System Cost

Please note, we did not feel the need to unify the clock speeds on the test systems - instead testing the fast, dual core CPUs at their default clock speed. This is because the CPU architectures - and therefore IGPs - cannot be directly compared clock for clock.

Be aware of the cost difference between the AMD system and rival Intel ones, which should factor into any system upgrade. For the cost of the Intel system, you could buy the AMD one with quite a powerful a discrete graphics card, clearly allowing far superior graphics performance. However, this article is designed for those aiming to buy an IGP only - for ultra-low power consumption, small cases and the lowest amount of noise possible.

System Cost and 2D Performance

CustomPC Benchmark

  • Intel GMA HD (Core i5 661: 900MHz IGP)
  • Intel GMA HD (Core i3 530: 733MHz IGP)
  • Nvidia GeForce 9400 (Core 2 Duo E8500)
  • AMD 785G (Phenom II X2 550 BE)
  • AMD 880G (Phenom II X2 550 BE)
    • 1313
    • 240
    • 1178
    • 170
    • 1044
    • 265
    • 1009
    • 150
    • 974
    • 150
Sorted by Overall Score
  • CPC Bench Overall Score
  • CPU & Motherboard Cost (£)

Updating the pricing a bit from our previous article on Intel GMA HD graphics performance, the CPU costs at the time of writing are as follow:
  • Phenom II X2 550 Black Edition = £70 inc VAT
  • Intel Core i5-661 = £160 inc VAT
  • Intel Core i5-530 = £95 inc VAT
  • Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 = £155 inc VAT
The cost of Core 2 Duo E8500 has increased greatly from our previous reviewed price of £125, and at over £155 it pushes the respective Nvidia GeForce 9400 system price up greatly, whereas the i3-530 has dropped in price by £5, and the i5-661 by £10.

Motherboard cost:
  • Gigabyte GA-880GMA-UD2H (AMD 880G/SB850) = £80 inc VAT
  • MSI 785G-E65 (AMD 785G/SB750) = £80* inc VAT
  • Gigabyte GA-H55M-UD2H (Intel H55) = £80 inc VAT
  • DFI LANParty Jr. GF9400-T2RS (Nvidia GeForce 9400) = £125* inc VAT
    *Prices are taken from the last available price
This means the total cost of the AMD 880G and 785G are £150 a piece. Although other 785G motherboards have dropped in cost to around £60-£70 now, they lack some of the features of both the MSI and Gigabyte boards we've used.

The Intel systems vary from being slightly more expensive than the AMD (£170 for the i3-530 system, for example), to being considerably pricier, with the i5-661 system costing £240. For the £90 price difference you could easily buy a GeForce GTS 250 512MB, or maybe a Radeon HD 5750 1GB if you're lucky, for considerably better gaming performance. If the LGA775 DFI board was available today with the Core 2 Duo E8500 CPU, it would set you back £265 - more than the faster i5-661 system.

Clearly the cheapest option is still the AMD system, and that's not even taking into account the potential core unlocking capacity that the 785G and specific 880G motherboards such as our Gigabyte offers with the Phenom II X2 550 Black Edition we used. But cheap is one thing, value is another, so we'll be interested to see how the new AMD systems fare when compared to the Intel ones.

Cost : Performance Factor

CustomPC Benchmark

  • AMD 785G (Phenom II X2 550 BE)
  • AMD 880G (Phenom II X2 550 BE)
  • Intel GMA HD (Core i3 530: 733MHz IGP)
  • Intel GMA HD (Core i5 661: 900MHz IGP)
  • Nvidia GeForce 9400 (Core 2 Duo E8500)
    • 6.73
    • 6.49
    • 6.37
    • 5.15
    • 4.43
Higher is better
  • Price:Cost Factor

Unfortunately, the low price of the Gigabyte GA-880GMA-UD2H doesn't help its appeal, as it performed poorly compared to the older MSI 785G, with an overall score of 974 versus 1,009. This is doubly poor considering that the MSI and Gigabyte cost the same, and that the MSI is built using the older AMD 785G chipset. However, it's the AMD systems that come out top in a pure cost versus application performance analysis.
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