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Thread: Budget Gaming PC: Duo Vs. Quad

  1. #1

    Budget Gaming PC: Duo Vs. Quad

    I am currently working on a build for a sub $1000 gaming PC. It will be used for World of Warcraft primarily but also include some Star Trek Online and Global Agenda. My current hangup involves the difference between Core 2 Duo Vs. Core 2 Quad.

    Without going to far into the unecessary details it will include a Gigabyte Mobo, 4 gigs of ram, a Corsair PSU and an Nvidia 9800 Gtx (after a bad driver experience back in the day I am pretty anti Radeon).

    Everything else being equal, in a Windows 7 environment, will a higher Mhz core 2 duo out perform the lower Mhz core 2 quad when it comes to WoW and other similar games?

  2. #2
    Senior Member loop2kil's Avatar
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    mobo - p55
    cpu - i5 or i7 quad
    ram - ddr3 - 4 gb
    psu- corsair is fine
    gpu- definitely don't get the 9800gtx because of a silly driver issue from 'back in the day' the 5770 will blow the 9800 out of the water and is dx11 compatible.

    I just built a similar system for a friend and it was around $900 without a new case.

    I would go quad for future proofing of the system...a higher clock dual might be slightly faster in games but that's up to you.

  3. #3
    XP + akbarri's Avatar
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    Core 2 Duo vs Core 2 Quad Benchmark (old but good)

    http://www.bcchardware.com/index.php...3301&Itemid=81

    Article Index:
    Core 2 Duo vs Core 2 Quad
    Overclocking the Quad-Core
    Synthetic Quad vs Duo Performance
    Multi-Core In The Real World
    Multi-Core Gaming
    Last edited by akbarri; 02-21-10 at 11:25 AM.

    # OS: Windows, Linux # Browser: Blink, Gecko, Presto, Webkit + Squid + Bind

  4. #4
    I never thought the new I5/I7's would be anywhere near my budget so I never bothered to look. From the reviews it seems this particular I5 has great potential to give me the quad core "future proofing" and an easy 3.0 Ghz with very mild OC:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16819115215

    The intriguing part is the "turbo boost" feature that seems to self OC the CPU when only 2 of it's 4 cores are being used....may free me from having to do anything to the CPU at all.

    Seems like a major upgrade from the Core 2 Quad Q9400 I originally looked at.

  5. #5
    Senior Member loop2kil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Teamster View Post
    I never thought the new I5/I7's would be anywhere near my budget so I never bothered to look. From the reviews it seems this particular I5 has great potential to give me the quad core "future proofing" and an easy 3.0 Ghz with very mild OC:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16819115215

    The intriguing part is the "turbo boost" feature that seems to self OC the CPU when only 2 of it's 4 cores are being used....may free me from having to do anything to the CPU at all.

    Seems like a major upgrade from the Core 2 Quad Q9400 I originally looked at.

    yep, that's the one I'm using for my friends build...look for the ripjaw gskill ddr3...best bang for the buck. You didn't mention hard drives?
    I opted to get him 2 x 500gb samsung f3's to run raid 0 for faster game loading instead of 1 x 1tb drive.

  6. #6
    Senior Member loop2kil's Avatar
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    just a fyi...Fry's had a biostar p55 mb paired with an i3 cpu for $120 after rebate. If I were building a new system for myself I would probably go for the best bang for the buck mb/cpu combo I could find and spend more money on GPU and hard drive speed. Then later if I needed to i would upgrade to a better cpu. Most people over look hard drive speeds when building a new system and is most often the bottleneck of what could be a great system.

  7. #7
    For HDD I was considering 2 smaller drives in a raid 0 as I have never tried that sort of thing before. When I run WoW or STO the HDD seems to work overtime so this should help out quite a bit.

    I am at a loss for Mobo though...looking at http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813128425 mostly because I'm a Gigabyte fanboi and I feel better about OC'ing on them due to the extra copper. They always seem to have good bang for the buck on their Mobo's but I'm open to checking out some other manufacturers.

  8. #8
    Moderator YeOldeStonecat's Avatar
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    Some things to consider...

    IMO going with RAID 0, don't forget if one of those drives fail you lose everything with striping RAID.

    Go with a Western Digital Black Edition hard drive....32 megs of cache..VERY fast drives, 5 year warranty. I'd go without RAID. Newegg often has good sales on these drives, over XMas I picked one up, 49 bucks on Black Friday sale for a 750 giger.

    I'm a fan of ASUS motherboards, experience in building lots and lots of rigs, they just seem to always be problem free, rock stable.

    Power supplies..over recent years, the higher powered video cards have gotten picky with what they're powered with. Get a quality one, and importantly...check the specs of the video card you're going to go with, many will specify that they need a power supply that provides at least XXX amps on the 12 + volt rail. Often this number is higher than 14. Not all power supplies can do this, it's not related to watts...many cheaper high watt power supplies can't provide this power. I've used Antec and Enermax over the years and had good experiences with them, recently I've moved to Seasonic. Corsair makes good ones too. A cheap power supply, and you'll end up with a rig that gets random reboots in the middle of gaming, or locking up. So don't skimp here! For a quality power supply, you'll be allocating more of your budget here....usually at least 75 bucks.

    Video Card...ATIs 5770 is a great bang for your buck card, 1 gig of RAM, DX11, 165 bucks.

    As for your processor, well, many games still don't utilize multiple cores, so if you're comparing a C2D against a lower clocked C2DQuad at the same price...most games will still run faster on the higher clocked C2D.

    However, with Windows 7, and to "future proof" a bit more, I'd still go with 4 cores.

    A few months ago the new i series CPUs, still quite new on the market, were substantially higher in price, but they're coming down quite a bit now.

    To maintain your budget, might consider just picking up one of the better C2D Quads. A 6 meg cache model at minimum. It's worth it to compare the little performance gain of an i7 to one of these, consider the price difference.

    As to the i5 and i3....pay attention to the differences
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  9. #9
    Thanks for all the advice Stonecat, can't believe you are still up to it around here, I remember getting advice from you on my first cable modem back in 2000 or so!

    Back to the subject at hand. I will look into that WD drive you suggested and consider rethinking the raid 0. This will be a dedicated gaming machine with an external HD backup for saved games so data loss isn't that catastrophic if something was to fail.

    I feel the same way about PSUs that you do, cheap ones usually result in reboots at best and destroyed hardware at worst.

    The Radeon cards still make me nervous. Reading through the reviews at Newegg and TD seem to bring up a lot of the old artifacting and other headaches from years ago...can it be that they still haven't gotten their heads out of their butts in the ATI driver department?

    You mention to "pay attention to the differences" when it comes to the i5 as if there's something I am not seeing, is this the case? My original build had a 2.66 Ghz C2Q with 6 Megs of cache and the i5 750 is sporting 2.66 Ghz with 8 megs of cache plus the turbo boost feature that the C2Q lacks...seems like a win/win at the current price on Newegg......something I might be missing?

  10. #10
    Moderator YeOldeStonecat's Avatar
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    ATI....years ago I was all nVidia. I went with my first ATI in my main gaming rig when AGP was about to be replaced..I forget the model, some 512 meg top AGP card from Sapphire. Many years ago yeah ATI was sluggish with drivers, they've since kept by their promise to release new drivers on a monthly basis, and I've been very happy with my ATI cards since then, in both my gaming rigs, and at work with FireGLs.

    ATI vs nVidia...it will be a perpetual cat 'n mouse game, depends which game you play..some are optimized for one brand over the other. Overall though, for a while now ATI seems to hold a consistent lead.

    Newegg reviews/feedback...take those with a grain of salt, don't forget many Newegg reviews come from people inexperienced with building computer systems, negative feedback usually gets posted, positive feedback rarely gets posted.

    For the boys XMas present, after much research as to what components to get, especially in the vid card department, I snagged that Sapphire 5770. After a botched initial build on a Gigabyte board, (2nd wonky Gigabyte board out of 3 in the past 2 years)..I went back to my usual trusted Asus, and the rig runs great.

    With RAID 0, I used to run in a few years ago, but honestly...the gain isn't as much as you think. And with some of todays fast hard drive with high amounts of cache, and some drives like WD Raptors at 10,000rpm...they're fast. Don't forget..RAID 0..striping, if 1 drive fails ...you're dead. And when running 2x drives in RAID 0...you're twice as likely to have a problem..2x drives = double the chance of failure.

    I prefer 2x drives for gaming (or other intensive use systems)....1x drive for the OS and programs, the other drive to hold data storage...and you move the pagefile.sys (virtual memory) to that drive. Having pagefile on a separate spindle from the OS and programs..that's where your performance gain is.
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  11. #11
    Second Most EVIL YARDofSTUF's Avatar
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    Read reviews from places like Hardocp. The problem with Newegg reviews is you don't know how competent reviews are, just how competent they think they are.

  12. #12
    I have kind of run into a roadblock when selecting motherboards. I was looking in the $100-200 price range that my budget allows for and there seems to be a glut of very similar boards in the $150 area.

    I know the basics that I want like support for DDR3, SATA ports, PCI Express 2.0 (at least 1 but 2 would work fine as well for future proofing), ideally SLI and Crossfire ready so I don't force myself into one brand of card or another, on board sound and LAN seem to be pretty standard across the board.

    The problem is that most of the boards I look at actually have all of these things. So how do you tell the difference outside of brand name? Looking at the stats it's hard to tell the difference between a $105 mobo and a $200 mobo.

  13. #13
    Moderator YeOldeStonecat's Avatar
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    The differences will be
    *Quality
    *Features

    Not all brands are created equal. You get what you pay for.
    Better boards will have better quality components
    Solid state capacitors instead of the old style that would swell and leak
    Good onboard NICs like Intel Pro, cheaper ones will move towards Broadcom, Marvell,..and on the bottom...NICs like Realtec
    Crossfire/SLI, sort of steps outside of "budget" gaming rig like the thread title suggests. I'd honestly focus on getting a good single vid card.
    Brand of RAID controller, if you're going to use RAID...these days, for a gaming rig, not much of a reason to.
    How good the onboard sound is
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  14. #14
    Ok I have let this thread go a little crusty but saving money in these times took a lot longer than I am used to. The good news is that I finally finished this build and thought I would give you guys that helped me along the way an update.

    The build ended up as follows:

    I5-760 @ 2.83 Ghz
    Freezer 7 Pro Rev. 2
    EVGA P55 SLI motherboard
    G. Skill 4 GB Dual Channel Kit (1600)
    EVGA 9800 GTX+
    Western Digital Caviar Black 500 GB W/ 32 Meg Cache
    Corsair 750 Watt Power Supply
    Windows 7 Home Premium
    NZXT Appolo Silver Case

    I am so happy with how it all turned out. With Rebates and instant savings the whole thing came in at $958 U.S. well under budget. The motherboard is absolutely amazing, looks great with options usually found on higher end boards not to mention a crazy 3 year warranty. The power supply was a surprise hit as well, 140 mm fan means it's ultra quiet and it came packaged in a freaking velvet bag...talk about presentation! Then don't even get me started on the NZXT case this thing is just epic looking and solid as a rock.

    I really don't think I would have ended up with a build this good for this price point without some solid advice from you guys. I took what I got here from you guys and years of lurking these forums and it all came together nicely.

    Now I need to get it up and stable then pick your brains for Win 7 and BIOS tweaks. Anywhere I should go to get this thing benched/tested after I finish the build?

    Thanks Speedguide

  15. #15
    Moderator YeOldeStonecat's Avatar
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    I don't believe in "benchmark" software....what counts for me is how the computer feels and runs for you! How well does it run the applications that you usually run...how well does it run the games that you play? You are the best judge of that, not some synthetic benchmark. And most importantly...stability! Does it ever lock up? Does it ever hang? Does it ever CTD during a game? (Crash To Desktop).

    Tweaks? Well, with Windows 7...."Leave it alone"...there's not any stripping down of it that's worth it, and they'll often cause other hiccups.
    There are a few things that I do when installing the OS that I consider "best practice".
    (Ahead of time...have the latest drivers for all your hardware downloaded and saved somewhere, and the latest service pack for your OS)
    *Latest BIOS for your motherboard
    *Install the OS, and the latest service pack, and run all your Microsoft Updates
    *Install the drivers for your motherboard/chipset...lays a good foundation
    *Latest drivers for your video card, other peripherals

    For gaming rigs and PCs doing other heavier work such as photoediting, I like installing a second hard drive...besides for "storage" and relocating the My Docs folder to, I like to move the virtual memory file (pagefile.sys) over to that drive instead of leaving it on the C drive. This gives quite a performance boost when the PC is running heavier apps..having the virtual memory on a separate spindle from the OS and program directories allows for better performance instead of having multiple things fight for the attention of the spindle.
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  16. #16
    Ohh Hell yeah.. Sava700's Avatar
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    Sandra Benchtest is good for a stress test.

    For graphics 3Dmark (new 3Dmark11 for DX11 coming out soon) Problem with this is you went with a 9800, same card I have and although its DX 11 compatible its not a DX 11 card. LOL you pretty much built a outdated system by several months so I'd swap the video card out for a 400 series if you can.

  17. #17
    I know it is technically "out of date" but when you are on a budget you have to take all things into consideration. My main game is World of Warcraft with an eye on The Old Republic in the future. Neither of these titles use DX 11 exclusive tech. Incidentally, WoW runs at 100-200 FPS on the "Ultra" graphics settings everywhere but Dalaran where I usually slow to about 60-75 FPS.

    The 9800 GTX+ has as good or better number than the 260's and comes in at a reasonable price point, I am very pleased with it.

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