I've had arguments with friends over this before. With a set budget can an AMD machine be a better gaming one than an Intel one, because the more aggressive pricing on the CPU / Motherboard front means you're able to buy a better video card. You can see here today, though, what you're able to do with the same budget if you go down the AMD path.
Sure, we could buy a cheaper Intel motherboard and throw a bit more into the video card, but then we can start to lose other features. As far as the boards we've used, both offer a very similar feature set.
The other important thing to note is just how limiting overclocking is on the P67 / Z68 platform when you're not looking at a K series CPU. Of course, you could go out and buy an i5 2500k CPU and throw that into our other setup and achieve 4.5GHz with ease. That will set you back almost another $100, though, which for a gamer would probably be better spent on a video card.
Then you'd be faster than what we had here today, but you could spend a further $100 on a video card for this setup and you'd be ahead again. When it comes down to it all, for a gamer the best thing you can do is spend as much of your budget on a video card.
So what if your hipster nerd friend can do a Hyper PI run 90 seconds faster than you, he could well find himself gaming at 1680 x 1050 while you're able to enjoy 1920 x 1200. It's easy to get wooed by these strong CPU and RAM benchmarks, but when push comes to shove and you start to do what you really want on the machine you've just built, game, you can see what the better decision was.
Of course, there's like an infinity amount of combinations you can do when it comes to building a $599 PC and you could argue all day and night about it. You could buy a really cheap motherboard for your i3 2100 and buy a better video card, but you could do the same with the AMD platform.
Having a better CPU than someone else is one thing, but having a better platform is another. I think it's important when you come to looking at parts for your next PC, you don't just dismiss AMD because when you look at CPU benchmarks, they're slower. In the scheme of things, an AMD platform could just bring you so much more enjoyment because the faster video card means you're able to play games at a higher resolution and in more detail.
Of course, when we see the new Llano and Bulldozer platform over the coming months, AMD could well be in front in those CPU and RAM benchmarks while still offering us the same great value, giving us the opportunity to buy a better video card than the competitions offerings. Time will no doubt tell.
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