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Old December 14, 2009, 10:28 PM
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Default Don't know which direction to go (AMD or Intel)

Hello, I am going to be going through a big PC upgrade (gaming PC) around January-February 2010. It seems like the Intel Core i5 seems like the popular choice these days, however I am unsure if I want a socket 1156 motherboard since it seems like all the future CPUs will be on the socket 1366 where the core i7s lurk. 1366 is simply too expensive for me so that is not an option.

AMD on the other hand is more affordable (generally) and their AM3 motherboards seem like they will be around for a while and will be compatible with their upcoming CPUs.

So the dilemma I face is choosing between the Core i5, and having a big party until it is time to upgrade again and then I will need to buy a new mobo/ram like I am doing with this upgrade; or I could go the socket AM3 route and get a Phenom II 965 BE and then when its time to upgrade I can simply get a new CPU that should be able to work with socket AM3.

So am I out to lunch or what?

Side question:

What exactly is the difference between a motherboard socket and chipset? For example, I know that if want a Core i5 CPU you need a socket 1156 Mobo, but it seems like they are all a P55 chipset. What does a P55 chipset even mean and will there ever be socket 1156 mobos with different chipsets?

Last edited by BootlegUsher; December 14, 2009 at 10:31 PM. Reason: Forgot something
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Old December 14, 2009, 10:57 PM
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Are you an overclocker? If so, go i5. Nothing AMD will bring out for their current socket will ever perform as well as an overclocked i5, simply because they won't be introducing any new architectures for it. Every future AM3 CPU will be a variant of their current CPUs.

Regarding your chipset question, there will actually be other chipsets for the LGA1156 socket. The chipset performs various I/O functions like controlling drives, managing USB ports, PCI and PCI-E slots, etc. Different chipsets have different specific features. In the case of the LGA1156 socket, Intel will release the H series chipsets, which will support the integrated graphics cores being built into the future Clarkdale CPUs.
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Old December 14, 2009, 11:41 PM
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Also keep in mind, that AMD has their new chipsets coming out soon, as well as Thuban, shortly after !
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Old December 15, 2009, 12:11 AM
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For the amount of money a Phenom II 965 costs, buying an i5 or i7 would be a much smarter decision because they are simply better. I'm a Phenom II user myself but down here at the X3 720 budget, you'd be hard pressed to find a comparable Intel processor, but to reiterate, the Phenom II 965 is too expensive for what it offers.

As for the drop-in upgrade possibilities for an AM3 rig, I think the point is moot. Imagine 3 years from now; would you spend $200 on a shiny new processor and stick it into your dusty 2009 motherboard? I say just buy a powerful performer now and buy a whole new rig in 3 years, rather than buy a weaker rig now with the intent of upgrading it in the future.

tl;dr: Go for i5.
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Old December 15, 2009, 07:54 AM
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Well, if you've got the budget for it, I'd say you should go i5. However, that's not to say you should just scrape by with one of the cheapest mobos. In my opinion, if you've got about $350 to $400 to spend on the motherboard and CPU combined, a 750 and an upper-tier motherboard is a good choice. Otherwise, go for a PII 955 or 720 and a 790X motherboard. I'm partial to the GA-MA790X-UD4P (I believe it's called). What is your budget for the system and what do you plan to use the computer for?

Anyway, regarding sockets vs chipsets, at the moment there is only 1 chipset for 1156, that being P55. However, there will be more coming soon, though P55 will remain valid, so holding your breath isn't worth it. As for the actual difference, take this for example. LGA 775 has many different chipsets, offering different OC abilities, RAM compatibilities, etc. However they all (more or less) support the same CPUs, LGA 775.
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Old December 15, 2009, 08:34 AM
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As seems to be the consensus so far, I'd say go with Intel if you have the money for it. The only thing you have to watch for with the I5s is that P55 only supports 24 PCI-E lanes (16 for graphics), so if you want to do dual video cards it may not be the best option, although it shouldn't impact performance that much, anyway. But if you want lots of PCI-E for less money, I'd recommend an AMD 790FX chipset.
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Old December 15, 2009, 12:05 PM
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I have a Phenom 955 system, and the performance is fantastic for the price. However, if you're into overclocking then an i5-750 will be right up your alley.
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Old December 15, 2009, 12:34 PM
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Ok I will be more specific:

I am not into overclocking, so a motherboard with amazing OC features is not necessary for me. I plan on using this computer for gaming, and rotating between my monitor and 52 inch television (HDMI). Another thing I will say is that I am looking into the Radeon 5850 video card, and I will probobly want to crossfire it down the road. I see most Mobos support PCI-E X16 and then another slot running at X8. If I wanted to crossfire, is this accecptable or do I need both slots at X16?

Crossfire question: A new power supply will be needed in my upgrade, I am looking at the Corsair TX 750 Watt PSU due to its value and reliability. Will this be enough for a crossfire of 2X 5850s or will I need more?
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Old December 15, 2009, 12:54 PM
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If you are not interested in overclocking at all, perhaps the Phenom II 965 will actually be a better idea since its stock frequency is much higher than the i5 750. For Crossfire, the results are conflicting. For weaker cards like 4890s or GTX 275s, the x8/x8 limitation is not significant but for 5850s I would rather have the full x16/x16. Also, the Corsair TX 750 is a great power supply. It will easily handle the 5850s, but the Corsair HX line is much better than the TX, and the HX 650 will do a better job than the TX 750. You might want to consider the HX 650.
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Old December 15, 2009, 01:14 PM
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The thing is, with my Antec 900 case the PSU is on the bottom so I thought you were supposed to have rear fan style PSUs so dust doesn't fall in.

Any reccomendations for mobos with 2 X16 slots? Also, what is the deal with USB 3.0? Is this the next big thing? I have only seen a few gigabyte models offer support for this, and I want to make sure I am not missing the boat if I buy a mobo that does not have it.
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