Feature Article

Building a PC: Everything You Need to Know About CPUs

A chip off the old block.

Choosing the right CPU for your new PC is paramount. It's at the heart of everything your computer does, and unless you know exactly what you're getting into, you might stumble into a purchase that you'll regret in the months or years that follow. It's important to know what you need your CPU to do and how much money you're willing to invest in the name of performance. There are, of course, other factors to consider, but defining those two factors is important before you begin to explore your options, of which there are many. With your needs and budget in mind, let's dive into the rabbit hole of choosing a CPU, and ultimately, defining what type of gaming PC you're going to build.

CPU Terminology

Before we dig too deep into the world of CPUs, let's define a some of the basic terms used to describe them.

  • Socket: The component on a motherboard that provides the physical and electrical connections to a CPU.
  • GHz (Gigahertz): A rating that defines the frequency of calculation cycles within a second. 1 GHz = 1 billion cycles per second. A cycle is defined as the process of fetching an instruction from software and executing the desired calculation.
  • Turbo Boost: The maximum potential speed of a CPU. Turbo boosts occur dynamically, and are limited by the processor's electrical and thermal limits.
  • Core: Individual CPUs that may be combined to form a multi-core CPU, which are common by modern standards.

AMD or Intel?

For some people, choosing between AMD and Intel is like drawing a line in the sand. In reality, the brand is the least important factor that you should consider when purchasing a CPU. Your primary concern should be: what do you plan on doing with your PC?

Are you building a PC strictly with gaming in mind, or do you also plan on using it for video editing? Do you plan on overclocking your hardware? Do you want to save money now by aiming for minimum requirements, or, are you investing in a computer that's intended to last for years to come?

You could choose a CPU based purely on the speed and number of its cores and make out OK in most situations, but if you consider what you actually need your computer to do, (gaming, video editing, etc.) you'll better equipped to make an informed decision.

Intel CPU Sockets and Chipsets

When you connect your CPU to your motherboard, you insert it into a socket. CPU sockets are not universal, either due to different pin configurations or chipset requirements, and both AMD and Intel sell processors for multiple form factors at any given time. For the most part, you can simplify your choice of sockets, and thus CPUs, by sticking with one of two strategies: building a machine that you can upgrade down the road, or building a machine that's affordable but slightly outdated.

- Intel Sockets: LGA 1155 vs LGA 1150

If you want to build a PC now without breaking the bank, and you aren't worried about upgrading it in the future, you might chose Intel's LGA 1155 socket as the basis for your CPU hunt. Technically, LGA 1155 is a "dead" socket, meaning that Intel will no longer manufacture new LGA 1155 compatible CPUs. Calling something "dead" sounds bad, but you can still build a powerful LGA 1155 based PC that will cost less than one based on Intel's latest socket, LGA 1150.

Intel LGA 1150 Socket

The trade off? Forget the likelihood of upgrading your CPU down the road, and say goodbye to support for modern high-speed data connections, including SATA Express and Thunderbolt. Also know that LGA 1155 processors run hotter than their LGA 1150 counterparts, and you may need to invest more money in cooling solutions if you plan on overclocking with an LGA 1155 setup. Of course, overclocking and high-speed storage aren't necessities, and most people would be fine without considering either factor.

If you aren't most people, and you crave bleeding edge technology and are willing to spend a little more money, you can build your PC around LGA 1150 CPUs, which Intel is likely to continue supporting until 2016. Ultimately, every computer standard that you invest in will be succeeded by another, and worrying about that too much can be distracting, but if you want to wait for LGA 1151, Intel's future socket that's purported to support the upcoming DDR4 RAM, which is intended to be faster and more efficient than today's DDR3 standard, you'll need to wait until the middle of next year to get started.

So, in short: if you need to save money and don't plan on upgrading anytime soon, consider an LGA 1155 based build. If you care at all about having the option to upgrade your CPU in the future, and if you value overclocking your hardware, aim for LGA 1150.

- Intel Chipsets

Once you've chosen your Intel socket, you have another decision to make before you pick a CPU. Chipsets, components embedded in motherboards that link your CPU to other hardware throughout your system, can impact your GPU configuration and the types of internal and external data connections that you'll have access to. To simplify the process, these are our current recommended chipsets to look for, and their relative advantages. To make things easy, we are focusing on the two most popular variants within each series, the Z and H grade chipsets.

- Series-7 (LGA1155)

Z77: The best choice for people who are interested in performance-dependant tasks, and those with interest in overclocking and multi-GPU (CrossFire or SLI) configurations. Z77 motherboards are typically more expensive than H77 counterparts.

H77: Good enough for gaming, but targeted at users with less demanding tasks. Recommended for users who aren't interested in overclocking or using more than a single GPU. H77 motherboards are typically less expensive than their Z77 counterparts.

- Series-8 vs. Series-9 (LGA1150)

If you opt for an LGA 1150 system, the smart choice is to go with a motherboard that supports the series-9 chipset as you'll be in a good position to upgrade down the road, and, you won't have to spend much more money in the process. You'll gain support for SATA Express/M.2 and Thunderbolt standards, and, series-9 based processors will draw less power than their series-8 counterparts. If you opt for LGA1150 and a series-9 chipset, which you should, you'll probably end up choosing between the Z97 and H97. The story here is the same as the 7-series chips. Z97 is for high-end users, and H97 is cheaper, and less advanced, but still viable.

AMD CPU Sockets and Chipsets

- AMD Sockets: FM2/FM2+ vs AM3+

AMD is in an interesting position at the moment when it comes to CPUs. On the one hand, it's doing its best to push its APUs -- a combination of CPU and GPU. APUs are great options for customers who may want the ability to play games, but don't want to invest in the hardware needed to use high-end graphics settings. AMDs latest APUs are designed for the FM2+ socket, which while current, isn't designed for enthusiast level performance, where customers opt for a discrete CPU and a discrete GPU. Consider this: Bioshock Inifinite plays at around 30 FPS on AMD's top-of-the-line APU, its A10-7850K, using low to medium settings at 1920x1080. For an APU driven system without a separate GPU, expect to play most modern games at low settings for reasonable frame rates.

The one saving grace: a lot of FM2+ motherboards support older FM2 processors, meaning that you can pick up a cheap, gaming capable FM2-based CPU without springing for an APU, and put the money you've saved towards a better GPU instead. This path will also give you the chance to upgrade to a new FM2+ processor in the future should something enticing come along.

AMD FM2+ Socket

You could always add a GPU to an APU-based system, but in the process, you would be wasting money on a processor (APU) that sacrifices CPU power for the inclusion of an integrated GPU, while also generating more than normal hear in the process. And, despite what AMD promises, unifying the power of a discrete GPU with the GPU portion of the APU isn't worth the added cost. Your frame rates may look higher in an FPS analyser like FRAPS, but a lot of those are incomplete frames that won't make a perceptible difference during gameplay.

For enthusiasts who want their CPU and GPU separate, for flexibility and better performance, the socket of choice is AM3+. But, there's a few caveats to consider: AM3+ is being phased out fast. You can still find great performing FX based AM3+ processors, but taking that route will eliminate your upgrade options down the road. There's the chance that AMD will release a strong FM2+ CPU (not APU) down the road, but based on statements made by AMD about their dedication to the APU model, there's no clear sign of that happening at the moment.

In case you want to build a small computer, it's worth knowing that AM3+ is physically too large and reliant on extraneous technologies for manufacturers to create small mini-ITX motherboards. Even if you take a step up to a larger micro-ATX AM3+ motherboard, you're stuck choosing from outdated chipsets that lack valuable features found on standard ATX AM3+ motherboards, which in some ways defeats the purpose of choosing AM3+ at all. If you want a small PC and the performance of AMD's APUs is sufficient for your needs, FM2+ is the way to go.

- AMD Chipsets: AMD 970, AMD 990FX (AM3+)

There are only two chipsets that we would recommend if you're going with the AM3+ socket, and the differences between the two are straightforward. If you want to overclock and/or plan to utilize multiple GPUs, go with an AMD 990FX motherboard. If you are at looking into a straightforward build, cheaper AMD 970-based motherboards will suffice.

- AMD Chipsets: A88X, A55 (FM2/FM2+)

A88X is the the high-end FM2+ chipset, and it will afford you the most flexibility when it comes to adding GPUs and making use of modern storage standards. A55 motherboards are aimed at the budget conscious crowd who will either rely on the GPU portion of the APU, or, plan on adding a single GPU, but not two. Keep in mind that you will also sacrifice support for 6Gb/s SATA III hard drives with an A55 motherboard, meaning that you'll have settle for 3Gb/s SATA II drives.

Cores, Threads, and Hyperthreading

Mainstream multi-core processors (think multiple CPUs stacked together) have been around for nearly a decade, but game developers have only started to optimize their games for multi-core CPUs for the past few years. Nowadays, it's commonplace for games to require a dual-core CPU, but in rare cases, like Watch Dogs, you need a quad-core CPU for baseline in-game performance.

If you're building a PC for gaming of any kind, it's in your best interest to invest in a quad-core CPU. You could, in theory, play a lot of games on a dual-core CPU, but you'd be setting yourself up for disappointment in the near future. Then, there are exceptional games, such as Watch Dogs and Battlefield 4, that take advantage of 8-core CPUs. If you're aiming for a CPU with eight cores, things get a little complicated.

Battlefield 4 is a modern example of a game that's designed to take full advantage of processors with more than two cores.

Currently, AMD offers CPUs with eight cores where Intel does not. But, that doesn't mean Intel is at a major disadvantage. When a game takes advantage of eight cores, what it's really taking advantage of is eight threads. Think of a thread as a channel for software to communicate with the CPU.

Intel's Core i7 CPUs (and Core i5 laptop CPUs) feature hyperthreading, which functionally allows for one core to execute two threads at once by dividing its resources dynamically. In essence, an eight-core AMD CPU has as many functional threads as a quad-core Intel CPU with support for hyperthreading. It can get complicated, however, because Windows will look at a hyperthread-enabled CPU and utilize it as though it were a CPU with double the cores.

This is helpful in some cases, but some CPU heavy games are better off with fewer dedicated cores, rather than twice as many hyperthreaded ones. Some games, such as Battlefield 3, scale performance relative to the number of cores it sees, but each core is functionally slower in a hyperthreaded setup, so the performance will be hampered in the process. In most cases, 4 dedicated cores are better than 8 virtual cores.

If you do any serious video editing or visual effects production, the merits of Intel's hyperthreaded CPUs will make your life noticeably easier. Software like Adobe's Premiere and After Effects are designed to harness multiple threads to decode and encode audio and video, which can speed up an artist's workflow and shorten the time it takes to render out the finished product. The same goes for plenty of popular production applications, including most of Autodesk's 3D modelling products, Maya and AutoCAD. These CPU dependant applications are designed to utilize multiple cores because it's a direct benefit, unlike games, where GPUs still do most of the heavy lifting.

Speed

Determining the speed of your processor might be the easiest task of all. These days, there are plenty of quad-core CPUs rated at 3 GHz or more that won't break your budget. After going through the previous steps and determining what family of CPU you're going to shop for, the question then becomes: how much are you willing to spend? If you choose to go with FM2/FM2+, you could theoretically buy a quad-core AMD Athlon X4 750K, where each core runs at 3.4 GHz, for around $80. If you opt for an Intel build, entry-level quad-core Core i5 processors at 3 GHz can be yours for about $180.

Why would you go with the more expensive Core i5 that's technically slower? Even though an AMD CPU and an Intel CPU may tout similar speeds in GHz, that only tells you how fast the CPU switches from one cycle of instructions to the next. What really matters is how many instructions are calculated during a cycle, and Intel has the advantage here. Traditionally, among competing CPU lines with identical GHz ratings, Intel will best AMD on a per-core basis. When multiple cores come into play, AMD may have the advantage depending on the applications in use and how well optimized they are for multiple threads. In essence, AMD is focused on increasing the number of cores on its CPUs, where Intel is focused on increasing the efficiency of individual cores.

I Still Don't Know What to Get. Can't You Pick for Me?

Even with all of this knowledge under your belt, the sheer number of CPUs on the market is enough to make anyone's head spin. That's OK! If all you know is your budget and your plans for the future, we can recommend a few CPUs that should satisfy your needs.

- Low-end Gaming CPU Recommendation - AMD FX-6300, AM3+ Socket, $120

It's hard to beat AMD's FX CPUs when it comes to price and performance. Not only do Intel's quad-core CPUs start at a higher price point, but they start off with slower clock speeds as well. In this case, AMD's price advantage is more valuable than Intel's efficiency advantage.

There's a lot of buzz around the low cost Intel Pentium G3258, which you can purchase for around $70, because it's cheap and easy to overclock, and given that it's an LGA 1150 CPU, you will be fine to upgrade down the road. The problem is, you end up spending more money for an LGA 1150 motherboard with the Z97 chipset to take advantage of the G3258's unlocked clock speed, and even then, it lacks hyperthreading capabilities, and only has two cores. The AMD FX-6300 has everything you need right out of the box, and you won't have to undertake a lot of effort to get the most out of your purchase.

- Mid-level Gaming CPU Recommendation - Intel Core i5-4590, LGA 1150, $200

For about $200, it's hard to beat the new Core i5-4590. It's a strong, quad-core CPU rated at 3.3 GHz, and given that it's built for LGA 1150, Intel's latest CPU socket, you can count on upgrading your CPU down the road without having to adopt a new motherboard in the process.

- High-end Gaming CPU Recommendation - Intel Core i5-4690K, LGA 1150, $240

High-end gaming CPUs aren't as expensive as they used to be, and the Core i5-4690K is the perfect example of this trend. It's still what most PC enthusiasts would consider affordable, and for your money, you get a fast, quad-core CPU that can be overclocked significantly provided that you've got an adequate cooling solution.

-High-end Gaming and Production CPU Recommendation - Intel Core i7-4790K, LGA 1150, $340

If you only care about gaming, then the hyperthread-enabled Core i7 processors are a bit over-the-top. Put simply: not enough developers are creating their games to take advantage of hyperthreading to justify the added cost associated with Intel's Core i7 CPUs.

However, if you rely on your PC for audio and video production, in addition to gaming, then you might want to consider stepping up to Intel's premium i7s. Even if you don't need hyperthreading today, there's something to be said about preparing your PC for the future in case hyperthreading-optimized games become more popular down the road.

What CPU is driving your PC? And if money were no object, what would be in your dream PC? Let us know in the comments below, and check back over the next few weeks for more guides on how to choose the best parts for your next PC.

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Discussion

449 comments
zizo490
zizo490

amd processors have a low cost but what u save from it u have to spend it on a suitable motherboard that gives u full processor power also it recommend a higher power supply and cooling system

cpuchess
cpuchess

The only reason I don't build my own PC is because I am nervous about putting the thermal paste on the cpu and having it fry when I turn it on...yikes.

tripledaddy
tripledaddy

Good article. The bottom line is that what you choose depends on what you need. I'd like to add that a an AMD APU may well be a good option. I built a PC for my youngest son 1,5 years ago based on an AMD K8-5600k. The rig cost me 550 Euro's including Windows and it played all the games he wanted nicely on 1680x1050. Recently he wanted to play Watch Dogs, so i popped in an AMD R7260x. Now he can play WD at a pretty high quality at 1680x1050. 

cashandchecks
cashandchecks

What ever you build don't go with AMD cards, AMD control center is glitchy and for two years it has caused my pc to hault and catch fire, every thing freezes and restarts. Nothing fixes it and the even AMD tells me I should get a new card, well I will get a new card, just not theirs.

BenderUnit22
BenderUnit22

New rig is coming by mail with an i7-4790K. Building a PC is always so exciting.

suppaphly42
suppaphly42

oh i could just puke i bought a 4770k not that long ago and even less not that long ago the 4790k comes out at the same price point aaagh now i want to sell it to one of my buddies with a after market heat sink ( planing to get a liquid cooler anyway ) to off set the upgrade

Rushaoz
Rushaoz

To anyone commenting, don't bother replying to @Gravity_Slave the dude is an ignorant hater trying to spread PC hate in every PC article possible. I'm sure he can't afford a gaming PC much less actually understand how they work so he tries to spread his jealousy and tick others off. 

valhallawarrior
valhallawarrior

I bought my i 2500k three years ago for about 200$ and it's still kicking ass, I've increased the turbo clock to 4.2 with only 1.2v  and paired it with a gtx 780ti and 16gb of ram, i'm still under the 2000$ mark and my fire strike benchmark is on 10k which is above high end PC actually above 89% of PCs.
my point is, get an overclock freindly CPU below the 200$ mark preferably an I5 K tier and invest everything on the GPU

mav_destroyer
mav_destroyer

Just built my PC yesterday! Installing the CPU wasn't so hard, installing the fan on the other hand made me super nervous.

coldfusion25
coldfusion25

No one seems to mention the noise some of these in-box CPU fan's can make.

My old AMD CPU made my neighbors think I was vacuum cleaning my room constantly.

Kathos
Kathos

Loving all the recent PC articles. I don't keep up with hardware, instead I just do a bit of research before I decide to build/upgrade my computer but this was an enlightening read. 

Darkhol0w
Darkhol0w

My 3 year old i5 2500k OC'ed to 4.0 and sometimes to 4.5Ghz still runs like a champ everything that I throw at it that was released this year thus far.


All the publishers giving minimum requirements to their games of i7 have no clue what they are talking about.

Gomtor
Gomtor

Where on gamespot do I find the other articles regarding the hardware?

jonmar
jonmar

My Core 2 Quad Q9400 is still going strong :D

Zatto-1
Zatto-1

Ether someone really loves pc or just clicks. None the less, this is a nice bump for pc segment on GS. Good stuff.

PolishTank79
PolishTank79

Peter for a gaming PC there is no "AMD vs Intel" argument anymore.  Unless you are a professional video editor there is no point to buying any AMD processor that is $100 or above.  You just go with whatever Intel processor you can afford.  No games use more than 2 - 4 cores, core speed matters most for games, and the cores for AMDs are freaking terrible compared to Intel.

emerin76
emerin76

Hardware has changed so much since I last cared.  Nice to see its not hard to relearn.  I don't even know the specs of my PC anymore.  Its 3 years old, that's all I know. : )
Thanks for the article.

Acillatem1993
Acillatem1993

I love how most new games list i7 as recommended cpu, but here we can that its not really needed.

GH05T-666
GH05T-666

Finally some love for the PC!!

Great article Peter

55584623
55584623

Great Article Peter, my fav of this series so far. Keep up the good work!

Paoksis
Paoksis

I love PC articles...keep em coming gamespot

Brenw2
Brenw2

@cpuchess dont be, the mother board will usually shut off the computer automatically if the cpu gets to hot to prevent it from getting damaged.

diggyphelps
diggyphelps

@cashandchecks I've used several AMD cards (Currently using a 280x atm) and I've never heard or seen of such a problem. This sounds like operator error to me.

Rushaoz
Rushaoz

@valhallawarrior Yeap. Absolutely in love with my 2500k :D Got mine running at 4.4 GHz. It won't go any further with my current board and cooler. (p8p67 deluxe and Hyper 212 Evo with push/pull)

Rushaoz
Rushaoz

@coldfusion25 Stock Intel coolers are actually pretty damn quiet. I work in IT and we use Intel CPUs. From Celerons all the way up to i7's and I haven't used one that created alot of noise when underload running Prime95. As far as their cooling abilities, they'll keep the CPU at proper operating temps if you're not overclocking. 

Now AMD cpus are a different story. They run ridiculously hot and the stock coolers should be replaced even when running at stock speeds. Luckily, a decent cooler is cheap enough. 

Rushaoz
Rushaoz

@Darkhol0w Intel shot themselves in the foot with the I5 2500k. I got mine running at 4.4 GHz and it is on par with an i5 4670k as far as gaming performance goes. Amazing little chip that still a whole lot of ass. It even beats or is on par with AMD's FX 8350. If you have one of these, you don't need to upgrade your CPU for another 4 years at the minimum. 

Coseniath
Coseniath

@Darkhol0w i7 is also the i7 920 which is not as powerful as i5 2500K. So if the publishers do not type what kind of i7, usually the sandybridge i5 model are already within this category...

Rushaoz
Rushaoz

@jonmar Yea they still pack a good punch but if you try and run them with a current gen video card like the 280x or 770 it will bottleneck it. They're starting to show their age. I had to upgrade my q6600 running at 3.6 GHz to an i5 2500k in 2011 and it immediately boosted my FPS in BF3 an extra 30-40 FPS. I was using a GTX 460 at the time. 

Rushaoz
Rushaoz

@PolishTank79 Yea single core performance is still on Intels side hands down but you gotta admit, the FX 8350 is an awesome chip if you're on a budget and don't want to gun for a $200+ i5 CPU. 

jonmar
jonmar

@emerin76 my PC is mostly from 2009 when I built it. I bought a new GPU and PSU in 2011 when I got Windows 7 but haven't needed to upgrade anything since. Funny thing is I can still play most new games on pretty high settings thanks to the fact that they're all developed for consoles and then ported to PCs so the games aren't nearly as demanding as they would be if they were first developed for PC and then dialed down for consoles.

Rushaoz
Rushaoz

@diggyphelps @Rushaoz I do. I'm trying to save some of the members out there that don't know this from spending 5 minutes typing out a well thought out response for no reason lol. 

coldfusion25
coldfusion25

@Rushaoz @coldfusion25 ...Which is exactly why I feel it's worth mentioning. I recently purchased an I7 and was really shocked by the lack of noise it produced. Hell, I would have liked to have heard about that from someone, before I bought that buzz-saw of an AMD a few years back.

jonmar
jonmar

@Rushaoz @jonmar Yeah I know what you mean. I'm running a GTX 560Ti that I bought back in 2011. I still haven't gotten to the point where I have to turn down my graphics below the high/very high point but I would probably struggle if I wanted to play the Metro games at 1080p. My next upgrade will have to be to buy a whole new PC though because the mobo I have being for the old LGA775 socket doesn't support i7 or i5 CPUs or the current RAM types. But I've run this PC for the last 5 years and it'll still probably be another year before I upgrade depending on what games come out and when.

PolishTank79
PolishTank79

@Rushaoz @PolishTank79 If that's the budget then get an i5-4590 or a i3 4130, only $20 more for the i5.  Like previously stated, the FX's 8 cores do you no good because games only use 2-4 cores.  Its been documented for years now how inefficient AMD's core architecture is; so bottom line is for MMOs and RTS's (CPU intensive) there is a significant performance hit for AMD compared to its Intel price equivalent.

emerin76
emerin76

@jonmar @emerin76 I think i have a  i5 2500k  in my PC, with GeForce/GTX 550 ti (I think), it does seem to run things quite well.
I do remember a time when you HAD to upgrade to play certain games back in the day (10+ years ago). 

I dont mind games being dummed down in that case hehehe. 
PC for me was for RPGs and Strategy games anyway...not normally graphics/processor intensive.

Tranula
Tranula

@jonmar @Rushaoz  Nope.  Im playing Metro Last Light on a GTX460m.  You could handle it.  I almost play it max but at 1680 x 1050.  Not bad for a 4 year old laptop LOL.

Rushaoz
Rushaoz

@jonmar @Rushaoz You really don't even need to upgrade depending on your gaming standards. I like to cap my FPS off at 30 for all my PC games. I'll be able to suck the life out of my PC for much longer because of it. The only games I can't run at full ultra 1080p without dropping below 30 FPS are Metro and Crysis 3. But at this point my GTX 660 is still worth atleast $150. I can sell it, add a few bucks and get a 280x and be set for the next 3 years.

Rushaoz
Rushaoz

@PolishTank79 @Rushaoz No I agree with you man. AMD needs to overhaul their CPU architecture like they did with their GPUs. The tables have turned and they're now in Intels shoes back in the early 2000's when Intel was just clocking their CPUs higher and higher with every release.

Rushaoz
Rushaoz

@emerin76 You don't need to upgrade that CPU at all. I have one too and overclocked it still is on par with current gen i5's. Get yourself a Hyper 212 evo and clock that sucker to 4.4 GHz. Some of them clock even higher. My buddy has his running at 4.9 GHz O_o

jonmar
jonmar

@emerin76 @jonmar Yeah. Crysis was the last game I remember that you couldn't play unless you had top of the line hardware at the time. They really pushed the graphics with that game. I don't think there have been any games like that since then except maybe the Metro games. Most games released in the last 6 years or so have been just ported to PC from console versions so any decent PC from then will be able to play even new games with graphics set fairly high if not all the way to the stops.

PolishTank79
PolishTank79

@Rushaoz @PolishTank79 The bummer is I was an AMD guy for 10 years until I just built my new i7-4790k PC last week.  It saddens me that AMD has fallen so far off the wagon over the last few years.  Not good for CPU competition/industry.  

emerin76
emerin76

@Rushaoz @emerin76 Thanks.  I'll double check what I have when I get home.  If it's the 2500, Ill check that out.

Rushaoz
Rushaoz

@PolishTank79 @Rushaoz I used to be an AMD guy too. Had a Barton 3200+ :D but then I lost my job and couldn't afford to build or get around to building a rig again until 2011. As soon as Intel overhauled their architecture with the Core2 series. I'll stick with Intel until AMD cactches up and finallly makes a CPU that's truly better than my 2500k. GPUs are a completely different story though. An r9 280x 3GB performs on par or a little better than a GTX 770 4GB for more than $100 less. You can't ignore that type of performance per dollar difference. 

Rushaoz
Rushaoz

@emerin76 @Rushaoz Yea do that. There are plenty of guides on how to overclock these chips. It's ridiculously simple and people have even gotten to 4.4 GHz without bumping up Vcore. 

PolishTank79
PolishTank79

@Rushaoz @PolishTank79 Yeah I'm holding off on replacing my GTX 570 until the 800  series release.  The problem I have with the Radeon cards is that there always seems to be a game here and there that they don't play nice with.  However I'm not married to Nvidia so if there's a Radeon card next generation that is a clear best bang for buck I'll switch.

Rushaoz
Rushaoz

@PolishTank79 @Rushaoz I'm not loyal to any side either. Brand loyalty is the worth thing you can possibly do as a consumer. But I agree with you. Drivers are the only thing that scare me about Radeon cards. I too would rather have an 800 series card but I promised my buddy I'd sell him my GTX 660 so I'll get a 280x and try AMD out in the meantime while Nvidia takes their sweet ass time releasing the 800 series and rehashing Titan cards and milking Kepler.

PolishTank79
PolishTank79

@Rushaoz @PolishTank79 I'm checking out the prices on ebay for the 280x and man a used one is a great deal right now.  I'm assuming there's a glut of them because of the bit coin mining.  I may have to get me one for the price...

Rushaoz
Rushaoz

@PolishTank79 @Rushaoz That's EXACTLY what I'm doing lol I'm going with either an XFX Black Edition or Tri-X Sapphire cards. I wouldn't get one with a reference cooler. I believe those are the ones that are used mostly for mining since they're the cheapest.