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Best Computer Processor?

08/15/2011 12:57 AM

I am getting ready to build a gaming machine from scratch. I would like opinions as to which processor people think is best. AMD or Intel? I will probably go AMD as I think it handles graphics better, but am curious as to what others think.

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Guru

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#1

Re: Best Computer Processor?

08/15/2011 11:10 AM

Either processor is fine when mounted to the proper motherboard and an appropriate chipset.

You should not be tasking your CPU with intense graphics. I would concentrate on purchasing a high-middle (not bleeding-edge) CPU and motherboard package, then spend a large percentage of your funds on the graphics board(s). Let the processing be done where it can be done most efficiently: by a board designed specifically for the purpose.

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#2

Re: Best Computer Processor?

08/15/2011 11:24 AM

I've always been very fond of Cray computing. They make some of the very best toys.

On a more serious note, regardless of which processor platform you choose, the rapid improvements in processor power will quickly mean that your top of the line processor will become "obsolete" during shipping to your home. So even though I also have a slight preference with AMD, I don't think the CPU difference is going to make much of a gaming difference. I do recommend that your motherboard chip-set, and graphics board matches you CPU choice. In simpler terms stride for the word "match" in your component selection, avoid combinations with the word "compatible" in the part description.

The critical thing will likely actually be completely out of your hands and unknown to your choices. Likely the compiling middle-ware between the hardware and the gaming programming software will have a preferred platform that will maximize each processor flop. Instead of any generic personal computing platform, the preferred platform will most likely be based on one of the dedicated seventh or eighth generation gaming systems; Xbox, Wii, PlayStation, etc.

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Power-User

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#3

Re: Best Computer Processor?

08/15/2011 6:15 PM

Oh I know that the graphics card is the main aspect and perhaps my feeling is just that and not based on actual facts, but I have always considered AMD as a better base platform (stability, etc.). Back in the days when procs had to handle the load AMD always did better with graphics, but of course Intel always handled data better (spreadsheets, etc) although I suspect its probably about even nowadays. Of course I started in the days when upgrading to 1 MB RAM was such an exciting thing :) and everyone had to come over and see this new screaming machine, lol. I ask because although the primary purpose will be gaming I do a lot of 3D modeling (Inventor) and it will need to handle that load as well.

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#4
In reply to #3

Re: Best Computer Processor?

08/15/2011 6:24 PM

In that case I would recommend a mult-core Intel Xeon based workstation. Something along the lines of the Silicon Graphics Octane line, an Alienware Area 51 with the Intel Core i-5 or i-7, or an AMAX with Intel Xeon and nearly two thousand video cores.

If only...

I still use a dual Xeon ASL micro-super, but it works well with CS4 for me.

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#5
In reply to #4

Re: Best Computer Processor?

08/15/2011 7:48 PM

Yah, lol. I have been contemplating a supercomputer but it's a couple of dollars above my budget line :) I'll probably go i-5 with an overclocked core for 3.3 GHz with 6MB cache. I am thinking with 16GB RAM that should cover my graphics needs. Ill prob get a 6950 card with 2GB DDR5 and then another after 6 months for dual SLI. One will get me by until then. Although I could go with a better card the 6950 is pretty stable and has a decent track record. I am getting the enhanced network card for gaming traffic which will help for online games, and with 5MB cable it should at least keep me from getting shot before I even see the other guy :), the story of my life with the specs I am running now.

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#6
In reply to #5

Re: Best Computer Processor?

08/16/2011 12:07 AM

Over the last year and a half or so I built 7 CAD machines for the company I just left. They were all Intel I7's with Nvidia GTX 260 video cards. Inventor ran sweet, especially using Studio with the multi-threading rendering. I didn't even bother overclocking. Nothing stalled.

I was so impressed with the build that I built one for home too. I have yet to have any kind of hiccup on any of the online games I play. From a price/performance standpoint I've never been happier. The builds cost around $1200-1500 each based on deals from Newegg.

Our IT dept complained that they wanted us (engineering) to standardize on HP machines for support purposes. They brought in an HP dual Xeon with an Hp graphics card supposedly tuned for CAD. We tested the HP for several weeks with Inventor and it sucked compared performance-wise to our home builds and had multiple hangs per day (lock ups while using Inventor).We basically told IT not to bother supporting us as we could repair our machines usually overnight, and we kept a spare on hand anyway.

FWIW, I have always used Intel chips to run AutoDesk products. I know (because I was a reseller) that they compile on Intel and I've seen overall better performance over the years.

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#7
In reply to #6

Re: Best Computer Processor?

08/16/2011 12:33 AM

Yah, that's mainly why I have decided to go with the i-5, can always upgrade later. Yah we had dell at work and Inventor always seemed to hang, even with graphic cards certified for its use. Price wise one cannot beat building one, but companies think support is everything. The thing is if you can build it you can fix it, and its cheaper to pay me my normal wage to do it than to pay for support. usually the part costs less than the support does. So unless you get a bad board and fry everything (chances nill) I think its better to build it and get what you want for half the price. You can pay hundreds per year in case it breaks, which usually it wont until 3 years or more has passed, or pay someone 80 bucks to come out and replace a 30 dollar part. so 300+ vs 120 most times is odds I'll take. Besides, they way they make parts nowadays they almost snap together and anyone with common sense can replace about any part on a computer. Figuring out what is wrong may take a bit of time, but most computer users (and by that I don't mean typers) usually know enough to figure out what is wrong or narrow it down to a few possible causes.

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#8
In reply to #7

Re: Best Computer Processor?

08/16/2011 8:48 AM

Save yourself some money and buy your graphics card on Ebay. People are always selling last year's "latest and greatest" so they can have this year's "latest and greatest". 16 gig of ram is overkill. Even though they're cheap, the money you will save with only 8 or 4 gig is better spent on your graphics card.

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#9
In reply to #8

Re: Best Computer Processor?

08/16/2011 10:01 AM

The ram advice would be good if he only used the machine for gaming. But when it comes to solids modeling cad systems, especially with large assemblies, it really pays off to load up the mom board with as much ram as it can handle. There's nothing worse than sitting there twiddling your thumbs while listening to the hard drive thrash while data is accessed in virtual memory.

Same goes for memory on graphics cards, IMO. High resolutions of large detailed assemblies is a big issue. The gaming companies have addressed the issue with things like low polygon models and sprites but CAD displays do not have the luxury of these shortcuts while still displaying understandable data.

That said, I've found that most medium to high end gaming cards suffice just as well for day-to-day CAD as do the high price cards marketed specifically for CAD. I think companies like AutoDesk have recognized this as they've recently limited their graphics support to Directx.

FWIW, Hooker

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#10
In reply to #9

Re: Best Computer Processor?

08/16/2011 10:42 PM

Yah, exactly why I am getting 16MB RAM, and will probably upgrade to 24 when I can afford to. What with DDR5 becoming commonplace DDR3 RAM is relatively cheap so 16MB isn't out of reach. Even in gaming the more memory you have the less often your game needs to access the drive. I am also waiting for solid state drives to drop in price, as the drive is usually a computers biggest bottleneck. Right now I'll settle for one that is 7200 RPM, but in a year prices should drop as memory capacity increases in solid state drives. I thought about a Raptor, but decided to just wait for about a year and get a solid state drive.

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#11
In reply to #10

Re: Best Computer Processor?

08/16/2011 11:30 PM

SSD's are gonna be the cat's meow, for sure, but with lots of memory I rarely see a mechanical hard drive issue. Just turn off all those OS services, like indexing, that Microsloth likes to have turned on, and you'll never see a HD hiccup in gaming or CAD.

Hooker

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