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Old 07-10-2012, 02:46 PM   #1
hellfire88
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Default Phenom II x4 960T Zosma Bottlenecking AMD Radeon HD 7850 OC for Gaming?

Hi All,

Just a quick question. I sought to build a gaming PC on the cheap since I don't have as much time nowadays for PC Gaming, but obviously I didn't want to give it up. Therefore, instead of building a solid mid/upper-range gaming PC I saved some $$ going AMD for the CPU/motherboard since the desktop would just be sitting there mostly on the weekdays. Anyways, I have the following parts:

- NZXT Hale82 650W PSU
- AMD Phenom II x4 960T Zosma
- Cooler Master Hyper 212+ w/ Arctic Silver 5
- Biostar A880G+ AM3 mATX motherboard (880G chipset)
- G.Skill Ripjaws X 8GB RAM
- Sapphire Radeon HD 7850 OC version
- WD Black 640GB

Basically the $$ I saved going with the Phenom II x4 960T Zosma over a Core i5-2500k / i5-3570k I spent on getting a better video card (ATI 7850). I plan to play recent games such as:

- Diablo 3
- Battlefield 3
- Guild Wars 2

on a 120Hz 24" monitor @ 1920x1080 res. I have an existing Windows 7 Pro 64bit install from my i5-2500K PC I sold awhile back that "magically" worked with the new AMD 960T setup after a few driver updates. Everything is really slow from Firefox (well, i do have 50+ tabs open) and games loading, but I know I should do a complete Windows 7 re-install and plan to do it this weekend.

Bottom-line is, will the AMD Phenom II x4 960T Zosma bottleneck a ATI 7850 (factory-OC) in the above 3 games @ 1920x1080 res (I have a 120Hz monitor so the higher FPS the better)? The 960T I have is the Black Edition so I can overclock it a bit from stock 3GHz and maybe try to unlock it to x6 (don't want to count on this though). If you guys think it will bottle-neck it, I won't even both re-installing Windows 7 with this AMD setup and just bite the bullet and spend the extra $200 or so on a Core i5-3570k / Z77 combo. Thanks in advance.
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Old 07-10-2012, 03:14 PM   #2
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You would have saved money by avoiding AMD.

AMD chips bottleneck HD 6850s in CPU dependent games.
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Old 07-10-2012, 03:25 PM   #3
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Just OC to 3.8-4GHz and you should be fine.
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Old 07-10-2012, 03:40 PM   #4
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I can't comment on BF3 or GW2, but Diablo 3 is smooth as a baby's butt to my eyes on my PC.
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Old 07-10-2012, 03:41 PM   #5
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just unlock and oc it and you should be fine ?
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Old 07-10-2012, 04:01 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hellfire88 View Post
Hi All,

Just a quick question. I sought to build a gaming PC on the cheap since I don't have as much time nowadays for PC Gaming, but obviously I didn't want to give it up. Therefore, instead of building a solid mid/upper-range gaming PC I saved some $$ going AMD for the CPU/motherboard since the desktop would just be sitting there mostly on the weekdays. Anyways, I have the following parts:

- NZXT Hale82 650W PSU
- AMD Phenom II x4 960T Zosma
- Cooler Master Hyper 212+ w/ Arctic Silver 5
- Biostar A880G+ AM3 mATX motherboard (880G chipset)
- G.Skill Ripjaws X 8GB RAM
- Sapphire Radeon HD 7850 OC version
- WD Black 640GB

Basically the $$ I saved going with the Phenom II x4 960T Zosma over a Core i5-2500k / i5-3570k I spent on getting a better video card (ATI 7850). I plan to play recent games such as:

- Diablo 3
- Battlefield 3
- Guild Wars 2

on a 120Hz 24" monitor @ 1920x1080 res. I have an existing Windows 7 Pro 64bit install from my i5-2500K PC I sold awhile back that "magically" worked with the new AMD 960T setup after a few driver updates. Everything is really slow from Firefox (well, i do have 50+ tabs open) and games loading, but I know I should do a complete Windows 7 re-install and plan to do it this weekend.

Bottom-line is, will the AMD Phenom II x4 960T Zosma bottleneck a ATI 7850 (factory-OC) in the above 3 games @ 1920x1080 res (I have a 120Hz monitor so the higher FPS the better)? The 960T I have is the Black Edition so I can overclock it a bit from stock 3GHz and maybe try to unlock it to x6 (don't want to count on this though). If you guys think it will bottle-neck it, I won't even both re-installing Windows 7 with this AMD setup and just bite the bullet and spend the extra $200 or so on a Core i5-3570k / Z77 combo. Thanks in advance.
firefox is a slow turd, especially with 50 tabs open. It's still only able to make use of ONE core out of your 4.
I highly recommend Chrome or Opera, but Chrome for simplicity. I have 30 tabs set to open at startup, they all finish rendering within about 5-6 seconds and the interface isn't chugging for 2 minutes like Firefox is trying to render them.

The Ph2 will be nicely paired with the 7850. You definitely should still overclock though. You will be able to hit 4ghz if you have a decent cooler. In addition, unlock success rate is pretty high.

Getting it to unlock is very simple, I would test that first. If it does, I'd say just keep it and then work on overclocking. I think your most CPU dependent game on that list is going to be BF3, which still performs very nicely with a 4ghz quad core Phenom2. If yours unlocks, then you'll be right up there in performance with the 2500k's in BF3.

edit: am concerned about the mobo VRMs being able to supply a hex-core at 4ghz. Anyone else?
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Old 07-10-2012, 04:05 PM   #7
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Just OC Zosma. You can hit ~3.8Ghz on 4 cores pretty easily. At this clock I don't think it will bottleneck the 7850 in those games .
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Old 07-10-2012, 04:14 PM   #8
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Ok thanks for the reassurance guys. I will first try to unlock to 6 core and then shoot for OCing to 3.8GHz. I haven't overclocked since the Athlon XP Barton days (yes, I ran the i5-2500K I had at stock speeds, an offense I know) so will read up on OCing my PhenomII x4, hopefully its easy since its a Black Edition.

@soccerballtux the motherboard I got (Biostar A880G+) specifically touts on the retail box that it supports unlocking cores so hopefully they designed the electronics in mind to support it? Oh well I guess if it dies it'll just give me an excuse to upgrade to Core i5-3570k
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Old 07-10-2012, 05:12 PM   #9
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Ok thanks for the reassurance guys. I will first try to unlock to 6 core and then shoot for OCing to 3.8GHz. I haven't overclocked since the Athlon XP Barton days (yes, I ran the i5-2500K I had at stock speeds, an offense I know) so will read up on OCing my PhenomII x4, hopefully its easy since its a Black Edition.

@soccerballtux the motherboard I got (Biostar A880G+) specifically touts on the retail box that it supports unlocking cores so hopefully they designed the electronics in mind to support it? Oh well I guess if it dies it'll just give me an excuse to upgrade to Core i5-3570k
yeah. It won't die immediately, maybe after a year or two at which point you could just get a drop in replacement used with better power delivery for $35 probably.
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Old 07-10-2012, 06:12 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hellfire88 View Post
Ok thanks for the reassurance guys. I will first try to unlock to 6 core and then shoot for OCing to 3.8GHz. I haven't overclocked since the Athlon XP Barton days (yes, I ran the i5-2500K I had at stock speeds, an offense I know) so will read up on OCing my PhenomII x4, hopefully its easy since its a Black Edition.

@soccerballtux the motherboard I got (Biostar A880G+) specifically touts on the retail box that it supports unlocking cores so hopefully they designed the electronics in mind to support it? Oh well I guess if it dies it'll just give me an excuse to upgrade to Core i5-3570k

I'm not sure if this is the case with Zosma but with Rana and Callisto the additional cores could cost you up to 300 MHz off your max stable overclock, so do your testing either way but I would favor a higher frequency over additional cores.
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Old 07-10-2012, 06:36 PM   #11
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Currentgen processors that aren't sissy pansy celeron or Sempron will not bottleneck current gen video cards.. Where do you all come up with this stuff?

if you buy a new system for gaming... spend as much on your cpu, mobo and ramm as you spend on your GPU and you should be good to go.
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Old 07-10-2012, 06:43 PM   #12
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I too have the 960T just mildy overclocked to 3.4GHz with the same cooler. Mine unlocks fine to 6-cores but since the games i play don't utilize them, i keep them locked for now.

With my GTX 460 Diablo3 and all of the COD series play silky smooth on my pc.

I really can't see your cpu being the bottleneck. Granted like the others said, that chip is just begging to be overclocked!
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Old 07-10-2012, 07:02 PM   #13
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The Biostar A880G+ is the only likely limiting factor I see. The "T" series are better overclockers.
OTOH I do not own an A880G+ Motherboard, so who knows?
The 960T overclocks well on 4 cores. You can run your own trials on the benefits of unlocking cores.
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Old 07-10-2012, 07:49 PM   #14
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Even with an overclock you'll still be bottlenecked in CPU-dependent games. Don't let the AMD fanboys tell you otherwise.

Of course they'll point to GPU-dependent games and ignore the fact that AMD is pathetic for SCII MP and other CPU-dependent games where the processor does matter.
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Old 07-10-2012, 07:52 PM   #15
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Quote:
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spend as much on your cpu, mobo and ramm as you spend on your GPU and you should be good to go.
Is it better to have a Pentium G620 with a GTX 560 or a 3570K with a GT620?
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Old 07-10-2012, 08:33 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by minitron View Post
Even with an overclock you'll still be bottlenecked in CPU-dependent games. Don't let the AMD fanboys tell you otherwise.

Of course they'll point to GPU-dependent games and ignore the fact that AMD is pathetic for SCII MP and other CPU-dependent games where the processor does matter.
what are you smoking.. Phenom IIs are great processors ?
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Old 07-10-2012, 08:38 PM   #17
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Expect a 960T to perform somewhere between an I3 2100 and an I5 2400 depending on the particular game.
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Old 07-10-2012, 08:44 PM   #18
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what are you smoking.. Phenom IIs are great processors ?
If by "great" you mean is outperformed by ~3 year old Nehalem architecture.

Quote:
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Expect a 960T to perform somewhere between an I3 2100 and an I5 2400 depending on the particular game.
Actually, a Phenom II at 4.3 Ghz is still not as fast as a i3-2100 in gaming. The i5-2400 is in a whole other league.

But AMD fanboys love to make up numbers.



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Old 07-10-2012, 08:45 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hellfire88 View Post
Hi All,

...Basically the $$ I saved going with the Phenom II x4 960T Zosma over a Core i5-2500k / i5-3570k I spent on getting a better video card (ATI 7850). I plan to play recent games such as:

- Diablo 3
- Battlefield 3
- Guild Wars 2
That quote summarizes that you did the right thing. For gaming, video card is still top. So yes, weaker CPU + stronger GPU will mop stronger CPU + weaker GPU.
CPU limited games? You still need to crank up the visual goodies before you can see it, video card matters more Unless you are a true fanboy who wants to play at 800 x 600 so your "gaming" cpu can shine

You did great. I am running a similar setup, well, several similar setups of 960T with HD7850s
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Old 07-10-2012, 08:47 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by minitron View Post
If by "great" you mean is outperformed by ~3 year old Nehalem architecture.


Actually, a Phenom II at 4.3 Ghz is still not as fast as a i3-2100 in gaming. The i5-2400 is in a whole other league.

But AMD fanboys love to make up numbers.
OP is gaming at 1920x1080. Sorry to burst your bubble but his setup is more than good enough at that res.
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Old 07-10-2012, 08:49 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alexruiz View Post
That quote summarizes that you did the right thing. For gaming, video card is still top. So yes, weaker CPU + stronger GPU will mop stronger CPU + weaker GPU.
CPU limited games? You still need to crank up the visual goodies before you can see it, video card matters more Unless you are a true fanboy who wants to play at 800 x 600 so your "gaming" cpu can shine

You did great. I am running a similar setup, well, several similar setups of 960T with HD7850s
In certain games the CPU is definitely more important than the GPU:

AMD performance in CPU-dependent games like SCII and Civ5 is pathetic at best.
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OP is gaming at 1920x1080. Sorry to burst your bubble but his setup is more than good enough at that res.
I guess if your definition of "good enough" means slower than a i3-2100 and Pentium G860.

I think we're arguing semantics. The fact is he's not going to reach SB gaming performance with a Phenom II no matter what he does to it.

Last edited by minitron; 07-10-2012 at 08:53 PM.
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Old 07-10-2012, 08:51 PM   #22
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I guess if your definition of "good enough" means slower than a i3-2100 and Pentium G860.

I think we're arguing semantics. The fact is he's not going to reach SB gaming performance with a Phenom II no matter what he does to it.
At higher resolutions it doesn't really matter that much. Higher resolution = More GPU dependent.
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Old 07-10-2012, 08:56 PM   #23
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At higher resolutions it doesn't really matter that much. Higher resolution = More GPU dependent.
No, the load on the CPU does not decrease as you increase resolution. Your GPU just works exponentially harder. In no situation will increasing your resolution increase your FPS.

If you have a CPU bottleneck, you're pretty much stuck with it unless you want to put so much load on your GPU that it becomes the bottleneck, in which case the performance would be terrible.

The proper question: if the OP does overclock, will he eliminate or alleviate his current bottleneck to the extent that he doesn't notice or the performance is acceptable? I doubt it.

Last edited by minitron; 07-10-2012 at 09:00 PM.
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Old 07-10-2012, 09:04 PM   #24
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minitron, I find it really funny you bring up crisis & SC2 benchmarks. But OP had already mentioned that he doesn't play those games.
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Old 07-10-2012, 09:07 PM   #25
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BF3 64 MP is CPU-dependent.
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