bit-tech.net

The Best Sub-£100 CPU

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RedFlames 31st October 2011, 13:51 Quote
what about for say HTPC work, will the likes of the Pentium cope with playing blurrys and other HD video...
Bauul 31st October 2011, 13:58 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by RedFlames
what about for say HTPC work, will the likes of the Pentium cope with playing blurrys and other HD video...

Lol, I read that as "bluhrees" first time round. Thought I'd missed out on some funky new media technology!
RedFlames 31st October 2011, 14:02 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bauul
Lol, I read that as "bluhrees" first time round. Thought I'd missed out on some funky new media technology!

Force of habit... calling Blu-Rays 'Blurrys'
NuTech 31st October 2011, 14:12 Quote
I really like the way this article was presented, especially the last page.

Like most I assume, I skipped to the 'What to Buy' and read the 4 handy use-cases. Saw the processor that suits the build I'm planning (2D applications only) and then flipped back to the relevant previous pages.

I think a lot of sites fear having such a concise 'TL;DR' thinking people then won't read the article, but honestly, it's the opposite. Very few people are going to read every single word from each page anyway, most (myself included) just want to find the information they need with the least confusion possible.

More like this please. ;)
V3ctor 31st October 2011, 14:35 Quote
I missed these reviews... :)
steveo_mcg 31st October 2011, 15:06 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by NuTech


More like this please. ;)

What he said. ;)
Ross1 31st October 2011, 15:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by RedFlames
what about for say HTPC work, will the likes of the Pentium cope with playing blurrys and other HD video...

Still probably between the A8-350 and the i3-2100.

One thing the sandybridge graphics wont do correctly is 23.976FPS playback, while the AMD graphics will.

The i3-2100 does tend to have lower power consumption, but the at load figure is slightly misleading for HTPC use, as for HD playback you will find the AMD chip has a lower power draw ( http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cpu/display/amd-a8-3800_21.html#sect0 )
Spreadie 31st October 2011, 15:34 Quote
Nice roundup.

Can I just make one minor request, in that you stop swapping the Value, Speed & Features score positions around? It's not a big deal, but it is irritating.

Thanks

Spreadie
Aracos 31st October 2011, 16:20 Quote
Amazing how efficient the Intel CPU's are :O
confusis 31st October 2011, 17:14 Quote
I wonder if the Bit-Tech crew panicked when they realised they had to reccomend an AMD cpu.. not on form for this site at all!
bulletdodger 31st October 2011, 17:16 Quote
how come you didnt include the bulldozer fx-4 ? its under a 100 quid.
mucgoo 31st October 2011, 17:42 Quote
Any reason for the recommendation of the A8 over pheonem 955 for gaming with a discrete GPU?
The 955 a faster and cheaper processor mainly due to socket F1 boards being pricey for a budget line.

Also shouldn't motherboard socket price be a factor?

Doing something for the more normal computing needs is great though.
Evildead666 31st October 2011, 20:37 Quote
Great article.
At least it shows that its not really the CPU holding back in gaming nowadays but mostly the GPU ;)

Good work !
tonyd223 31st October 2011, 20:53 Quote
Me? The Phenom 955 as there's an upgrade path... and it's over clockable, that's a no brainer isn't it?
Combatus 31st October 2011, 21:12 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by mucgoo
Any reason for the recommendation of the A8 over pheonem 955 for gaming with a discrete GPU?
The 955 a faster and cheaper processor mainly due to socket F1 boards being pricey for a budget line.

Also shouldn't motherboard socket price be a factor?

Doing something for the more normal computing needs is great though.

AM3+ boards might be cheaper but we probably wouldn't want to use them for 24/7 overclocking - we'd still prefer a decent 990FX board such as the Sabertooth. The cheaper ones aren't really built for it. Plus the Phenom 955 needed to be heavily overclocked to pip the 3850 to the post. It drew way more power, particularly when idle and needed a far beefier cooler. The MSI Socket FM1 board we used was very substantial and only costs £65 now too.
John_T 31st October 2011, 23:51 Quote
Excellent article, loved it - thanks!

What I reckon may also be a good idea for an article, if you can stand suggestions, would be something along the lines of a Top Gear style challenge: All you guys have a fixed budget of say £400, (or whatever) and have to get a MoBo, CPU & HSF, GPU & Memory, (with the Case, PSU, HDD etc standard).

You can all get whatever gear you like within the confines of the budget and see who can build the best rig possible for a set range of challenges.

I don't know if that'd be possible, but I think it would make a pretty fantastic read - and would offer the chance for serious bragging rights...
fluxtatic 1st November 2011, 04:57 Quote
AM3+ boards might be cheaper but we probably wouldn't want to use them for 24/7 overclocking - we'd still prefer a decent 990FX board such as the Sabertooth. The cheaper ones aren't really built for it. [/QUOTE]

...wut? The 990FX is an AM3+ board...I get what you meant, but the wording was a little off. That aside, isn't that the case generally, no matter the platform? I'd like to think we all know better than to think we'll get good, lasting results out of OCing a Biostar board, disregarding what socket it's on. I know it happens, but I wouldn't count on it from a cheapie board.

I have to agree with John_T - total platform cost should definitely weigh in here. Even take it the other way - build (and justify) the best PC for the lowest price on a given platform. If you built an FM1 but used 1600 MHz RAM, give me the numbers that the bump in FPS wasn't worth the higher price. Or that you can squeeze more out of a Phenom II, but you may not want to skyrocket the power consumption. Naturally, it's not perfect - prices fluctuate almost every day, and a particular part won't necessarily overclock the same as another of the same model, but the CPU price alone is one of 3 major components that will make the biggest difference in price. Of course, there are many more mobos than there are processors for a given socket, same with RAM, but give us a range here. Lay out at least an estimate of how much it will cost to build a decent system on a given platform. Processor alone doesn't give a complete-enough picture, imo.
Ross1 1st November 2011, 11:44 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by John_T
Excellent article, loved it - thanks!

What I reckon may also be a good idea for an article, if you can stand suggestions, would be something along the lines of a Top Gear style challenge: All you guys have a fixed budget of say £400, (or whatever) and have to get a MoBo, CPU & HSF, GPU & Memory, (with the Case, PSU, HDD etc standard).

You can all get whatever gear you like within the confines of the budget and see who can build the best rig possible for a set range of challenges.

I don't know if that'd be possible, but I think it would make a pretty fantastic read - and would offer the chance for serious bragging rights...

Hopefully it wasnt a different site that tried that, but I seem to recall reading a similar article to that at one point. They all had a budget, 1 guy tried to buy second hand, one guy tried to just buy a prebuilt, another tried to build his own.
steveo_mcg 1st November 2011, 11:55 Quote
Wasn't it custom PC?
adam_bagpuss 1st November 2011, 13:55 Quote
Im not sure why you have recomended the A-8 3850 as the gaming only one as its slower than a 955 in just about everything.

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/399?vs=88

If your not grabbing a discrete GPU then fine the A8 is a good choice but if your not then its not worth it.
jrs77 1st November 2011, 13:57 Quote
As playing games in a fashionable manner will allways require a dedicated GPU so far, I'd say that the i3-2105 is still the best CPU (price/performance) currently around.

I'll tell you why.

The i3-2105 has enough power for your daily tasks (office, web, multimedia), and the intel CPU simply beats the AMD-stuff currently available. And I'm talking only about chips with integrated GPUs here.
The HD3000 is powerful enough for the standard person, who doesn't do anything special, but only web, office and multimedia.
And now the reason why it's way better then the A8-3850... it's the powerconsumption and TDP. This CPU is simply way more efficient and the way to go, if you want to build a small, silent, and lowpower PC for Average Joe.

With that said, I'm even happy with even less power for the most things, like browsing the web, or watching a movie. In these scenarios the E350 or the AtomION-platforms are even better suited, as they draw even less power.

Power-Efficiency is and should be the top-criteria for comparing systems. Be it PCs, cars, or whatever.
mucgoo 1st November 2011, 18:22 Quote
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/amd-a8-3850-llano,2975-13.html
With the exception of the big system killer games (BF3/Arma,I'm guessing skyrim) its actually capable of running pretty much any game despite its intergrated graphics.
John_T 1st November 2011, 20:43 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ross1
Hopefully it wasnt a different site that tried that, but I seem to recall reading a similar article to that at one point. They all had a budget, 1 guy tried to buy second hand, one guy tried to just buy a prebuilt, another tried to build his own.

I must admit, I haven't bought the hard copy CPC for a little while now, so I probably missed it if it was fairly recent, (I'd love the issue number if anyone has it to hand).

I do remember there being a face-off between a custom build and a shop build a good while back, ('Dell vs DIY' issue 59, and 'Make a Mac Killer' issue 70) which are similar to what I was suggesting, but not quite the same.

For a start, both of those times it was the CPC team verses the manufacturer, whereas I'm suggesting a face-off challenge between the individual bit-tech staff.
Secondly, both those previous challenges had pretty big budgets. If you're going to spend £1000+ today then there aren't that many different ways to do it successfully for a challenge - they'd all end up with fairly similar gear and it would be a bit pointless.

I think having a fairly low price point makes it much more interesting, because as this article shows, there are a lot more difficult choices to be made down the bottom end of the scale. Do you go for CPU over GPU? Shave a little off both and have more/faster RAM, or a better HSF for squeezing that extra few 100MHZ when overclocking?

Like in Top Gear, all the points of the challenges would add up as they went along producing a winner at the end. Caning one challenge would be no good if you bombed in the others. Challenges could be things like:

Games: Play MW3 & Skyrim at 1920x1080. Target is 25 fps on high quality, no AA = 0 points. Add points for every frame above 25, lose points for every frame below.

Energy Efficiency: Target 60W idle = 0 points, 200W load = 0 points. Add points for every 1W below, deduct points for every 1W above.

Time trials for encoding CD's & DVD's, etc, etc. All that could be in addition to the old CPC/bit-tech suite. A good all-round system test.

Maybe I'm getting a bit carried away, I just think that would be a really good way to show off some tech as well as demonstrate skill and judgement in competition.

That could end up being a huge article, and I bet most people would read it from start to finish...
Valinor 1st November 2011, 21:53 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by John_T


I must admit, I haven't bought the hard copy CPC for a little while now, so I probably missed it if it was fairly recent, (I'd love the issue number if anyone has it to hand).

It's issue 98.

And yes, that is the only useful information in this post.
John_T 2nd November 2011, 01:05 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Valinor
It's issue 98.

And yes, that is the only useful information in this post.

Good enough for me, cheers for that.

(Definitely one I missed BTW - if CPC has started putting unique content back in the mag then I may have to start buying it again...)
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