General Cliff is considering the unthinkable discussion (Intel hardware)

Okay Icrontic... Here is the deal.

I'm thinking about downsizing my PC on my desk. I've already finished phase one, I sold my crossfire cards and just consolidated for a single 390X. I'm going to buy a freesync monitor, not sure what yet, but probably about 27" and just running 1080 or 1440, I'm totally disinterested in a 4K display. I'm thinking the extra investment in Freesync will help level out the rest of my hardware costs gaming, I'll run single card for life now, don't care about the DX12 promises, not buying into AMD's promise that HSA and hardware load balancing will ever make it into game development in any major way. I just want a simple single card build, probably with an mATX board and smaller case to take up less room and just be all around simpler.

Waiting for Zen kind of isn't an option. My current AM3+ board is wonky as hell, I've totally re installed Windows, tested all the other hardware, I'm sure there are Mobo issues, it's launch day Gigabyte 990fx UD3. The on-board Ethernet has failed, certain USB ports are not working, it crashes randomly despite good temps and power delivery. I have to make a decision on how to remedy now..

So here is what I have, I have 16 GB of performance DDR3, I have an FX 8350.... If my primary mission is gaming for performance (which it is, I do very little video encoding and such)... does it make sense to sell off my FX8350 and go Intel, or... Should I just swap our my motherboard?

Is moving from AM3+ to something like Skylake worth a $500 investment when you factor in the i7 and RAM (I'll pay the premium for the extra "just in case" threads, going from 8 to 4 on an i5 will just feel wrong)... Should I just move my RAM over and do a Haswell build which would save me $100+ or so when you consider the CPU is about 15% less in cost and the RAM can just be moved over... Will the gaming performance feel justified or should I just consider staying inside my big ass Corsair 600T and swap for a new AM3+ mobo. Are there any AM3+ boards that support PCIE Gen 3? When we are talking about hard gaming performance, how CPU dependent have games become over the past couple years? When the system isn't crashing I seem to be playing overwatch fine cranked at 1080P but I understand titles like Diablo III (which I intend to get into) and maybe the Witcher, they seem to favor that Intel single core throughput...

Shoot me straight Icrontic, should I even be thinking about doing the unholy here and building Intel?


  • SonorousSonorous F@H Fanatic US Icrontian

    I would just get a new mobo and deal with the massive case for now personally. If I were in your shoes, I would hate to buy into Intel and resent it when Zen drops. At the very least it would hold you over until we see initial Zen reviews.

  • drasnordrasnor Starship Operator Hawthorne, CA Icrontian

    All these points are coming from a single small form factor machine with an ITX motherboard, Ivy Bridge i7, and an nVidia GTX 980.

    The graphics card alone accounts for basically all of the gaming and folding performance. How much are you looking to spend?

  • Doing the accounting on it, Let's assume I sell the FX 8350, I have a buyer that will give me about $100 for it.

    So if I just swap motherboard for a placeholder board, about $130 or so net investment, no CPU improvement.

    If I go Haswell, figure current microcenter special is $30 off a board and i7 combo, totals out to about $270 or so if you factor in the sale of my CPU.

    Skylake, I have to swap RAM, CPU is about $40 more, figure that goes up to about $400 or so.

    I'm not on a strict budget, I just want to be smart about my upgrade path. @Sonorous sounds like the voice of reason. I think part of me is just looking for a project. I'm not sure where my gains will be beyond shrinking down the build which is near impossible on AM3+ (there is an asrock 970 board with cruddy power delivery and ho hum features... Don't want it).

    So shrinking the build does have a bit of value to me, but if I'm going Intel (which makes my stomach churn a bit), I want to make sure I'm getting a solid return on investment.

    The problem I'm having is the information comparing on benchmarks online is all over the place. Take this video for example. - this reviewer has the i7 4790k knocking the snot out of an FX8350, but I'll see other more game specific benchmarks have them pretty close to a wash I suppose when you crank the settings up and really do what you can to bottleneck it at the card. It's interesting though, so much conflicting info and it seems like you can find some side by side benchmarks running where something like the 4790k isn't just winning, it's putting a pretty solid gaming hurt on the older AMD CPU.

    I'm frustrated with AMD. it's like I give this abusive spouse an extra chance over and over again because if I leave, who am I?? Okay, maybe that's a little dramatic, but really people, WHAT HAVE I BECOME??!! It's like AMD is still there saying "I promise, I'll make it up to you"... "Next time things will be different"... and after over five years stagnated on a sub par platform with cruddy motherboard options, and lousy single core performance, all the promise that we were once told about HSA and how they would change how software is developed to leverage all that multi threaded goodness, it still hasn't happened and Zen just seems like it's going to be an Intel knock off utilizing their own version of hyper threading and a similar architecture because they couldn't position their own technology to be a game changer. That said, I have to do something very soon... it's just a matter of what that something is. I could buy a cheap AM3+ Mobo as a stop gap until Zen comes along... but something tells me, a gut feeling that it's going to disappoint. I want to be excited for a new AMD computing platform, but seriously, this is the group that has the finest integrated graphics on their APU's and somehow they saddlebag the integrated frame buffer with less than DDR4 bandwidth despite having better memory available for about three years now. They can't even figure out how to update for a part of the market where they have a reasonable chance of doing well. My bags are packed and sitting on the front porch. I haven't used Intel in a personal build since 1994... It's like ending a 20+ year marriage. If it's what's best for me and the kids, don't talk me out of it.

  • ThraxThrax 🐌 Austin, TX Icrontian

    (Hyperthreading existed long before Intel came along and called it hyperthreading. Sun, IBM, et. al. It's called SMT).

    Anyhow, I'd wait in your shoes. Get a mobo and hold on. :) But that's just me.

  • mertesnmertesn I am Bobby Miller Yukon, OK Icrontian
    edited July 2016

    From personal experience:
    Reasons to go Intel: Virtualization, large amounts of media transcoding
    Reasons to go AMD: If you aren't doing any of the above, AMD is great.

    Save your money for now, replace the motherboard, and wait to see the results of Zen.

  • primesuspectprimesuspect Beepin n' Boopin Detroit, MI Icrontian

    I don't have anything to contribute to the recommendations, but goddamn do I love reading your posts, Cliff. lol

  • I appreciate the feedback. I have built Intel for others on rare occasion but I've mostly seen the value in AMD platforms. Like @Sonorous said, it's kind of frustration in the timing. I have to consider changing something out, and I kinda have this compulsion to do an upgrade while I'm at it, and my preferred vendor has done nothing new in that segment for a long time.

    My prediction for Zen is that the APU's will knock your socks off, the enthusiast CPU's will be at least competitive but probably still lag behind. I've been saying for two years, if AMD would just get some APU's out that take advantage of the increased bandwidth of DDR4 you could actually see some decent gaming performance without the need for a dedicated GPU. Zen will probably be an amazing steam box platform, maybe not to play all the latest at the absolute highest resolutions, but for laptops and living room PC's and even for more casual gamers that want to roll into best buy and just pick a desktop off the shelf for $429 I'm sure their APU performance is going to dwarf what anyone else is doing in terms of integrated graphics performance, but on the enthusiast CPU end I think my trust has eroded where waiting a few more months for a platform that will potentially disappoint me is going to really, really difficult.

    I'm even considering a Xeon E3 I could scale down really small with that due to the efficiency. I don't mess around with overclocks like I used to.

    That said, I might just pick up a cheap 970 board with good power delivery and maybe an M.2 slot, usb 3.1 if it exists, but if not, I'll just splurge spend the extra $50 or so and get another 990fx board. It just annoys me to drop more money and time on AM3+... But you are probably all right, it seems like the sensible thing to do. Voice of reason prevails.

  • ThraxThrax 🐌 Austin, TX Icrontian

    Many 970 boards with M.2 and USB 3.1.

  • drasnordrasnor Starship Operator Hawthorne, CA Icrontian

    I was in this situation a couple of years ago after traveling with my desktop to EPIC killed my then-2 year-old PC's motherboard. I took a look at the processor scene at the time and decided it wasn't worth it to do a new build. Instead I bought a new motherboard and went down a form factor size from mATX to ITX, threw away my shitty old case and got a classy Lian Li ITX cube, and bought a top-end graphics card with the expectation of getting 4-6 years out of it. I'll probably do a new key 3 in a couple of years with a maybe on graphics as well. It's been two years since then and I haven't regretted these decisions.

  • Anyone swap a motherboard on a Windows 10 upgrade build? Any funny activation caveats? I see some conflicting info online regarding that. I'm going to run a refresh install for sure, make sure I get all clean drivers and everything, but I'm wondering if I'll have an activation issue?

  • AlexDeGruvenAlexDeGruven Wut? Meechigan Icrontian

    Zen is going to be interesting to say the least. I'm not sure if it will quite be an Opteron event, but it will definitely make people take notice.

    Keep in mind that AMD, as a part of the IBM and Global Foundries deal, got a TON of IBM's IP. And I guarantee that a good chunk of that was related to SMT, which IBM kicks EVERYONE's butts at (8 threads per core in p8, possibly more in p9 which should be announced in October). So even if Zen ends up seeming a little weak (probably SMT2), it's a step in a direction I'm sure they're going to continue in.

    This, however, doesn't have that much to do with your current build, but it's worth keeping an eye on if you wish to resist going Intel.

  • Man, my local Microcenter has a sale on the XEON 1231 V3 and I'm strongly considering pairing it with an 1150 board.

    I Feel Strange....

  • Got a 990fx gaming from Gigabyte. Had to stay AMD. I thought long and hard on it just can't bring myself to abandon my first love.

    I'll wait for Zen... please be awesome.

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