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Intel Processor questions

Posted on 2011-03-16
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I'm looking to build a new computer and I'm a little confused about Intel's new crop of processors.

In addition to being an I.T. professional, I enjoy mixing it up at night with a good PC game or two in the evenings. My personal PC has never been at the bleeding edge (not even close...), but I do try and keep up so my frame rate is at least respectable.

Right now I am running a Pentium 4, 3.0 with two Gig DDR ram, an SATA main drive and an AGP8 ATI HD 4600 Graphics card with 1/2 Gb RAM.

I am looking to basically replace all or most of the guts and can't decide between one of the later Core 2 duo chips, or ome of these newer models.

My confusion here is, the articles I have read tell me that the i3, has built in graphics, which I am not sure would be the best approach for a person who likes the high end games. Also, I'm not sure if the i5 or i7 has the built in graphics or not.

Based upon what I am comming from, and wanting to keep the whole thing at or around $1000.00 (Mobo, Processor, RAM, Hard Drives and new OS), I'm not sure which way to go...

What would you recommend!
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Question by:RKoons
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by:Sean Scissors
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by:Sean Scissors
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Sorry forgot to add the drives.

$87.99 Drive(s): http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136284

Total = $867.94

And yes that would take on high end games with good framerate.
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garycase earned 250 total points
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ANY Core 2 or better CPU will be a huge bump up from your current system, but I'd definitely recommend using an i-series CPU.

You can get on-chip graphics in all of the i-series CPU's as long as you go with the newest Socket 1155 Sandy Bridge chips.     I'd recommend an i5-2500K, which uses the newest Intel HD 3000 series graphics ... certainly not a competitor against the highest end graphics card, but PLENTY of GPU "horsepower" for a casual user and gamer -- it will significantly outperform your HD 4600 for example.     In addition, the CPU has superb performance -- it scores 6743 on PassMark's CPUMark ... compared to 491 for your current Pentium.    A Core 2 Duo E8500 scores 2414.

Here's the CPU:  http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115072

I'd pair it with a good Socket 1155 P55 motherboard like this one (currently out of stock, but not likely for long):
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128475

That's a total of $360 for the motherboard/CPU

Add 8GB of DDR3-1333 for $86, and you're at $446
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820139075

Note:  Some motherboards advertise support for faster memory -- you do NOT want to use this with the 1155 CPUs unless you're using a dedicated video card.    If the onchip memory controller is clocked faster than 1333 the onchip graphics will not work correctly (it will usually work at 1600, but definitely not at higher speeds).    The safest approach is to use 1333 RAM modules.

Since you're building a  new system, you can use an OEM copy of Windows 7,
either 32-bit [http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832116752 ]
or 64-bit  [http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832116754 ]

Each is $100, so that puts you at $546 so far (all but the hard drives)

I'd generally recommend 64-bit, but the 32-bit version is compatible with more older software, so it really depends on just what you plan to load.   Both work fine -- I originally loaded the x64 version on a new system I built for my wife, but some older programs she likes to use for making cards & other graphics won't run in a 64-bit environment, so I reloaded it with the x32 version, and all works fine.    By the way, even if you elect to go 32-bit, I'd still buy the 8GB of RAM I suggested above -- so if you ever decide to change to x64 you'll have 8GB  in 2 modules (which is FAR more reliable than installing 4)

Finallly, a couple of hard drives.    I'd get a pair of 1.5TB Caviar Blacks:  http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136592

You should ALWAYS have more than one hard drive in your system -- keep an image of the OS;  backups of your data;  and perhaps your swap file on the 2nd drive.

Two of these drives cost $220 ... so your total is now $766, including everything you need except a case, power supply, and optical drive, which I gather you're re-using from your old system.    The one item you may want to consider replacing on that list is the PSU -- you may need an ATX-12V connector and may want a higher efficiency (80+) unit with Active PFC.    This is an excellent unit for $80:  http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139005

This setup will easily cost you less than your $1000 target, with enough left over to buy a higher-performance dedicated graphics card if you're not satisfied with the graphics performance (unlikely).
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by:RKoons
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The one was more along the lines of the information I was looking for, but with a questions like this, no one is really wrong!

Thanks!
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