Another AMD v. Intel Question

I know this topic comes up every couple of months but since the last thread my seach revealed was about six months old I figured the data was far enough out of date that I couldn’t trust it.

Anyway, now that I have finally gotten around to filing my taxes this year I am planning on using my return to upgrade my computer for the first time in over three years. Seeing as it has been so long since I last paid attention to these things I am completely out of the loop. I have a few of the components picked out already:

EVGA GeForce 8800GTS 320MB: I am sick of dealing with ATI’s control panel and I really just want to go back to the nVidia one, plus based on my research this is the best DX10 card for under $300.

Corsair XMS2 1GB DDR2 800 RAM: I recall Corsair being a good name in memory, and I wanted to get a 1GB stick for under $100.

But the sticking point I am at is AMD v. Intel. I can’t seem to find any good sources online regarding which one is better right now. My first thought is to stick with AMD since that is what I have always used, but I am not partial.

Essentially I want to find a Processor+Motherboard for around $250 (though for a significant performance/quality increase I could increase that a bit). At the moment I am looking at an Athlon 64 X2 4600. And as for a motherboard I am at a complete loss, at this point I will probably just pick up the first one that supports the processor I get.

Am I being a complete fool in my choice? Or are the differences even all that pronouced in the mid-range processors anymore?

If you’re running Vista or plan to (given that you’re talking about DX10, I’ll presume you are), AMD is probably your better choice. Apparently there’s been a role reversal between AMD and Intel; AMD is now Microsoft’s lapdog while Intel isn’t so much any more. An AMD chip should cooperate with Vista better than an Intel chip and provide a more stable experience. (This is a WAG based on what I know; I haven’t followed the CPU wars all that closely lately.)

I’m running an Athlon 64 3200+ with Windows XP at home, and it works beautifully for me. Also, good call on the EVGA GeForce; I have a 7600 of that brand and it’s delivered quite satisfactory performance.

I’m no expert in these matters, but I just saw that a couple new nvidia 8 series cards are coming out in the next couple of weeks. I’m looking to upgrade soon, too, and I’ll make my decision when the new cards come out (and see if the 8800 GTS drops in price, too).

At that price point, flip a coin. At the high-end, Intel is currently kicking AMD ass, but the chips alone will cost 2-3 times more than you want to pay.

Also, any motherboard you buy will be DDR enabled, meaning you’ll get best performance from paired RAM, e.g. 2 * 512 is better than 1 * 1024.

I like to shop for assembled bundles. At around the price point you are working with, I would consider:


With assembly and test, it comes to $325.90 plus shipping. You could swap out for aan Asus mobo at around the same price point on their Motherboard Bundles page.

I can’t believe I had forgotten about that. Though I think I will still stick with the one 1GB stick and buy a second one with my next paycheck (double the RAM and getting the benefits of them being paired).

Thanks for the advice about processors too, looks like I will be sticking with AMD.