Athlon II X4 and Phenom II X4 still good enough

Discussion in 'AMD Processors' started by ochadd, Apr 22, 2019.

  1. ochadd

    ochadd Gawd

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    I bought several outlet Athlon II and Phenom II machines around 2009-2010 for family and friends. I'm impressed how well they've hung in there. Windows 7 was brand new and the whole computer was < $450. All received Samsung SSD upgrades and some memory during the free Windows 10 upgrade period in 2015.

    All of them were Dell Inspiron 570s and initially failed to take a direct Windows 10 upgrade. An error I can't remember then it would roll back to Windows 7. Finally 1809 allowed the upgrade to work so I got my hands on all of them and for the update. These machines are still decent internet and office home solutions. I get a kick out of seeing all four cores maxed the entire time during hands on maintenance. Day to day the owners are happy with them.

    It makes me wonder what the slowest CPUs are today that still run Windows 10 quickly enough to be a good basic home computer? I know this is [H] but I love seeing old hardware running well.
     
  2. pendragon1

    pendragon1 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    ive have a couple towers with w10, 2.1GHz core2duo, 945g chipsets, 4GB DDR2 and 80GB 7200 HDD. they are usable for basics and will do 720p video. I got by with one for 6-8 months just to stay online and do basic word/email things.
     
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  3. mnewxcv

    mnewxcv [H]ardness Supreme

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    if I cant watch a youtube video in 1080p, it isn't usable anymore. Those old AMD chips seem to have aged worse than c2quads did. I had an x4 630 up until about 2 years ago as a spare machine, but it just became frustrating to use. Using an i5 2400 and I am much happier for my workshop computer. When in doubt though, an SSD is a cheap way to speed up anything that doesn't have one.
     
  4. dragonstongue

    dragonstongue 2[H]4U

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    I am still using my Phenom II 955 OC to beyond 980 levels (with reduced volts) though I normally run at 3.8 1.34-.36 windows (flickers) set at 1.38v in bios.

    There are very few games I can't play with this and my Radeon 7870, however there are many games where I have noticed some not as constant smoothness sometimes, beyond that @1080p or below at least with Win 7x64 or W10 for a "basic" gaming setup is fine, certainly would not go out and buy today when can have any Ryzen and blow door off pre Ryzen...they do say PHII and even BD derived could handle lower resolution better, but I do not play 640x480 either LOL
     
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  5. CAD4466HK

    CAD4466HK [H]ard|Gawd

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    Still got a PII 975 BE, A64 X2 7750 BE (Kuma, half a PII), and a A64 X2 4200+ Toledo pulling daily duty at my pad.

    All on W7 though, I tried putting 8.1 on the 4200+ years ago, but it's not supported.
     
  6. sirmonkey1985

    sirmonkey1985 [H]ard|DCer of the Month - July 2010

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    yeah loved my 940 and that system technically still works.. sort of.. but yeah never turning it back on after moving to ryzen, difference is night and day.. that being said though i did try to install w10 on an old a64 x2 6400+ and i do not recommend it, lol. holy crap was that thing slow and windows 10 didn't like it.
     
  7. Dodge245

    Dodge245 Limp Gawd

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    My old AMD X3 system with 4GB of RAM held up really well, as someone further up the thread noted, what killed it is the ability to play Youtube at HD resolutions, it would play but would randomly pause and wait, or just not play at all.
     
  8. Randall Stephens

    Randall Stephens Limp Gawd

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    880g itx and p2 945 x4 running muh antistasi server for Arma 3. No complaints.
     
  9. mvmiller12

    mvmiller12 Gawd

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    A Phenom II X6 1090t was my media center PC CPU for a while until I upgraded 2 years ago an FX-8350 (corresponding to when I started using Plex). That system just last month became a Core i5 6600K when I gifted the FX-8350 guts to a relative who needed a reasonably powerful PC for free.

    I have been using Windows 10 Pro on an SSD with all of these systems, and they all had 16G of RAM. Day-to-day performance was excellent with Plex, Youtube and Kodi with all video duties hardware accelerated by the Radeon R7 260X video card. If you're not hardcore gaming on the machines, they still work reliably and well.
     
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  10. grim4593

    grim4593 Limp Gawd

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    I just decommissioned my Phenom II X4 925 machine and replaced it with my old i7 4770K that was my previous desktop. I only used it as a backup and occasional game dedicated server and I never had issues with it once I updated the hard drive to an SSD. I rarely used it for day to day tasks like web browsing but when I did it was a bit laggy with CPU spikes in Firefox so the X4 925 CPU just couldn't push the bits quick enough.
    As a backup and dedicated server it ran great.
     
  11. mythedrine

    mythedrine n00b

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    I am still running my desktop with an AMD Phenom II X2 555 that I bought in 2009. It's been running Windows 10 from a 120GB SSD since MS started the Insider program in September 2014. The GPU is an Nvidia GTS 250 a coworker gave me in 2014. I don't game, but it videos everything fine at 1440P.

    I ran the CPU with the 2 factory disabled cores unlocked for several years after I bought it, but it started to bsod a few times, so I reverted.

    I am so glad AMD is again making great chips again. Maybe I'll build a Ryzen 2 desktop after the 3000's launch.

    I also have an Athlon X2 245 running the latest Mint Linux for various projects.

    After the great capacitor disaster of the early 2000's, it's amazing how reliable this 2009 hardware is.
     
  12. Revenant_Knight

    Revenant_Knight Limp Gawd

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    I had an Athlon II X4 640 as a server CPU for a long time. I only retired it because it ran Windows Home Server which didn't have good support. I still have it set up to play with and see what I can make out of it. Maybe run a Linux based NAS setup.

    I also had a Phenom II X4 940 Black. It was a great CPU for its time. I used it for a HTPC, but eventually gave it to a friend.
     
  13. 4330thgink

    4330thgink Gawd

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    It depends on what it is being used for. For casual PC activities like internet, email, spreadsheet, video, etc - yeah. The Phenom II will work just fine.

    I would recommend using an SSD over a spinner though. Most of what you "feel" as slow on older computers is the slowness of the hard drive to load programs and operating system.

    My Phenom II 945 X4 lasted until 2016. I was still able to play most games(with low-mid grade cards of 2010), watch streaming movies, etc.
     
  14. Geforcepat

    Geforcepat Gawd

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  15. /dev/null

    /dev/null [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I gave away a Phenom II X4 940 maybe ayear a go to a friends son who wanted to start gaming. It has 8G ddr2. My friend supplied the video card. Not sure if sitll in use?

    I have a 1090T & an 8320e turned off, just due to age. I don't have a ryzen yet, but I have tons of haswell boxes still in "production" for gaming, work, etc

    My dailiy "toy" boxes are:

    I7-4770k, 32G ram (haswell)
    e3-1243v3, 32G ecc ram (haswell)
    i5-8400, 16G ddr4-3200 (coffee)
    i5-4570, 32G (haswell)
    i5-8400, 16G ddr4-2666 (coffee)

    These are all just solid boxes IMHO.

    My Production server:
    E5-2690 Desktop with 160G ecc reg ram
    DL380 G6 X5550 (dual socket) with 24G ecc reg ram, 36TB storage (raw)

    2 Test servers (soon to be production), eac:
    Dual socket E5-2643, 64G ram, 8 *300K 10k sas.
     
  16. GiGaBiTe

    GiGaBiTe Gawd

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    The Phenom II x4 is still a good option if you don't plan on doing anything demanding. The downside to using them is that they're power hungry heat monsters like the Pentium 4 was.

    That's more like a side grade than an upgrade.
     
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  17. Majinhoju

    Majinhoju [H]ard|Gawd

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    I had a phenom ii 965 in my secondary rig up until about a few months back. I finally replaced it with a 8350 once I encountered Far Cry 5 flat out refusing to run on Phenom CPUs.
    It's currently running my old GTX 780 and being used a secondary gaming rig for the wife to play on when she's gaming with me.
    I could swap the 780 sometime and still get more life out it but it seems to be good enough for now. My wife's not as fussy as I am regarding raw fps and graphic settings.

    The old Phenom did the trick up until I replaced it.
     
  18. mvmiller12

    mvmiller12 Gawd

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    Not at all when you are running Plex. The Vishera chips were are very good at Plex, better even than the Core i5 6600K that replaced that system. Of course Plex is now being run on my Dell PowerEdge R515 with 2x Opteron 4174 HE processors (effectively a pair of Phenom II x6 low power CPUs @ 2.3GHz).
     
  19. JVene

    JVene n00b

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    My main workstation was one of the first dual core 64 bit AMD chips (the non-opteron version) released back in, what, 2004. That replaced a dual CPU (before dual cores) AMD 32 bit machine, which itself replaced the last Intel dual CPU machine I used (dual P2's) before the 21st century.

    That dual AMD was replaced around 2007 with a quad 955, clocked to about 3.7 Ghz, and the dual went to my son. That dual ran until 2010, replaced by an intel quad core (can't remember the type).

    The AMD quad was finally replaced in 2015. That's 7 years it did well under Windows XP-64 and Windows 7. When I replaced it with an Intel 4790K quad, the new machine was about 3 times faster overall, but the old AMD quad 955 moved to my wife.

    It is still in use in 2019. That's 12 years.

    My wife is an architect. That AMD 955 at 3.5 Ghz (I dropped it a tad over cooling in her hands) is STILL running CAD for her. This isn't "light" work, either. She's merciless on a computer. The motherboard maxes out at 16 Gbytes (which it has), and is still on Windows 7 (she hates, passionately, Windows 10). At any one moment she'll have AutoCAD 2018 (the version the office still uses), Photoshop, Acrobat (the editor, not just the reader), a browser, an FTP client, MS Word and MS Excel all running at once.

    The power supply is a PC Power & Cooling 750 that is now about 6 years old, running under 50% load. The machine runs at least 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, and the entire 48 hours of every weekend.

    Like others have said, a $50 SSD drive completely and utterly "woke up" the machine for her last year.

    Now, consider just what happened over that era in CPU development.

    To preface, the first computer I know of that could be described as a quad core 64 bit computer was the Cray 1 in 1976, priced at around $15 million in today's money.

    Intel's first CPU to match the Cray's IPC was the Pentium 3 in 1998, though the Cray was clocked at 80 Mhz, the P3 was at 600 Mhz. It is the IPC alignment I make not of here, though. Even a P2 would have beat a Cray in a benchmark, but entirely over clock rate. The IPC the Cray produced, though, is such that if the Cray could have run at 600 Mhz, one core of the cray would have matched the IPC of a P3 (approximately).

    From that point, 1998, to about 2005, IPC and clock speed were still on a ramp of approximately doubling every 18 months.

    By 2005, however, the design of the modern CPU reached a point where nearly all theory of how to execute instructions had been exhausted. From that point forward advancement on IPC was far more incremental than it had been prior to 2005.

    By 2012 even the clock rate at which we can run these machines reached a practical maximum (without serious active cooling or exotic sub zero cooling).

    Despite the hype of recent releases, nothing really new has been introduced in years on the CPU.

    Ryzen, new to AMD of course, is merely AMD's approximate match to Intel's IPC.

    The IPC of recent offerings are not all that much more than CPU's from 2012. I know, I know, you can point to all kinds of reviews. Nothing has doubled or quadrupled IPC in many years, like it once was. The approximate IPC ratio of the P3 was about 3.4. The AMD 955 was about 3.5, while Intel's early Core2 CPU's was about 6.3. Ryzens are around 10, while recent Intel is about 10.

    To be clear, that's 3.4 instructions per cycle in 1998, to 6.3 around 2012.

    That was around double in 14 years.

    Yet, the original Pentium, around '94, was about 1.8, where the P3, just 4 years later, was 3.4. That's close to double in 4 years.

    We have moved from 6.3 to 10 in about 7 years. Note, too, that due to orders of magnitude more transistors in the same physical space, the clock speeds have actually slowed slightly in that era. The 2012 Core 2 CPU's could typically reach 5Ghz on air cooling. We're still limited to 5 Ghz, but on high end cooling solutions. Many of the high core count chips can't really run past 4.3 Ghz for long.

    Now, that old AMD is about half to a third IPC, and limited to around 3.5 or 4 Ghz, but still makes it "reasonable" for modern workloads in a wide range of circumstances.

    Not gaming, likely, but for most general purpose and some industrial purpose cases.

    We have just about hit a wall. IPC is not going up much more than we see know, except in special purpose directions. The GPU is an example. GPU's are particularly weak at branching, so they don't make granular level decisions well. They calculate bulk data fast, where decisions are just not a requirement. There is still room to expand the GPU IPC. In some cases that has to do with the particular math it supports. GPU's are focused on linear algebra, for example. That boils down to tabular multiplication (a vector by a matrix). There are a variety of options regarding how one can pack in values and operate on them (multiply, divide, subract, etc). For some workloads there may be some odd misfits. If, for example, you are in need of operating on quaternions but the GPU isn't geared to quaternion algebra, you have an odd fit for the code. Performance would be improved by giving the "next generation" GPU instructions tuned for quaternion algebra, at which point the IPC APPEARS to be improved.

    Yet, much of this is specific to certain applications, not to general computing. The GPU may help render web pages, but the old CPU was already well equipped for everything else the browser does.

    We're finally at a point where the engineering reached maturity.

    For the automobile, the first Model T Ford was more like a lawn mower with 4 seats compared to the modern automobile, and there was plenty of room for advancement. By the late 30's, most of the "easy" and "obvious" engineering improvements had been done, so those cars could drive 60 MPH (the Model T topped out at 35). After that, the real work began. The late engineering advancements produce a car where an aluminum engine (once considered all but a laughable material choice) can run for 100,000 miles on basic maintenance without ever changing the spark plugs.

    We reached that point in CPU engineering about 2012 with the Intel Core2. That design still demonstrates most of what a modern CPU does, and the older AMD is only one step behind that milestone.

    It will take a major, likely very difficult leap in technology and theory to double what we see today. Silicon just doesn't move much faster no matter what we do. IPC just can't be improved much without diminished returns, unless we move toward high specialization (GPU's for example).

    New materials offer a one time jump in the region of triple clock speeds. In theory, germanium transistors could run two to about 2.5 times faster, but they'll be larger physically (no 7nm node on germanium). There's also nothing faster in germanium after that, it's a one time speed jump.

    After that, there's carbon. Maybe, maybe a quadruple speed jump. Still a mystery for bulk manufacture, though.

    The light switch, from which one could build a light powered computer, has been a lab toy for decades. Many orders of magnitude higher speed is possible, but no indication we can actually build a computer out of light switches in bulk. I remember research going back to the 70's, and still nothing of a functional computer design yet on the horizon.

    So, the Cray in '76 foretold the future. By '84 Cray tried to use gallium arsenide, but we still don't know how to fabricate acceptable yields with that material. Even Cray returned to silicon.

    Cray's own teams went parallel. Cray himself refused, left the company, formed another "Cray" organization, and built the next fastest CPU's on the planet.

    Then it happened again. Cray wanted to make the fastest single cores possible, but his teams always determined the best choice was to take that and go parallel, with hundreds of cores to gain power.

    That' where we are now, still. Though at 6/8/12/16 cores, and going upwards.

    At some point core count will become difficult to spec, because there's a blur between a core and a collection of execution units - it really matters how many threads can be served by the available resources, balancing the need to be able to jump (make decisions - the "IF" of programming) as opposed to ripping through massive volumes of data performing calculations (3D, image, audio, neurons, etc.). Even what we've called a GPU for a long while is a lot less about graphics than about compute power, and will probably move out of the external position it has held for years, and fuse into the general compute compliment.

    For now, you can still plug in a GPU and an SSD on that old AMD, and it still does ok.
     
  20. Unabomber

    Unabomber 2[H]4U

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    Seeing how my office / work PC is still running my old FX-4100 (with 16 GB of memory), OC'ed to 4.2 GHz, and still doing just fine, I would have to say that someone running a Phenom II X4 965 should also still be doing just fine for most purposes, since the two CPU's are somewhat comparable (maybe a small advantage to the Phenom).

    My most intensive use for it is with my CYANA calculations of macromolecular structures, calculating molecular dynamics, etc. If I'm going to get a high precision structure, then I'll typically set it to run a 300 structure calculation using 50K or 60K steps, and selecting the 20 best structures.

    On the machine that it replaced, it would take an overnight run to finish the calculations. On this machine, it's done in 3 hours. I suspect that if I re-compiled it with ifort instead of the G95 that came with CentOS, that I could get that time down even further.

    So, my answer is "yes," such a CPU should be good enough as long as you're not trying to do 4K gaming, etc.

    On a side note, I do play an occasional game here and there, and the system is fine for 1920x1080 gaming, using a GeForce 960 GTX.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2019
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  21. RamonGTP

    RamonGTP [H]ardness Supreme

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    Those old AMD CPU's are IMO not at all usable even for basic functions. Completely useless processors.
     
  22. JustinCorrigible

    JustinCorrigible Gawd

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    My sons got my old Phenom II x4 965 BE, and it doesn't give him any issues with whatever he needs to do.
     
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  23. OhSigmaChi

    OhSigmaChi [H]Lite

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    Both my kids run Athlon x4 860k CPUs. My son's is OC'd to 4.4ghz (basically just runs turbo speed all the time) with a tower air cooler. It's paired with an RX 580 8GB card and 16GB of 1866 DDR3. Pulled an 8464 on Firestrike. Whole system cost me about $450.
     
  24. TheSlySyl

    TheSlySyl n00b

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    My fiance was using my old Phenom II X4 940BE @ 3.6ghz until just a few months ago. It handled everything well enough for her, and with a decent GPU (GTX 1060 6GB) it even handled games surprisingly well. It was only when we started getting really deep into monster hunter did the stuttering from CPU limitations get bad enough that I decided it was time for an upgrade on her end. It was hot and loud in the Antec 900, but usability was fine outside of RAM. (Maxed out at 8GB) Even with the super old SSD in the system it was adequate, definitely faster than her laptop.

    She'll be getting my R7 1700 in a few months when I upgrade to the Ryzen 3000 series, but her current stopgap of a Ryzen R4 1400 is a NOTICEABLE upgrade from the 940BE. (Found a crazy good deal on a used ryzen system on craigslist a few months back.)
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2019
  25. Shadowolf

    Shadowolf n00b

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    My primary machine was an Phenom II x6 1100T until recently. That machine was a workhorse and was kept alive with a new video card and SSD. Adding the SSD probably made the most notable performance gain in years. For what I played it was able to hang in there (namely Supreme Commander: FA). Newer games like Witcher III ran well with max graphics also. The only short coming I had was with the Oculus rift. The processor lacked an instruction set that the installer checked for which forced me to find some creative ways to install.

    I recently bit the bullet and upgraded to a Threadripper 2950x. I plan to move the 1100T out to the garage for a general purpose workstation. I'll probably toss it into a rackmount and stick it in cage.
     
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  26. OrangeKhrush

    OrangeKhrush [H]ard|Gawd

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    I think most of it is covered above, the PH2 is still capable of general daily work and very low demanding gaming like CS:GO on very old engines, if it is going to be a grandad/grandmom machine all you need is a SSD a decent AM3 socket with USB3 and SATA 6 ports and a little cash into a slightly better cooler and i am sure it will do everything the old folks need.
     
  27. Red Falcon

    Red Falcon [H]ardForum Junkie

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    The Athlon 64 X2 CPUs were released back in mid-2005. ;)
    Hot damn those systems had longevity in them, though, and props to you for making them last this long! :cool:
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2019
  28. Red Falcon

    Red Falcon [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I'm running a Sharp X68000 Expert-HD with a Motorola m68k 68000 @ 10MHz from 1989 with NetBSD 7.0.1 from 2016 - does that count? :D
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2019
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  29. dook43

    dook43 2[H]4U

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    An i5 2400 is sandy bridge. It is in no way a c2q.
     
  30. OFaceSIG

    OFaceSIG [H]ard|Gawd

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    Love ig'nant @ss comments like this.

    Up until 6 months ago my stepson was gaming on a PH2 x4 955, 8gb of ram, a 128gb boot ocz sandforce SSD and Radeon 270 with zero issues at 1680x1050.

    Then I built him an all used, i5 2310, 16GB, 256 boot ocz sandforce SSD, an a Radeon 580 4GB with zero issues at 1920x1080.
     
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  31. dexvx

    dexvx [H]ard|Gawd

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  32. RamonGTP

    RamonGTP [H]ardness Supreme

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    I love melting snowflakes
     
  33. OFaceSIG

    OFaceSIG [H]ard|Gawd

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    It's not melting when you disprove ignorance cupcake.
     
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  34. RamonGTP

    RamonGTP [H]ardness Supreme

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    Triggered by an internet strangers month and a half old comment/opinion regarding processors over a decade old. You're definitely melting. Sorry this wasn't the safe space you thought it was. Keep shedding those tears though.
     
  35. pendragon1

    pendragon1 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    now youre just trolling...
    he is right and you are wrong, ffs.
     
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  36. OFaceSIG

    OFaceSIG [H]ard|Gawd

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  37. RamonGTP

    RamonGTP [H]ardness Supreme

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    They are shit processors. Good for excessive power consumption to run Word. Running one makes about as much sense as buying a 4GB video card for gaming today.
     
  38. pendragon1

    pendragon1 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    both are just your opinions and far from truth. give a rest.
     
  39. RamonGTP

    RamonGTP [H]ardness Supreme

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    I stated it was my opinion, in the very post you quoted when you chimed in. Learn to read and follow your own advise.
     
  40. OFaceSIG

    OFaceSIG [H]ard|Gawd

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    As I stated earlier, 4GB is just fine for 1080p. Every reviewer on the planet has called the 480/580 4gb just fine for 1080p. But I guess expert reviewers, who do this day in and day out, don't quite know what they're talking about. You know, like pairing a 1080 Ti with a quad core Ivy bridge.