like an ocean? Didn't see that you were using DDR3 Apacer memory, that's not real common in the US. Just wondering.
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Re: Intel i3-2120 vs. AMD FX-6100

Postposted on Wed Aug 29, 2012 10:09 pm

Yeah. I live in Mordor. Apacer memory is all the rage here, LOL.
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Re: Intel i3-2120 vs. AMD FX-6100

Postposted on Wed Aug 29, 2012 10:26 pm

The Uruk-hai in Isengard get all the neat new toys while you guys under the red eye are stuck breathing ash. At least you're not from Moria, that technological backwater.
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Re: Intel i3-2120 vs. AMD FX-6100

Postposted on Wed Aug 29, 2012 10:28 pm

You aren't kidding!

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Re: Intel i3-2120 vs. AMD FX-6100

Postposted on Wed Aug 29, 2012 11:03 pm

MadManOriginal wrote:If you want to say the FX has '6 cores' because of the BD architecture you might as well say the i3 has '4 cores' because of Hyperthreading. The core count, especially with the way AMD counts BD cores, aren't comparable. There's a reason people say Intels are better for gaming, it's because they are :) Check out the gaming benchmarks at the bottom here, this is an i3-2100 (slower than 2120) versus an FX-8150. http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/289?vs=434


Ok, I did exactly what you suggest. And unless I'm suddenly unable to read graphs (I haven't had much trouble before!), then the 8150 is drastically better than the i3 most of the time, in most applications.

And Yes, I'm counting more than only games, cause I use a computer for more than only games.

But that's not saying so much. It's the 6100 that we want to compare....
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Re: Intel i3-2120 vs. AMD FX-6100

Postposted on Wed Aug 29, 2012 11:11 pm

MadManOriginal wrote:I love when people ask for advice, are provided hard evidence, but already have their mind made up so ignore said evidence. Here is a better comparison, i3-2120 vs FX-6100: http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cpu/di ... html#sect0

Bulldozer is just a bad architecture for gaming, full stop.


That was a more useful link. But, I had a real problem once in comparing results a few years back of xbitlabs to TechReport, and in fact when I spent several hours really getting into it, I ended up making TechReport my main goto site, and haven't bothered with xbit, expecting them to do whatever mistake they were making again. Sorry, but it wasn't even worth my time to remember. :-). I guess what I'm saying is that I'll just stick with results *here* on TR.
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Re: Intel i3-2120 vs. AMD FX-6100

Postposted on Thu Aug 30, 2012 12:25 am

A decently high clocked Core 2 Duo E6750 (2 Cores) can still play game now a days, with pretty darn good performance to boot. If you attempt to do the same thing with a Phenom X4 9750 (4 Cores), you will be sorely mistaken. It struggles in things that the Core 2 Duo can handle, just because it aged worse. This is because the Core 2 Duo's IPC was superior to the Phenom X4's. I know this to be true because the AMD was my old processor, and the Intel's was my room-mate's processor. Those were our results, both products that competed with each other in 2007-8. Even in general tasks the Core 2 Duo is snappier and deals with modern programs better. This is the exact situation you are looking at here where you have less cores that are more powerful, or more cores that are less powerful. If I could go back, I would tell myself to get the Intel.
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