Best CPU for a non-techie build

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Best CPU for a non-techie build

Postposted on Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:37 am

I have a neighbour I am building a system for and need some CPU advice.
I'm an experienced system builder but not much experience on choosing lower end CPU.

I was looking at setting them up with something that can last them 3-4 years for about $400 total system cost.
The most money so far is going into the CPU and I was aiming for a minimum of a quadcore. I was looking at the following options:
AMD Bulldozer X4 FX-4170 $110
AMD Bulldozer X6 FX-6200 $125
AMD A10-5800K $129
Intel Core i5 2450P $150

The Intel premium seems balance out in that I can save $20-30 on motherboards with more features than similar priced boards for AMD.

Also should I lower the sights and look at dual and tri-cores?
Advice appreciated.
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Re: Best CPU for a non-techie build

Postposted on Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:49 am

You say non-techie, but what's your neighbor expecting to do with the system?
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Re: Best CPU for a non-techie build

Postposted on Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:53 am

I would go with intel all the way. You can get a 22nm pentium 2130 at newegg for 99.99 and is a snappy CPU, Also by going 1155 you have the option of upgrading the cpu down the line.

If your friend needs more graphics power and you are not using a discrete GPU "note a discrete gpu can be added to the intel setup" possibly a fm2 AMD apu might be in order. But i just do not see it lasting 4 years and i am not sure what sorta upgrade path you might use a couple years down the line that won't be cpu limited with the AMD setup.
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Re: Best CPU for a non-techie build

Postposted on Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:55 am

absurdity wrote:You say non-techie, but what's your neighbor expecting to do with the system?


Some office work, facebook and email, biggest thing was to have it beefy enough to last for years without feeling sluggish on an O/S upgrade.
Any gaming would not be graphics or CPU intensive (though with some facebook games you gotta wonder)
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Re: Best CPU for a non-techie build

Postposted on Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:59 am

vargis14 wrote:I would go with intel all the way. You can get a 22nm pentium 2130 at newegg for 99.99 and is a snappy CPU, Also by going 1155 you have the option of upgrading the cpu down the line.

If your friend needs more graphics power and you are not using a discrete GPU "note a discrete gpu can be added to the intel setup" possibly a fm2 AMD apu might be in order. But i just do not see it lasting 4 years and i am not sure what sorta upgrade path you might use a couple years down the line that won't be cpu limited with the AMD setup.

Upgrade planning would not be in order. To reference they are using a Pentium Celeron right now (sorry don't know the model but it is DDR1 ram in it)
They are not the type of people to update their computer so the machine has to be one that will survive the test of time.
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Re: Best CPU for a non-techie build

Postposted on Wed Feb 06, 2013 11:02 am

[quote="vargis14"]I would go with intel all the way. You can get a 22nm pentium 2130 at newegg for 99.99 and is a snappy CPU, [quote]
Nope, no I cannot. not everyone lives in the USA. it is almost $140 for me up in Canada.

I listed the feasible options in my list to give pricing ideas. the prices I listed include delivery to me.
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Re: Best CPU for a non-techie build

Postposted on Wed Feb 06, 2013 11:05 am

I still would definitely go with 1155 then a pentium 2130 2.9ghz for 99$ and then get a cheap antec case that comes with the earthwatts 380 watt psu, unless you have a case already.

The 380 watt psu will even allow for a much more powerful cpu and a decent graphics card down the road if the need somehow arise should arise. Plus it is a very reliable PSU. Also the antec psu will work well with AMD also.

Have you tried NCIX for prices?

The 2450p 1155 cpu is very fast and will last a long time before it seems slow. Perhaps overkill though.
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Re: Best CPU for a non-techie build

Postposted on Wed Feb 06, 2013 12:57 pm

I'd go Intel unless you're going for an APU build.
Power consumption makes an appreciable difference compared to the FX chips.
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Re: Best CPU for a non-techie build

Postposted on Wed Feb 06, 2013 1:20 pm

Remember the "p" suffix at the end of i5 listed.
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Re: Best CPU for a non-techie build

Postposted on Wed Feb 06, 2013 1:33 pm

If you were trying to build a budget gaming machine with a discrete graphics card, the Intel Sandy/Ivy Pentiums are the way to go. However, you say office/productivity use, low-end games, and long life-expectancy. For this you should be thinking more cores + decent integrated graphics = AMD A8-5500 or above. (you can stilll add a discrete GPU to an APU later on if need be) I doubt your neighbor is going to be interested or know how to overclock the CPU so the "K" suffix is a moot point.

[Edit:] Keep in mind AMD Richland APUs may be out as early as the middle of March but no later than June.
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Re: Best CPU for a non-techie build

Postposted on Wed Feb 06, 2013 1:49 pm

DPete27 wrote:If you were trying to build a budget gaming machine with a discrete graphics card, the Intel Sandy/Ivy Pentiums are the way to go. However, you say office/productivity use, low-end games, and long life-expectancy. For this you should be thinking more cores + decent integrated graphics = AMD A8-5500 or above. (you can stilll add a discrete GPU to an APU later on if need be) I doubt your neighbor is going to be interested or know how to overclock the CPU so the "K" suffix is a moot point.

[Edit:] Keep in mind AMD Richland APUs may be out as early as the middle of March but no later than June.


Hence my selection of CPUs above. 4 cores plus decent speeds. Plus the budget on CPU capping out at about $150 where I can get them on short notice, most are in stock at a local supplier.
hmm I can get an A8-3870K for $95 now.

The neighbour is replacing the computer since his old one is dying (crashes every few days pretty spectacular, but comes back). When it dies completely he will be in a rush to replace. Right now he flip flops over replacing it.
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Re: Best CPU for a non-techie build

Postposted on Wed Feb 06, 2013 2:11 pm

Well, the only CPU listed in your original list that includes an IGP is the A10. The FX CPUs would need a mobo with an onboard video chipset which will be anemic at best in comparison. The i5-2450P will just plain need to have a discrete GPU which will add at least $20 to the cost of the system. "P" means no IGP.

For your neighbors usage, per-core performance differences between modern CPUs probably isn't going to mean much of anything. Giving them 4 cores can help extend the useful life of the system by eliminating multi-tasking bottlenecks. After that, it's all about getting the best graphics performance for your money.

The Trinity APU's will be more power efficient than Llano. Here's an A8-5600K for $100.
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Re: Best CPU for a non-techie build

Postposted on Wed Feb 06, 2013 2:30 pm

Thank you all. I'm thinking an A8 is in order now. As soon as he makes the call to buy I will be dragging his butt up to the store to pay :-).

For the graphics I had budgeted in the non-IGP builds for it already. ( Gigabyte (GV-N610D3-1GI) NVIDIA GeForce GT 610 1GB DDR3 for $30 after rebate )
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Re: Best CPU for a non-techie build

Postposted on Wed Feb 06, 2013 5:07 pm

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Re: Best CPU for a non-techie build

Postposted on Thu Feb 07, 2013 12:11 pm

As I said, for the $$ I'm going to recommend the A8 anyway so the vid card is moot.
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Re: Best CPU for a non-techie build

Postposted on Fri Feb 08, 2013 6:13 am

for non-techie builds the AMD fusion products are excellent.

People rarely notice the extra CPU power an intel processor provides, but the difference to even casual games than and AMD IGP provides is palpable.

Haswell is supposed to fix this but I doubt the full-blown Haswell IGP's will be trickled down to the low-budget processor line anytime soon.
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Re: Best CPU for a non-techie build

Postposted on Sat Feb 09, 2013 10:12 am

If you get the A8-5600K or A10-5800K, pair it with some PC3-14900 or PC3-15000 memory. If you go the Intel route, the Core i3-3225 would cost a bit more.
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Re: Best CPU for a non-techie build

Postposted on Sat Feb 09, 2013 5:02 pm

In the months since Trinity launched, I've built 7 SFF PCs with A10-5800K APUs, all equipped with DDR3-1866 or DDR3-2133 memory, and all with an SSD. Believe me, the machines are quite zippy! A couple of them were mildly overclocked, too, despite the SFF enclosures they ended up in (XION, usually), and are running stable and fast.

I agree with the remark that most users will much more readily notice the extra GPU grunt than the extra CPU grunt. Trinity is "fast enough" for the overwhelming majority of tasks a user will do, and since casual users do tend to want to play some casual games, the extra compatibility and performance of the Radeon GPU makes things go a lot more smoothly on that end. For comparison's sake, my little sister's PC, which is a Core i3-2100 (HD Graphics 2000), sometimes lags and stutters while playing Plants vs. Zombies, which is a Flash game, while I confirmed that one of the A10 PCs I built (the one overclocked box with 2133 RAM) can even play Skyrim quite acceptably on Very High (!) settings in 768p (albeit with MSAA disabled.)

Now, I'm sure your "non-techie" neighbor won't want to play Skyrim, but if he or she has children or grandchildren (disclaimer: I didn't actually read much of the thread), they might want to get up on some Nick.com or Disney games, and the APU will surely be better at that.
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Re: Best CPU for a non-techie build

Postposted on Sat Feb 09, 2013 5:45 pm

I too am now leaning towards and cheap fm1 AMD apu build, but as JAE and auxy have stated a trinity a10-5800k with some 1866 or higher memory would be spunkier then the A8 cpu. I think the 5800k is worth the 20-30$ price over the older a-8.
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Re: Best CPU for a non-techie build

Postposted on Sat Feb 09, 2013 6:13 pm

vargis14 wrote:I too am now leaning towards and cheap fm1 AMD apu build, but as JAE and auxy have stated a trinity a10-5800k with some 1866 or higher memory would be spunkier then the A8 cpu. I think the 5800k is worth the 20-30$ price over the older a-8.
A few things:
  • Llano-based APUs, which are older, use FM1 socket and come in A8, A6, and A4 varieties.
  • Trinity APUs, which are newer and better, come in A10, A8, A6, and A4 varieties.
  • Trinity APUs require FM2 socket, and are not compatible with FM1 socket.
So, be careful what you buy.
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Re: Best CPU for a non-techie build

Postposted on Sat Feb 09, 2013 6:49 pm

DPete27 wrote:Well, the only CPU listed in your original list that includes an IGP is the A10. The FX CPUs would need a mobo with an onboard video chipset which will be anemic at best in comparison.

While an IGP would be adequate for the OP's use case, the selection of AM3+ motherboards with IGP is pretty thin. If you're not using discrete graphics you basically want to go with Socket FM2 and an APU if you're building an AMD box.
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Re: Best CPU for a non-techie build

Postposted on Mon Feb 11, 2013 10:21 am

Well my neighbours PC died Friday night so we were up early Saturday and out to buy the required components.

I ended up getting the A8-5600K due to what was in stock.
The system is very snappy and he is very happy, thought the learning curve from WinXP to Win8 begins...
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Re: Best CPU for a non-techie build

Postposted on Mon Feb 11, 2013 11:29 am

Nice work.

My non-techie sister is on an older Llano A8 and she loves it. Your average user tends to upgrade less frequently which means ANYTHING is better than 'that old Pentium 4 Dell they have gathering dust'.

When you actually think about it, a GPU as potent as the A8-5600K's IGP would have been considered an enthusiast card only four years ago when the 4670 was battling against the 8800GT/9600GSO in the $200 arena. We say "casual gamers will appreciate the extra power" but actually I remember my 4670 doing some pretty heavy lifting in the form of WoW and Mass Effect 2 with all the settings on full.

It's gotta be nice for your neighbour to have the option of seeing pretty much any game and knowing without looking that it will probably run quite well.
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