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Phenom II vs Core i7: Gaming Value Comparison

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Posted August 12, 2009 by Jake in CPU & Motherboards
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by Jake
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Introduction

Gamers have competitive streaks, plain and simple. Doesn’t matter whether you’re a casual or hardcore gamer, by definition you want to compete at some level. Most games are about winning at some level of purpose, and competition tends to bring out the passion in people. Manchester United? New York Yankees? Toronto Maple Leafs? Yes, we have our favourite teams, and competition does indeed bring out the fans.

Passion can be a good thing, when harnessed, and computer gamers certainly have passionate streaks as well. A result of passion, when directed to a particular thing or company, is properly termed brand loyalty. Companies love brand loyalty, and they spend very large sums of money to cultivate and foster brand loyalty. In the tech world, those that have a strong brand loyalty are usually known by another, more common name: fanboys. Ah yes, the ATI vs Nvidia, AMD vs Intel flame wars; nothing quite stirs a tech forum than such lively debates. Today we’re interested in the latter of those: AMD vs Intel. Yes, dear friends, it doesn’t get much more contentious than that.

We’ve decided to tackle the debate head-on, and specifically a hot topic that sets off the passion: is AMD or Intel better for gaming? Specifically, the Phenom II and Core i7 respectively. There are pros and cons to each, and we’ve seen some people attempt to tackle that debate, but to date we believe the comparisons are fundamentally flawed, such as using different graphics cards or dual/quad cores to compare. That’s about as good as comparing apples to horseshoes. No, today, we’ll attack the big question straight up by using the exact same setups except for the AMD/Intel core components. And we’re going to chart the performance differences in many different scenarios, at stock and overclocked CPU speeds, in single and dual graphics card configurations, and at different resolutions. And as an added bonus, we’re also going to compare prices and evaluate gaming value; does that money on a Core i7 give you better framerates? If so, how much is that extra worth? Will the Phenom II framerates tank in Crysis? Yes, those are exactly the things we’re going to show you.

There’s a ton of ground to cover, so strap on your flak jacket and buckle up. This is about to get very, very interesting.

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